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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Luke 11

 

 


Other Authors
Verses 1-54

Luke 11:1. Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. The disciples of John were eminent for fasting and prayer; and though the prayers of the jews were good, yet they were not exactly adapted to the new dispensation which John came to introduce. The litanies or pleadings of the jews were brief, but their doxologies were numerous.

Luke 11:2. Our Father which art in heaven. The last words of this sentence are not in the Vulgate, but they are understood in the word Father; for God is in heaven. This prayer is pure and comprehensive, exact in order, and beautiful in sentiment. It is an epitome of the worship of the christian church, and supplies all defects when recited at the close of prayer. — See the illustration in Matthew 6:9.

Thy kingdom come. This being the key word in evangelical preaching, some improved form of prayer was wanted in the church. And if our gospel be from heaven, it must imply, as far as human frailty will admit, that the will of God should be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Luke 11:4. Indebted to us. The jews often used the word sin and debt as equivalent terms. In Exodus 32. we read, This people hath sinned a sin; where the targum reads, This people hath owed a debt. See Matthew 6:11. As we owe our existence, and the whole devotion of life to God, every defect of obedience may very properly be called a debt; and a debt we can never pay. Yet the term does not comprise the whole of our ideas concerning sin, because guilt is consequent on sin. No satisfaction therefore could be made for sin, and no payment of the debt but by the great sacrifice of the cross. This, in every view, is a vicarious sacrifice, and satisfaction for our sins; whereas a simple debt might be paid by any one for his friend.

Deliver us from evil. A very considerable number of the fathers expound this of the wicked one, who picks away the good seed. Matthew 13. He is the author of all evil. — The close of this prayer is beautiful and happy. Deliver us, oh heavenly Father, for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory.

It may amuse some readers to give a copy in verse of the Lord’s prayer, as found in the reign of Henry the second, and about the year 1185. It is a production purely Saxon, and destitute of any Latin or French word.

Vre fadyr in heaven rich,

Thy name be halyed ever lich:

Thou bring us thy michell bliss,

Als hit in heaven y-doe,

Evar in yearth beene it also:

That holy bread that lasteth ay, (ever)

Thou send it ous this ilke day.

Forgive us all that we have don,

As we forgivet uch other mon:

Ne let us fall into no found ing,

Ac shield ous fro the fowl thing. — Amen.

Luke 11:13. How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him. This great promise of the Holy Spirit our Saviour made more privately to his disciples, to encourage them to pray; but when he used the like argument to the mixed multitude on the mount, he changed the phrase to the good things usually asked in prayer. We should especially note that the good things are gifts from heaven to comfort our hearts, and encourage us in the worship of God. Nor should we cease to pray till we obtain the things that we ask.

Luke 11:15. Beelzebub. This demon was supposed to preside over idolatry in Ekron, and other towns of Syria. See Matthew 12:31.

Luke 11:20. If I with the finger, the Spirit, of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. This reply to the malicious slanders of the pharisees is given also by two other evangelists. Matthew 12. Mark 3. It was absurd to suppose that Satan was engaged in war against himself. If so, by whom do your children eject demons? You admit the miracles of the holy prophets; why then slander these miracles effectuated by the same power?

Luke 11:24. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man — he saith, I will return to my house whence I came out. Matthew 12:43. Hear this speech, oh thou once liberated but now degenerate professor. Once thy heart was full of love; but by falling back the fire is extinguished, except some sparks of good desire. By allowing all the former sentiments of sin to revive, Satan still calls your heart his house, where your lurking lusts are ready to receive the murderer, like a house swept and furnished. What, oh man, shall that heart, once a habitation of God through the Spirit, receive back the destroyer.

Luke 11:37-38. A certain pharisee — marvelled that he had not washed before dinner, as in Mark 7:4. The jews boasted that Solomon was the author of this law. Dr. Lightfoot translates a passage out of Erubhin, page 21, to show the emphasis which the pharisees laid on the washing of hands. “When rabbi Akibah was in prison, rabbi Joshua attended him as reader. He brought him water daily by measure. The keeper one day stopped him, and said he had too much water. On which he gave him the half. On coming to Akibah he related the case. Akibah said, give me water to wash my hands. The other rejoined, there is not enough for you to drink, why then waste any in washing your hands? Akibah exclaimed, what shall I do in a breach [of a tradition] which incurs the guilt of death? It is better that I should die [of thirst] than transgress against the mind of my colleagues.”

Luke 11:41. Give alms of such things as ye have, and behold all things are clean to you. Many of the versions vary the reading: τα ενοντα, which Montanus turns, inexistentia. Then the sense will be, give alms of what is in your power; and behold, all things are clean to you: to the pure all things are pure. The spirit of the precept is, that purity of heart is preferable to cleanness of hands. Daniel gave the same advice to Nebuchadnezzar, whose hands were deeply imbued in rapine and blood. Wherefore, oh king, let my counsel be acceptable to thee. Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility. Daniel 4:27.

Luke 11:46. Burdens grievous to be borne. The enormous charges of lawyers and of other professional men have been complained of in all ages. Access to courts of justice is now so expensive that prudent men often prefer loss to legal redress. The man who earns but one or two shillings per day, cannot afford to employ a servant who thinks that five guineas are a bare compensation for a short day of services. There is however a just Judge who will settle the embarrassed account. But a second application of this text is, that the scribes burdened the people with a load of traditions, while they themselves indulged in licentiousness.

Luke 11:51. Zacharias. The martyrdom of this holy priest is thrown into a separate article in 2 Chronicles 24. The jews have a legendary tradition, that his blood boiled up for two hundred and fifty two years, from the days of Joash to Zedekiah; and when that Nebuzaradan, who was left in command at Jerusalem, Jeremiah 40:1, came to understand the true cause of the phenomenon, he slew eighty thousand priests, and the whole sanhedrim; and yet it could not be staunched. Dr. Lightfoot very justly thinks the bubbling up of the blood, and its flowing from the spot where Zacharias was slain in a stream to his tomb, a figure of rhetoric by which the nation expressed the atrocity of the murder.

Luke 11:52. Ye have taken away the key of knowledge. The rabbins did this two ways; first, by disfiguring the law with tradition, and secondly, by making themselves a sort of oracles to the nation. Hence, it was our Saviour’s constant aim to rescue the original purity of the law.

Luke 11:53. The pharisees began to urge him vehemently with questions about many points, to find accusations against him, either as to his being the Messiah, or to utter some political sentences which they might construe into sedition. Of such wrongs David made grievous complaints, that his enemies privily laid snares for his feet.

REFLECTIONS.

Devotion is the glory of man, because it gives to God the glory and worship due to his holy name. All are here taught to address the deity as the Father and Lord of heaven and earth. Devotion elevates the soul, purifies the heart, and leaves a glory on the countenance. It communicates peace of conscience, and revives every sentiment of divine enjoyment. It expands the intellect to an enlargement in prayer, teaches us to hallow his sacred name, gives us to enjoy the blessings of his kingdom, and to live the life of heaven upon earth. It trusts him for daily bread, and reflects the remission on our neighbour which we ourselves have received of the Lord. It deprecates evil, and confides our defence to Him whose kingdom fills both heaven and earth; yea, it loses itself in the ascriptions of glory to him whose power and dominion are from everlasting to everlasting.

The wants of man being great, and the supplies absolute, the arguments of perseverance and importunity in prayer are surprisingly pertinent and happy. The individual who denied loaves to his friend at midnight, though he was his friend; yet yielding to his importunity, demonstrates the assurance of success in prayer; for our heavenly Father is infinitely kinder than the best of men.

The reply of the Lord to the woman who pronounced the virgin mother happy, is pertinent, and consoling to the mind: yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it. Mary was only the mother of Christ according to the flesh; but those who hear the joyful sound are born of the incorruptible word of God, which lives and abides for ever. They hear the glories of Christ illustrated, the unsearchable riches of his grace declared, and are nourished with the milk of the word till they grow to the stature of Christ. — But we must not overlook the adjection, to hear, and to keep the word of God; for Christ is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 11:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/luke-11.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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