Prayer

Jesus used the parable of the widow and the judge to teach his disciples the importance of persistence in prayer and told them, “that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). Jesus viewed prayer as a sign of faith and made it clear that God acts quickly to vindicate his chosen people (Luke 18:7). When the widow asked the unjust judge to avenge her of her adversary, Jesus said of the unjust judge, “he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me” (Luke 18:4-5). The Greek word translated weary, hupopiazo (hoop-o-pee-ad´-zo) means “to hit under the eye (buffet or disable an antagonist as a pugilist)” (G5299). In other words, the widow acted like a prize fighter and gave the judge a black eye.

Jesus pointed out that the difference between God and the unjust judge was that God wanted to avenge his children, but no one was asking him to do it. Jesus’ next parable showed that pride was the main reason why God’s chosen people were not receiving his forgiveness. He said:

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week: I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner!'” (Luke 18:10-13, ESV)

Jesus told his disciples that the tax collector was justified or declared innocent rather than the Pharisee because he humbled himself before God. Jesus then used a half grown child as an example of our dependence on God and said, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter in” (Luke 18:17).

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