Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Luke 18: 1-8
Seeking justice begins with seeking the God of justice (Bethany Hoang, director of IJM Institute for International Justice Mission). Perhaps one reason for this is that we don’t necessarily see justice the way God does. If gunman enters a classroom and opens fire, killing all the children and the teacher, doesn’t he deserve to die? Maybe so. In God’s system of justice, however, our gossip, envy, lust, and other ‘smaller sins’ are equal to that man’s murder. And they are all deserving of death (Romans 6:23). God indeed released his judgement upon our sin, yet we did not receive the wrath of that judgement. Jesus endured hell for us and in exchange offered us grace and mercy. That is how justice was served, the appropriation of our punishment for our rebellion on Himself.
How are we to begin seeking justice without first grasping this unfathomable act of love? As believers in Jesus we have access to the Creator of the universe, the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent One – the One who defines justice. This God desires that we model him in acting justly and defending the rights of the poor and needy. But what is perhaps more interesting is that he invites us into the conversation about justice. He desires for us to call on him, to seek him in prayer and fact, he says that this chosen ones who cry out to him day and night will receive justice – quickly! To connect with this God who radically defines justice and intercede on behalf of those who are suffering is to call down the Kingdom of God on earth.
What does biblical justice look like?
What role does prayer play as you seek justice?
How do you think you are viewing justice that may be different than how God sees it?
How are justice and worship connected in Scripture?
What do you think is the relevance of the sentence in the passage? “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
How do you grapple with the passage in Luke when sometimes we see people who cry out to God yet do not see their justice
We often think of prayer being passive and sometimes weak, especially in the urgent fight against human trafficking. However, Jesus shows us in Luke 18 the power of our prayers. Consider attending NCC ASE Prayer meetings. This group meets every other Thursday to pray over issues related to modern day slavery in D.C. For more information contact Tegan Hare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pick up Bethany Hoang’s Deepening the Soul for Justice. It’s a quick read that describes the foundation of prayer in the work of justice and gives practical steps to stay rooted and grounded as you seek justice.
Father, I come before you in gratitude and humility. My heart is overflowing and overwhelmed by your great act of love, giving me life when my sinful nature is deserving of death. Your love for me is vast beyond all measure and abundantly greater than I can ever imagine. Teach me, God to demonstrate that love to others and to fight for justice, the way you do. Turn my heart to yours and help me to first seek you, to desire you above all. Teach me to pray. Show me how you long to hear from me, show me the magnitude of my prayers and how they move your heart. Remind me that I struggle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world. And, more importantly remind me that you are the One who came to rescue me so that I may call on your name to rescue others.