“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke ch18 v8
This question follows on from the “parable of the unjust judge”.
Jesus tells the story of an importunate widow who is persistent in presenting her plea for justice;
“Vindicate me against my adversary”.
Her patience is rewarded when the judge finally takes action.
The moral of the parable is that God will take action to “vindicate”, to bring justice to, his people who “cry to him day and night”, being
troubled by their enemies.
The connection between the parable and the question is that the Son of Man is associated with judgement.
The concept is based on the image in Daniel of the great judgement scene in front of “the ancient of days”, when “one like a son of man” comes
with the clouds of heaven and is given dominion over the world (Daniel ch7 vv9-14).
In that scene, judgement falls upon the power most hostile to God’s people.
In the same way, Jesus taught his disciples to expect the coming of a Son of Man, who would be presiding over the judgement scene at the end of the
age, and vindicating his people.
But in his teaching, Jesus also called himself
the Son of Man.
Thus he identified himself as that Son of Man who would be presiding over the great judgement scene.
That is how his disciples understood the expectation, as we see from the story of the two brothers who wanted places at his “right hand”.
Where does Jesus promise to return?
The implication of the question is that the Son of Man would be looking for
faith on the earth.
Which brings us to the importance of faith, in the teaching of Jesus.
There is no discipleship without faith.
In the parable of the sower, the devil takes away the word of God from the hearts of those who fall on the path, “that they may not believe
and be saved” –Luke ch8 v12
In particular, Jesus makes it clear that the essence of discipleship is faith in himself
When the repentant woman washed his feet, he gave her the assurance “Your faith has saved you”.
He said this, because she trusted his message of forgiveness as coming from God, and therefore trusted himself as the spokesman of God.
Your faith has saved you
He defines his disciples as “These little ones who believe in me”.
He calls them this, because they are trusting his message as coming from God, and therefore trusting himself as the spokesman of God.
These little ones who believe in me
He even identifies faith in God with faith in himself;
“Believe in God; believe also in me” –John ch14 v1
But “Faith” is such a major theme in John’s gospel that it will demand separate treatment.
The taunts of his enemies at the crucifixion scene were based on the well-known features of his teaching, so they are indirect evidence of the
features of his teaching.
He was known to have said something about the Temple being destroyed and rebuilt, so they mocked him about that.
He was known for the claim to be able to save those who were lost, so they said “He saved others, he cannot save himself”.
And the taunt “Let him come down from the cross, that we may see and believe
” shows that he was known for the demand that people should
believe in him (Mark ch15 vv29-32).
But Jesus looked for this faith in himself to continue even after his death.
For he said to Peter at the Last Supper; “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22 v32).
He must have been expecting it to be sustained until he returned in his role as the vindicating Son of Man.
Hence the question quoted at the beginning; Would the Son of Man find faith on earth? Would his disciples maintain their trust and confidence?
Thus the faith in Jesus, which he was demanding in his own lifetime, merges into the faith which the coming Son of Man will be expecting to find.
It would incorporate a confident faith in God’s “vindication” of his people from the power of their enemies (up to and including sin and death),
which was the message of the parable he had just been presenting.
So the faith in Christ which the New Testament commends is merely extending the faith which Jesus himself required, namely faith in himself as the one
sent by God.
edit on 29-4-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)