A Study in the
Gospel of Luke
13 - Chapter 11 1-32
Notes to aid personal Bible Study
vv 1-13 Learning to pray. Note Luke's interest in prayer. What inspired the disciple's question? It was usual for rabbis to teach their disciples to pray. Jesus wanted His followers to know just how much God delights to answer prayer. Will He refuse anything? What are the limits of our asking? Matt.21. 22; John 15.7; 16.24; Do we take Him at His Word? Jesus model prayer is one of the best known passages of Scripture. Was it meant to be used as it stands or was it an example to follow basic elements? Jesus was unique in teaching us to speak to God as Father. Jesus is recorded of using the intimate form of Abba (the equivalent of 'Daddy' in English) in Mark 14. 36 in Gethsemane and Paul uses it in Rom.8.15 and Gal.4.6. God is not referred to as Father in Acts, and elsewhere in the New Testament the more formal 'Pater' is used usually in close association with 'God'. 'Father' is a hallowed name because we are addressing the Almighty Creator. In Hebrew a 'name' stood for the whole personality and Jesus describes His Father many times in Matt. 5-7 (of which the Lord's prayer is a part).
Was Jesus telling us to pray for the Kingdom to come in power or was He referring to 'kingly power' or 'Divine rule' in our lives? Note that God and His Kingdom come before our 'wants'.
Why ask for "bread?" The word 'our' refers us to the bond of believers.
Ground for our forgiveness is grace alone; willingness to forgive others is a condition of our being forgiven (but God doesn't barter with us), Matt.11.25; 18.35.
The phrase about temptation provokes discussion; James 1.13,14. It is similar to a phrase in Jewish morning worship. This prayer can be summed up as worship, hope, request, pardon and testing, in that order.
v 5. Why did Jesus tell this parable? In hot countries travelling can be late evening to avoid heat of daytime. They baked bread enough for one day. Many Jews lived in one large room where all the family ate, slept and kept animals. Imagine the affect of the father of the household getting up in the middle of the night. But hospitality was a sacred duty. Why does God insist on importunity if He is going to answer anyway? Gen.8.32; 32.26; Deut.9.18; Matt.15.27; Luke 22.44; Acts 12.5; Heb.12.1; Luke 6.12.
'Ask, seek, knock', all three verbs are present imperative ‑ a continuous uninterrupted act(1). Seek here means do everything possible to receive, urgently determine to obtain; knock means 'pray urgently' or urgent sincerity to find. How insulting if we fail to believe what we would trust an earthly father to do. Our Father doesn't refuse genuine requests for the Holy Spirit and it follows that all other requests will be according to His will. James 5. 1-8; 1 John 5. 14,15; Heb.10.26-31; 2 Pet.2.20
vv 14-32 Pharisees' opposition: that Jesus did miracles and made people whole in mind and body they could not deny but because of their own spiritual failure they did not recognise by whose power the miracles were done nor see them as signs of God's Kingdom. We need to pray that our spiritual eyes are open so that our human prejudice does not warp our judgment. They failed, as many as many have done since, to recognise that the goodness and faithfulness of genuine believers cannot spring from deception and fraud. We need to be alert to 'signs of God's Kingdom'. If we attribute the work of God's Spirit to the Devil we shall fail spiritually as Jesus' enemies. How relevant are references to exorcism to us now? Matt.9.32-34; 16.1-4; John 2.25; Ex.8.19; How valid is Jesus argument about "the forces of evil destroying themselves"? What was the 'sign of the prophet Jonah' and how did it convince the people of Nineveh? Beelzebul was variously thought of as 'Lord of the Flies' and 'Lord of the Refuse'; but Jesus was making reference to Satan and was assaulting the forces and bastions of evil.
What is the danger of temporary reformation? We can't live in a spiritual vacuum; we need positive thinking ‑ Phil.4.8. The people of Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba shamed the Jews of the 1st century; are there any who shame us today? Do I demand a sign or the right sign to believe God? Jesus spoke gently to the woman and corrected a popular attitude to values ‑ are those values ours.
(1)Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke (MMS).