Bible stories : The Persistent Widow? The parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1–8) is part of a series of illustrative lessons Jesus Christ used to teach His disciples about prayer. Luke introduces this lesson as a parable meant to show the disciples “that they should always pray and never give up” (verse 1, NLT).
The parable of the widow and the judge is set in an unnamed town. Over that town presides an unjust judge who has no fear of God and no compassion for the people under his jurisdiction. In the Jewish community, a judge was expected to be impartial, to judge righteously, and to recognize that judgment ultimately belongs to God (Deuteronomy 1:16–17). Thus, the judge in this story is incompetent and unqualified for the job. Justice was not being served.
It ends in warfare against God, which is why a person of pride cannot have a good relationship with Him. A proud person cannot have faith in God, at least not very much. A small amount of faith can be there, but pride will definitely be a hindrance. This is why the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican in Luke 18:9-14 follows immediately after of the Parable of the Importunate Widow (Luke 18:1-8), which Jesus ends with, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on earth?”—because humility is essential to faith.
I will give her justice so that she won’t eventually come and attack me. Now, this story seems a little bit strange, but let’s talk about it. So Jesus told his disciples, this parable to show them how to pray and never give up in this story. We have a widow that’s supposed to represent us, but who is this judge? Surely Jesus. Isn’t comparing God to an unjust judge. What Jesus wants us to see here is that God is not like this judge. He is good. And he is just because of this. Whenever we come before him with our problems and cry out to him, he’ll always answer. And he won’t delay in answering our prayers. He’ll make it happen. And quickly then Jesus ends by saying however, when the son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Why does Jesus mention faith? What does that have to do with persistence or prayer? Well, let’s look at it this way. If we don’t have faith that God’s going to do what he says, he’ll do. We won’t be like this persistent. We’ll give up because we don’t believe that he’s going to work in the way that he tells us he will. But if we have faith, we’ll continue asking and asking and seeking God until he gives us an answer. See more information with the The Persistent Widow video on YouTube.
The second point is that only God can bring about justice in a corrupt world. That is why we must pray and not give up in our work. God can bring miraculous justice in a corrupt world, just as God can bring miraculous healing in a sick world. Suddenly, the Berlin wall opens, the apartheid regime crumbles, peace breaks out. In the parable of the persistent widow, God does not intervene. The widow’s persistence alone leads the judge to act justly. But Jesus indicates that God is the unseen actor. “Will not God grant justice for his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7).