THE LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last lesson on the Life of Christ, we finished examining the last part of Luke 10. We will continue our study by looking at Luke 11. I like how Coffman outlines this chapter. He wrote:
This chapter gives Jesus' instruction on prayer (Luke 11:1-13), recounts his refutation of the Pharisees' insinuation that Christ was in league with Satan (Luke 11:14-26), records his reaction to a compliment (Luke 11:27-28), details another instance of his reference to Jonah (Luke 11:29-32), stresses his warning against spiritual blindness (Luke 11:33-36), tells of his lunch with a Pharisee (Luke 11:42-44), includes an additional three "woes" against the lawyers, and concludes with Luke's summary of the intensified evil cabal (kuh-b-owl) against Jesus by the scribes and Pharisees (Luke 11:53-54). (Coffman’s commentary on Luke).
Let’s begin with:
Luke 11:1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
Jesus prayed a lot because He understood the importance of prayer. It is only natural that His disciples would ask how they should pray. Apparently, John had taught his disciples how to pray, so they wanted Jesus to teach them. This tells us that prayer is something that you learn how to do and that can be done in the wrong way. For example, James taught:
James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
So, there is a right way and a wrong way to pray. Next, Jesus says:
Luke 11:2 So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one."
Though this is similar to what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, this is at another place and a different time. Many times people will memorize the prayer found Mt. 6 and simply repeat it or chant it, but this is not what Jesus had in mind. No, He was giving an example of how to pray. In fact, back in Mt. 6, he made it clear that we are not use vain repetitions. If we simply memorized a prayer and said it over and over, it could certainly become just that because the words could easily lose meaning and be something we say without even thinking about it.
Now, don’t misunderstand, we can certainly pray about the same things Jesus’ has mentioned here with the exception of one, which I will explain in a minute, but if we turn these words into some mindless repetition instead of coming from the heart, then they become empty words.
Jesus tells us to direct our prayers to our Father in heaven. We are not told to pray to Jesus, the Holy Spirit or to some supposed saint, we pray to our Father.
Think about this for a minute, Jesus has made it possible for us to be sons and daughters of God. When we become Christians, we have been given the right to call God our Father.
“Hallowed be Your name” shows the respect we are to offer to our holy Father in heaven. When Jesus gave this example prayer, the kingdom was still at hand, which is why He mentions praying about the kingdom coming. Since the kingdom came as can be seen in Acts 2, we no longer can pray for the kingdom to come today. Instead, we could pray that the kingdom may expand and flourish. Part of this idea of expanding the kingdom is certainly covered by Him saying to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is heaven. The more God’s will is done on earth, the more His kingdom will expand, which is beneficial to all because God’s way is always the best way.
When He says gives us our daily bread, He is talking about praying for those things we need to sustain us. He also mentions praying for forgiveness of our sins just as we forgive others for their sins. Forgiveness is such a wonderful thing. When God forgives us of our sins, they are gone and He will never bring them up again. We are to do the same with those that we forgive. We are not supposed to keep a record of their sins by storing them away somewhere so we can bring them up anytime we feel like it. We certainly would not like God doing that to us, so don’t do it to those you have forgiven.
Certainly, we should pray that God will give us the strength to deal with the temptations that are before us and help us resist the evil one. I like what Paul says about this in:
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
I also like what James says:
James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
God does not tempt us to sin, but He does provide an escape route for our temptations, but we must make sure we keep our eyes open for that door, so that we do not sin.
Next Jesus says:
Luke 11:5 And He said to them, "Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 'for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; 7 "and he will answer from within and say, 'Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you'? 8 "I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
Have you ever experienced anything like this in your life. Probably very few have experienced this exact situation, but I am sure many have experienced a similar situation. Maybe you were asleep and your friend came knocking at the door. Maybe you heard him knocking, but you did not want to get up because you were so tired, so you ignored it. But maybe your friend was so persistent knowing that you were a heavy sleeper, that he continued to knock, until you finally give up and get up and answer the door.
This is what we have happening in this illustration. As I have pointed out before, showing hospitality was a big deal in the first century, but this poor man did not have any food to give him. So, he goes to his friend who he knows has plenty of food even though it is the middle of the night. At first the friend, says no, but this man is very persistence and causes his friend to get up and give him whatever he needs.
The point is this. If a man who is already settled in for the night will get up and give what his friend is in need of, then how much more will our heavenly Father give us when we petition Him for the things that we truly need? Unlike this man who was sleeping and had his door closed, God does not sleep nor is His door ever closed. However, this little parable does show that there is nothing wrong with being persistent in our prayer life for those things that we think we truly need, but also must realize that God’s will, will be done. To emphasize the illustration Jesus gave, He goes on to say:
9 " So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 "If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 "Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
There are three points made here, ask, seek, and knock.
Ask, seek, and knock represent three ways of striving to have our wants supplied.
He goes on to say:
These emphasize the deep earnestness and persistency that must be exercised in prayer (Boles).
I also like what Matthew Henery wrote:
We have it from Chrst’s own mouth. We must not only ask, but we must seek and must second our prayers with our endeavors; and, in asking and seeking, we must continue pressing, still knocking at the same door, and we shall at length prevail. (Matthew Henery)
Another idea, I want you to consider is that when it comes to praying do not expect something to drop in your lap with no effort on your part. For example, if you are praying for a better job, you better be seeking one out because God is not going to cause the phone to ring from some company that has no idea who are and just happen to offer you a better job. So, those things that we pray for that we can actively seek out, we need to make sure that we are doing our part. Of course, there are some things that we pray for that we have no control over like praying for the success of a surgery or the safety of another. Certainly, we should learn from Jesus that God does hear our prayers and He will answer our prayers in accordance to His will.
We must realize that sometimes the answer to our prayers is no. We have an example of this with Paul as we read in:
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Like Paul, there are many situations we can find ourselves in that we would love for God to take those burdens away. However, they may not be removed because they keep us humble and cause us to have a greater faith in God. When the answer is no, we should allow these words to sink into our heads, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."
Sometimes an answer to prayer does not happen right away. A good example of this comes from:
Jeremiah 42:4 Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, "I have heard. Indeed, I will pray to the LORD your God according to your words, and it shall be, that whatever the LORD answers you, I will declare it to you. I will keep nothing back from you." 5 So they said to Jeremiah, "Let the LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not do according to everything which the LORD your God sends us by you. 6 "Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God." 7 And it happened after ten days that the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah.
Even under the O.T. when Jeremiah, a prophet of the Lord prayed to God, he did not receive an answer right away. No, in this case, it was 10 days later. Of course, it was years before God answered the prayers of His people who were in Egyptians bondage, and we know that their answered prayer came through Moses.
While we eagerly wait for results for what we pray for, the answer could be yes, but not right now.
Of course, there will be those times where we will get a yes right away from God. When it comes to prayer, we must learn to trust in God’s timing and not our own, and we should never forget what Paul wrote in:
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Look at part of our text again:
11 "If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 "Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
We can relate to this as parents. We give our children what they need, but we do not always give them everything they want. If we did, we would be in debt up to our eyeballs because most children want all the latest gadgets and clothes. So, the idea is that God knows what we need, and He will take care of us.
One last thing I want to look is the last part of verse 13. What do you suppose it means that the Father will give the Holy Spirit those who ask Him? Does it mean what some denominations teach that you can pray for the Holy Spirit and receive Him and start speaking in tongues? The answer is no. I like how Wayne Jacks explains this. He writes:
The Scriptures do not teach, here nor elsewhere, that the Lord, in answer to prayer, supernaturally infuses His children with the Holy Spirit. In fact, numerous biblical texts conflict sharply with such a view. What, then, does this passage mean?
The answer is found in the parallel reference in Matthew’s account. There, the apostle records these words: “… how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him” (7:11).
A comparison of these passages reveals that Matthew’s emphasis is upon the blessings received, while Luke is stressing the divine source of Heaven’s benevolence. The Holy Spirit providentially operates in the lives of Christians to enhance their spiritual service. Hence, underline “Holy Spirit” in Luke 11:13, and in the margin write: The Source; see Matthew 7:11 for the result.
Preachers might wish to note that T.H. Home has shown that “Holy Spirit” in Luke 11:13 is an example of metonymy — the cause being put for the effect, i.e., the Spirit named in place of the blessings He bestows (Critical Introduction, Vol. I, p. 359). (https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/919-luke-11-13-asking-for-the-holy-spirit)
Next we read:
Luke 11:14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. 15 But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." 16 Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. 18 "If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. 19 "And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 "But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.
There was no way for them to deny that Jesus had cast this demon out of this man. So, their strategy is one we see in politics all the time. They were trying attack Jesus’ character by saying that the only way He was casting out demons was by the power of Beelzebub, which the Jews associated with Satan. Notice how Easton Bible dictionary defines Beelzebub:
499 Beelzebub the name given to Satan, and found only in the New Testament Mt 10:25 12:24,27 Mk 3:22 It is probably the same as Baalzebub (q.v.), the god of Ekron, meaning "the lord of flies," or, as others think, "the lord of dung," or "the dung-god."
If they could get the people thinking that Jesus was nothing more than a pawn of Satan, the people would stop listening to Him and even hate Him.
One of the great advantages that Jesus had was His ability to read the very thoughts of man. So, He focuses on proving their false statement wrong.
First, Jesus makes the logical argument that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. So, why in the world would Satan allow His own demons to be cast out? How could His kingdom stand or gain ground if he is opposing himself? Of course, the Pharisees had no answer for this because I think they knew there was no way Jesus was casting out demons by the power of Satan because it does not make any sense.
Second, He uses their own sons as an example by asking what power they use to cast out demons. The Jews understood that there are two forces in the world. There is Satan, and there is God. Jesus makes the argument that by whatever power their sons cast demons out with has to be the same power that He is using. However, I do not think these sons actually had the ability to cast out demons, but Jesus uses their alleged power to cast them out to make His point, because the only way demons are going to be cast out is by the finger of God.
I love the following example that proves this in:
Acts 19:13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches." 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?" 16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
Next, Jesus says:
Luke 11:21"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. 22 "But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. 23 "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
Third, Jesus calls Satan a strong man who is fully armed and his goods are at peace. But when one stronger comes, referring to God or more specifically Jesus, He will overcome Him, which is exactly what Jesus did. Jesus showed His authority and power over Satan as He commanded these demons to leave people, and they had to obey.
As Jesus said in verse 23, we need to make a choice in this life. We either need to stand with Jesus or not. God has given us a free will to make that decision, but it is the biggest decision you can make because it makes the difference between being lost or saved.
Next, Jesus says:
Luke 11:24 " When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' 25 "And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. 26 "Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first."
There is a lot we do not know about the spirit world, but Jesus is describing someone in which a demon has left, but if cannot find any rest, it will return to man it came out of. Now what I am about to say is not specifically stated in the text, but I and many of the commentators I looked at believe what I am about to say is implied by the text. Though the man, may have put his life in order to a degree, if he has not committed himself to living for God, then this evil spirit will take 7 more that more wicked than himself and enter them man, which will make his state worse than before.
Some believe this is a reference to how some in Israel had accepted Jesus as the Messiah, but then they turn right back to the Law of Moses. Whether you agree with what I believe is implied in our text or not, I think we can agree that if you do not dedicate yourself to God and keep His commandments, then you are going to have a big void in your life that will get filled up with all kinds of things that are not of God. I believe this point is emphasized by the what we read next.
Luke 11:27 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!" 28 But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
Yes, it was great that Mary gave birth to Jesus and took care of Him like any good mother would, but Jesus states what is more important, which is hearing the Word of God and keeping it.
In conclusion, we can sum up this lesson by saying that we have a loving God who has given us the privilege of prayer and who hears our prayers and answers our prayers in accordance to His will. We know that God is more powerful the Satan and, if we want to stand firm and keep sin out of our lives, then we must continue to fill ourselves up with the Word of God and be doers of it.