“Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”
Luke 18:6-8 NLT
What does he look like to you?
I remember having a heated discussion in a Philosophy lecture (quite) some time ago, in my first year at university. One of the students were saying how ridiculous it is to believe in God. And how that, if he existed, they could never submit themselves to an old, grey, long-bearded fellow, sitting on his throne judging everyone.
Well, my head nearly exploded. I couldn’t believe the misapprehension and utter ignorance that spilled out of this young man’s mouth. I had to put him right. Even though my own image of God was terribly distorted. Ha!
In my imagination, God wasn’t an old, grey, long-bearded fellow. And even though I know he didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:17), I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that he wasn’t particularly pleased with me.
I have often pictured God as the unjust judge in Luke 18:1-9. Believing that, if you want him to hear your requests, you have to nag him until he gives in and grants your prayers reluctantly. But this is not the heart of the Father that Jesus is revealing here. Jesus is saying that the Father is not like the unjust judge. He is a good judge. And he grants us justice quickly.
My view of Jesus has always been great. To me, Jesus has always been the quintessential nice guy. Approachable. A friend. A kind shepherd. Gentle. The One who stood between a shameful me and an angry God. Jesus was the One who kept the wrath of God from consuming a shameful, sinful me.
What if the goal of our prayer is not to move an uninterested judge to notice us and come to our rescue? What if we haven’t seen justice for our cause, because we have been misjudging the judge?
A judge that rules in our favour.
“For you have judged in my favor; from your throne you have judged with fairness.”
Psalm 9:4 NLT
The passage in Luke 18 says that God gives justice to his chosen ones. The problem was that I didn’t view myself as a chosen one, because I felt so bad about myself. I was so full of condemnation that I couldn’t see that I was not the one who was on trial.
We are the righteousness of God in Christ. We are not on trial. We are exposing injustice. We are bringing an enemy to justice. One that accuses us day and night. One that dares to kill, steal and destroy, where he has no legal remit.
We don’t have to approach the courtroom in fear. Our cause has already been approved and awarded. And the judge has ruled in our favour according to our righteousness in Christ. We are not condemned, we are justified.
A judge that rescues.
“The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.”
Psalm 91:14 NLT
God is not only able to help us, but he wants to help us. Luke 18:7 says that God will answer his chosen ones quickly! In fact, he has already granted our requests. Every promise in his Word is yes and amen. We do not have to earn it or beg for it.
He is not withholding any good thing from us. We are the ones who need to take hold of those promises that already belongs to us, in Christ. Praying persistently, does not move God to act, it moves us! It opens up our hearts to receive what is legally ours.
A judge that responds to faith.
“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.”
Luke 18:1 NLT
The story about the unjust judge and the persistent widow, is about faith. Jesus ends the story by asking this question: When I come back, will I find faith? How would you answer this question? If Jesus walked into the room right now, will he find you full of faith?
It is faith that pleases him. Faith that comes from a confidence in who he is. Faith that says, I believe that you are Who you say you are, and that you are a rewarder of those who diligently seek you. Are you persistent in prayer? Relentless in believing, even when you can’t see the substance of it yet?
Faith comes from knowing the One who sits on the throne. Understanding that he is not judging to condemn us. He is judging in our favour. He is for us, not against us. He wants a good outcome for us:
“He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.”
Psalm 37:6 NTL
My image of God the Judge, was blurry. Muddled by my own shortcomings and misunderstanding of his heart towards me. But today, I can declare that I am the righteousness of God in Christ and there is no condemnation towards me. I know the Judge. He loves me. He judges in my favour. I am the apple of his eye.
May you know this Judge today, at a deeper level. May you feel his tender heart towards you. A heart that wants to draw you close and tell you, there is no condemnation in his heart towards you. You are free. You are not on trial. Your enemy is. Don’t let him steal from you any longer.
You have the best Advocate.
You’ve already won.
Because you are loved.
Today, I see the Father sitting on his throne: “Innocent One! You have permission to bring your requests before my throne. I have approved them already, they are yes and amen. It is time to silence the voice of the accuser. I am not here to condemn you, but to condemn the one who has stolen from you. I am here to judge in your favour and to restore what has been lost. I am for you, Beloved. Always.” ❤