Title: The righteous judge, our Lord Jesus Christ, has breathed life in to you!
Text: Luke 18:1-18
6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Supreme Court Justice Horace Gray once informed a man who had appeared before him in a lower court and had escaped conviction on a technicality, "I know that you are guilty and you know it, and I wish you to remember that one day you will stand before a better and wiser Judge, and that there you will be dealt with according to justice and not according to law."
The thief who later on was surprised while burgling a house fled out the back door, climbed over a nine-foot wall, dropped down the other side, and found that he was in the city prison.
Oops: The Book of Blunders, 1980.
Justice has a funny way of working out at times. This parable of the unrighteous judge comes after the Pharisees ask Jesus when the Kingdom of God will come so Jesus tells the Pharisees that:
“The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
He then tells of the final judgment that will come upon the earth and the parable of the unrighteous judge soon follows. Jesus tells a parable of a judge who neither feared God or respected man
Proverbs 9:10 reminds us:
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
The Kingdom of God is in the midst of you and this Jesus is the kingdom and in fact is the Holy One which you do not fear and in whom you do not trust.
So, this unrighteous judge is hounded by a woman who is looking for justice. She has been wronged and though this judge does not fear God or respect man and would just as soon have her go away. She continues to come … with the same persistent plea:
“Give me justice against my adversary.”
Now, the unrighteous judge is not interested in justice. He doesn’t care whether she is in the right or whether she is in the wrong but so that she will finally shut up and stop bothering him he says:
“I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.”
How many of you remember the persistent cries of your children for whatever they desire and at some point you say to yourself, “Though I really don’t want them to have this now, I will give in … so they stop coming to me about this and I am beat down by it.” No justice … just peace and quiet.
But Jesus tells them to listen to this unrighteous judge. If he, in apathy, which is nothing more than a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for this woman’s cries will give her what she wants, how much more will God, who cares about his dear children’s concerns – His elect – hearing their cries for justice delay in giving them justice. Not out of a lack of patience but out of righteous justice and as Jesus says it will be brought to his children speedily.
Now, justice as we understand it can be good and bad. For those who have been wronged it is made right and for those who have been unjust to others they get what they deserve. But Jesus turns justice on its head saying:
“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
The justice that is deserved is death. Whether you believe like the Pharisee that you are righteous and can love God enough or believe that persistent whining will bring about a just and good result. Because Jesus has breathed life into the dead by His Spirit, and for those trusting Him not standing in their own righteousness, but trusting in Him by faith He gives freedom to the bound and pardon to the guilty.
The righteous judge, our Lord Jesus Christ, has breathed life in to you!
The divine "scheme of things," as Christianity understands it, is at once extremely elastic and extremely rigid. It is elastic, in that it includes a large measure of liberty for the creature in this life to do as one pleases; it is rigid in that it includes the provision that, however created beings choose to behave, they must accept responsibility of their own actions in this life and must endure the consequences.
Dorothy L. Sayer in Dorothy L. Sayer: A Rage for Life.
The truly Good News comes when we look to the Judge. Who on the last day you will stand before with all your flaws and with all your warts and who will pronounce judgment on you. The judgment you deserve is death and though your sins are great, and though you are guilty as all sinners are, the judge will pronounce sentence and you will hear:
‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matt 25:21)
The joy is that the Judge, Jesus Christ, will find you in Him by faith and covered by a righteousness not of your own but a foreign righteousness … one given you by faith.
Christ Jesus will find faith for all who are brought to the Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit and as we saw today are washed clean of their sins by the blood of the Lamb having been buried with Jesus in baptism and being raised to newness of life - covered in Christ righteousness for the forgiveness of sins; both as a sinner born from your mother’s womb and also washed of all actual sins done in the flesh in thought, word and deed.
You are witnesses of this blessed gift in this baptism of these beautiful children of God and have the joy and responsibility as parents and sponsors and even as the whole church of God here at Peace to raise these little ones to come to a greater knowledge and understanding of who Christ is and what He has done, not only for them, but for all the world. Jesus has breathed new life in them and He has breathed new life in you too at your baptism by His glorious word of promise that what He delivered at the cross He brings to you in His sacraments, His gifts.
Being brought to faith in Baptism makes you part of Christ and part of His church and the Lord’s Supper that Christ himself will serve you continues to sustain that gift of faith, feeding you on the very body and blood of Christ that was given for you at the cross and is now given to you for the forgiveness of sins, the strengthening of faith and will sustain you through this life and all the injustice that comes your way until the glorious promise of eternal life is fully realized.
The righteous judge, our Lord Jesus Christ, has breathed life in to you … Rejoice!
As supreme Court Justice Horace Gray said to our friend that escaped conviction on a technicality, "I know that you are guilty and you know it, - that is you and me dear friends- and I wish you to remember that one day you will stand before a better and wiser Judge, and that there you will be dealt with. But is your case and in mine, not according to justice and not according to law, but according to mercy of our loving and forgiving God because you are free and you are forgiven, in Christ!
May the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be and abide with you now and forever.
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.