The 18th chapter of Luke is book-ended with two stories of persistence.
The first is with reference to a woman who keeps on until she gets justice. She knows that even with this judge who isn’t known for his outstanding jurisprudence, if she persists even he must give her the due that’s coming to her.
What’s intriguing is how Jesus uses that to encourage us in our prayer lives. What I scratch my head at is the thought that if we pester God, eventually he has to cave into our demands – but that is not the point of the persistence. That’s certainly not the dynamic of the relationship with our heavenly father that’s being emphasised. It’s only apt, however, that the issue of justice is the point on which we are called to persist in prayer. It’s not about persisting for the sake of it. The matter is in conversing with God in prayer, we are engaging with God to see justice in His earth. We are agonisingly engaging with God in the process of seeing God bring out justice – as in we are with him. He patiently persists with humanity and in prayer we join Him in patiently persisting. We can patiently persist in the knowledge that right must win out – even in the darkness and unfairness that surrounds us that sometimes appears to overwhelm.
That is then beautifully exemplified at the end of the chapter with the case of the blind man. This man was not born blind, because his request is for the recovery of his sight. It should remind us that this was part of the Jesus Mandate as explained in Luke 4. Yet this blind man not was used to seeing, he was also impoverished because of his situation. The crowd actually saw him as a nuisance when he started raising his voice. Notice how the reference to him being the Son of David, this blind man sees more of who Jesus is than others around him, so his persistence is based on knowing that justice can come his way.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden