URC Daily Devotion for Monday 21st March 2022

Monday 21 March 2022 
St Luke 18: 1-8

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.  He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people.  In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.”  For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.”’  And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?  I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’


We often read the Bible with perhaps too much solemnity!  There is a danger of treating its verses as terribly serious tracts to be recounted in deeply reverential tones.  What we can miss is the sheer fun and wicked (in the modern sense of the word!) sense of humour that often lies within Jesus’ words and images.

Picture the scene: a crowded, bustling gathering listening to this new preacher … who has a growing reputation for cocking a snook at authority figures.   When he paints this image of the unjust judge it is unlikely that the crowd would be earnestly silent. Rather there would be laughter and crude guffaws, with people knowingly nudging each other and thoroughly enjoying a salacious tale.

The greatness of Jesus’ parables is that they draw on such earthy illustrations but nevertheless use them to convey profound truths. It was the function of the judge to not only be an impartial arbiter of justice but also to be the champion of the helpless and downtrodden – the widow, the orphan, the poor and the foreigner.  “Whatever other cases he heard, he must be sure that these at least received their rights” (C.B. Caird)

Not so this corrupt individual. He just wants an easy life and cared little for religious principle or public opinion.  Nevertheless through sheer persistence the widow secures the justice she seeks.  If such doggedness pays off even with such a disreputable character as the unjust judge, how much more can we expect an ever willing God to respond to those who petition him? So this is an assurance about prayer, which Luke is deeply interested in and mentions more than Mark and Matthew. Luke’s message throughout is that prayer is knocking on an ever open door beckoning us into God’s loving embrace.


Dear God,
Thank you for the Spirit inspired words of the bible;
for the way they reach out
and connect with everyday life;
And thank you for:
the gift
the assurance
the privilege
of prayer.

Today’s writer

Professor Graham Handscomb is a member of Christchurch URC, Chelmsford. 


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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