Monday, February 29
Week Four of 42 Days through Good News according to Luke
Luke 11:1-28 — Teaching on prayer
1 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:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
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 nothing to set before 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 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; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for 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!”
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 armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.
23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
24 “When an evil spirit comes out of anyone, 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.”
Points of Interest:
- (v.1) “Lord, teach us to pray’’—His followers have seen Jesus go off alone to pray many times, and they’ve been invited to accompany Him a couple of times now. It’s cultivated in them a desire to pray like He prays.
- (v.2) “Father”—the prayer starts out very simple and direct, and it’s based on an intimate relationship with God. There are no flowery phrases and no flattery of God involved. This prayer comes out of a confidence that the ones praying are privileged children of the one to whom they are praying.
- (v.2) “hallowed be your name”—in other words, “May your name be holy.” Holy means, “set apart.” It essentially means, “May You be recognized for how special You really are.”
- (v.3) “Give us each day our daily bread”—a reference to the Israelites when Moses led them through the desert. There was not enough food for all of them; but each day God would send them manna, a sort of miracle flour out of which they made bread. Jesus is suggesting that we ask God to provide for us everything we need each day, just like He did for the Israelites in the desert.
- (v.4) “lead us not into temptation”—we can depend on God not only to forgive us our sins, but to give us the strength to avoid them in the future.
- (v.19) “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, He is driving out demons”—it’s unclear exactly who Beelzebul is. It could be another name for the devil, or another high-ranking demon. It seems that it’s even possible that they make him up right here on the spot as a plausible explanation for Jesus’ success (Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels 164). There’s also some disagreement about what the name means, but it might mean, “master of the house,” an interpretation Jesus may be picking up on in his story about the house being plundered (Illustrated Bible Dictionary 154 ).
- (v.28) “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it”—it’s true that Mary is blessed. Both the angel Gabriel and Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, exclaimed how blessed she is at the beginning of our story (Luke 1:28, 42). But here Jesus stresses that her blessing is not exclusive; it’s available to anyone who, like Mary, takes the word of God seriously.
Taking it home:
- For you: Try praying Jesus’ prayer aloud today—if possible, with your family or roommates. For some of you, it might be a completely new experience. For others of you, it brings up bad memories of rote prayers you didn’t really understand or believe. For yet others of you, it’s a familiar, meaningful practice already. Regardless of your previous history with the Lord’s prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to give you a fresh and lively connection with God as you pray. Take some time to put your words into Jesus’ phrases, making the language your own and your requests more specific.
- For your Six: Are you aware of something that one of your Six needs? Ask Jesus to give you what you need to meet that need. Jesus loves to help us love our friends.
- For our church/ILTJ: Ask Jesus to teach us to pray often and with faith. Pray for record participation in all of our prayer events. Pray for special insight and Holy Spirit leading for those praying for people after our services and our pastoral prayer team. Pray for hundreds of people to be part of the week of prayer in a couple weeks and the Prayer vigil on March 18 & 19.
- To Talk About: We start today with Jesus teaching us how to pray and end the day with Him saying, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” One way we can start this is by copying Jesus and praying the way He showed us how to pray.
- To Do: Take some time as a family to pray the Lord’s Prayer out loud today. For younger kids, you can say it and then repeat it a line at a time. I would encourage memorizing this one as a family. Maybe print out a copy and put it on the fridge or bathroom mirror as a reminder to pray it often.