Lenten Bible Study – Day 35

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 – Day 35
 
Luke 18: 2-8
2He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” 4For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” ’ 6And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’
 
During the 30 years I practiced as a trial lawyer before I was called to ministry, I spent a great deal of time in court. I appeared before judges in every county in western Pennsylvania as well as in the Federal District Court in both Pittsburgh and Erie. If I tried to name every judge I appeared before, it would be an impossible task. For the most part, the judges I encountered were ethical, intelligent, unbiased and fair. But there were a couple who were … well … more like the judge Jesus depicts in today’s parable. Not particularly faithful to the law and not particularly respectful to those who appeared before them. Going before those judges was always hard. You never knew what they were going to do, and it did not appear that they were concerned with justice. Fortunately, there are few of them. But the woman in the parable must go before such a judge when she seeks justice. This judge ignores her pleas and refuses to do her justice. But rather than throw up her hands and give up, she devises a unique strategy. She continues to come before the judge pleading her case. She is so persistent that he finally gives her what she wants just to get rid of her. So in the end she gets her justice.
 
What could this story possibly have to do with God? Jesus point is that if someone can get justice from an unjust judge, how much easier is it to get justice from a just and merciful and loving God. Pretty easy, Jesus says. Just ask God for justice and you will get it. This of course begs the question: When you are doing the asking, are you seeking justice, or just asking that you succeed? Are you asking that God’s will be done, or your will? If you are asking for God’s will, it will be done.
 
Then Jesus asks a strange question. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? What faith does Jesus hope to find? Faith in God. Faith that God will do justice in accordance with God’s will. Faith that this will happen whether we recognize it or not. Faith that tries to recognize God’s justice and mercy and love. Faith that makes us look for it and try to understand it. That should be easy in Lent. God’s justice is that we are forgiven through the suffering and death of Jesus. That we receive mercy and love from a just God.
 
Prayer:
Dear God, help us to be persistent in our prayers that your justice prevails in all things. We pray also that you encourage us and empower us to look for it, recognize it and thank you for it. AMEN