Summary: A sermon on the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust Judge
I was born and raised in the “holy land” - to you its Canada’s 10th province… we called “God’s country” … nowadays being exiled here in Upper Canada I refer to it as the “holy land”. It was a wonderful place to grow up… close to the ocean… filled with a rugged beauty.
When I was in grade 7 (1972) our French class decided to take a weekend trip to France… more precisely the island of St. Pierre -- just a few miles off the south coast of the island.– However the cost was ridiculously high -- $50… I wanted to go… I wanted to ask my parents for the $50 -- but I didn’t think my parents had the money to afford such an extravagant adventure. I was certain they would say “no” -- “we can’t afford it”… so after some consideration… I decided the proper thing to do was to simply not ask … it would place them in an awkward position of having to say “No”... besides, the money could be spent elsewhere… So… I just never asked… To this day I have never visited St. Pierre – and my French is understandably – pathetic.
Read text; Luke 18:1-81 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ”
6 And (“de” – But… However) the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And (“de”- But – However) will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice (vindication), and quickly (referring to his coming quickly?)(cf.rev 22:20)). However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Situation; A Poor Widow Seeks Justice ...
• This woman is at the bottom of the social ladder… Jewish men often prayed a morning blessing from the Talmud; to thank God that they were not born a slave, or a gentile or a woman!!!
o “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler of the universe who has not created me a woman.”
• Not only a woman but also a widow…she has no husband… she is lacking a male advocate… and likely has very little money (so the option of bribery is out of the question) …furthermore, there’s no mention of a lawyer in the parable.
• If anyone is going to be ignored …or treated unjustly… it is likely to be this woman… everything is against her. Now she finds herself in court seeking justice against an adversary -- someone has tried to exploit her weakness and low social standing for personal gain… she can’t afford a good lawyer – so she is hoping for a fair hearing before the judge.
• It was extremely unusual for a woman to even appear in court.
• I imagine her showing up in court dressed in rags and looking quite out of place. Her face is gaunt from a sparse diet and the wear and tear of a difficult life. But there is a force in her eye and a determined gaze.
• The justice system can be an intimidating place for anyone. Fear grips us. Will there be a fine? Will I have to serve time? Will I find justice or injustice? Is my lawyer any good? Is my lawyer better than the other lawyer?
• Have you ever been treated unjustly? Ever been the victim of discrimination? Been passed over for a summer job because you didn’t have the connections other people had?
You are probably thinking the same thing the 12 disciples were thinking -- This poor widow it seems… “doesn’t have a prayer”
Complication: This poor widow meets an unjust (jaundiced) judge…
• If you thought things couldn’t get worse – think again.
• Not only does the poor widow have little means to find justice against her adversary – it turns out she has another adversary – the judge himself.… this judge is corrupt, calloused and apathetic… he has no regard for justice…he has no regard for God. He cares only for himself… what chance does a poor widow have?
• While the Torah teaches respect and care for widows – an unjust judge who fears no one –including God himself – has no such inclination.