Monday, February 25, 2013

Luke 11 - Prayer, Opposition, and Being Receptive to the Light

LINK: Luke 11

BACKGROUND

134. Jesus teaches his disciples about prayer: Luke 11:1-13

Jesus prayed at all the crucial times of His life (Luke 3:21; 6:12; 5:16; 9:18; 9:28-29). The disciples saw this, and they wanted to learn how to pray.  Consequently, He gave them a model prayer we call the "Lord's Prayer." We don not have to follow it in a rote matter, but we can learn a framework for prayer!

First of all, Jesus addressed His prayer to the Father implying an intimate relationship. 

Then he made five requests:

1) That God's name would be "hallowed" - This means "set apart or sanctified." It implies worship! 

2) That God's kingdom would come - We have heard about the kingdom of God (or heaven) coming from John the Baptist, Jesus, the Twelve and the 72. We heard about the kingdom in the many parables. They were all about proclaiming the kingdom to people. 

3) For daily bread - literally "bread for the coming day or needful bread." It implies praying for what we need rather than what we want! 

4) For forgiveness of sins and acknowledgement that we forgive others in the same way. 

5) That we not be led into temptation - Deliverance from situations that would cause us to sin. We are always easily drawn into sin. We 
need God's help!

The rest of this section contains two parables that illustrate persistence in prayer and that the Father is the giver of good gifts. The most important gift for followers of Jesus is the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). 

135. Jesus answers hostile accusations: Luke 11:14-28

Some commentators believe that this is a separate event from the one reported in Matthew 12:22-45 and Mark 3:20-30 because the Luke event occurred in Judea while the other one took place in Galilee. In Luke, he spoke to the crowds. In Matthew and Mark, he accused the Pharisees.  They are similar which lead other commentators to believe it is the same event.

The term "demon(s)" occurs 16 times, and the term "evil spirit(s)/unclean spirit(s)" occurs eight times in Luke's gospel account. Jesus authenticated Himself by demonstrating His power to cast them out. He was accused of doing this by the prince of demons, Beelzebub (Satan). 

He responded the same way He did in the Matthew and Mark accounts: Firstly, it would be absurd for Satan to drive out his own demons because it would weaken his power, position, and kingdom. Secondly, since the followers of the Pharisees drove out demons and claimed it was done by the power of God, they were not only accusing Jesus but their followers as well!

The parable of the strong man can be confusing. The best interpretation is that the strong man refers to Satan, and the stronger man to Christ. The point of the parable is that Jesus is the stronger. He will eventually bind Satan and dispose of him forever (See Revelation 20:2, 10). 

Luke 11:28 is significant. Jesus was saying that the gospel is not limited to Israel but for all who put faith in Christ. This was so contrary to what the Jews had always believed. 

136. Jesus warns against unbelief: Luke 11:29-32

Asking for a sign was a indication of unbelief (1 Corinthians 1:22). I would think that they would have had enough proof by now after all the miracles, healing, and deliverance that Jesus had performed. 

Jesus responded to their challenge by talking about Jonah, who was a Jewish prophet sent to Gentiles, and the Queen of Sheba who was a Gentile who came to visit a Solomon, a Jew (2 Chronicles 9:1-12). Jonah was to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. Just as Jonah experienced death, burial, and resurrection in the belly of a whale on his way to delivering that message, Jesus was predicting that He, too, would experience death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus was saying that His kingdom would be greater than Solomon's. Gentile Nineveh repented and the Queen of Sheba traveled a long way to hear the wisdom of Solomon, but they could not even see that someone great was right there under their noses!

137. Jesus teaches about the light within: Luke 11:33-36

Jesus' teaching was light to them. Their "eyes" were to be receptive to the light so they could see clearly and then shine their light to the world. If they were receptive to the light of His teaching (and aware of and shun darkness that was not of Him), they would be full of light (Psalm 119:130; John 8:12; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Ephesians 5:8-14). Even the bright sun will not benefit a blind man, they needed to take in that light. 

138. Jesus criticizes the religious leaders: Luke 11:37-54

Jesus made it clear that external actions do not produce inner righteousness. He used the example of giving to drive home this point. The only way to make the outside pure is by making the inside pure first. A clean heart produces good fruit. 

Jesus give six "woes" (declarations of condemnation) here that parallel Matthew 23. The first three condemn the Pharisees for majoring on the minor things, following little rules rather than having big hearts of love and justice (Micah 6:7-8). The next three were woes upon the Law experts by placing burdens on the people that kept them away from Jesus' teaching. They hypocritically build tombs for prophets that their fathers had killed! They reject the prophets teaching that point to Jesus. They killed innocent people from Abel (Genesis 4:8) to Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:20-21). A to Z, first innocent person to the last in the Old Testament. 

This made them even angrier and they continued to plot against Him. 


REFLECTION (written in March 2010)

Today, I was hurt very deeply. I feel like I am being "persecuted for doing what is right."  It really upset me too. I cried buckets between 2 and 4 p.m.

As I was in the bathroom crying, I said out loud, "Watch out 'so and so' because when you hurt me, you get bombarded by prayer! It is the best day of your life."  Then, I went to battle for that person's soul. I went into warfare prayer with my friends Kim and Teala too (without them even knowing the name of the person so that it was totally anonymous). It is definitely a blessed day for that person! 

I have no desire for revenge. I just want healing of our relationship and healing of that person's very hard heart. I guess I have always known for a long time of her hardness as I saw her hurt others, but I had never been the target.

She is not in a good place. She has had a trail of broken relationships recently, and I refuse to be another body on that trail that the enemy has laid out for that person. It only leads to that person becoming a very bitter person consumed by hate.

I will fight the battle on my knees!  Deliver us from evil, Lord Jesus!

APPLICATION

Reflect on the Lord's Prayer today. How does your prayer life reflect what Jesus modeled to His followers?

PRAYER

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed by Your name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is 
In heaven

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation 
But deliver us from evil

For Yours is the kingdom
And the power
And the glory
Forever

Amen
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