The Character of Jesus 61
Persistence and Humility
Luke 18:1 – 14
- Characteristic: Persistence and humility
- (1) The point of the first parable is given: persistence in prayer.
- (3) A widow was the cultural stereotype of the helpless.
- (7 – 8) Contrasts:
- “His own elect” versus doesn’t really care about people.
- “Though He bears long with them” (we have not had the best of relationships with God in the past) versus giving in because the widow hounded him.
- Speedily versus slowly
- (8) “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
- An odd statement. When the Son of Man came to earth, He found faith as He remarked about the faith of some people several times in the gospels. In His coming in 70 AD, we presume the faithful existed and continued the church into our day. In His coming at the end of time, Paul suggests that faithful people will be on earth (1 Thessalonians 4:15 – 17).
- So, Jesus is asking a rhetorical question to make the point that, although God will avenge them speedily, that may be at the end. See Romans 12:19. So, be persistent and patient, both of which are necessary for true faith.
- (9) The point of the second parable is not so much prayer but humility (v 14), to remember the mercy of God, not achievements.
- (11 – 12) Trusting in themselves:
- “With himself” His focus was not on God but on feeling good about himself.
- Picking the comparison for the purpose of looking good. See 2 Corinthians 10:12 and Galatians 6:4.
- Religious practices (note; fasting is not in the Law). See Colossians 2:21 – 23.
- (13) The humble:
- Recognize their shortcomings
- Ask for repair, not to escape justice.
- (14) Jesus does not give the attitude of either person when each left the Temple. But the implication is that the tax collector understood his justification whereas the Pharisee did not think he needed to be justified. “He who humbles himself will be exalted.” Hopefully, the tax collector felt this.
- Application: Persistence and humility
- Do we pray with the knowledge that God sees us as “His own elect”?
- Do we pray with confidence in the longsuffering of God?
- Do we pray for speedy resolution but leave the execution timetable up to God? After all, from now to Judgment is short compared to eternity. Does that beg the question?
- Do we trust in performance, in percentile ranking? Certainly, that method is easy for some. Our communication with God is not about telling Him how good we are; He knows the truth anyway. At the other extreme, some denigrate themselves as if that were appealing to God. It is about being real.
- We do not want to be forgiven failures, so pray for mercy (repair), then let God do what He promised.