The disciples would have noticed Jesus withdrawing to a solitary place to pray several times and eventually one of them asked Jesus to teach them to pray too. Jesus tells them a very short yet a contained prayer. Luke records fewer words than the other Gospel. Jesus teaches them to pray for three things, daily bread, forgiveness of sins and protection from temptation.
Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’” – Luke 11:2-4
The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years but each morning God provided them their daily bread. Asking each day for that day’s daily bread makes it very clear that we need not worry about anything, and completely depend on God. Jesus always compared the word of God to the bread we eat. So ‘Give us our daily bread’ is also us asking God for our spiritual needs.
Secondly the prayer addresses the forgiveness of sins. Our own sins and the sins of others. We need to ask God for the forgiveness of our sins and at the same time forgive the sins of others by practicing the love of God. If we do not forgive those who have wronged us, we can never truly appreciate what Jesus did for us on the cross. The Son of God came into the world and died as a sacrifice for those who had wronged his Father.
The third part is to ask God to keep us from falling into temptation. The devil is always rearing and prowling around us, ready to pounce (Genesis 4:7) . As weak humans we cannot tackle temptation ourselves. We need God’s help to ward off even the basic of temptations.
I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. – Luke 11:8
Through the example of a man who had the shameless audacity to pester his friend for food at the middle of the night, Jesus teaches us perseverance and that we can approach our heavenly Father for anything at any time. God will be very happy with our persistent prayers and shameless audacity if that means us coming to Him at any time. We humans generally come to God only when we are in trouble or are drowning in worries, God will still be happy to accept us. However, this doesn’t mean that we only go to him during problems but that we need to pray in any and every moment. Let our prayer not be a time of endless lists of our wants and needs but a conversation with God to know his will.
The Demand for Signs
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. Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. – Luke 11:14-16
When the crowds kept asking for a sign, Jesus reminded them of Jonah and how he was a sign for the Ninevites to repent or be perished. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale, in the same way Jesus would be buried and his resurrection will be a sign for all.
Jesus knew that no sign would be good enough for the unbelievers to believe in him but rather it would be the men of the vile and corrupt land of Nineveh who repented will stand and condemn the unbelievers of this generation.
The Lamp of the Body
We do not expect a lamp to heat our food nor to play our favorite music like Alexa, but the sole purpose of lighting a lamp is to give light to its surroundings. If the lamp fails to carry out the task that it was created for, it is worthless. Similarly our eyes are the lamp of our body. It is the responsibility of the eyes to give direction to the entire body. While eating, while crossing the road, while driving, while we are at work our body reacts to the message the eyes send our brain. If our eyes our healthy we will be healthy but if our eyes prefer darkness our whole body will follow.
Woes on the Pharisees and the Experts in the Law
A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him but was taken aback when he saw Jesus ignore the customary washing ceremony before he ate.
Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. – Luke 11:39
Jesus took this as an opportunity to rebuke the Pharisees and teach them the real meaning of what they did as rituals and traditions.
You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. – Luke 11:40-41
Jesus wanted the Pharisees to realize that outward acts of piousness combined with unclean hearts on the inside was detrimental not only to them but also to their flocks. Jesus compared the Pharisees to unmarked graves which people do not notice and step on them casing them to me unclean. Similarly the Pharisees were causing the defilement of the Jews by overburdening them with made up laws that they themselves never followed.
“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” – Luke 11:52
Jesus charged the experts of the law withholding information. They did not impart knowledge to their students but rather hindered their Spiritual Growth. It is one thing to not share the Gospel but discouraging others from growing in Christ will have dire consequences.
- Is asking for Signs from God wrong?
- Is the Lord’s prayer the only prayer that we should pray?