Luke 11

Luke 11 begins with a clinic on prayer.  Jesus tells us to pray like this: “Father, hallowed be  your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation”.  Luke’s version of the Lord’s prayer is shorter than captured elsewhere in the gospels, but it gives us some wise direction on prayer:

  • Start by recognizing who is being prayed to – our Father
  • Give Him the honor He deserves – hallowed be your name
  • Recognize that it is His plan that will be accomplished – your kingdom come
  • Ask for the needs of the day – give us each day our daily bread
  • Ask for forgiveness – and forgive us our sins
  • Forgive those who have sinned against us – for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us
  • Protect us – and lead us not into temptation

There is power in prayer.  Jesus tells the crowd this way.  “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened”. Prayer isn’t complicated.  We have an example on how to pray, and a promise from Jesus and in scripture that prayer works.  Plus we have thousands of years of history that demonstrate that truth.  We’re told to ‘ask, seek, knock’.  It’s not hard.  But it does require us to do something.  We have to take action.  And that is where we seem to struggle.  It’s free, it’s powerful, it works – yet we can’t seem to make time to do it.  The disciples wrestled with it too.

Jesus is asked to come eat with one of the Pharisees and as expected, was immediately under attack.  So He turned the tables on them.  He first shared a list of things the Pharisees were doing that were wrong:

  • “you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness
  • you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect  justice and the love of God
  • you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces
  • you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it”

These religious leaders really didn’t get it.  They were stuck on themselves, and ignored their real job of caring for the people.  They didn’t demonstrate the love of God but rather merely focused on getting all they could for self.  Jesus calls them to the carpet.

But He doesn’t stop there because one of the lawyers answered him.  This isn’t a lawyer as we know them today, but rather an expert in the interpretation and application of the Law of Moses.  He was an enforcer of the law amongst the people.  He should have kept quiet, but since he spoke, that opened the door for another list of things from Jesus that this group of individuals was doing:

  • you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers
  • you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed
  • you have taken away the key of  knowledge.  You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering

None of this set well with the leaders of the day, and they were looking for a way to catch Him doing something they could accuse Him of.  Rather than receive His correction and God’s truth, they purposed to attack Him and remove the discomfort from their lives.

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