Jesusí Teaching On Prayer (ch. 11:1 -
Luke tells us in chapter 11 verse 1 that Jesus was praying "in
a certain place". When and where this took place we donít know. It
is clear that some disciples heard Him pray and so they asked Jesus to
teach them how to pray. One might consider this request kind of strange in
the sense that if they saw Jesus pray, theyíd have a good example before
them. Yet for some reason these people wanted specific teaching on the
Jesus answered, "when you pray, sayÖ" The following
prayer is what we have called The Lordís Prayer". We need to
recognize that this prayer is also recorded by Matthew, in the Sermon on
the Mount. Yet Matthewís version is longer. So do we have 2 Lordís
Prayers? Why is there a difference?
It is apparent from the positioning of this account in Luke that his
account is not the same as the account in Matthew. These are 2 different
situations. Therefore, Lukeís account is at a later date. Here Jesus
gives an abbreviated version of this prayer. This tells me something that
I have often thought about over the years. We have formalized Jesus
Prayer, and even doctrinalized it. I think that Jesus taught the disciples
this prayer as an example, not necessarily as a prayer that they needed to
memorize and formulate, and repeat throughout the centuries.
Jesus told his disciples to pray to His "Father". This
brings up an often asked question. Should we pray to the Father, or to
Jesus, or even to the Holy Spirit?. In my thinking we can pray to whoever
we wish. You can find occasions in the N. T. where people pray to one of
all three. Yet in this case it is clear why Jesus teaches them to pray to
His Father. Jesus is standing with these people so you really canít pray
to Him. At this point they did not understand much about the Holy Spirit
so Jesus wasnít going to tell them to pray to Him. The Father was the
only natural and logical person to pray to.
"Father, hallowed be your name", is how Jesus told His
disciples to begin to pray. First off, we address the one we are praying
too. Then we acknowledge that He and His name should be reverenced. This
is good in any prayer we pray. Before making any request we can tell the
Lord how we feel about Him. We understand that He is the final authority
over all things. He is Lord. Any number of ways and words can be used to
tell the Lord how great He is and that we recognize His greatness.
Jesus continued by saying, "give us our daily bread". This
is a request to the Father to supply us what we need for the day in which
we pray. Jesus is not suggesting that we pray for tomorrowís daily
bread, but for todayís. This suggests to me an element of faith. We ask
for today. We trust for tomorrow.
The next statement Jesus made is, "forgive our sins, for we
also forgive everyone who sins against us". What is Jesus saying
here? He is saying that we can ask God to forgive us, because we are
activity forgiving others. If can forgive others, surely God can, and will
Concerning forgiveness; I donít believe Godís forgiveness of us
depends on us forgiving others. This is not what this verse is saying. The
verse does not say, "forgive us because we forgive others". It
says, "forgive us as we forgive others". Our forgiveness is not
base on any of our good works, even the forgiveness of others.
The point to these words of forgiveness is that God forgiving us,
and us forgiving others happens at the same time. As God is forgiving us,
we are forgiving others, and vise versa.
Lukeís version of the prayer ends by saying, "lead us not
into temptation". The Greek word translated as temptation comes from
the root word "peirazo", meaning, "to try or test" The
word can be used in more than one context. The devil may tempt you. This
would mean that he puts a test in your way, hoping you will fail. James
tells us that we tempt ourselves with our own lusts (James 1:14). Our own
lusts present a temptation that will test us. The fallen world that we
live in presents all sorts of tests for us to pass.
It is interesting to note that James 1:14 tells us that God does not
tempt us. Yet here in Luke Jesus tells us to pray to God, and ask Him not
to lead us into temptation. How do we reconcile this? If you read
carefully the context in James, he is talking about being tempted to sin.
We know that God will not try to make us sin.
The temptation that Jesus is talking about here is more likely to be
the testing of our faith beyond what we can handle. We know Paul says that
God wonít test us beyond what our faith can handle. This is what I
believe Jesus is speaking of here. We can pray to our Father to keep us
away from testing that is beyond our ability to pass.
Jesus gave an illustration concerning our motivation to pray, and
how prayer is answered. He told a story about one friend going to another
friend at mid-night and asking for 3 loaves of bread, since he had an
unexpected visitor. The man inside the house refused to give the man
outside the bread because he and his children had already gone to bed.
Jesus then said that the man in bed would not get up to give the man
outside bread simply based on friendship. Yet because of the manís
boldness in asking for bread at such a late time, the man would change his
mind and give him the bread.
Asking for bread at that time of night based on friendship might be
stretching the friendship a little too far. Just because people are
friends doesnít mean you can take advantage of the friendship.
Yet the man did not get the bread based on friendship. He got the
bread based on his boldness, according to Jesus. This tells us that we
should not be afraid to ask Jesus for anything. Boldness is part of
prayer. This is why Jesus in verse 9 said, "ask and it will be given
you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you".
Jesus is saying, "donít be afraid to ask". Then beyond
that, He is saying that you might have to persist in prayer and seek and
In verse 10 Jesus affirmed what He had just said by saying that you
will receive, you will find, and doors will be open to you. Now some use
this verse as a "name it and claim it verse". That is to say,
ask for anything, and God is obligated to give it to you. That is far from
true. There are many other scriptures that tell us that there are reasons
why some prayers are not answered, or even listened to.
Jesus then directed a question to those who were fathers. He asked
them if a son asks you for a fish, would you give him a snake, or if he
asks for an egg, would you give him a scorpion? They did not have to
answer. The answer was obvious.
Jesus then proceeded to say, "if you then, though you are evil,
know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your
Father in Heaven give you the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him". (ch.
There are a couple of points to be made here. First, Jesus calls
these people evil. Even though He loves us, Jesus calls us what we are,
and that is evil. Jesus is in agreement with Paul when he speaks about the
Depravity of Man in Rom. 1 and 2.
Secondly we see Jesus saying, "if you give good gifts, how much
more will your Father give you the Holy Spirit". You would think that
if earthly man can give good gifts, then Jesus would have said that the
Heavenly Father can give good gifts. But Jesus does not say that. He does
not say that the Heavenly Father will give good gifts. He says that the
Father will give you the Holy Spirit when you ask. That is interesting. To
me, I think that Jesus is saying that the most important gift that His
Father can give anyone is the Holy Spirit. This is obviously true.
If my thinking is correct, then any other gift that we ask our
Father for is a secondary gift, and is not so significant when compared to
the Holy Spirit. This might also imply that if we have the Holy Spirit, we
might not need or desire certain other things that we might ask for.
To date Jesus has not talked much about the Holy Spirit, but the
time for His arrival is fast approaching. Jesus is now beginning to speak
about Him to His disciples, preparing them for the Day of Pentecost.
Jesus And Beelzebub (ch 11:14 - 28)
In this section we see that Jesus cast out a demon from a man that
made the man unable to speak. Opposition grew among those present to just
how Jesus performed this miracle. Some, (Pharisees) said that Jesus was
actually casting demons out with the help of "Beelzebub", the
prince of demons. This is in reference to satan. The name Beelzebub most
likely came from the Philistine god named Baal".
The Pharisees were saying that Jesusí friend the devil granted
Jesusí request to have this demon removed from this man. This would make
Jesus subject to the devil and under his control. They could not bring
themselves to think that Jesus was from God and did this by the power of
Luke goes on to say that others werenít quite sure what to think
and so "they tested Him by asking for a sign". They wanted some
other kind of supernatural act that could prove that what He had just done
was in fact from God.
Jesus does not produce another miracle as a sign. He counters their
argument with His own argument. In verse 17 and following Jesus said that
the Pharisees claimed that he drove out the demon with the help of satan.
That makes no logical sense. If this were true, Jesus said that satanís
kingdom would be divided and not last long. Why would satan put a demon in
a man, then allow someone to drive him out? Jesus is showing the illogical
nature of the Pharisees argument.
Jesus continued by asking the Pharisees how their followers cast
demons out of people. Obviously some of their people attempted to drive
out demons. If they had have had great success then there would not be
such a big fuss made over Jesus driving out demons. The fact is that
followers of Judaism did attempt to cast demons out of people, but with
little success. Now came Jesus, and He has great success, making the
Pharisees look bad.
If Jesus succeeds in driving out demons and the followers of the
Pharisees donít succeed, who is actually driving out demons on the
behalf of God. Jesus thus said that their own followers "will be
their judge". That is to say, the lack of success should judge the
situation for what it really is.
In verse 20 Jesus said, "if I drive out demons by the finger of
God, then the Kingdom of God has come near you". There is only one
logical answer to the Pharisees argument, and that is that Jesus
"drives out demons by the finger of God", and if that is true,
then Godís Kingdom has come to you , and you have rejected it.
Jesus gives a short illustration in verses 21 and 22. He speaks of a
"strong man" guarding his house. I believe this strong man is
satan. Jesus goes on to say that when a stronger man comes and attacks the
strong man, the stronger man will defeat the strong man and divide the
spoils. I believe Jesus is the stronger man. Dividing the spoils is the
redeeming of those whom the devil has control over.
In the above case where Jesus drove out the demon. Jesus attacked
the devilís kingdom, and took the spoils for Himself, that is, took the
man who had the demon.
In verse 23 Jesus said, "he who is not with me is against me,
and he who does not gather with me scatters". He is basically telling
his audience, you are either for me or against me. You cannot be sitting
on the fence. You either agree with me that I drive out demons by the
finger of God, or else you donít agree with me. If you donít agree,
you are scattering the flock of God. These strong words are directed
towards the Pharisees who clearly was against Jesus, but claimed to be on
Godís side. Jesus already proved logically that He was on Godís side,
making the Phariseesí claim false.
In verses 24 to 26 Jesus gave further teaching on demons. He taught
that once a demon leaves a person he goes into "arid places".
This means that the demon is basically lost. He needs a body to live in.
He is in a desert like place. So he attempts to go back to the person he
came out of. He sees that this person has been cleaned of all the evil
that once was part of him as a result of the indwelling demon. He notes
that he canít return so he goes and gets 7 stronger demons than him and
tries with their help to get back into the person. If the person lets all
these 8 demons back into him, then he is in worse shape than before.
This is a spiritual reality. If a person is delivered from demons
then at some further stage in his life lets the demons back in with the
demons friends, then he is in worse shape that he was before he got
delivered. The same happens when people return to their sinful life. Often
when people backslide, they backslide into a worse condition.
While Jesus was speaking a woman cried out, "blessed is the
mother who gave you birth, and nursed you". Jesusí answer to this
statement should shed some light on the Catholic thinking concerning Mary
the mother of Jesus.
Jesus replied by saying, "blessed rather are those who hear Godís
word and obey it". Jesus tells us who the blessed people really are.
They are those who hear and obey Godís word. Thus Mary was blessed
because she fell into this category of people.
The Sign Of Jonah (ch. 11:29 - 32)
Verse 29 begins with the words, "as the crowds increased".
We have seen the large crowds in the past 2 years, but now as Jesus gets
closer to Jerusalem it appears that the crowds are getting even larger.
As the crowds get larger, and as Jesus gets closer to Jerusalem, He
gets much bolder in the things He says to these crowds. He called the
whole generation of Jews "wicked". They had lost touch with the
reality of their faith, even though they claimed strict adherence to the
Law of Moses.
Jesus said that this generation constantly asks for a sign. You
might well ask, "hasnít Jesus shown them enough signs in all of the
miracles He did"? The question is a good one. Obviously, these people
wanted even a more dramatic sign than the ones He has already shown them.
Jesus told them that the sign He would show them was the sign of
Jonah. What does this mean? As Jonah disappeared in the belly of the fish
for 3 days and appeared to be as good as dead, so Jesus would disappear in
the tomb for 3 days. Yet like Jonah, Jesus would arise from the depth of
the earth as a witness against the nation that killed Him.
Did those hearing Jesus understand His words? Not likely.
Verse 31 speaks about "the Queen of the south". This is in
reference to the Queen of Arabia, as told in 1 Kings 10:1-13. This Queen
came a long way to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Jesus said that this Queen
will stand in the final judgment and condemn the present generation that
Jesus spoke to. Why will she condemn these people? As Jesus said, she came
a long way to hear Solomon, but one greater than Solomon was in their
presence and they rejected Him.
The same is said of the people of Nineveh. They will stand in
judgement against this generation because they repented after hearing
Jonahís message. Yet once again, one greater than Jonah is among these
people, namely Jesus, and they rejected Him.
You can clearly see that Jesus has become very direct in His
condemnation of the generation in which He found Himself in. Thus the
conflict between Him and His opposition is beginning to greatly increase.
The Lamp Of The Body (ch. 11:33 - 36)
Beginning in verse 33 Jesus uses an analogy to make His point. He
says that no one hides a lamp, but puts it out so it can shed light for
all who need to see.
In verse 34 Jesus said that "your eye is the light of the
body". Some have asked, "why did Jesus use the singular, that
is, "eye", and not the plural, "eyes". We have two
eyes. One answer has been given this way. The eye is really symbolic of
the heart of man. Yet I tend to think that Jesus is not concerned with how
many eyes we have. He is simply saying that an eye sheds the light into
all aspects of our body. What we see through an eye ends up in our hearts
and minds and then is acted out in our behaviour.
Jesus continued to say that if your eye is good then your whole body
will be full of light, but if it is bad, then your whole body will be in
Why is Jesus saying these things at this time? He has just said
condemning words to this wicked Jewish generation. Their eyes are not
good, thus they live in darkness. If they had good vision, theyíd see
Jesus for who He is and their whole life would be lighted up with the
light of Jesus. This wicked generation is living in darkness, because of
their poor vision, their failure to allow light into their understanding.
Six Woes (ch. 11:37 - 54)
In this section we see that Jesus accepted an invitation to a
Pharisees house. Obviously Jesus has no problem visiting with a sinner or
a religious man such as this Pharisee. Yet the Pharisee had problems with
Jesus because He did not wash His hands before He reclined to eat.
We need to note again, that the custom in those days was not to sit
at a table to eat, but to recline on a large cushion and eat from a table
that was low to the ground.
The washing of hands before a meal was a tradition in Israel. It was
not part of the Law of Moses, but as we know, rabbinical law was equal to
the Law of Moses. This Pharisee expected Jesus to obey the rabbinical law,
but Jesus did not acknowledge this tradition in His action, and maybe did
so on purpose. If He had of washed His hands that could have easily spoken
many words to the Pharisee that Jesus did not want spoken. Jesus had no
intent on obeying man made laws.
Now Jesus didnít act like a nice polite guest who has been invited
into a home. It is clear that the Pharisee is upset with Jesus so He doesnít
hold anything back in the conversation. In verse 39 He said, "now
then you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you
are full of greed and wickednessÖ" All of what the Pharisees did
was for looks only. Their long prayers in the temple was meant to make
them look good. They were hypocrites because their inner self was evil,
while appearing godly in their outward actions.
Jesus called the Pharisee, and those like him "foolish".
He pointed out the one who made the outside of a person made the inside
too. If you claim to follow God on the outside then you should follow Him
on the inside as well. This is in fact the intent of what the N. T. is all
about, that is, the Holy Spirit living within us, thus changing even the
inner thoughts of our hearts that no one else ever sees.
Verse 41 is a little hard to understand. It says, "give what is
inside the cup to the poor, and everything will be clean for you". Is
Jesus speaking literally about a cup, or a dish that might be on the table
in front of Him. If the Pharisee would give that food to the poor, heíd
be clean? I donít think this is what Jesus means. So far in this
discourse the cup that Jesus is speaking about is symbolic of a personís
body, so I think Heís still speaking symbolically here.
So what is inside the Pharisee that should be given to the poor,
especially when Jesus has just said what is inside is full of greed and
wickedness. The only thing that I can see Jesus meaning here is that the
Pharisee should change what is inside him, and once that change is made,
from a good heart, give to the poor. If this is done, the Pharisee will
have a clean life before God.
Verse 42 is the first "woe" that Jesus pronounced upon
this Pharisee and Pharisees in general. Pharisees were very strict in
obeying the Law of Moses, as well as their own rabbinical laws. These
rabbinical laws were interpretations of Godís law. In fact many of them
were ways around Godís law. That is, how to do certain things that may
be against the Law of Moses, yet still obey the Law.
Jesus said "woe to you Pharisees because you give God a tenth
of your mint Ö and garden vegetables". These men tithed even the
bit of garden herbs they grew in their small gardens. The problem was that
they were good at tithing, but "neglected justice and the love of
God". What does this mean? It means that they did not act justly and
lovingly towards other people. They felt above the common person on the
street. Jesus told this man that he should not neglect the tithe, but love
justly as well.
Jesus could not have told this man to stop tithing. Remember, Jesus
when He was on earth lived in Old Testament times. He obeyed the Law of
Moses. Yet as Paul clearly says in many places, Rom. 10:4 is one example,
the Law was nailed to the cross. The Law took on a new and different
meaning after the cross. As with the Law, the Law of tithing was nailed to
the cross as well.
The second "woe is in verse 43. Woe to these men because
"they liked the most important seats in the synagogue". The
Pharisees liked their position of importance and they gloried in it. They
wanted everyone to know that they were important men. This is not the way
of humility that Jesus demonstrated. Arrogance has no place in the Kingdom
of God, yet in many circles of our church it is fundamental to church
life. This should never be. Leaders are to be servants, not arrogant
The next "woe", in verse 44 says that these Pharisees are
like "unmarked graves". A Jew could not touch a tomb of a dead
person or else heíd be defiled and contaminated. Before Passover every
year all tombs would be white washed clean in order for people to know
they were tombs and not to touch them. Yet there were some graves that had
been grown over and people did not know they were there. Jesus said that
the Pharisees were like these unmarked, and unclean graves. Theyíd
contaminate people as they walked by unknowingly. The Pharisees, who were
supposed to be a blessing to people in fact became a source of
contamination and defilement to people.
In verse 45 we see a lawyer inject his thoughts. He tells Jesus that
His words are an insult to the lawyers as well as the Pharisees. The
lawyer is correct in his thinking. These words can be construed as insults
to them as well, since both groups were experts in the Law.
The comment did not bother Jesus. He continued with more
"woes" and directed these towards the lawyers. He told them that
they burden down the people with all sorets of rules that no one can keep
including them, and then donít help the ordinary person out with these
The second "woe" directed towards these lawyers concerned
the O. T. prophets that these lawyers forefathers killed. The Jews had
built tombs for these prophets and they honour their writings. The problem
is that the very fathers of these lawyers killed the prophets they admire.
How can one admire both the prophets, and the ones who killed the prophets
at the same time. Well, hypocrites do as they wish.
The next statement that Jesus made is very dramatic and would
infuriate anyone. He told the lawyers that "God in His wisdom"
would send prophets and apostles. These prophets and apostles are N. T.
men who would preach the good news of Jesus. Jesus further said that the
Jews would kill some of these men and persecute others from this group.
Jesusí prediction came true as we all know.
Then came these harsh words from Jesusí lips. He said that this
generation of Jews would be responsible for all of the murders of prophets
in the past, from the first prophet of the O. T. to the N. T. prophets.
This generation of Jews did not kill any O. T. prophet because they werenít
alive, but Jesus still held them responsible for their murder because they
were acting like their fathers by persecuting the greatest prophet of all.
It is interesting to note that the first person
that Jesus considered a prophet was Abel. This tells me that there was
some kind of formal religion, or formal worship this early in history. Genesis
4:26 tells us that men began to worship God at this point in history.
These are hints that suggest that much of what we see in the Law of Moses
was in effect prior to God giving the Law to Moses.
It is common thinking that the Law only codified that which already
existed. For those who want to
trace the history of religion, you can begin with Abel, if not before.
Why was Jesus so harsh on these people? It is because that
generation killed the most important prophet of all. All other prophets
spoke about Jesus, the one to come. Then when Jesus came, the Jews killed
Him as they did the prophets of old, and the prophets and apostles that
would come after Him.
In verse 52 we see the last "woe" directed towards these
lawyers. He said, "woe to you experts in the Law, because you have
taken away the keys to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you
have hindered those who were entering".
These lawyers, teachers of the Law, knew the Law, yet they
themselves did not obey the Law as it was written. They obeyed their
interpretations of the Law, which was much more detailed than the Law
itself. By doing this, they never really entered into the things God had
for them. Also by doing this, they did not allow those who really wanted
to receive what God had for them to do so. These lawyers were teaching
things that could not allow others to enter into the things God had
planned for Israel. Instead of being door keepers to the Kingdom of God,
they were bouncers, bouncing everyone out that came to the door.
Verse 53 ends this chapter with Luke telling us about the escalation
of opposition that mounted because of this discourse. You can certainly
see why these Jewish leaders were so furious with Jesus. After hearing
what they heard, they looked for opportunities to catch Jesus in some kind
of wrong doing, even if it was manufactured.
None of these things swayed Jesus. He hated hypocrisy more than
anything else. I am sure that Jesus feels the same today concerning
hypocrisy. Those who know better, but donít do what they claim to know
will be judged accordingly.
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