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The Parables of the Unjust Judge and the Importunate Friend

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Lesson 19:
“What Lack I Yet?”

 

 

Transcript

In Luke 18:1-7, Jesus deals with the subject of prayer through a parable. Beginning at verse 1,

1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

Jesus’s teaching on prayer can be summarized by considering that:

  1. Even people of ambiguous good will and even questionable ethics will help you if you pester them enough and
  2. God is more clearly good than such a person, so you can petition him confident that he will take care of you.

Jesus also discusses prayer via a parable in Luke 11:5-8. Beginning at verse 5,

5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

Once again the heart of Jesus teaching on prayer is:

Jesus’s teaching on prayer can be summarized by considering that:

  1. Even a person of ambiguous good will will help you if you pester them enough and
  2. God has more good will than such a person, so you can petition him confident that he will supply your needs, but once again you need to be persistent.

Humorously though, the analogy here isn’t one of “Who would fail to lend bread to their friend?” This is no appeal to the wokeness or charity of the human heart.

It is instead a question of who would fail to lend bread to _that_ friend…

You know, the one that won’t take no for an answer and just keeps asking and you are worried he’s going to wake the kids with all the noise he is making.

The heart of Jesus’s teaching on prayer is that if you annoy a normal person enough with your cries, they will help you. God is even better than a normal person, because unlike so many of us he is interested in having his sun shine on and his rain reach both the just and the unjust so that all can be blessed and benefited to the extent that they can be. If God is so motivated by love as all this, and He is, He will hear and answer our prayers.

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