Living Word Magazine
How to Pray
11:1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he stopped, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John
taught his disciples."
The disciples had been listening to the effective and personal way that Jesus Christ prayed and had been impressed by the way that He did.
So after he had finished they asked Him to teach them how to pray in the same way.
11:2 So he said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, may your name be honored; may your kingdom come.
He began by showing them that it is necessary to have a right relationship with God and to acknowledge this at the start "Our Father". To those who are saved this relationship through Christ is that of an heavenly Father "Our Father in Heaven". God has the nature of a Father that surpasses any that a earthly father can have for his child. In this son/daughter relationship it is important to always remember that God is Holy that is Name is to be revered above all else. We are to pray that the reign or rule of God shall be extended throughout the world in the hearts and lives of men and women and ultimately to the coming of Jesus Christ. This is further endorsed by praying for His will to be fulfilled in earth as it is in heaven.
11:3 Give us each day our daily bread.
Prayer is to be made for daily needs to be met e.g. food.
11:4 And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And do not lead us into temptation.
Confession of sin and asking for forgiveness comes hand in hand with our need to forgive anyone who has offended or done us wrong (1 John 1:9 and Matt. 6:14). Ask for His strength to resist temptations and His Divine power to protect from the Devil.
The Power of Prayer
11:5-6 Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine has stopped here while on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him.'
Jesus gives an illustration to show the importance of persisting in prayer. If an unexpected guest arrives late in the evening and you have nothing in the house to give him in desperation you would go to a friend's house even though it was very late and ask him to help you out.
11:7 Then he will reply from inside, 'Do not bother me. The door is already shut, and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything.'
It is reasonable to expect the friend not to be very happy about being waken from his sleep and not willing to get up, disturb his children and open his door to oblige his neighbour and so he tells him straight.
11:8 I tell you, even though the man inside will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of the first man's sheer persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
Although the man will not get up and give to him as friend yet because of his persistence he will do so and answer his request.
11:9 So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.
So it is as we are persistent in our prayers to God, as we keep seeking His face and keep knocking at the door of heaven we will find the answer and the door of heaven will be opened up to us.
11:10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Everyone who asks the Father in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and will not give up will receive (John 14:14).
11:11-12 What father among you, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
To bring home this truth Jesus uses the example of a son who asks his devoted father for something specific to eat e.g. bread and fish. He would not give the opposite to what his son asked him or give him anything that would harm him e.g. stone, serpent, scorpion.
11:13 If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
If then being sinful people we know how to give good gifts to our children then how much more will our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (James 1: 17).
11:14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the man who had been mute began to speak, and the crowds were amazed.
A man was brought to Jesus who was possessed by a demon that had taken away his ability to speak. Jesus cast the demon out and the man regain his power to speak and the multitudes were amazed by this.
11:15 But some of them said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons, he casts out demons."
However, the Pharisees (see Matthew 9:34) accused Him of casting out demons with the help of Beelzebub, the Devil , the ruler of all demons. This was their blasphemy for they were attributing to the Devil what only could be the power of God.
11:16 Others, to test him, began asking for a sign from heaven.
Others in the crowd trying to test Him demanded that they show them a miraculous sign from heaven that would prove His authority.
11:17 But Jesus, realizing their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and a divided household falls.
But since Jesus knew all that they were thinking told them that if a kingdom is divided by civil war it is heading for destruction. An household that is not united will fall.
11:18 So if Satan too is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? I ask you this because you claim that I cast out demons by Beelzebul.
So if Satan whose purpose it is to destroy the works of God and to bring people into bondage works against himself by doing good (an impossibility) then how can his kingdom of darkness last. For they had accused Him of casting out demons in the name of the Devil.
11:19 Now if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
He asks them how can it be if He casts out demons with the help and power of the Devil in whose name to their sons cast demons out. Therefore, they will condemn them for what they have said about Jesus.
11:20 But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has already overtaken you.
If Jesus Christ drives out demons by the power of God then the Kingdom of God has arrived and is made known among them.
11:21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his possessions are safe.
When Satan has taken possession of a person he is like a strong man armed to the teeth and guards his property against any who seek to take it from him.
11:22 But when a stronger man attacks and conquers him, he takes away the first man's armor on which the man relied and divides up his plunder.
It is only when someone who is far stronger than he is overpowers and strips him of his weapons that Satan's captives are set free (Gen: 3:15, Col:2:15, and Heb. 2:14-15) .
11:23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Whoever does not believe and stands firm with Jesus Christ opposes Him and anyone who is not working with Him is working against Him.
11:24 When an unclean spirit goes out of a person, it passes through waterless places looking for rest but not finding any. Then it says, 'I will return to the home I left.
When an unclean spirit leaves a person it goes wandering about in wilderness places searching for somewhere to rest. When it cannot find anywhere it will return to the person that it came from.
11:25-26 When it returns, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there, so the last state of that person is worse than the first.
When he finds that person cleansed and made whole through the blood of Jesus Christ but not being filled with Christ he will go and find another seven unclean spirits more evil than himself and will enter in and remain there. The last state of that person will be worse than it was before he was set free by Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:20-22).
11:27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd spoke out to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!"
As Jesus was speaking with the people a woman in the crowd who had been impressed by the words that He spoke shouted out to Him that the mother who gave birth to Him and nursed Him was extremely blessed to have had the privilege of having a son such as He.
11:28 But he replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!"
However, Jesus' reply to this remark brings home the truth concerning peoples need to respond to the Word of God. It is not who our parents are or what our position in life that brings the blessing of God upon us but how we respond to the Word of God and obey it. Jesus said supremely blessed are those who not only hear but obey the Word of God (Rom. 2:13, James 1:22, and Acts 2:40-41).
11:29 As the crowds were increasing, Jesus began to say, "This generation is a wicked generation; it looks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.
As the crowds began to increase in number Jesus challenges them with the reason why they have come to hear and see Him. He calls them an evil generation because they were always looking for sign, a miracle to persuade them to believe that He was indeed the Son of God, the promised Messiah (see verse 16). He tells them straight that the only sign that will given to them is the sign of Jonah (Jonah 1:17). It is clear from this that Jesus was telling them that the as Jonah was swallowed by a great fish and was in its belly for three days so He the Son of God would be in the grave for three days and then would rise from the dead.
11:30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be a sign to this generation.
As Jonah went throughout Ninevah warning of the Judgment of God that would fall upon the city unless they repented so Jesus Christ had come to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God and to warn of the wrath that would come on those who do not repent and believe and receive Him as the Son of God and Saviour of the World.
11:31 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon — and now, something greater than Solomon is here!
The Queen of Sheba who came from a great distance hear the wisdom of Solomon would stand as a witness against this generation in the day of Judgment and condemn it for its unbelief. Jesus Christ who stood amongst them was far greater than Solomon.
11:32 The people of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented when Jonah preached to them — and now, something greater than Jonah is here!
The people of Ninevah will also condemn it in that Day of Judgment because they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Jesus Christ who is greater than Jonah had come and preached to them and they refused to repent.
The Light has Come
11:33 No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a hidden place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who come in can see the light.
No one who lights a lamp will put a basket over the top of it to hide its light so anyone who receives the "Light of the World" Jesus Christ as their Lord Saviour, will want to hide the revelation that he has received and is a partaker of but will want to tell others. If a person is truly Christ's then the Light that dwells cannot fail to be seen by those around him/her.
11:34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is diseased, your body is full of darkness.
It is through the light that enters the eye that we are able to see things that is why Jesus says, "the lamp of the body is the eye". If there is nothing wrong with our eyes then we are able to see perfectly. If the heart is centered on Christ and He is in us and we are in Him then the actions of mind and body will correspondence to the life of Christ (Col. 3:1-2 and Philip. 2:5).
11:35 Therefore see to it that the light in you is not darkness.
Make certain that what we believe in is what we have received from Christ for He is "the Way, the Truth and the Life". Take time to meditate on the Word of God and to wait in His presence and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ (John 14: 26).
11:36 If then your whole body is full of light, with no part in the dark, it will be as full of light as when the light of a lamp shines on you.
If the Truth is in us, if we abide in Christ and Christ abides in us, then our whole being is full of light and will be a light to all (1 John 1:7).
Verse 33 - 36 are a preparation for our final heading as Jesus uncovers the hypocrisy of the religious leaders in His day.
11:37-38 As he spoke, a Pharisee invited Jesus to have a meal with him, so he went in and took his place at the table. The Pharisee was astonished when he saw that Jesus did not first wash his hands before the meal.
As Jesus was speaking with the people a Pharisee came and asked Him to dinner. So He went and sat at his table and began to eat the meal. The Pharisee was shocked to see Jesus eating without having washed His hands. It was not from a cleanliness point that the Pharisee was shocked but the fact that Jesus had not conformed to the religious ceremony of washing hands.
11:39 But the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
Jesus uses the occasion to show the hypocrisy, or pretense, of the person who makes an outward show of being Godly, or a follower of Christ, but their hearts are not right with God. They are full of greed and wickedness.
11:40-41 You fools! Didn't the one who made the outside make the inside as well? But give from your heart to those in need, and then everything will be clean for you.
He calls them "fools" because they used their outward appearance as a clock for the sin within them. But God who made body and soul was not fooled (Psalm 14:1). Instead of paying so much attention to outward appearance it is better to show benevolence to the poor and needed out of a compassionate heart. This will show that a work has been done within the soul.
11:42-43 But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of your mint, rue, and every herb, yet you neglect justice and love for God! But you should have done these things without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! You love the best seats in the synagogues and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces!
The Pharisees were very careful to give a tenth of all that they had even to the herbs they grew. Although they were so particular in tithing they neglected to do justice according to God's Word and the love of God was not in them. They left it to others to do. They also loved to sit in the seat of honour in the synagogues and to receive respectful greetings in public places. Because of this would suffer great sorrow.
11:44 Woe to you! You are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it!
They are like unmarked graves that people are not aware they are walking on. To the people that they have contact with every day they did not look any different to anyone else but inwardly they were corrupt.
11:45 One of the experts in religious law answered him, "Teacher, when you say these things you insult us too."
One of the Scribes who were experts in the law of Moses was offended by what Jesus had said to them although up to now he add addressed His remarks to the Pharisees.
11:46 But Jesus replied, "Woe to you experts in religious law as well! You load people down with burdens difficult to bear, yet you yourselves refuse to touch the burdens with even one of your fingers!
So He turns His attention to the Scribes, lawyers, and tells them they are no different to the Pharisees they are just as big a hypocrites, pretenders. They are experts in the law but they use them to lay heavy burdens upon the people that crush them and they do not lift a finger to help.
11:47 Woe to you! You build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed.
Great sorrow will come upon them for they build monuments for the prophets that their forefathers had killed.
11:48 So you testify that you approve of the deeds of your ancestors, because they killed the prophets and you build their tombs!
By doing this they show that they approved of what their ancesters did; they killed the prophets and the present generation build their monuments.
11:49-50 For this reason also the wisdom of God said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,' so that this generation may be held accountable for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world.
For this reason the Wisdom of God (which is Jesus Christ) said that He would send them prophets and apostles and that they would kill some of them. This present generation will be charged with the death of all God's prophets who had been killed from the creation of the world.
11:51 From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation.
From the murder of Abel by his brother Cain up to Zechariah the prophet who was murdered between the alter and the sanctuary. This bloodshed will be laid at the feet of this generation who rejected Christ, the Messiah.
11:52 Woe to you experts in religious law! You have taken away the key to knowledge! You did not go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.
How terrible it will be for the Scribes for they were given the key to the Kindom of God through His Word but they choose not to use it themselves and hindered those who wanted to enter in.
11:53 When he went out from there, the experts in the law and the Pharisees began to oppose him bitterly, and to ask him hostile questions about many things.
As Jesus was leaving the scribes and the Pharisees became hostile towards Him and began to provoke Him with many questions.
11:54 Plotting against him, to catch him in something he might say.
They watched and plotted against Jesus Christ hoping to catch Him out in something He might say so that they could make a charge against Him that would warrant His being put to death.
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