Summary: Luke included the Parable of the Unjust Judge to encourage the people. The parable is about waiting and not losing hope, heart or faith. If we pray earnestly, faithfully and regularly, Jesus will find faith when he does return.
Have you ever wanted something so much that you kept asking for it time and time again until you finally got what you wanted? If so, you can understand how the widow in the Parable of the Unjust Judge felt. She kept going to the judge until he finally decided to hear her case.
In Jesus’ time, widows were among the most disadvantaged people in society. In spite of Old Testament laws stating that they and other disadvantaged people were to be provided for and taken care of, they had few rights, no one to be an advocate for them and no one to look after them in their old age if they did not have any children. To make matters worse, judges could be influenced by bribes or friendship or other means. Not all judges were fair or interested in helping the less fortunate obtain justice.
In contrast, God, who is the Chief Justice of the highest court known to mankind, is a friend of the less fortunate. He loves to hear their cries for justice. His justice is swift and fair to the less fortunate yet is merciless when it comes to dealing with people who would take advantage of the less fortunate. He loves to hear our prayers. When we go to God in prayer, no matter how persistent we are, God will always be there to listen and give advice.
Some of you are probably saying to yourselves, “I’ve tried praying, but I didn’t get any answer” or, “I didn’t get the answer I wanted”. There are several reasons why you received the answer that you did receive. Perhaps you didn’t pray hard enough or often enough. Perhaps your request did not fit into God’s plan for your life. Sometimes God’s answer is “No”. Sometimes his answer is “Not now”. Sometimes his answer is “No, because I have something even better in mind for you”. God our heavenly father loves us like our earthly parents loved us, and like earthly parents he does what he knows to be best for us.
When we pray, God might not answer our prayers right away. He might use the delay to teach us something. He use the delay to prepare us to receive his answer. He will answer our prayer in his own time and in his own way. In God’s way of doing things, justice delayed is not justice denied.
As children of God we have certain rights and responsibilities, and sometimes we forget about these rights and responsibilities, especially the responsibility to care for the less fortunate. God has to constantly remind us of these responsibilities. In this way, God is the persistent widow in the Parable of the Unjust Judge.
Luke wrote his Gospel about a generation after Jesus died and rose again. At that time, people expected Jesus to return shortly after he ascended into heaven, and they were getting discouraged when Jesus did not return when they expected him to return. Luke included the Parable of the Unjust Judge to encourage the people. The parable is about waiting and not losing hope, heart or faith. If we pray earnestly, faithfully and regularly, Jesus will find faith when he does return. If we are persistent in prayer, we will stay in touch with God. We must persevere in prayer because we must persevere in doing God’s work, and that includes doing God’s justice in an unjust world. That requires long, constant and persistent prayer. Sometimes the task seems hopeless, but we must never give up.