In Today's Lesson, Jesus asks us to consider the
unjust judge. What makes him unjust?? What is it about
his judgements that are not fair or Right?? What kind of
verdicts is he arriving at that are not fulfilling the
law or in what way does he misinterpret the law?? Well,
we don't really have the answers to these questions, but
we do recognize his hesitancy to grant this woman the
justice that she seeks. Perhaps he is unjust because he
is willing to dismiss the case of a widow lady. Having
an uncaring or unattentive attitude toward someone who
is powerless, like this widow lady, could classify the
judge here as unjust.
We can only guess that if she was a wealthy business man or
politician, the judge would be giving these individuals his full
What is readily apparent in the parable is that Jesus presents
the judge in this particular case as not responding to the
continual plea of this woman. If you were to ask the judge why he
is not responding to her, at first he might reply, "After all, she
is only a woman!!" Oooh, now that would get him in a lot of
trouble these days . . !!
In fact, the judge eventually concedes to her demands because
there is some kind of troublesome consequence that is coming about
as a result of her continual demand for justice. Perhaps she was
drawing a crowd with her unceasing petitioning for his attention .
. . "How embarrassing!!" Or maybe she was causing such a fuss that
other potential clients or friends did not want to come see the
judge – "She's bad for business, so why not just give in to her
demands so she will go away."
We might want to note here that She seems to know her rights
and she is not taking NO for an answer. If she did not get her way
-- she was going to cause him more trouble. "Yet because this
widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she
may not wear me out by continually coming.'"
What is interesting about the judge's response in Jesus'
parable, is that the word he uses to describe what she will do to
him, is a word that literally means "She will give me a black eye"
if I don't grant her justice! And so, we may gain a new and
greater appreciation for the power being exercised by this woman.
She is so strong in her will to gain justice for herself, that the
judge cannot bear NOT TO DO JUSTICE on her behalf.
Now before you "do violence" to me for emphasizing the woman's
feminine qualities as a liability to her case . . . please
understand that I am only speaking of the particular cultural and
ethnic bias that existed in Jesus day. (These tendencies continue
to exist in our day as well . . . since women continue to make
less money than men in equivalent job fields – although the
comparison levels of exploitation or inequality are far–far less
today in our nation's culture than back in Jesus' time.)
In the case of this particular widow, we may surmise by the
context (she is a widow demanding justice) that she may be
fighting to keep the land or property that belonged to her husband
who is now deceased. Perhaps another relative is attempting to
claim the land based on hereditary laws. Or perhaps a person with
a business interest is trying to gain the deed to her property
based on a "legal loophole." It could be that a new road was to be
built through her land and the ROMAN State Highway Department was
going to take the land -- by force if necessary! Or it may have
been that some large developer wanted the property to build a
shopping district -- Herod the Great loved to build what we might
call "Shopping Malls", The port/shopping district in Caesarea was
like a model for the present day "Baltimore Harbor."
Someone might have wished to obtain her land by a legal power
play, capturing a defenseless widow lady "unawares" could easily
gain her much sought after, valuable property . . . . Her case is
no different than a multitude of modern day examples, and Jesus
parables allow us to identify with the plight of those who are
considered powerless in a complex legal system – made all the more
daunting by a judge who does not fear God nor have respect for
people -- and the stakes are high!
But as we see in the parable . . ., the issue is not so much
"What the Case is About" as it is, "Will the Judge Give her his
full attention." Will she gain an entrance into his SERIOUS
CONSIDERATION?? Or will she be dismissed from the court without a
proper hearing -- without the judge properly considering her plea.
Remember her plea relates to an essentially life or death
Without her land, she will suffer a sentence of DESTITUTION.
She stands to lose her home, her ability to earn income, her
ability to grow her own food and to have a shelter for whatever
earthly goods she possesses. If the Judge will not hear her case,
she could lose everything . . . if he does not take note of her
rights and issue a court order on her behalf, she will have no
legal authority to keep what is hers.
And so with great tenacity and faith in her cause, (Dare we say
that she must exercise faith in herself!@!) She must believe most
strongly that She is worth begging and fighting for. Perhaps it is
not for her self that she pleads, but maybe it is for her
children, daughters and sons that she is willing to sacrifice. And
so She Approaches the one who holds the POWER over her destiny and
future and Demands what is rightfully hers.
And it is to this kind of TENACIOUS, HOPEFUL FAITH
that Jesus refers us. . . .
We must consider ourselves worthy enough before ALMIGHTY GOD
that we would approach him with boldness and self-assuredness. We
must approach God in prayer with an attitude of our own
"self-ambition." We go boldly in faith to demand God's grace,
mercy and love – WHICH ONLY GOD CAN GIVE. The attitude of this
kind of prayer comes from a deep abiding TRUST, and that is what
Jesus wants for us.
The underlying message is that We have to PERSIST in our
EFFORTS TO OBTAIN AN Audience with GOD. "GOD the Father, Son and
Holy Spirit must hear from us, "Lord, HEAR MY PLEA . . . SEE MY
DESTITUTION . . . FEEL My PAIN. ANSWER ME O GOD. FOR I AM YOUR
CHILD." And this kind of praying, even in the most difficult of
life circumstances, is what we are called to do.
With this kind of DETERMINATION, Jesus instructs his followers
to go to God in Prayer. It is not as if PRAYER is the last resort
. . . or that "it is the only option left after all human remedies
have been tried. Rather, Jesus is teaching us that Prayer Is
Itself a Meaningful Remedy in good times and in bad -- Prayer is
that conversation we have with God that engages (his) God's power,
making all things possible!
Prayer is in itself the "First Line" step to
whatever help or guidance that is needed.
Now I don't think I need to say anything about the things we
might pray for, because I know you know that God is not in the
habit of granting a million dollar cash bonus from work or the
like. But God gives to his children what we need, and what we are
mature enough to receive and use.
Certainly we must pray first with the same mind of Jesus our
Lord, and in that spirit we will gain an audience with the Father.
Our practice must be to call on God in every moment, in every
situation and in every circumstance. "O Lord Hear my Prayer, O
Lord Hear my Prayer, When I Call, Answer Me." May you learn to be
bold as did the woman in today's parable. Jesus teaches us this.
more writings of Pastor Jon