Rev. Jeremy Stopford, Semi-Retired Pastor

“…when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

Luke 18:8b

I recently read a cute little story. Mind you, in our area of central NY, we are anticipating the soon arrival of winter. So for us in this area, this story is a “pick-me-up” for the days to come. Jill waited patiently while her husband played a round of golf on their 18th anniversary. Afterwards, Jill and he went out to dinner at a lovely restaurant. They discussed many happy memories they had shared during their years of marriage. Then Jill asked, “Want to go for another 18?”. “No,” he replied. “I think it is too dark now.”

Today’s verse is in the form of a question asked by our Savior: “…when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”. This is a pretty challenging question! How did Jesus get to ask that question? And if He were to ask YOU today, how would you respond – would He find faith in the full scope of how you’ve lived YOUR life?

Please read the context in Luke 18. Note that this is a parable. The old professors in Bible colleges define a parable as “an earthly story with an heavenly meaning.” Let’s first look at the characters of this story. First of all, THE DISCIPLES: Jesus has lessons for them – just as He does for us! He knows their needs and their hungers and their questions about things about faith and life. But He doesn’t feed them all at once with the ENTIRE counsel of God!

Now perhaps by now y’all know that my favorite soft drink is the soda “Moxie”. It is sold throughout the country in bottle form at area “Cracker Barrel” restaurants (not meant to be free advertising for them!). But it is mainly distributed in the New England states. For those who love the soda, a can of it is a treasure to enjoy. So imagine a Moxie drinker given a free can of his preferred drink. He pops the pull tab, and then…chugs the entire contents down in one sitting! NOOOOO! The soda is designed to be enjoyed, one taste, one sip at a time. Only then is it refreshing! There, end of advertising!

The same with Biblical Christianity. The Savior DOES teach each of His children! He teaches us one lesson at a time, each lesson based both upon our age and upon our maturity level in Him. Jesus did not feed His disciples all at once! Today He feeds them with their need for “unfailing, faithful prayer”. Unfailing – they should pray. Faithful – they should never give up. Do you pray? Is prayer an habit in your home? Do you pray before meals (now I’m meddling!)? Hmm…when does our church pray? Have you given up?

A missionary friend of mine named Tim told the story of his brother – his prodigal son brother. His brother had fallen away from a rich walk with the Lord. So Tim prayed for his brother. He prayed. Did I mention he prayed? He prayed for over 30 YEARS for his brother. Tim’s prayer was over a long period of time! But he didn’t give up! And God didn’t either. And neither should we. By the way, his brother came back to a faithful walk with Jesus, thanks in part to Tim’s faithful praying.

Note also in our story is THE JUDGE. In Psalm 82, we learn that a judge is actually, in God’s sight, a “little god”. That is, he represents the Lord in all he judges! But our judge in Luke 18 is labelled by Jesus as “UNJUST”. That means he served only for the money, the position, and the recognition of men! He failed in Luke 18:8brepresenting God’s heart before people. He was unjust.

And then there is THE WIDOW. We aren’t told how old she is. We aren’t told how long she has been a widow. We DO know that the Bible says much about how widows should be treated. Have you read 1 Timothy 5 lately? A godly widow prays! A godly widow is treated with honor! The widow in our story had an issue and she approaches our church friend with the issue. The details are not important, but her heart is. She was hurt, and she knew that IF he were a righteous judge, she would be cared for.

So here’s THE PLOT.

* The widow has a need!

* The widow seeks the judge to meet the need. Why, she seeks OFTEN!

* The judge doesn’t immediately meet the need.

* The judge realizes she is steadfast, and because she is, he decides that, despite his example (and apparently a proud to him example) of being unjust, he will take care of her!

LET’S WRAP THIS UP! Remember that Jesus is teaching a lesson (verse 1) that they should always pray and not give up. There are some key lessons for us here – perhaps y’all caught them as the story progressed:

FIRST, every one of us has a testimony! Either we have one that honors God, or one which dishonors God. The judge? UNJUST. The widow? FAITHFUL. Those who are faithful are having their hunger for God met by daily walking with Jesus. Are you? TODAY is a GREAT day to start!

SECOND, Jesus is trying to teach a lesson to those who ARE walking with Him: THAT WE OUGHT ALWAYS TO PRAY, and don’t give up before God! This should be the nature of the individual AND of the church. How about YOU? How about YOUR CHURCH?

THIRD, THE QUESTION! “When Jesus comes, will He find faith on the earth?”. That question has haunted me recently. Why? Because Jesus knew 20000 year ago what society was like then under Roman rule. And He knew 2000 years ago what society would be like in 2021! The answer to that prayer begins with…ME! It begins with each of us as individuals. It begins with His church. Us – and all those churches which are true to the faith. How do we put this to practice?

PRAY! That we do all things as a church as led by the Holy Spirit, trusting Him (FAITH!) that all things will be done by us for His glory, led by Him, trusting Him.

AND PRAY! That each of us this year has our heart’s hunger met in the Lord Jesus (FAITH!). To know Him as both Savior and Lord of our lives. To walk with Him – today is as good a day to start! – in His Word and in prayer (FAITH!).

AND I HAVE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU! You won’t need a can of Moxie to accomplish that!