Learning to Pray by Contrast

  pray-1122915-m   There are only two Parables where the writer tells us their purpose.

Luke writes in the 18th chapter of his Gospel, and prefaces these two with a statement of purpose.

     The first is the parable of the Unjust Judge, and again in verse 9 he tells us the purpose in the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

Today I look at the first of these, to learn Jesus' teaching by Contrast!

"And He also spoke a parable to them to teach it is always right to pray, and not to faint, saying, a certain judge was in a certain city, not fearing God, nor respecting man. And a widow was in that city. And she came to Him, saying, Avenge me of my adversary. And he would not do so for a time. But afterward he said within himself, Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, that she not wear me down in the end. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge says." (Luke 18:1-6 MKJV).

Luke's purpose here is to show that Jesus was "teach[ing], it is always right to pray, and not to faint".

In order to undestand the teaching correctly we need answers to these questions.

1. Who was Jesus speaking to?

2. Who are the Characters?

3. What was the historical setting?



Verse 1,  tells us Jesus was primarily addressing, 'Them' - His Disciples.

The Subject was that we are to pray, and not lose faith.

The people used in the parable may be real or illustrative, a Judge and a Widow. We need to learn more of each individual character.

The historical setting shows the land under Roman rule. Many judges appointed to dispense Justice. They were some of them good, and some bad.


The players here are a certain Judge, and a Widow.

a. The Judge:

This man had two character traits 'I do not fear God nor regard man'.

He did not care for God or others, only for his own comfort. This was the reason he finally heard the widow woman.

b. The Widow:

We do not know what her case was, only that she wanted the Judge to hear her.

Verse 3 uses the word 'Avenge' an unfortunate translation.

The thing she wanted was not revenge, but Justice!


c. The Contrasts: God cares and will hear us.

i) The Judge and God, Look at the Character contrasts. Bad Judge, Good God.

ii) The Widow kept asking for Justice until the Judge heard her case. Delay with man, not with God.

iii) We are taught to pray and not faint. It is not the continuous prayer that is the subject but the contrast. Either or!

iv) Jesus was teaching in the previous chapter that the end times would be filled with danger and trouble. He is reverting to Chapter 17, the teaching of End Times.

v) Our options are pray or faint. One or the other. If you pray you won't faint, if you faint you won't pray!

vi) Jesus is teaching by contrast: showing us that the Judge did not care, but God cares, and will hear us. He is ready to be 'troubled' and to hear us when we pray.

We do not have to keep knocking, He really cares and responds to your prayers.

© 2015 Jim Cole-Rous.