In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary’….” – Luke 18:2-3
We’ve all heard stories of bad judges. Often these stories are not only that judges are bad, but that they’re bought. Regardless of the circumstance, there is something inherent in all of us that recoils at the idea of an unrighteous judge. (Or at least we should.)
As Jesus was teaching on the dusty roads of Palestine around 30 AD, he picked up on this common theme of just-ness to teach the crowd a little something about persistent prayer and the justice of God. You can read the full parable here and hear it preached here. But for today, I’d like to use these couple of verses to frame a very intentional prayer that should be the heart of every believer who has been called into the field of law, to the realm of pursuing justice for a living.
And the prayer is simply that we would NOT be like the unrighteous judge in this parable, but would rather reflect the character of the Judge of all of the earth, whom Scripture says “will do what is just” (Genesis 18:25). The judge in this parable, we’re told, did not “fear God,” which means that he didn’t even have the beginning of true wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Jesus goes on and describes this judge as one who didn’t “respect man,” or in other words, had no regard for the very people he was called to seek justice for (Isaiah 1:17).
But the Judge we are called it imitate is infinitely different and infinitely better. And he commands his judges to:
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” -Psalm 82:3-4
The pressures of the world will always be pushing you into unrighteousness, always tempting you to seek something besides “the fear of God” and “respect for man.” The world (and law school in particular) will try to convince you that justice rests in your own decisions or your own ability to reason well through the case law that precedes you. But there is a higher calling, a true pursuit of just-ness that our allegiance is preempted by. Because of that, your pursuit of law, always and ultimately, should be a pursuit of the only One who can call you, teach you, and give you true and lasting justice — Jesus Christ, the Righteous.
Serve ye Him.