Summary: When we come to Jesus, what do we really want from him? What does Jesus really want from us? Jesus shows us the way into the kingdom of God, and the path has requirements. Are you ready to enter?
Two Parables and Two Encounters with Jesus that teach us four characteristics needed to enter and live in the Kingdom of God.
Two great enemies in the hearts of men that prevent them entry into the kingdom are also plainly seen here. They are:
Self righteousness and love of riches.
Notice the text with me.
The chapter begins with Jesus telling a parable teaching us to be persistent in prayer. Luke tells us that this is the specific purpose in this parable. It was intended to show that we need to be praying constantly and never losing heart. And notice the context. This parable follows Jesus teaching about the Son of Man coming in judgment. Chapter 17:22-37.
Look now at 18:1-8. There are two major characters in this parable: an unrighteous judge who fears neither God nor man, and a determined widow who needs his help. Jesus tells us that this widow comes to the judge asking for justice, or legal protection from some opponent. At first he doesn’t listen to her or do anything for her. But this little woman doesn’t give up. She keeps coming back over and over and over. So the judge, motivated by exasperation because of her continual coming to him, gives her what she asks for. It is like he says, “Ok, ok, ok! Here’s what you want, now, if you will just leave me alone!”
Jesus makes his point, two points in fact. First is the assurance: If this man would do that for her, don’t you think God will bring about justice for you who cry out to him day and night? Of course he will! Never give up on God! Keep asking, seeking, knocking!
Be persistent in prayer. God hears and God helps those that never give up.
Then Jesus adds this haunting little post script. “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Ooooooo! This is a kingdom issue if there ever was one! Why? God tests our faith. Faith here is measured in some degree upon our persistence in prayer.
Persistent prayer! This is item number one after the warnings about the coming of judgment. It is interesting that he uses a parable of a judge to make his point. Jesus is serious about prayer! In Luke 19:45-46, when Jesus comes into Jerusalem and enters the temple, he observes what is going on there with all the commercialism and becomes furious! He casts out those that are selling and cries out, “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer! But you have made it a den of thieves!” Jesus gets angry at things that stand in the way of prayer. He will clean house to make room for prayer.
When we were in Nazareth we went to the Orthodox Church where Mary’s well is. That place is where they say the angel Gabriel came to her to announce the birth of Jesus.
Just outside the gates as you come into the front doors, guess what you find? There are marketers on both sides of the gate peddling their wares. There’s a lot more peddling of wares than saying of prayers. I wonder what Jesus thinks about this? Is it any wonder Christianity is dying there, but Muslims are growing like crazy? Jesus lasts words echo again. “When the Son of Man comes will he find faith on the earth?”
I’ll tell you one thing. The Moslems pray. (To the wrong god, but they pray). Every morning it begins at 4 AM. They have a speaker system mounted on a tower at each mosque, and 5 times a day you hear some Moslem singing out a prayer loud and long and hard. Right, Bob and Marcus? In the hotel where we stayed there in Nazareth, they turned off the hot water during the week days and Marcus figured out how the Moslem preacher got his voice to do all that stuff. He called it the cold shower song. But five times a day, they stop and pray. That used to be descriptive of the church. When Paul wrote Timothy about the most important activities of the church, guess which activity takes first place. What gets top billing? 1 Tim. 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men…
Prayer is first and foremost here. Col. 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer. 1 Thess. 5:17 Pray without ceasing. God’s word is filled with commands and examples of our need for persistent prayer.
When Jesus comes will he find faith on the earth? Let’s just be sure that if he comes while we are alive he will find faithful praying saints that continue to cry out in persistent prayer for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven!