Summary: In Luke chapter 18 five people will teach us some pretty awesome lessons.
"PEOPLE TO MEET AND LESSONS TO LEARN"
TEXT: LUKE CHAPTER 18
Today, we are going to be studying Luke chapter 18, and we are going to jump right into our text; because as the title for this message says, we have people to meet and lessons to learn.
I. FIRST WE MEET A DEMANDING WIDOW WHO TEACHES US TO BE PERSISTENT IN OUR PRAYER...
Before we can properly understand this parable we need to understand both the context (what was going on when Jesus gave this parable) and the culture background behind the parable.
First, let’s talk about the context. Jesus as recorded by Luke in the 17th chapter has just reminded his disciples, "THAT HE MUST SUFFER MANY THINGS AND BE REJECTED BY THIS GENERATION..."
And Jesus then told them, that a time would come when they would long to see Him, but they would not -- because he would no longer be with them physically... He told them That they would be left alone to carry on the work of the kingdom in a world that was like the days of Noah where they would find people both unprepared and unconcerned about the things of God and many times standing in direct opposition to it.
Things would not always go the way they wanted... there would be times of hardships, difficulties, persecutions, sorrow, pain and disappointments.
And Jesus knew, that whenever they faced those dark times/ whenever, they were asked to walk through the valley of the shadow of darkness that there would be a tendency on their part to give up -- to throw in the towel -- to believe their cause was hopeless, that God was not answering and that God did not care -- and they therefore would stop praying to the Father.
And in light of all this and what they were about to go through Jesus TOLD THEM THIS PARABLE "TO SHOW THEM THAT THEY SHOULD ALWAYS PRAY AND NOT GIVE UP.."
Now let’s briefly talk about the cultural background, because as we study this parable, we need to try to see it in it’s Eastern setting. The "courtroom," was not a fine building, but a tent that was moved from place to place as the judge covered his circuit. The judge not the law set the agenda; and he sat regularly in his tent surrounded by his assistance.
Anybody could watch the proceedings from the outside, but only those who were approved and accepted could have their cases tried. Usually this meant bribing one of the assistants, so that he would call the judge’s attention to his case.
Now the widow in our text, and any widow in this culture for that matter, had three things going against her. First, being a woman, she had little standing before the civil law. Second, being a widow she had no husband to stand with her in court. And third, she was poor and did not have enough money to pay a bribe to have her case heard, even if she had wanted to.
But this widow was very persistent -- we don’t know for how long she kept coming to this judge for justice, but the scripture says she kept coming..(energizer rabbit)
Perhaps, every day for months, even years she came pleading for justice... And at first the judge just turned her away... And each day when he rode his BMC (brown - massive -- camel) into work there she would be -- and she’d still be there when he went home at night... And finally, because she was wearing him down one day he bellowed, "EVEN THOUGH I DON’T FEAR GOD OR CARE ABOUT MEN, YET BECAUSE THIS WIDOW KEEPS BOTHERING ME, I WILL SEE SHE GETS JUSTICE, SO THAT SHE WON’T EVENTUALLY WEAR ME OUT WITH HER COMING.."
Again Jesus told this parable to encourage His people to pray.. But Jesus is not in this parable saying that we are like this woman, or that the judge is like God. In fact He is saying just the opposite. Jesus is making an argument from the lesser to the greater. IF A POOR WIDOW WOMEN GOT WHAT SHE DESERVED FROM A SELFISH JUDGE, HOW MUCH MORE WILL GOD’S CHILDREN RECEIVE WHAT IS RIGHT FROM A LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER...
LET’S CONSIDER THE CONTRASTS:
1. THE WOMAN WAS A STRANGER TO THE JUDGE, BUT WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN.
2. THE WOMAN HAD NO ACCESS TO THE JUDGE, BUT GOD’S CHILDREN HAVE AN OPEN ACCESS TO HIM AND MAY COME INTO HIS PRESENCE AT ANY TIME..
3. THE WOMAN HAD NO FRIEND TO HELP HER GET HER CASE TO COURT (ALL SHE COULD DO WAS WALK AROUND THE TENT AND MAKE A NUISANCE OF HERSELF) BUT WHEN Christians PRAY, THEY HAVE IN HEAVEN AN ADVOCATE WHO SEATS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST, WHO CONSTANTLY REPRESENTS US BEFORE THE FATHER.