1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
• Another parable, Jesus uses devices that he knows his audience will understand.
• Very few parables where we start being given the point the message with the point.
• An unjust judge, the polar opposite of how the audience would see God. Does not respect the natural or man-made order of things. Jesus repeats this twice, it is meant to be very clear.
• there is no way that judge would do something right!
• characteristics of the widow: alone, helpless. society was supposed to take care of this person. persistent. ask for justice.
• judge’s response: he helps her! motivation not proper, but she gets what she asks for
6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”
• I won’t summarize, Jesus does it for me. If the unjust judge does the right thing, how much more justice will God dispense?
• How God cares for the sparrow. Luke 12:16 “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.”
• Jesus says God “will surely give justice”. not new cars, not a spouse, not health. justice.
• Justice – “things as they should be”. shalom, means as it should be.
• What is Justice? We inherently have a desire for justice, God put it in us as our creator.
2 Samuel 12:1-14 Backstory: David slept with another man’s wife, Nathan coming to reprimand.
So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die!”
• David is the bad guy in this story. David understands what justice is. we know it when we see it. but only partially, what actually happens?
• David doesn’t get death he thinks he deserves. it seems unjust that an innocent child would die because of actions not his own.
• our desires are good! But we need to moderate it with humility that our limited capacity gets in the way.
• 2 Peter 3:13 says “we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells”. by expecting that justice will come in this life, we are setting ourselves up for failure, expectations that wont always be met.
• Thousands of years after the original sin, justice was satisfied once and for all.
• 1 Peter 3:18
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God”.
• Why should He have to die? Our fleshly take is wrong!
• Do we trust our own intellect to decide how or when things are to be made right?
• Do you believe God will vindicate his elect, are you taking it in to your own hands?
• Persistence, bred by trust. trust that His justice will come. we are to faithfully ask for it.
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.
• Parables are important to keep the context.
• tax collector, lowest possible occupation. seen as traitor, worked for roman government. associated with corruption and scum. “despised” is added for our context.
• Pharisee, we see as bad guys. but they were the religious establishment, seen as the go between God and the people. the teachers, righteous and holy. standard bearers, cultural virtue. they knew about God, they know how to approach him.
• defined audience, ” great confidence in their own righteousness “
11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
• what is the focus of this prayer?
• the works play a big part, his own actions, things done and hasn’t done.
• works based theology is still around today!
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
• what a difference in posture! won’t look toward heaven. standing at a distance, not bringing attention to himself.
• Putting on a show, is our relationship with Christ meant to be a public display?
• acknowledgment of his nature. what does God prioritize, care about? repentance, acceptance of the real world? Or putting on a facade?
• can we get real with God?
• The Pharisee does not show any conviction about his own actions.
• pulls the rug out, subverts the audiences expectation.
• Humility, which is cultivated by honest assessment of our condition on earth, which is our sinful nature.
15 One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. 16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
• children in the ancient world were seen and not heard. bothersome to serious activity. rabbi in town, shouldn’t be bothered by some kids.
• vs 16 ” For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children”. Focuses on how they receive the kingdom.
• a spoiled child isn’t what we’re talking about. 12 year old’s are men, we’re talking about kids under 5. newness, innocent toward life, not made bitter.
• wonder, amazement, no preconceived notions, without entitlements. with trust.
• we build over time defense mechanisms, jadedness, self-preservation
• parent knows everything in the world
• God wont betray the trust.
• Trust, built by throwing out preconceived notions, and acknowledge that God loves and cares about us, what he has for us is great.
Jesus tells us to approach God with persistence, humility, and trust.
From the parable of the widow, we learn to persist because we know God will deliver
From the second parable, we learn to be humble because we know we cannot do it on our own.
From the third interaction, we learn to trust Him because He loves us so much He sent his son to die for us.
Why do we try to take matters into our own hands instead of giving them over to God?
Are you putting on a spiritual show? What can we do to avoid a glamorous spiritual life?
In what ways can we remain humble?