Luke 11v1-28

DAY 1

Luke 11v1-28


11 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’

2 He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:

‘“Father,[a]
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
[b]
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
And lead us not into temptation.”’
[d]

 

“One day ….” Luke is giving us bits and pieces of Jesus’ teaching during these last days, and here doesn’t follow any particular timing sequence. The disciples watch him often in prayer and ask how to do it. 

You’ll notice that the Lord’s Prayer is a little different from the prayer we know, e.g. here Luke doesn’t include the last few phrases we typically recite in the Lord’s prayer, “For yours is the kingdom, …….”. This is a doxology. It was in the King James translation of the Bible in Matthew 6 but not in the NIV or the ESV because the best manuscripts don’t have it. In support of this view is the fact that here Luke doesn’t have it. However, some early non-biblical manuscripts quoting the prayer do have it. The other differences are down to the differences between this version in Luke and Matthew’s version in the Sermon on the Mount in chapter 6. William Hendriksen says, “This variety is pleasing. It teaches us that it was never Christ’s intention to demand that time after time exactly the same words be spoken” [William Henriksen “Luke” pg. 608]. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus prefaces the prayer with the words, “This then is how you should pray” not “what you should pray” [Matthew 6:9]. 

 

The extraordinary thing about this prayer is its brevity. Jesus often prayed all night [Luke 6:12] yet here he gives an outline of prayer that is 36 words long. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus talks against “heaping up empty phrases” when we pray. He criticises long-winded prayer. The writer of Ecclesiastes says,

“Do not be quick with your mouth,
    do not be hasty in your heart
    to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
    and you are on earth,
    so let your words be few.” [Ecclesiastes 5:2]

 

The prayer begins with “Father.”  That’s it. Unadorned, simple, and deeply profound. The Greek word used, “pater”, is almost certainly a translation of the Aramaic word “abba” [Mark 14:36]. How different from the flowery addresses to God we sometimes get. There’s no “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”, no “God and creator of all mankind”, just plain “father”. It was the normal form of address from a child to her dad. Kenneth E Bailey points out that “abba” is the first word that a young child learns even today in many places in the Middle East. He says, “this great Aramaic word affirms both respect in addressing a superior and a profound personal relationship” [Kenneth E Bailey “Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes” pg97]

The word “father” can mean different things to different people depending upon their own experience of fatherhood. However, as Bailey points out, Jesus redefines the word “father’” in places like the parable of the Prodigal Son where the father is seen in a revolutionary light, far removed from most experiences of fatherhood. Our Heavenly abba is very different from our earthly fathers. We need always to work from the biblical revelation down rather than from our experience up. 

 

PRAYER

Father, I am so thankful that you have adopted me as your child. Help me to live up to that privilege. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY 2

Luke 11v1-28


‘“Father,[a]
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
[b]
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
And lead us not into temptation.”’
[d]

 

“Hallowed be your name.”  May your name be made holy. God is already holy, so why the prayer? It’s because we, by our behaviour, can defile God’s name [Ez. 36:16ff]. So, is it a prayer that mankind honours God’s name or that God makes sure his name is honoured? In the end it’s the same thing, God brings it about, or we wouldn’t pray it. We are praying that God works to make his name holy, both by his acts and through the thoughts and actions of others. 

 

The opening word, “Father” speaks of love and intimacy and the first request is that God be honoured as holy. Paul describes the holy God in this way, “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.” [1 Tim 6:16].  God is unapproachable in his holiness, yet he is our father. How can those two things be brought together? It’s in the cross. 

 

“Your kingdom come”. Because the kingdom of God is present in Christ through his Spirit and so is experienced in part today, but also is yet to come in all its fulness, this prayer is both for people to come under the reign of Christ now and also for the coming of the last day. 

“Give us each day our daily bread.” Luke leaves out the request that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and it may be because it’s covered by “Your kingdom come.” As we noted earlier, the prayer was not intended to be prayed exactly as written.  Here literally it says, “Keep giving us bread daily.” Remember during the Exodus God gave enough manna for the day ahead only and we’re told this was to teach us that we do not live by bread alone but by his word of promise [Deut. 8:5]. The prayer is asking God to meet our daily needs. 

4 Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.”

What is the relationship between God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others?  It’s not that our forgiving others somehow earns God’s forgiveness, but rather it is an indication that really do belong to God. “Lord, please forgive me because I am one of your children and toe proof is in the fact that I forgive others.”  An unforgiving heart is not one that has been transformed by the Spirit. 

 

“Lead us not into temptation.” This seems a strange prayer. God wouldn’t lead his people into temptation [James 1:5]. Jesus is using a figure of speech here, a litotes, where he uses a negative to make a positive point. For example, we might say, “She’s not unlike her mother” meaning that she is like her mother, or “it wasn’t a small thing for him to do that.” Meaning it as a big thing. “Lead us not into temptation” is another way of saying “protect us from temptation.”

 

We can us the Lord’s prayer as a stepping off point for our own prayers by taking each phrase and praying though its implications for us and others, just as we might do with the Psalms. The first few phrases are God centred, the rest are centred around us and our needs. 

 

PRAYER

Father, it is a great comfort to know that you are concerned with our needs. May your name always be honoured. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY 3

Luke 11v1-28


5 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.” 7 And suppose the one inside answers, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.” 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

9 ‘So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

 

Having given his disciples an outline for prayer, Jesus now teaches them about the effectiveness of prayer with a parable that is unique to Luke. The parable is in the form of a question which expects the answer “No!” Bailey puts it this way, “Can you imagine going to a neighbour, asking for help to entertain a friend and getting this response?” And this is not just a neighbour he goes to but a friend. And the answer would be “Of course not!” This is especially the case in Jesus’ culture where hospitality is a treasured value. 

The neighbour helps out because of the host’s “Shameless audacity”. There are a few possible translations of these words, as you can see if you read the note in your Bible. Despite the differences the point of the parable is clear. Your neighbour will help out when you ask, even if it is reluctantly. The key to the parable lies in the teaching following. 

 

 

11 ‘Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

Verse 13 says that if we, who are not godly, give our children good things when they ask, how much more will God. The friend at midnight is not like God. He might give grudgingly but our father [11:2] will give lovingly. He might give because he is shamed into giving, our God gives because he is our father. 

We have to deal with the elephant in the room: is Jesus saying God will give us everything we ask for? Can we name it and claim it? Well, the context is that of the Lord’s prayer. If we pray the things covered in the Lord’s prayer, God will answer. If we pray for God’s name to be honoured, for his kingdom to come, for our sins to be forgiven, for our daily needs, for the strength to resist temptation, God will answer. The words used here give the sense of continuing to ask, to seek and to knock, indicated by the tense used in the Greek.  It’s not meant to be a one-off action of asking. It’s meant to be a pattern of life. We seek the answers to our prayers, acknowledging that God’s plans are what we really want to be done, and we go on seeking and knocking with a commitment to the will of God and the establishment of his kingdom and the honouring of his name. John Calvin puts it this way, “Christ does not give a loose reign to the wishes of men that they should desire anything at their pleasure. The Spirit. must of necessity, hold all our affections by the bridle of the Word of God, thereby saving us from making outlandish claims and seeking somehow or other to use believing prayer as a mechanism whereby we seek to make God give us what we demand and to prevent him from giving us what we don’t want.” [John Calin “The Institutes” chapter 2]. We can pray with absolute confidence for what the Bible recommends or commands because God would not require of us what he does not give us the wherewithal to obey. There are many things that some believers say God will answer if we ask, but for which there is no absolute promise or command in the Scriptures. [I’m helped here by a sermon by Alistair Begg from Jan 1, 2000, on the Gospel Coalition website].

Friends, are you asking, seeking and knocking, and making that a practice of life? It’s not nagging but rather an indication of our commitment and passion for the things we ask for. God is looking for such commitment and passion. 

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, thank you for these wonderful promises of your love and your desire to answer our godly prayers. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

DAY 4

Luke 11v1-28


14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, ‘By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.’ 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: ‘Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

21 ‘When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armour in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.


There will always be those who call evil good and good evil. Here Jesus is accused of performing his acts of healing by the power of the evil one. It’s a binary argument – they cannot deny his power, so it must either be of God of or the evil one. Because they cannot accept that Jesus is of God, then he must get his power from Satan. (Beelzebul is another name for Satan)

 

Jesus, with wonderful logic, demolishes their claim. I love the fact that he uses logic here. The mind is not in opposition to faith. You do not switch off the brain in order to believe. Faith and the mind cooperate when it comes to belief. When we become followers of Jesus, we do not take a leap into the dark with no evidence or rational thought. At some point there is a “leap of faith” but it should be based on solid evidence and logic. It is a leap of faith a little like getting married. Except for foolish TV programmes, people do not pick a stranger off the street and marry them. There is a period that used to be called “courtship” where both parties get to see if the other person is the sort they can give their lives to. You cannot be one hundred percent sure that it will work the way you hope, so at some point there is a leap of faith, but it is a leap with good reasons and a sound basis. 

 

Jesus points out that it would be extremely counterproductive for Satan to empower someone to act against Satan. It would be like an army commander giving orders to some of his troops to attack others of his army.  It’s unthinkable. No, it is by the finger of God that he casts our demons, and that indicates that the Kingdom of God is amongst them. In fact, Jesus uses stronger words than that – he says the kingdom of God has “come upon them”. It falls upon God’s enemies like a great weight from a great height. 

In casting out demons Jesus is plundering the house of the evil one. Satan might have some power and normally be able to defend his kingdom, but in Jesus he has met more than his match. Jesus has overpowered completely. Satan is a defeated enemy. Jesus casting our demons was the prelude to final and absolute defeat at the cross [Col 2:15]. It was the indicator that the kingdom of God was present; that he promised Messiah had come. Satan’s power today is limited to untruths and lies. He is not equal to God in power. There are not two superpowers at work in the world, only one. The work of Satan in the world today is limited to spiteful kicking and screaming as he is dragged inexorably towards the Day of Judgment by his conqueror. He is still dangerous, but powerless. 

 

PRAYER

Ruler of the whole of creation, by your Spirit in my heart, teach me to trust in your victory and not allow the Devil to have any power over me. Amen

 

 

 

 

DAY 5

Luke 11v1-28


23 ‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

24 ‘When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.’

27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’

28 He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’

 

There is no neutral ground in Jesus’ eyes. You are either his friend or his enemy. It sounds harsh but that is the truth of Scripture. If people could be neutral, there’d be no need for them of Jesus’ death. It’s not a question of how people feel about Jesus, because they could be neutral in their attitude towards him, but how he feels about them. It is possible for God to love his enemies, and for them to remain his enemies. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” [Heb 11:6]. There are sheep and there are goats [Matthew 25:31-46]. There are no in-betweeners. That is why spreading the good news is so important. Good or nice as people may be, it will not earn them a ticket into heaven. The fruitless fig tree is cursed for its fruitlessness, even though it bears no bad fruit [Matthew 21:19]. 

 

When Jesus talks about the unclean spirit leaving someone and being replaced, he is saying that unless something positive fills the vacuum, people who start over or make a fresh start will end up worse than before.  Unless the Holy Spirit himself fills the vacancy left, we will be no better off if we turn over a new leaf. As the saying goes, “Nature hates a vacuum.” That is why the Apostle Paul talks of not just putting off the old self but putting on the new [Col 3:12ff], and of setting our minds on things that good a pure and holy [Col 3:2], not just preventing our minds from dwelling on unhelpful things. If we want to avoid some temptation or some besetting sin, it’s no good just making up our minds to do better, we should fill our minds with the things of the kingdom, and set our idle hands to the work of the kingdom. Set your minds on things above. 

A woman, obviously so impressed with Jesus and his teaching, cries out exclaiming how blessed Mary is to have given birth to him.  Jesus’ answer is that true blessedness rests in living faithfully with God. Even the pride of a parent in the way a child has grown and developed and achieved is nothing compared to the blessing of being in the kingdom of God. As Paul says in Ephesians 1, we have been given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. Nothing compares with the glory of knowing, and being known by the living God and living his way. 

Is that your experience?  Ask the Spirit of God to fill you with all joy and peace in believing [Romans 5:13]. Count your blessings daily. 

 

PRAYER

Lord and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, fill me with all joy and peace in believing and give me the courage and opportunities to share the good news. Amen

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