1. Then Jesus told His disciples another illustrative story to show them how that prayer should become their lifestyle, and to reiterate to them that they should never give up on believing for the best.
2. He said, "In a certain town there was a judge who had no regard, whatsoever, for God, and was uncaring, unfeeling, and unsympathetic toward people.
3. In the same town was a widow who was involved in a legal dispute with someone, and this lady kept coming to him with the same plea: 'I demand that you grant me justice against my adversary!'
4. For a while he completely ignored her, but finally he said to himself, 'It's quite obvious that I don't care what God or people think.
5. But it's also obvious that, clearly, this woman is not going to give up...she refuses to let this thing go...and I believe that she will keep harassing me until I give her what she wants. I'm going to personally see to it that she receives justice, so that she won't eventually come and attack me!'
6. Then Jesus said, "Listen to what the corrupt judge said.
7. I mean, if an unjust man like him will ultimately respond to the relentless pursuit of a tenacious, little widow, how much more will God, who is loving and kind, bring about justice for those in this nation who cry out to Him day and night? Why would He, in His benevolence, put them off?
8. My point is they will certainly receive justice, and quickly. But the question with which I am most concerned is this...when the Son of Man is revealed, will He find faith on the earth?"
9. Then He told another story, but this one was directed to those in the audience who were smugly self-righteous, and to those who felt superior to everyone else. He said:
10. "One day, two men went up to the temple to pray...one was a Pharisee, and the other one was a tax collector.
11. The Pharisee stood by himself, and, in a pretentiously pious and grandiose fashion, prayed loudly, saying, 'Oh God...I thank You that I am not like other people...scoff-laws...riff raff...robbers, evildoers, adulterers...and I especially thank You that I'm not remotely like this tax collector.
12. You know that I fast twice a week, and that I am a tither, even giving a tenth of my gross income.'
13. But the tax collector stood at a distance, out of the spotlight. He wouldn't even look up, but totally humbled himself and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a rebel.'
14. The truth is that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will eventually be humbled, and those who humble themselves will ultimately be exalted."
15. Right around this time, people were beginning to bring their little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and bless them when He was ministering. But the disciples saw this and started insulting them by preventing them to do this.
16. When Jesus saw what the disciples were doing, He said, indignantly, "You let these little children come right to Me, and don't you dare tell them that they aren't allowed or welcome! Child-likeness is the standard for the Kingdom of God, so, in essence, the Kingdom belongs to such as these.
17. The truth is that anyone who will not perceive and receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it in the first place."