Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
Lu 11:1-13. The Disciples Taught to Pray.
1. one, &c.—struck with either the matter or the manner of our Lord's prayers.
as John, &c.—From this reference to John, it is possible that disciple had not heard the Sermon on the Mount. Nothing of John's inner teaching (to his own disciples) has been preserved to us, but we may be sure he never taught his disciples to say, "Our Father."
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.
2-4. (See on Mt 6:9-13).
Give us day by day our daily bread.
3. day by day, &c.—an extension of the petition in Matthew for "this day's" supply, to every successive day's necessities. The closing doxology, wanting here, is wanting also in all the best and most ancient copies of Matthew's Gospel. Perhaps our Lord purposely left that part open: and as the grand Jewish doxologies were ever resounding, and passed immediately and naturally, in all their hallowed familiarity into the Christian Church, probably this prayer was never used in the Christian assemblies but in its present form, as we find it in Matthew, while in Luke it has been allowed to stand as originally uttered.
And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
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;
5-8. at midnight … for a friend is come—The heat in warm countries makes evening preferable to-day for travelling; but "midnight" is everywhere a most unseasonable hour of call, and for that very reason it is here selected.
For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
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.
7. Trouble me not—the trouble making him insensible both to the urgency of the case and the claims of friendship.
I cannot—without exertion which he would not make.
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.
8. importunity—The word is a strong one—"shamelessness"; persisting in the face of all that seemed reasonable, and refusing to take a denial.
as many, &c.—His reluctance once overcome, all the claims of friendship and necessity are felt to the full. The sense is obvious: If the churlish and self-indulgent—deaf both to friendship and necessity—can after a positive refusal, be won over, by sheer persistency, to do all that is needed, how much more may the same determined perseverance in prayer be expected to prevail with Him whose very nature is "rich unto all that call upon Him" (Ro 10:12).
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.
9-13. (See on Mt 7:7-11.)
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
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?
Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
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?
13. the Holy Spirit—in Matthew (Mt 7:11), "good gifts"; the former, the Gift of gifts descending on the Church through Christ, and comprehending the latter.
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.
Lu 11:14-36. Blind and Dumb Demoniac Healed—Charge of Being in League with Hell, and Reply—Demand of a Sign, and Reply.
(See on Mt 12:22-45.)
14. dumb—blind also (Mt 12:22).
But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.
And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.
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.
If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.
And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.
But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
20. the finger of God—"the Spirit of God" (Mt 12:28); the former figuratively denoting the power of God, the latter the living Personal Agent in every exercise of it.
When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:
21, 22. strong man—meaning Satan.
armed—pointing to all the subtle and varied methods by which he wields his dark power over men.
his palace—man whether viewed more largely or in individual souls—how significant of what men are to Satan!
in peace—undisturbed, secure in his possession.
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.
22. a stronger than he—Christ: Glorious title, in relation to Satan!
come upon him and overcome him—sublimely expressing the Redeemer's approach, as the Seed of the woman, to bruise the Serpent's head.
taketh from him all his armour—"his panoply," "his complete armor." Vain would be the victory, were not the means of regaining his lost power wrested from him. It is this that completes the triumph and ensures the final overthrow of his kingdom. The parable that immediately follows (Lu 11:24-26) is just the reverse of this. (See on Mt 12:43-45.) In the one case, Satan is dislodged by Christ, and so finds, in all future assaults, the house preoccupied; in the other, he merely goes out and comes in again, finding the house "EMPTY" (Mt 12:44) of any rival, and all ready to welcome him back. This explains the important saying that comes in between the two parables (Lu 11:23). Neutrality in religion there is none. The absence of positive attachment to Christ involves hostility to Him.
He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
23. gathereth … scattereth—referring probably to gleaners. The meaning seems to be, Whatever in religion is disconnected from Christ comes to nothing.
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.
And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.
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.
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.
27, 28. as he spake these things, a … woman of the company—of the multitude, the crowd. A charming little incident and profoundly instructive. With true womanly feeling, she envies the mother of such a wonderful Teacher. Well, and higher and better than she had said as much before her (Lu 1:28, 42); and our Lord is far from condemning it. He only holds up—as "blessed rather"—the hearers and keepers of God's word; in other words, the humblest real saint of God. (See on Mt 12:49, 50.) How utterly alien is this sentiment from the teaching of the Church of Rome, which would excommunicate any one of its members who dared to talk in the spirit of this glorious saying! (Also see on Mt 12:43.)
But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
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.
29-32. (See on Mt 12:39-42.)
For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment 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.
The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
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.
33-36. (See on Mt 5:14-16; Mt 6:22, 23.) But Lu 11:36 here is peculiarly vivid, expressing what pure, beautiful, broad perceptions the clarity of the inward eye imparts.
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.
Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.
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.
And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.
Lu 11:37-54. Denunciation of the Pharisees.
And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.
38. marvelled, &c.—(See Mr 7:2-4).
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.
39-41. cup and platter—remarkable example of our Lord's way of drawing the most striking illustrations of great truths from the most familiar objects and incidents of life.
Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?
40. that which is without, &c.—that is, He to whom belongs the outer life, and right to demand its subjection to Himself—is the inner man less His?
But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.
41. give alms … and … all … clean—a principle of immense value. As the greed of these hypocrites was one of the most prominent features of their character (Lu 16:14; Mt 23:14), our Lord bids them exemplify the opposite character, and then their outside, ruled by this, would be beautiful in the eye of God, and their meals would be eaten with clean hands, though never so fouled with the business of this worky world. (See Ec 9:7).
But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
42. mint … rue, &c.—rounding on Le 27:30, which they interpreted rigidly. Our Lord purposely names the most trifling products of the earth, as examples of what they punctiliously exacted the tenth of.
judgment and the love of God—in Mt 23:25, "judgment, mercy, and faith." The reference is to Mic 6:6-8, whose third element of all acceptable religion, "walking humbly with God," comprehends both "love" and "faith." (See on Mr 12:29; Mr 12:32, 33). The same tendency to merge greater duties in less besets us still, but it is the characteristic of hypocrites.
these ought ye, &c.—There is no need for one set of duties to jostle out another; but of the greater, our Lord says, "Ye ought to have done" them; of the lesser, only "ye ought not to leave them undone."
Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.
43. uppermost seats—(See on Lu 14:7-11).
greetings—(See on Mt 23:7-10).
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.
44. appear not, &c.—As one might unconsciously walk over a grave concealed from view, and thus contract ceremonial defilement, so the plausible exterior of the Pharisees kept people from perceiving the pollution they contracted from coming in contact with such corrupt characters. (See Ps 5:9; Ro 3:13; a different illustration from Mt 23:27).
Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.
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.
46. burdens grievous, &c.—referring not so much to the irksomeness of the legal rites (though they were irksome, Ac 15:10), as to the heartless rigor with which they were enforced, and by men of shameless inconsistency.
Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
47, 48. ye build, &c.—Out of pretended respect and honor, they repaired and beautified the sepulchres of the prophets, and with whining hypocrisy said, "If we had been in the days of our fathers, we should not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets," while all the time they "were witnesses to themselves that they were the children of them that killed the prophets" (Mt 23:29, 30); convicting themselves daily of as exact a resemblance in spirit and character to the very classes over whose deeds they pretended to mourn, as child to parent.
Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.
Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:
49-51. said the wisdom, &c.—a remarkable variation of the words in Mt 23:34, "Behold I SEND." As there seems plainly an allusion to ancient warnings of what God would do with so incorrigible a people, so here Christ, stepping majestically into the place of God, so to speak, says, "Now I am going to carry all that out." Could this be other than the Lord of Israel in the flesh?
That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
50. all … required of this generation—As it was only in the last generation of them that "the iniquity of the Amorites was full" (Ge 15:16), and then the abominations of ages were at once completely and awfully avenged, so the iniquity of Israel was allowed to accumulate from age to age till in that generation it came to the full, and the whole collected vengeance of Heaven broke at once over its devoted head. In the first French Revolution the same awful principle was exemplified, and Christendom has not done with it yet.
prophets—in the New Testament sense (Mt 23:34; see 1Co 12:28).
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.
51. blood of Zacharias—Probably the allusion is not to any recent murder, but to 2Ch 24:20-22, as the last recorded and most suitable case for illustration. And as Zacharias' last words were, "The Lord require it," so they are warned that "of that generation it should be required."
Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
52. key of knowledge—not the key to open knowledge, but knowledge, the only key to open heaven. In Mt 23:13, they are accused of shutting heaven; here of taking away the key, which was worse. A right knowledge of God's Word is eternal life (Joh 17:3); but this they took away from the people, substituting for it their wretched traditions.
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:
53, 54. Exceedingly vivid and affecting. They were stung to the quick—and can we wonder?—yet had not materials for the charge they were preparing against Him.
provoke him, &c.—"to harass Him with questions."
Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.