“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8b
What would it be like to sit across from Jesus, face to face, and have Him question your trust? Would we be able to look Him in the eye as we pondered our answer? Would our heads be bowed, feeling unworthy to lift it and look into the eyes of love pleading with us to believe? What would be like? I imagine it would be self-revealing because in those questions we find where our hearts and our true belief lies. It reveals where we really stand in our faith.
I have never read or heard of anyone, anywhere who tries so hard to get people to believe in him, for their own good, outside of Christ. Who had pleaded with man through the pages of history to trust Him with their life and everything it entails. Who has welcomed the problems and prayers of others into His own person to carry so that we don’t have to.
Face to face. Pleading eyes. Questioning trust.
In Luke 18, that is what I see playing out. Jesus is telling a parable of a widow woman who just will not give up seeking justice. Day after day she sought the judge and became a downright pest about it. In her perseverance she basically wore the man down until she was avenged.
Jesus used this parable to get the point of persistent prayer across. And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not faint,” (Luke 18:1, KJV). Jesus knew that men and women everywhere would have to believe that if they continually seek the Father, He hears them. “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full,” (John 16:24, KJV).
“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Jesus questions trust. He questions whether or not anyone will believe in the promise and power of prayer. He questions if there is real, alive faith working in mankind somewhere. He questions.
One’s faith lies at the center of this questioning, for if we really believed wholeheartedly, there would be no hinderance to bring every request and problem before God in prayer. This is what Jesus is getting at. True faith unencumbered. True faith that takes the shackles off of God’s promises and allows one to run freely forth, believing He hears, He knows and He will answer.
Bringing out the faith of people was key in Jesus’ ministry. How often had He declared that it was by faith one was healed? In the story of the Ten Lepers, to the one who came back to “give glory to God,” (Luke 17:18, KJV), He said, “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole,” (Luke 17:19, KJV).
How much are we missing out on through our lack of faith? Jesus is questioning us, will we have the faith to respond? Do we trust HIm enough to bring all our cares, problems and issues before Him, laying them at His feet?
“Thou shalt call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am . . .,” (Is. 58:9, KJV). “Here I am.” God is not far off. When we venture to trust Him enough to cry out in the midst of our mess, He responds, “Here I am.” The word “here” indicates a present closeness. “I am” is the name God gave Moses to assure those in Egypt, Ex. 3:14. Whatever they needed God to be, “I am” has got it all under control because He is God all by Himself. He does not exist because of another. He does not depend upon another. His power is not contingent upon another. He is “I am!” And I am says, “Here I am!” Can’t we trust Him?
Faith and prayer go hand in hand. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” (Heb. 11:6, KJV). Without established trust in Him and in His promises we are unable to effectively move God with our prayers. We are unable to please Him. Why? Because without that leading trust, the basic requirements of faith cannot be filled. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” They must believe in His existence (previous paragraph) and they must believe that He is concerned enough to hear the call of them that cry out to him, and answer them. Trust.
“Shall he find faith on earth?” Our faith and trust in Him is the key that unlocks the door to victory. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” (1 John 5:4, KJV).
The persistence of the widow woman encourages us to keep coming and not give up. Hold on to your faith and trust in God and keep praying – keep laying it before our great God who hears and will take action. “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” (Luke 18:7, KJV). Jesus said, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
Will there be some that really believe? The reason for this parable was to teach men not to give up – to keep praying and believing that God hears and that He is able to take care of it all. Do we trust Him enough to let it go and give it to God today? You may have to come every day and lay it on the altar of prayer – so be it. That’s how the widow got her case heard.
In this questioning of trust Jesus is also demonstrating an open invitation for us to lay every hinderance down before God in prayer. Prayer works! Persistent prayer works! Persistent prayer plus faith works!
The pleading Savior is asking us to trust.
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