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We have in this Chapter our Lord teaching his Disciples to pray. He works a Miracle in casting out a Devil. He preacheth to the People; and pronounceth a Woe upon the Scribes and Pharisees.
(1) And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. (2) And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. (3) Give us, day by day, our daily bread. (4) And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. (5) And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; (6) For a friend of mine in his journey is come unto me, and I have nothing to set before him? (7) And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. (8) I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. (9) And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (10) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth: and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (11) If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? (12) Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? (13) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
It should be observed in this place, that though the form of prayer here delivered by Luke, differs not, in anything material from that recorded by Matthew, (Matthew 6:9 ) yet Jesus was now in Judea; whereas, then he was in Galilee. And moreover, the prayer was then, according to Matthew, delivered in the midst of Christ's preaching. Here we are told, he himself was praying. I need not tell the Reader (indeed the limits and designs of this Poor Man's Commentary would not permit me,) how much hath been said for and against the use of this prayer by the Lord's people. Doubtless it is a very blessed, a very comprehensive prayer, and every petition in it truly spiritual; and contains, more or less, everything of what the prayer of the faithful ought to be. And, according to what Luke hath here said, it should seem to decide the point. He doth not use the same expression as Matthew did, when recording the words of Christ: After this manner, therefore, pray ye; but he positively saith, When ye pray, say, Our Father, etc.
Our Lord beautifully illustrates the holy importunity of prayer, under the figure of a friend arising at midnight; and at length prevailing over all the arguments brought against him by his unwearied earnestness, which will take no refusal. The Lord loves a fervency in spirit. Scripture hath furnished several striking instances of its effect and success. Genesis 32:24-29; Genesis 32:24-29 ; Luke 18:1-8 .
(14) And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. (15) But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils. (16) And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. (17) But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. (18) If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. (19) And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. (20) But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. (21) When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: (22) But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. (23) He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. (24) When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. (25) And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. (26) Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
I have very largely dwelt on this subject in the parallel passage, Matthew 12:24-30 . I therefore refer the Reader to it.
(27) And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. (28) But he said, Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
There is somewhat very singular in this relation. A certain woman of the company. What company? Not of the company of them who charged Christ with casting out devils through Beelzebub. Probably of the people that, it is said, wondered at Jesus's miracle, which he had, just before this discourse, wrought, (Luke 11:14 ). This woman, it should seem, was so struck with the miracle, and the discourse which followed, that she could not contain expressing her astonishment in the words here recorded. But from our Lord's answer, it doth not appear as if Jesus regarded her as one of his people. Natural feelings will sometimes ascend great heights: but nature is not grace. Numbers heard Jesus, and wondered at the gracious things which proceeded out of his mouth: but here the whole ended. Oh! Reader! how sure is it that the saving effectual call of every sinner is of God!
(29) And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. (30) For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. (31) The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgement with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon: and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. (32) The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas: and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (33) No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light (34) The light of the body is the eye; therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness, (35) Take heed therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness. (36) If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
Our Lord's discourse in this place, illustrated as it is by those beautiful histories of the Queen of the South, and the Men of Nineveh, deserves our awakened attention. Jesus plainly shows that his Gospel, in his own open and free preaching of it, became a candle placed most conveniently for giving light, and not obscurely hid. But such was the prejudice of darkened nature, that the very light arising out of it, like the vicious humours of the body, only tended to render it indistinct. Both the Queen of the South, and the Men of Nineveh, must alike arise to condemn the generation before whom Christ preached. For the former came from a vast distance to hear the mere wisdom of a man; but they passed by in their own streets with contempt, and staid not to hear the wisdom of the Son of God. And the latter fell down in sorrow and sackcloth, at the preaching of Jonas, from a single sermon; whereas, the repeated discourses of Jesus were utterly disregarded by them, and despised.
(37) And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him. And he went in, and sat down to meat. (38) And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner. (39) And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. (40) Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without, make that which is within also? (41) But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.
We had an account of Jesus eating with a Pharisee, Luke 7:36 , which see. And here is the relation of another. Our Lord took all occasions to manifest the object for which he came on earth. And certainly we have abundant reason to bless our gracious Lord for this condescension; for this dinner party, as well as the former visit to the Pharisee's house, afford some very sweet and profitable instructions. Our Lord's shewing in what real uncleanness consists, is a rich sermon taught us at this Pharisee's table.
(42) But, woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue, and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgement, and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (43) Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. (44) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them. (45) Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying, thou reproachest us also. (46) And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. (47) Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. (48) Truly ye bear witness, that ye allow the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. (49) Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: (50) That the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; (51) From the blood of Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. (52) Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye enter not in yourselves. And them that were entering in ye hindered.
I am inclined to think that though Luke hath recorded in this place those words of Christ, yet they were not spoken in the house of the Pharisee. For we do not read, that when this Pharisee desired Jesus to dine with him, that there were any others invited. And if not, how should such a company as it should seem of the Scribes and Pharisees have been so gathered, as for the Lord to preach to.
Moreover, Matthew hath related this discourse nearly in the same words as if delivered in the temple; so that unless our Lord preached it twice, once in the temple, and now again in the house of the Pharisee, it should rather seem, that Luke hath only recorded it in this place after the Pharisee's dinner, and not as in the Pharisee's house. But I pray the Reader to observe, that here, as upon all other doubtful occasions, I never speak decidedly. Let the sermon have been preached wherever it might have been, it is a solemn one indeed; and, coming from him who searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins, the contents of it are enough to make the ears of them that hear it to tingle with alarm at the awful state of such awful characters! See Matthew 23:13 to the end.
(53) And, as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things; (54) Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.
I beg the Reader to attend to the expressions in these verses. We read that those sworn foes of Christ began to urge him and to provoke him; but we do not read that Jesus felt hurt. What the Lord said, no doubt, was, as the former part of his discourse, full of denunciations against those whited sepulchres, as he called them: but no guile was found in his mouth. Precious Lord Jesus! give thy people grace to consider thine unequalled meekness, in enduring such contradiction of sinners against thyself that we may never be weary nor faint in our minds. Hebrews 12:3 .
Dearest Lord Jesus! I would say for myself, and all thy redeemed family, teach us to pray, and with what words to come before the Lord, in all our soul exercises, and wants, and conflicts, and trials. Do thou, dear Lord! by the sweet influences of thine Holy Spirit, both spread thy fullness, cause us to feel our need, excite a spiritual appetite, and open a constant source of communion, that, from thy fullness, we may all receive and grace for grace! And oh! for a fervor in prayer, awakened by the Holy Ghost! that, like the friend at midnight, and Jacob at Bethel, never may we go to the mercy-seat, and come away empty; but, like the great father of the praying seed, in the same spirit of faith to tell our God, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And, oh Lord! grant that neither the Queen of the South, nor the Ninevites, may bring reproach upon thy people! No Solomon like our Solomon - no preaching of Jonah like the preaching of our Lord Jesus Christ! Precious Master! let neither the awful state of Pharisee blindness, nor the wretched delusion of Jewish ignorance, be in the lot of thy redeemed, in all generations of thy Church. Oh! for grace to sit at thy feet, to hear thy word! that through the blessed illumination of God the Holy Ghost, our whole body, as thou hast said, being full of light, and having no part dark, the whole may be full of light! Jesus, the sun of righteousness, shining as when the bright shining of a candle doth give the people light.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Luke 11". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12