I am partial to the Gospel according to Luke. I think his writing is good at telling the story and leaving room for the hearer to work though the implications of it all. Some of the most memorable parables – the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, Lazarus and the Rich Man, and more are all unique to Luke’s gospel. Also, Luke is particular about his choice of words and phrases – the small nuances of language find their place in his telling of Jesus’ story.
Today we have one of those small curiosities of language: But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Luke 18:8). What the Greek actually says is not “find faith” but “find the faith.” It is the only place in all of Luke’s gospel he uses this phrase. In fact it is the only place in all the New Testament. Maybe it’s nothing, but then again, as he often does, maybe Luke is trying to tell us something in this small parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge. Continue reading
Jesus’ Commentary on the Petition. 7 Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? 8 I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Jesus comments make clear the intended parallels: from an unjust judge to God; from the widow to God’s elect. The term “his chosen ones” (hoi eklektoi), used in Luke-Acts only here, echoes texts such as Isa. 42:1; 43:20; 65:9, 15, 22; Ps. 105:6, 43 (cf. Sir. 47:22), which use the term “chosen” in a context that emphasizes election to serve Yahweh (also refers to Deut. 4:37; 7:7; 1 Chron. 16:13; Ps. 77:31; 88:3). Continue reading
Our reading of the parable of the “Unjust Judge and the Persistent Widow” is accompanied by the reading from the Hebrew Scriptures. The entire parable rings with the echo of Sir 35:14-24 (note: depending on translation you find verse numbering slightly different – also, this is part of the OT reading for the 30th Sunday in Year C) Continue reading
More literal translation: There was a certain judge in a certain town. Echo of previous passages – a certain rich man who experienced an abundant harvest or a certain rich man (fool) who lived in purple garments and fine linens but never gave heed to poor Lazarus. This judge is likely a local magistrate yet of notable status within the community. Despite his exterior bearing Jesus characterizes him as someone who neither feared God nor respected any human being (v.2). Continue reading
This parable is a twin of the parable of the neighbor in need (11:5-8). Both are used to illustrate the importance of persistence in prayer. Both present a person in need persistently pressing a request, and both parables call for reasoning from the lesser to the greater: If a neighbor or an unjust judge will respond to the urgent need and repeated request, then will not God also respond? It is an argument from lesser to the greater by which Jesus affirms the faithfulness of God – He will assuredly act on behalf of the righteous. Continue reading
Luke 18:1-8 1 Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, 2 “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. 3 And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ 4 For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, 5 because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” 6 The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. 7 Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? 8 I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Continue reading