Summary: The Kingdom of God is here. Jesus tells us that the day of God's vindication will come. That is a reality. The real question is will we be Noah and Lot Ready? Will Jesus find faithfulness on the earth when that day comes?
Title: Being Noah and Lot Ready
Proposition: The Kingdom of God is here, God's vindication will come - the question is will we be Noah and Lot Ready? Will Jesus find faithfulness when He returns?
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world.
Our passage this morning is one that over time has become very easy to misunderstand and even misapply. At first glance it may appear that it is referring to the subject of prayer in general. It would be easy to read this particular passage and conclude that Jesus is teaching us that in order to be successful in our prayers we need to emulate this nagging widow. We need to possess the same characteristics of persistence and perseverance.
It would be easy to read this passage and conclude that all we need to do is double down. All we have to do is to continue to nag God and eventually we will wear Him down. But is that what Luke is really saying in this passage? After all, isn't our God the direct opposite of this boorish and self-centered judge? Hasn't it always been Luke's contention and Jesus' teaching that our God is loving, kind and desires to give the best to His Children? There is something else going on here. Let's look once again at our passage this morning and allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate us.
We see that our passage is the ending part of a conversation that started back in Luke 17:20 when the Pharisees asked Jesus about the coming of the Kingdom of God. They wanted to know when God would finally vindicate His Chosen People. They wanted to know when God would come and set everything right. They wanted to know when those who had been oppressing and persecuting God's People would finally get their just due. They wanted to know when God's people would once again be set free. The Temple was almost completed and now they believed it was time for the nation to be reestablished.
The disciples had been taught by Jesus to pray, "YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS DONE IN HEAVEN." Both the Pharisees and the disciples were wondering when God's will would come to reality. When would everyone who had chosen God be vindicated over those who were living lives of sin? When would God step in and take over?
In Luke 17:22 - 37 Jesus answers their questions. He tells them that the coming days of the Son of Man will be much like the times of Noah and Lot. If you remember God's judgment/God's vindication came swift and sure. People who should have been ready were caught completely off guard. They had rejected God's warnings and sadly thought that nothing bad was ever going to happen as they continued to live in sin and rebellion. However, as we know that was not the case. In the future Jesus warns that once again one will be taken and the other left when the days of the Son of Man come.
Jesus then shares the Parable that is a part of our reading this morning. Jesus uses it to reinforce the reality that God will vindicate His People. The Pharisees along with the disciples can rest assure that one day God will make all things right. They can rest assured that the day is coming when just like in the days of Noah and Lot the righteous will be vindicated and the unrighteous will fall under God's judgment.
This has been a constant theme running through Luke's Gospel. Go back and listen again to the words of Mary's song and Zachariah's song . Both songs are full of words praying for the day of God's vindication. Both speak of a time when things will be made right. Both speak of a time when God will vindicate the poor, the powerless and the oppressed of the world. Both speak of a time when the lowly are raised and the arrogant and proud are brought low.
Mary, Zachariah, the Pharisees and the disciples were all looking forward to a day of eschatological reversal. All were looking for a time when the 1 % while be forced to change places with the disenfranchised, the oppressed and the marginalized. They were looking forward to the Day in which they believed that God would put them into positions of authority while at the same time bring justice to those all around them.
It is in that context that we must read this passage. This therefore is not a passage about prayer in general. It is about a pray seeking for God to bring about vindication and judgment. It is about God setting the tables right because evil men were in power and were persecuting the people of God. It is about when will God answer our prayers for vindication.