Summary: Craziness has many definitions. I may be crazy in the sense of unsoundness of mind, and I may be going out a limb, but the more and more I study the Living Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, I sometimes believe God is also a little crazy in the sense of w
Sermon for Luke 18:1-8
October 21st 2007
Craziness has many definitions. I may be crazy in the sense of unsoundness of mind, and I may be going out a limb, but the more and more I study the Living Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, I sometimes believe God is also a little crazy in the sense of wild, fantastic, not sensible. Have I got your attention?
Seriously, I struggle with the manner in which God seems to work with us sinners, and I struggle even more when it comes to abundant and eternal life—especially how the price for this wonderful, incomprehensible, undeserved gift is absolutely free.
Folks that is some weird stuff! Think I’m nuts? Let’s take a look at today’s lessons and you might be pleasantly surprised to find out we might just have one crazy God.
In the Old Testament or as I prefer, the Hebrew Scriptures we have the story of Jacob also struggling with God and being renamed to Israel. Jacob if you remember is the grandson of Abraham—the father of the Jewish and Islamic faith. Anyway, Jacob’s name in Hebrew means “grabber,” because at his birth he came into the world grabbing hold of his twin brother—Esau’s ankle. From that day forth Jacob never did quit grabbing.
A sane person might think a sane God would perhaps use good people of decent character to get His message across, but either there are none, or crazier yet, it seems God chooses these individuals that cross the line of being cunning, liars, scoundrels, manipulators, con artists, schemers—like Jacob—the grabber.
Well we know for a fact that Jacob is crazy (unsound mind), because the text says he had two wives, two girlfriends. What man in his right mind would ever desire more than one wife at the same time? Top that with eleven kids—the man is certifiable nuts. But he is also evil!
He cheated his brother Esau out of his inheritance. He conned his own sick and dying father. He swindled his father-in-law. Ok maybe that one I could understand. And now this nut is struggling through the night with God Almighty for a blessing. That’s what I call nerve! Or down right crazy!
But is God any different? I mean, come on! What’s up with this? To make matter worse, God does bless this grabber, with questionable character, renames him Israel—meaning the one who struggles with God—and makes this scoundrel the father of the Jewish nation whose purpose is to witness through word and deed to a people who are certifiable nuts about a fantastic God, whose message we’re sent to share is about as foolish or not sensible as the one who sent us.
Let’s do that right now. Let’s take a look at the message, the Word’s of Jesus, that Word become flesh and see if our proclamation/our struggle makes any sense whatsoever?
“There was a certain Judge in a certain city who neither feared God nor respected public opinion.” This my friends is a bold stroke on the part of Jesus. He is taking the craziness of God and lays it bare for all to see…right here.
I hope you all remember the summary of the entire gospel for the past three weeks? That is love and forgiveness. But here in the court room love or forgiveness will play and should play no part, not from a judge who neither fears God nor respects your opinion.
This type of judge would look only at the facts of the case and judge accordingly—there are only two options—you are guilty or you are not guilty. Is this the type of judge you want to stand in front of?
Jesus continues the story by saying there was a widow in that city who came to the judge asking him to render her a favorable judgment. For a while, Jesus says the judge tells her to go fly a kite. She is a nobody, a loser in ancient days. Her complaint strikes him as nothing more than a nuisance. He will not have his calendar clogged up with a case that no self-respecting judge would even give the time of day.
But the judge does give the time, and Jesus tells of the judge’s reasoning for his change of heart. “Even though I do not fear God or respect public opinion,” the judge says to himself, “still simply because this widow is bothering me, I will grant her a favorable judgment—just so she doesn’t finally wear me out by her constant showing up in my courtroom.”
You see, he arrives at his judgment not on the merits of the case, or the letter of the law, not even on her reason or excuses, but simply on the basis of his position as judge. Simply put, because he can. This character is willing to be perceived as a bad judge just so he can have a little peace of mind. Therefore, he justifies the woman.