What did I learn about Jesus?
- Jesus is looking for faith—in the persistent pray-er, in the beggar, and in us.
- His message continues to be about the “kingdom of God” and its coming to earth (verses 17, 29-30).
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Disciple-making is not for the proud but for the humble (verses 14-17).
- We “ought always to pray and not lose heart” (verse 1).
Extended thoughts and observations from Pastor Mark:
Good morning disciple-makers.
In the first parable in this chapter, Jesus preaches on a quality that I think is sorely needed among disciples today: perseverance. The persistent widow harangues the unjust judge who finally grants her wishes, not because it was the right thing to do but because he wanted her off his back.
Of course, Jesus isn’t equating God to the unjust judge. He even makes the point by essentially saying, “…how much more will the just and holy God answer the persistent prayers of his people.” As always, parables usually focus on one thing. In this case, it is persistence—persistence in prayer, first of all. But notice verse 8: “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” In other words, persistence in FAITH, too! As time goes by and as things get harder, it gets easier to flag in our faith. Jesus calls us to the long game.
Paul’s epigraph in II Timothy is a life verse of mine: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” I pray and long to be found faithful to the end. How about you? Are you persistent in prayer and faith?
I can’t leave the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector without pointing out one of the most important qualities of discipleship. Verse 14: “…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Be humble! Choose humility. It is the way of the incarnate Son of the triune God of the universe who “did not count equality with God something to be clung to but emptied himself…” (Philippians 2:6-7).
See you in church Sunday. Call one friend you have not seen for a while. 900 of our members attend once a month or less!