Summary: Its obvious what this is all about – yes, no. Another challenging way of reading this passage.
The widow & the judge
Its obvious what this is all about – yes? Actually just in case we didn’t get it, Luke tells us Jesus gave His own interpretation. So, its a story about persistence in prayer and God’s compassion and responsiveness. Isn’t it?
Well let’s just think a little about it. There is this judge, & we know that judges in Israel then had to maintain harmony in the community & settle disputes.
We also know that the Jewish law said that the people had a special responsibility towards the poor, the widows & orphans, & the foreigner.
So perhaps there is more here than we first thought since this is a story about a poor widow & a judge. The problem is he is not a good man & doesn’t really care about justice, so he ignores her. Because she keeps coming back he eventually gives her what she wants.
So if the unjust judge will eventually give what is needed, won’t our loving father give to us more.
Now yes of course, if that’s the point - & it seems to be - then we have a problem.
You see all these years later the poor & oppressed are still in need & the world seems to be even more lacking in justice and compassion than when Jesus told this story.
So unless Jesus only cares about people’s life & condition when they die & are in heaven we have a problem don’t we?
What if this parable was meant to teach us about prayer & justice?
One commentator who really opened this up for me said that if we have power to bring hope & compassion to those who are poor or disadvantaged but do not then this is a challenge to , a command to let God’s change our hearts so that we weep His tears & respond in His love to make the world a more just place.
What we have really is a parable that we can read 2 ways – yes its about prayer but its also about God being the widow urging us the unjust judge to start accept His standards & work for the good of those in need.
The Scriptures are full of God revealing to His people His passion for justice & righteousness & mercy. That is not in question for anyone who is serious about a pursuit of the Holy & Godly, what is in doubt sometimes is our resolve to follow the same vision & agenda in our daily living.
We come up with all sorts of reasons why we shouldn’t change our lives, our giving & use of money so that God’s blessings can flow through us.
We get what people called at the time of Live Aid Compassion fatigue. What a load of rubbish. We might run out of sugar or milk or finances but how can we run out love?
Do you think God gets compassion fatigue? Well neither can we.
We cannot simply see the widow & orphan & down trodden & just go back to our quiet lives.
I think God the Holy Spirit is using this parable to challenge us as we look at this judge & widow. This time don’t think you are the one asking but the one being asked. Asked to make a difference, to bring love to bear & justice & compassion to those in need.
Of course its easier not to see it this way – to only think about the parable being about prayer & our not giving up. But I think we sell ourselves short if we don’t accept the gauntlet our God has laid down for us.
Our God has a ’bias towards the poor’ as Bishop Shepherd said; let us make sure that we are quick to hear God’s cries pleas & urging to be part of His plan to shower down compassion & love. In Jesus name I pray we are up to the challenge.