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The Woman Who Overcame an Unjust Decision

Jesus, in His teachings, often used parables to convey profound spiritual truths. In one such parable, He spoke of an unjust judge who, lacking the fear of God, thought he was beyond reproach. However, his perception was challenged when he encountered a widow with a strategy to overcome his injustice:


1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And 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, 5yet 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!' " 6And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:1-8).


Let all men and women in high office weigh up the thought that all of us will one day stand before the righteous judge, the Lord Himself, and have to give account for what we have said and done (Romans 14:12, Matthew 12:36). On top of that, he cared not about his fellow man. His judicial decisions were not swayed by the howl of protest from the people he was supposed to serve. This man had a seared conscience that he witnessed against himself, saying, “Even though I don't fear God or care about men…” (Luke 18:4). The widow in the story was standing up to a monster in human form before her. All he cared about was his ease. The only thing that swayed him to do the right thing was that the widow shook him out of his ease and comfort. He just wanted peace!


In Scripture, the widow is the epitome of a person relying entirely on God. We don't know her situation, just that it was urgent enough for her to come to the only person in the city who could dispense justice on her behalf—the unjust judge. How did the widow pursue her case? Her only strategy was to keep coming to the one with the authority to help her. Here is the heart of the lesson that Jesus wants us to learn: persisting in prayer. Some say we should pray once and leave it with God—that is not the message this parable teaches. We are to pursue and persist in our prayers to God for the things that lie heavy on our souls.


We should not think that she set up an appointment or only came when it was an excellent time to be heard; the situation had gone beyond the first denial of justice. This woman kept confronting him at all times of the day. Perhaps she would show up where he lived. Maybe she would follow him as he went with his wife to the market. Let’s put this in today’s terms; he would open his email, and there was a message for him from her. He would go to Facebook, and another note was there. He would put his phone to his ear and find a voice message from her. She would get past the guards in the courtroom and slink in, saying the same thing every time, “Grant me justice against my adversary” (Luke 11:3). She didn't plead for justice because she was a widow or because of her children. The widow didn't talk to him about God's judgment on wicked judges, nor did she use flowery words or carefully constructed sentences. No, only six words describe the one thing she relied on—her persistence. It became embarrassing for the unjust judge, for when he wanted a quiet time with his friends, the poor widow would show up and plead her case in front of his friends.


The persistent widow brought the unjust judge’s actions into the light by taking every opportunity available to show her cause's honesty and integrity. Her goal was to bring to the public the decisions going on behind closed doors that hurt society's most innocent and dependent. People were beginning to see what was happening, and soon, they would demand answers as to why he was treating the widow that way. He finally gave her justice because she wore him out.


What is Jesus saying in this lesson on effective prayer? If an unjust judge can be moved by persistence, how much more will our Holy God, who is just and loving, grant our petitions? Sometimes prayer needs some desperation and perseverance for a need to be met. This judge is the opposite of our heavenly Father, who wants us to overcome through persistent prayer. Hopefully, this is a word of the Lord to somebody today! Keith Thomas


This meditation is taken from the series on the Parables of Jesus. To view the study, click on The Parable of the Persistent Widow.


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