Parable of the Unjust Judge // The Parables of Jesus

Parables have the ability to reach a wide audience because they are stories that have multiple layers to them. There's the more obvious surface layer to every parable, but there's also often a deeper meaning in these memorable stories, particularly in the parables of Jesus. That is certainly the case with the parable found in Luke 18:1-8. On the surface, it might appear that Jesus is addressing the issue of prayer, or perhaps even the need for persistence on our part. In fact, Luke 18:1 plainly says, "Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." However, by the time we get to the end of the parable, we see that Jesus is addressing a deeper issue than what we see on the surface. While persistence in prayer is the "symptom" Jesus is speaking to, the deeper disease he is addressing is a lack of faith based on a distorted view of God amongst his followers. In his book Turn My Mourning Into Dancing, Henri Nouwen probably does the best job of capturing what Jesus is saying in this parable. Nouwen says, "Trust in God allows us to live with active expectation, not cynicism. When we view life as a gift, as something given to us by a loving God, not wrestled by us from an impersonal fate, we remember that at the heart of reality rests the love of God itself. This means that faith creates in us a new willingness to let God's will be done. The word so often translated faith in the New Testament comes from an ancient word that literally means 'trust.' Faith is the deep confidence that God is good and that God's goodness somehow triumphs."