About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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ch. 11:1-13    ch. 11:14-28   ch. 11:29-32   ch. 11:33-36

ch. 11:37-54

Jesusí Teaching On Prayer (ch. 11:1 - 13)

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 matter.

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 forgive us.

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 knock.

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. 11:13)

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 God.

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 darkness.

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 dictators.

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 rules.

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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