Luke 18:1

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.

It is good to remember that Luke’s gospel, though well structured didn’t have chapters, headings and verses to arrange the text around. They were added much later to help readers refer to the text.

At the beginning of chapter 18 it is easy to lose track of whom Jesus is addressing. He has been speaking to his disciples about what will happen before the Son of Man is to be revealed. He speaks of signs in the sky and the threat of destruction. They ask about where this will occur and Jesus ominously replies, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

It’s in that context that Jesus wants to assure them that God will be paying attention to when his people are calling for help. Luke’s readers would have been very interested in this as they were already getting pressure from all sides to give up on following Jesus. Yet the parable that follows is quite strange. A corrupt judge and a persistent woman. Jesus keeps coming up with new ways of understanding what God is like and how God works.