The story about the woman that kept on asking for a fair go
Jesus told his followers a picture story to teach them to keep on praying to God, and never give up.
He said, “There was a judge in a city, and he was a hard man. He didn’t respect God, and he didn’t care about people, either. A woman lived in that city. Her husband was dead, and she had nobody to look after her. Then a bad man tricked that woman and took her money. So she went to the judge and said, ‘Your honour, that man tricked me. Please give me a fair go. Make him give me back my money.’
4-5 The judge didn’t answer her. He took no notice of her, and he wouldn’t listen to her. But she kept on asking him, and for a while he kept on taking no notice of her. But after a while he said to himself, ‘This woman is driving me mad. Even though I don’t respect God, and I don’t care about people, I will make sure she gets a fair go. I will give her what she wants. If I don’t do that, she will keep on asking me, and I’m getting sick of it.’ ”
Then Jesus said, “That judge was a bad man, but think about what he said to himself. That woman kept on asking him, and in the end, he did the right thing. Well, God is a lot better than that judge, and God picked you to be in his family. So if you keep on calling out to him for help all the time, what do you think he will do? Will he wait a while before he does anything? No. I’m telling you this for sure. God will listen to you, and he will help you quickly. He will make sure you get a fair go.”
Then Jesus said, “But when I, God’s special man, come back again from heaven to this earth, will I find people trusting me, or not? Maybe only a few people will be trusting me at that time.”
The story about 2 men that prayed to God in 2 different ways
Some people there thought that they were really good, and they rubbished everyone else. They reckoned, “We are so good that God will always say we are all right.”
So Jesus told them this picture story. He said, 10 I will tell you about 2 men that went to God’s ceremony house to pray to him. One of them was a Pharisee man, so he was strong for the law. The other one was a man that got tax money from people and gave it to the Roman government. You know, nobody likes those tax men.
11 The Pharisee man stood in a place where everyone could see him, and he didn’t say he was sorry for anything. He just talked about himself. He said, ‘Thank you, God, that I am different from everyone else. You see, God, I don’t cheat anyone, and I don’t do anything bad. I don’t sleep with anyone that is not my wife. I’m not a bad man, like that man over there. He takes tax money from people to give it to the government. 12 But I am good. On 2 days every week I don’t eat any food to show that I respect you. And whenever I get some money, I give you some of it, like $1 out of every $10. I do all those things, so you have to say I am all right.’
13 But the tax man was sorry for the bad things he did. He felt shame, so he did not stand close to the other people. He looked down at the ground, and he hit himself on his chest. He said, ‘I’m sorry, God. I know I did bad things. Please feel sorry for me and don’t punish me.’ ”
14 Jesus said, “I’m telling you now, God listened to that bad man because he was sorry for the bad things he did, so God says that he is all right, and he will not punish that man. But God doesn’t say that about the other man that already reckoned he was good.
You see, if you try to make yourself important, God will make you like nothing. But if you make yourself like nothing, God will make you important.”*
(We have not yet translated 18:15-43. You can read those stories and messages in Mark 10:13-34, 46-52.)
* 18:14 Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11