William Kelly Major Works 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.Luke Chapter 11
Luke 11:1-4Matthew 6:9-13But blessed as receiving Jesus by faith may be, and sitting at His feet in the delight of love to hear from Him more and, more, prayer must not be forgotten. It has an incalculable value for us here below. It is in this world that we pray. Worship is the outgoing of the heart in heaven. Not that worship for us now is not true, for it is the greatest privilege into which the Christian is brought while on earth. A Christian thus anticipates the mind and employment of heaven. He will still, be a worshipper when glorified; but he is a worshipper here, for the hour "now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him." John 4:23.
Nevertheless, before the soul can worship in anything that, could be said to be the power of the Spirit, prayer is the early and habitual resource day by day; and after Christian worship, is entered into, real prayer abides and always must be for our wants and desires here below.
The disciples felt their need of prayer. They were stirred up to it by the fact that John taught his disciples to pray - They were born of God; but for all that, they lacked power for prayer, their souls were feeble in it. "And it came to pass, as he was in a certain place praying." No one was so prayerful, so dependent on His God and Father, as Jesus; nor does any Evangelist present this so much as Luke, nor, consequently, under so many different circumstances. "When he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray,280 even as John also taught his disciples. And he said to them, When ye pray, say, Father,* Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.† Give us our needed bread for each day; and forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation."‡
*"Father": so Edd., after BL, 1, Syrsin Amiat., Arm., Origen, Tertullian. ACDE, etc., most cursives (69), Syrcu pesch hcl; most Old Latin, Memph. Aeth. add "Our . . . who art in the heavens" (from Matthew).
†Here ACD, etc., nearly all cursives, Syrrpesch hcl. Old Latin, Memph. Aeth. insert "Thy will be done as in heaven, also on the earth." Edd. omit, as BL, 1, Syrrcu sin, Amiat. Arm. Orig., etc. (from Matthew). Instead of, "Thy kingdom come," Blass, after Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and Marcion (Tert.), reads "May thy Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us," as to which see W. H., App., p. 60. Such a reading is absolutely unknown to any but the Western text.
‡At the end of verse 4, ACD, etc., most cursives, Syrrcu pesch hcl Old Lat. Memph. Aeth. add 1, but deliver us from the evil one." Edd. omit, after pm BL, 1, Syrsin Arm. Origen, etc.
I fully believe that this is the same prayer substantially that we have in Matthew, at the very same time and place. Luke does not adhere to the mere historic sequence of events any more than Matthew. But there is this difference in the way in which Luke and Matthew relate facts or instructions of the Lord: Matthew puts what our Lord says in a certain dispensational order, leaving out the occasions that drew them forth; Luke puts His instructions in their moral order with the facts they illustrate. Thus Luke introduces prayer at this point, after hearing the Word of Jesus; because the Divine Word is what brings the knowledge of Jesus into the soul, as prayer is the outgoing of the heart to Him Who has given and shown us mercy and revealed it to us in His Word. A man must believe before he prays. "How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?" (Romans 10:14.) None can believe without the Word of God; but when one has received the Word of God, if it be only to plough up the conscience and attract the heart, one prays.
Thus, the disciples at this time feel their need of prayer, and the Lord teaches them how to pray. The Lord did not give them prayers suitable to the new position and circumstances they would be brought into after redemption. If He had descanted on prayer about the Church, the body of Christ, or the working of the Spirit by the members of that body, it would have been utterly unintelligible to them. The prayers that we have of Paul afterwards could not have suited the condition of the disciples then, because they were not yet in any such standing. The conduct that would suit a married woman with her husband, etc., would be unbecoming in one who was still unmarried. For a woman who is only affianced to be praying about the children she is going to have when she may never have any, or about the household when the wedding-day may never come, would be most evidently out of season. The Lord Jesus perfectly suited what He said to the condition and circumstances of those whom He addressed. The disciples had not received, though quickened of the Holy Ghost, the indwelling Spirit in the way they were going to have Him; consequently they could not pray as on that ground. It is a blunder to suppose that the gift of the Holy Ghost is conversion. When the Lord Jesus went to heaven, He sent down the Holy Ghost. The saints of the Old Testament were converted, but they had not the Holy Ghost as all have who rest on redemption since Pentecost. The disciples wanted to know how to pray, and the Lord gave them a prayer suited to their then circumstances. Only the Spirit of God has given a difference between the form in Matthew and in Luke. One is as Divinely inspired as the other; nothing can be more perfect than both are. The Gospels are absolutely perfect, each for its own object, and we need them all. The difference of their design affects the prayer, as it does everything else.
Our Lord then directs the disciples to their Father. This is the first and very significant word of the prayer. When believers in addressing God now use the titles of Jehovah or Almighty God, do they not forget that they are Christians? When God was intelligently addressed as Almighty, it was in the days of Abraham and the patriarchs. They were the days of promise. Afterwards, when the nation of Israel was called out and put under law, it was as Jehovah-God that He was known. Now it is as Father that the Christian knows Him. (2 Corinthians 6:18.) Luke says simply, "Father" (not "Our Father which art in heaven," as Matthew has it).281
The first petition is, "Hallowed be thy name." The desire is that in every case the heart might make God its object; as we hear in James, "the wisdom that cometh down from above is first pure, then peaceable." (Jam 3:17.) It first judges by God, and seeks the glory of God. "Hallowed be thy name." Such is, and ought to be, the prime desire of the renewed mind, that the Father's name should be sanctified in everything. All else must yield to this. "Hallowed be thy name."
The next petition is that His kingdom should come. It is not the kingdom of the Son of man, the kingdom of Christ, that is spoken of here, but the Father's kingdom. It is not it my kingdom come," but "thy kingdom come." The Father's kingdom is distinguished from the Son of man's kingdom. It is the sphere in which the heavenly saints will shine as the sun. The Son of man's kingdom is the sphere in which all people, nations, and languages shall serve Him, and out of which the angels of His power shall cast all things that offend. (Matthew 13:41.) Heaven and earth will both be put under the Lord Jesus when He comes, and both will constitute the kingdom of God. But the Father's kingdom is the upper department, and the Son of man's kingdom is the lower one. (Compare John 3:3; Joh 3:12.) The Lord teaches them to pray for the Father's kingdom. This is blessed and perfect. The Son would teach the children of the Father to wait with reverence and delight for the Father's glory. This was the animating spring of every thought and feeling of His own heart. But the Father's kingdom is not all the scene of glory.
Hence He adds elsewhere, "Thy will be done, is in heaven, so in earth." Though left out of Luke by excellent authority, it is undoubtedly read in the Gospel of Matthew, because the future kingdom will bring in the earth as well as heaven. This confirms the distinction between the Father's kingdom and the Son's. Not merely shall heaven be blessed, but the earth. All is to be made subject in fact, as all is put under His feet in title. The will of God is that all should bow to the Son, and that the crucified One should be exalted. The Son loved to exalt and did exalt the Father at all cost; the Father will accomplish His purpose that "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Php 2:10f.)282
Then comes a petition expressive of dependence on God for our ordinary need. "Give us our needed bread for each day." It takes up the pure and simple need of the body. The word "daily" is a very imperfect expression in English of the original term. Ἐπιούσιος really means our "sufficient" bread (seemingly a word expressly formed for this idea in contrast with superfluity). One cannot without slighting the wisdom of the Lord ask for more than sufficiency. One ought not to look for more, even from the Lord of heaven and earth. He bids me ask for bread enough for each day's wants.283 Yet it is thoroughly the spirit of the One Who, after He had fed five thousand men with the five loaves and the two fishes, bade the disciples gather up the fragments which remained, that nothing might be lost. And then and thus twelve baskets were in fact filled. How easy it might have seemed for Him by Whom all was supplied to have exerted His power afresh! He would not have an atom to be thrown away because He had unlimited power. What a lesson for us!
Next comes the need of the soul. "Forgive us our sins." It is not merely our debts" (as in Matthew 6): a Jew would understand this but Luke, writing particularly for Gentiles, tells the disciples to say, "Forgive us our sins." This does not refer to a sinner's forgiveness, when he first comes to the knowledge of the Lord, but to the disciple under the daily government of his Father. How misleading, then, it is to make an unconverted person take the ground of asking forgiveness like a child of God! Under the Gospel the way for the unconverted to receive the remission of sins is by faith in the blood of Jesus, by receiving the Gospel itself.284 The common use of it is to confound all truth by mixing up all, the world and children of God, as if they were alike disciples drawing near and asking forgiveness for their daily sins. The forgiveness of a child is all that is spoken of here, the removal of what hinders communion; not that which the Gospel publishes to the most guilty that believe in the Saviour and Lord, but the daily pardon which the believer needs. It is, therefore, the habitual need of the soul, just as the daily bread was that of the body. "For we also forgive every one indebted to us." This is remarkable, because it evidently supposes one who has a forgiving spirit already, and no one really has this except he who is forgiven by the grace of God. And God does hold His children to this. How can a man who does not forgive another pretend to enjoy the forgiveness of his own sins before God? There is a righteous government on our Father's part, and the particular sin which grieves the Lord is not forgiven till we confess it to Him. "If ye do not forgive," says our Lord in Mark 11:26, "neither will your Father who is in the heavens forgive your offences." It is the cherishing a spirit entirely antagonistic to the Spirit of the Lord. If there were a child in a family going on in a course of self-will, there would be a bar for the time to mutual good feeling. So with God our Father; if there were a persistently bad spirit towards another, so long the Father does not forgive as a question of communion and of daily intercourse with Himself. It ruins the intelligence of Scripture to make it all a question of eternity. In the Epistles of the New Testament the remedy or duty in such circumstances takes the form, not so much of asking forgiveness as of confession, which goes far deeper. To ask for forgiveness is easy enough, and quickly done (as you may learn from your child); to confess one's fault in all its gravity is a very humiliating process, and if not with a view to forgiveness and the restoration of communion, it is a mockery of God. To confess, to judge oneself, is therefore far beyond asking forgiveness.
The last clause here should be, "and lead us not into temptation." The heart, knowing its own weakness, does spread its desire before the Lord; it feels the need of being kept, not of being put to the proof. "Deliver us from evil" is left out in the most ancient copies. The only right and true way of understanding the mind of God, and the best homage to Scripture, is always and only to cleave to that which is undoubtedly of Himself. This is not to take away anything from Scripture; it is to lay aside what is not Scripture. We have these words quite rightly in Matthew besides: we gain by their omission here instead of losing. The question arises, Why should it be given in Matthew and omitted here? "Deliver us from evil" refers, I believe, to the evil one and the exhibition of his power, which a Jew ought always to have before him, that tremendous hour which will be allowed as a final retribution on the nation, before they are delivered for the reign of Christ. As Luke had the Gentiles in view, this was naturally and wisely left out. Deliverance from this scourge would have been less felt by them, and hardly intelligible, as the earthly millennial portion disappears for a similar reason. What is general and moral abides here.285
The Lord here enforces prayer, and this on considerations drawn (as often in Luke) from the human heart, as showing still more powerfully what God feels in answer to the earnestness of men.
"He said to them, Who among you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight and say unto him, Friend, let me have three loaves; since a friend of mine on a journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? and he within answering should say, Do not disturb me; the door is already shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise up to give [it] thee. I say unto you, although he will not rise up and give [them] to him because he is his friend, because of his shamelessness, at any rate, he will rise up and give him as many as he wanteth." The, time may seem ever so inopportune, but although a man may not for friendship's sake listen to him who requests the loan of bread, he would rather rise and give than expose himself to trouble. Every one knows that this is apt to be the way of a man with the neighbour who is bold enough to press. He might be ever so much annoyed at the importunate suitor, but still to avoid the trouble of a continued appeal at his door, he yields. At least, such is an ordinary case: "Because of his shamelessness he will rise and give him as many as he wanteth."286
If such is the way of selfish, ease-loving man, how much more will the God of all grace hearken to those who cry to Him! He is not weary; He never slumbers nor sleeps; He is full of goodness and compassionate care. "I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"287 - an evident climax, all tending to urgency of supplication before God: not as if God needed it, but man does; and God values the earnestness of man's heart, although His own is open to the cry of want or distress from the very first. But we know that there are hindrances from other causes, and that the Lord has Himself told us of a kind (speaking of evil spirits) that goes not forth but by prayer and fasting. There we have the highest degree of the soul's abstraction from all else, giving itself up to God's power in order to defeat the devil. "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it will be opened." There is always in Luke, not only an appeal to the feelings of the heart, and man's own concession of what even he would do in order to illustrate the ways of God, infinitely more admirable and excellent, but there is also a comprehensiveness which goes far beyond the narrow bounds of Israel. "Every one that asketh receiveth." Thus we have here the call to importunity of prayer, and the certainty of God's answer.287a
But this is again enforced on the ground of the relationship of a child with a father. "Of whom of you that is a father shall a son ask bread, and [the father] shall give288 him a stone? or also* a fish, and instead of a fish shall give him a serpent? or if also he shall ask an egg, shall give him a scorpion?" How contrary to the feelings of a parent, to mock when he affects to give! to give what is injurious instead of what is good! Impossible that a father, speaking now ordinarily of any father, would be guilty of such ways. "If, therefore, ye, being289 evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will the Father who [is] of heaven 290 give [the] Holy Spirit291 to them that ask him." In the Gospel of Matthew it is "give good things to them that ask him."291a
*"Bread . . . or also." These words, read by Tischendorf, are questioned by Treg., relegated to marg. by W. H., and rejected by Weiss and Blass, after B Sah. Arm. Origen (from Matthew).
But Luke goes farther, and shows us, not, it is true, the person of the Comforter, as in the Gospel of John, but certainly the Holy Spirit as characterising the gift of the Father's love to those who ask Him. For we must remember that the disciples had not yet the Holy Spirit. They were born of the Spirit, but this is a very different thing from enjoying the gift of the Spirit. To have the Holy Ghost given is over and above conversion or new birth; it is not life, but power; a privilege superadded to the possession of the new nature, and the chief or only means of enjoying God according to all the instincts of that nature, and consequently of entering into His wisdom in the Word of God. This is the richest distinctive gift of Christianity on earth, as Christ on high, the Head to Whom we are united as His body, is the main heavenly characteristic. Neither of these privileges was true as yet; no one had ever enjoyed them since the beginning of the world. The disciples were told then and encouraged to ask their heavenly Father, Who would surely give the Holy Spirit to those who asked Him. The disciples accordingly continued in prayer, as we know from Acts 1:14; so that even after the Lord died and rose they had not received the Holy Spirit according to this word; they were still expecting. Yet they had received the Spirit as life more abundantly, as the power of His resurrection life; but the gift of the Spirit was something more. It was the indwelling of the Spirit of God, Who would also act in various gifts in the members, and, above all, in baptizing them into one body. All this was accomplished, but not before Pentecost. They were therefore to ask their heavenly Father, and so they did; and the Holy Spirit of promise was given according to the Saviour's word.*
*Cf. "Lectures on Matthew," p. 183f. (2nd ed.)
There may be cases still, I cannot but think, where it would be right thus to ask our Father. This would be souls who are, like the disciples, converted, but who have not yet submitted to the righteousness of God - who do not yet consciously rest on redemption. In such a state it would be hazardous to say they had received the Holy Ghost while they do not enjoy peace with God. When there is a simple rest by faith on the great work of the Lord Jesus, and not merely faith in His person, then the Holy Ghost is given. Where the blood was put the oil followed, according to the types of Leviticus.
Luke 11: 14-26.292
Matthew 12:22-30; Mark 3:22-27.
There is great care in this Gospel to show the connection of Satan with men, just as we have seen the privilege of the believer in the possession of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of God is the power of communion for the new man, for those who are born of God. So Satan is pleased to fill with the power of the demon the old nature of man, in certain cases where God permits him; and the Lord shows the link between the demon and the sickness, weakness, or other malady of body or mind, as we find here in the case of the dumb man: "And he was casting out a demon, and it was dumb; and it came to pass, the demon having gone out, the dumb [man] spoke. And the crowds wondered." It is evident from this that what produced the lack of speech was not physical infirmity, but the demon that dwelt in the man. Directly the demon left he that had been dumb spoke. What the Lord was occupied with here below was in giving a specimen of that which will characterise the world to come. The powers that He exercised, as others afterwards in virtue of His name, were "the powers of the world [or age] to come," as they are called in Hebrews 6:5. The millennial age will thus afford a full display of the defeat of Satan, to the glory of God, and this in and by man. The Lord's curing of bodily diseases, and casting out of demons, was a partial exhibition of what will be public and universal in that day.
"The crowds wondered" on this occasion; but the spirit of unbelief is stronger than the power of evidences. Hence, "some from among them said, By Beelzebub,293 the prince of the demons, casts he out demons." We must distinguish between the instruments of Satan's power and the devil himself. The word "devils" confounds the two things. It is to say "demons." "By Beelzebub, the prince of the demons, casts he out demons." Others did not go quite so far as this; but still, "tempting [him], sought from him a sign out of heaven." Satan does not lead all in the same way, but he suits his action to the flesh of each. Some men are violent in their unbelief, while others are more religious. Some "tempting [him], sought from him a sign out of heaven." They were not content with what God had given, though there could be no external proof more convincing than the expulsion of Satan's power. Hence this was strongly marked at the starting-point of the Lord's ministry in this Gospel as well as Mark's. So it was throughout. The Lord, answering their unbelieving thoughts, says, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house set against a house falleth." It would be suicidal for Satan to undermine his own influence. If also Satan is divided against himself, how shall his kingdom subsist? ye say that I cast out demons by Beelzebub."
But there is more to be noticed. God had before this occasionally given power to Jews to cast out demons. Faith is always honoured of God; and on the darkest day the Lord did not fall to keep up as it were the holy fire, that His light should not absolutely go out on the earth. "But if I* by Beelzebub cast out demons, your sons - by whom do they cast [them] out? For this reason they shall be your judges." No unbelief on their part ever irritated the Lord. Far from this, He could calmly acknowledge what had been of God among them, though this in no way hindered them from denying God Himself present among men.294 "But if by the finger of God295 I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God is come upon you."
*Weiss retains the emphatic I (ἐγώ) of D here also.
This is an expression of no small importance, "the kingdom of God is come upon you." In another sense it might be said that the kingdom of God was nigh. Here it is said to be come, because Christ was there. Christ brought, as it were, the kingdom of God in His own person. All others require the kingdom of God to come for them to be in the kingdom; but Christ, being a Divine Person, brought that kingdom in Himself, displaying it by His own power, manifested by the overthrow of Satan, by casting out demons. And yet man was blind, more guiltily so than the poor soul before us was, who could not through his dumbness speak the praises of God. For here, when God had proved His power, they were as blind as ever, they could not see God in it, or rather in Jesus.
When the kingdom of heaven is spoken of, it is never said to be come. It could not be said according to Scripture phrase, "The kingdom of heaven is come unto you." Thus "the kingdom of heaven" and "the kingdom of God" are not quite identical. They agree so far that what in one Gospel is called the kingdom of heaven is called in another Gospel the kingdom of God. Matthew alone speaks of "the kingdom of heaven," as Mark, Luke, and John do of "the kingdom of God." But what is in Matthew called "kingdom of heaven," is called in the other Gospels "kingdom of God," of which last Matthew himself speaks in a few passages. The difference is this: that the kingdom of heaven always supposes a change of dispensation consequent on the Saviour's having taken His place above. He may by and by bring His power below, but He must have come from heaven to bring in the kingdom of heaven. Hence in the future, to establish it in power and glory, it is the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven Who receives that kingdom, and makes it good over all the earth.
The kingdom of heaven never means heaven itself; but rather the rule of the heavens over the earth. When the actual departure on high of the Lord Jesus is spoken of, it is always said to be into heaven, and not into the kingdom of heaven. When the Lord, then, was here below, and manifested His power over Satan, it was the Kingdom of God: it could be so called because the King - the power of God - was there. So here in this place He, by the power of God casting out demons, proved that the kingdom of God was come. What better proof could be asked? Man was totally insufficient for such a work; others might have done so in special answer to prayer. God is always superior to the devil, and it was important that He should prove this from time to time in expelling demons by the sons of Israel who possessed the place of relationship to God that no other people had. But in the Lord's case it was not occasional, exceptional, or partial, but uniform and universal: even where the disciples themselves, using His name, failed to cast them out, He always did it with a word. The Kingdom of God, therefore, was come as a witness of His power, not yet as a state and sphere of manifestation. Both morally and in power, the kingdom of God was come in Him Who bound the strong man and stripped him of his goods.
And this leads me to another remark. The apostle Paul frequently speaks of the kingdom of God, not as a dispensation but as a moral display. He says that "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14:17.) He says, too, that "the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power." (1 Corinthians 4:20.) You could not say "the kingdom of heaven" in these cases. Thus we see the reason why Luke particularly can speak of the kingdom of God, for he is the Evangelist who dwells on the moral side more than any other. Hence, too, there is a stronger link between his language and that of St. Paul than between any other two writers of the New Testament.296
Then the Lord introduces a remarkable figure: "When the strong [man] armed keepeth his own house [court], his goods are in peace; but when the stronger than he coming upon [him], overcometh him, he taketh away his panoply297 in which he trusted, and he will divide the spoil [he has taken] from him." This was going on then. If Satan was the strong man in the figure, Jesus was now stripping him of his goods and dividing his spoils. The whole ministry of Jesus was the evidence of a power superior to Satan in the world. It is true that this did not finally deliver, because it did not touch the judgment of God. It was present and not eternal deliverance. It was the overthrow of Satan, nor, the satisfaction of God. Sin could not yet have been abolished, and judgment must still have remained. No grace, nor power, nor ministry can take away sin, nothing but the sacrifice of Himself.298 That infinitely deeper question was behind, and was settled, not in the life of Jesus, but in His atoning death on the cross. Here He merely speaks of the power then present by a living Christ, which did deliver men from the oppression of Satan, as far as this life was concerned in the world; but not for eternity, not before God. This side of the truth, the victorious power of Christ over Satan in this life, for the earth, has been greatly forgotten in Christendom; and the more so because they bring in the living power of Christ to supplement His death for righteousness and atonement. They have made both life and death necessary for settling the question of a guilty soul for eternity. Consequently they have in practice seen little more than this, forgetting the power of Satan on the one hand, and the power of the Spirit on the other, except in a superstitious way, which only brings the truth into disrepute. These antagonistic realities have been lost sight of; and the grand witness is overlooked that the Lord was giving of a future deliverance of man from Satan's power, when His kingdom will be, not merely in the Spirit's power, but in manifestation. All this has well-nigh dropped out of Christendom. The Jews were feeble about eternal deliverance, but held fast the hope of the kingdom, of blessing in the earth and world by the Messiah, when the power of the serpent. would be evidently broken.
Then we find a most solemn principle in verse 23. "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." The presence of Christ brought this out, and more particularly when He was being rejected. When Christ was acceptable, there was no moral test; but when public opinion was universally against Him, and it was evident that to follow Christ was to be slighted by the great and wise, then it proved the strongest criterion. So the Lord now says, "He that is not with me is against me." If I am not with Him I am against Him. The more He is rejected, the more I must throw in my lot with Him. And this is a test, not only for one's person, but also for one's work, as it is added here, "He that gathereth not with me scattereth." The first is more particularly true for the unconverted man, and the second for the converted who is worldly in his work. A man might himself be really with Christ, but yet in his labours he might build or prop up what is of the world. Such a person, no matter what the apparent effects may be, may become the most popular of preachers, and produce widespread effects, philanthropic and religious; but "he that gathereth not with me scattereth," says the Lord. There is no scattering so real in the sight of God as the gathering of Christians on false principles. It is worse than if they were not gathered at all. There is a deeper hindrance to the truth, because there is a spirit of party and denomination that is necessarily hostile to Christ. A false gathering-point substitutes another centre for Christ, and consequently makes greater confusion. "He that gathereth not with me scattereth."299
Then we find the picture of the unclean spirit - that is, the spirit of idolatry. It had once possessed the Jewish nation; but here it is applied in the case, not merely of a nation, but of an individual. It acquires a more moral shape than in the Gospel of Matthew, where it is dispensational. "When the unclean spirit hath gone out of the man, he goeth through dry places, seeking rest; and not finding any, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out." A person might, through evidence and convictions of one sort or another, profess to follow Christ, and be outwardly with Him. But the mere absence of outward evil will never bring a soul to God. God Himself must be known, and Jesus Himself received, not merely the unclean spirit be gone out. A man may leave off evil of a cross kind, he may give up false religion, or, as in this case, idolatry; but all this does not consecrate a man. It is the presence of God in possession of a soul - it is the having a new nature, and not merely the absence of this or that evil - that determines the matter. The unclean spirit can return to the house unless it is already occupied by the power of God's Spirit, which alone effectually shuts Satan out. "And having come, he findeth it swept and adorned." No doubt, as compared with heathenism, there is the absence of much that is abominable and offensive Christian truth is owned; and the unclean spirit, therefore, finds the house, when he returns, swept and garnished. This will be true in Christendom, as it may be also in an individual. After a person has through the outward influence of Christ laid aside evil, the power of Satan gathers fresh fuel; and the man falls into worse evil than if he had never professed His name at all. It is not a simple return to what he was, not merely that the old evil re-asserts its energy, but there is a fresh and complete torrent of evil, a new and worse power of the enemy that takes possession of the soul; and "the last, condition of that man becomes worse than the first."300 An apostate is the most hopeless of all evil men. So it will be with the Jew and so with Christendom; it is the same thing with any man at any time in these circumstances. There is nothing for any one except cleaving to the name of the Lord. Nor is it only a question of glorifying the Lord, but of positive necessity for his own soul.301
The power that delivers a man's body, in this respect breaking the thraldom of Satan, however true, is eclipsed by that which is still more precious. Nevertheless, men could not but feel the homage that was due to power, and this so beneficent. "And it came to pass as he spake these things, a certain woman, lifting up her voice, out of the crowd said to him, Blessed is the womb that has borne thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked." This gave the Lord occasion to show what was far better. "But he said, Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep [it]." Without denying the value of Divine power in such a world as this, yet, said our Lord, "rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep [it]." The goodness of God sown in nature, for which (though not alone) the Jews were called to wait, would give place to a superior order of blessing. The very badness of the world's state and of men upon it is the occasion for God to bring in what never passes away, and is destined to endure when the world is gone. There is nothing here below that introduces the eternal like the Word of God. Power, even were it as great as that which Jesus wielded over man or the enemy, is but for a time in its effects; but "he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2:17.) And "he that believeth hath everlasting life." (John 3:36.) "Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep [it]." The Word of God is the link between man on earth and God above; it is the seed of incorruptible life, "which liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Peter 1:25.)
Accordingly here again man is put to the proof. He had been already tested by power, and he who could impute that which cast out Satan to Satan himself was self-condemned, It would make Satan more foolish than the most foolish man, for it is a universal principle that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Can it be thought that Satan deliberately destroys his own kingdom and himself? Is he really suicidal? The Jews then showed to what they were fallen when they imputed to Satan the power that cast out demons.
And now what became of the Jew,. who heard the Word of God and did not keep it? Nothing more terrible.
"But as the crowds thronged together, he began to say, This generation is a wicked generation: it seeketh a sign; and a sign shall not be given to it but the sign of Jonas."* Instead of keeping the Word of God, they were seeking outward tokens. They wanted something visible to their senses, an object tangible in their midst, not only present but earthly and suited to the world. "But there shall no sign be given it but the sign of Jonas the prophet." The allusion is to one who prophesied in Israel, but who was sent to the Gentiles - to the Minorities.303 "For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, thus shall also the Son of man be to this generation." He, too, the rejected Messiah, would take the place of Son of man, despised and rejected of men.
*"Jonas": here AC and later uncials, most cursives, - etc., add "the prophet," which Edd. reject, following BDL, Amiat., etc. (from Matthew).
But more than this: "a queen of the south" and "men, of Nineveh" are brought before us in another way to condemn the Jews of that day.
"A queen304 of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and shall condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, more than Solomon is here." This showed her earnestness of purpose to hear the wisdom of Solomon. The wise and wealthy son of David was not the vessel of the Word of God in his ordinary speech as the Lord Jesus was: yet she came without a single miracle to attract her, without a sign to guide or confirm, and heard the wisdom of Solomon: "and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here." Then, again, men of Nineveh themselves, that great city which had been given up to destruction at last - "men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation and shall condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonas."305 They were willing to own their own evil, their sinfulness, their forgetful ignorance of God, and this at the preaching of Jonas - a prophet comparatively unfaithful, who strove to escape from the mission on which God sent him, "and, behold, more than Jonas is here." But where were the men of this generation, and what? Did they repent? No more did they repent than they showed what was seen in a queen of the south - earnestness of heart in listening to the wise man of her day. Thus there was a double testimony against them; Gentiles, high or low, at one time or another, rose up to condemn the men of Jerusalem.
Then the Lord brings out another truth, namely, that the fault lay not in the want of signs any more than in the display of power (for we have seen the contrary), but in the state of the heart. That is the only reason why man does not rejoice in or keep the Word of God; it is because his heart is not right with God. No person would prefer darkness to light or pleasure to the Word of God unless the heart were wrong. "No one having lighted a lamp setteth it secret,306 nor under the corn-measure, but on the lamp-stand, that they who enter in may see the light." So it was with the ways of God. There was no defect in his presentation.
The Light was come and God set it in a due and commanding position that all who saw it might be profited. Never was there one who held forth the light of God as Jesus did. He never wavered, for He was the Holy One, the Undefiled, separate from sinners. There was no fault therefore to be found with the Medium; Jesus not only showed perfect light in what He said, but was the Light Himself. All His perfection on Him; yet how had men treated it? Alas! there are other conditions necessary. "The lamp of the* body is thine† eye [therefore] when‡ thine eye is single, thy whole body also is light; but when it is wicked, thy body also is dark." Here we reach so far what man is. It is not here as in John, that Christ is the Light; there we see His personal glory.307
*"The body": so most authorities. D, with most Old Lat., has "thy b."
†"Thine eye": so pm ABCD, etc., Old Lat. (Edd.). EG, etc., most cursives, Syrrcu sin Arm. have "the eye."
‡AC and later uncials, nearly all cursives, Syrrcu sin, read "therefore" besides "when," which Edd. omit, after BDLΔ, Old Lat. Memph.
But Luke always brings in man's state, or moral condition. "The lamp of the body is thine eye." Light alone outside does not enable a man to see. If the eye, physically, is powerless, the light makes no impression. As in John, the light may be ever so true, but, according to Luke, the eye also enters the account; and by nature it is evil and only so. It is not only Christ as Light that is wanted. Eyes to see must be given; its actual state must be considered. "[Therefore] when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is light." It is a question here of moral purpose. If there be no object to divide the heart's attention, if Christ fills the field of vision, the whole body is light. "But when it is wicked, thy body also is dark." And is there not evil in looking to other objects from Christ, in turning away from the only One Who is worthy? "When it is evil thy body also is dark. See, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness." What darkness is comparable to it? This is moral darkness, and fatal to the soul which can see nothing in Christ, or if it seem to see, is evidently indifferent to Christ, indifferent not to one's own soul alone, but to the eternal truth of God. The eye is evil, the body, therefore, is dark indeed.
"See, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness." Such is the end of a carelessness and unfaithfulness to truth. This was becoming the confirmed history of Israel. They had, as compared with the Gentiles, possessed Divine light; but "See that the light which is in thee be not darkness." It was to the last degree becoming their fixed state. They were first indifferent to Christ; finally, they would reject Him to the uttermost - then it would be the darkness of death. "If, therefore, the whole body is light, not having any part dark, it shall be all light, as when the lamp lighteth thee with its brightness."* Thus when one has light for oneself, it becomes the means of light for others. In Divine things you cannot separate power for others from testimony to the glory of God.
*Blass, but here again alone, follows D with some copies of Old Latin, in omitting this verse.
What follows is of a very different character from that which we had before. It is not now the setting aside of Jewish expectations for the Word of God, which the Holy Spirit makes efficacious by judging self, and thus the eye is made single and the whole body full of light. There is no substitution here of God's Word and spiritual blessing for the Messiah, and all the natural mercies and external glory that Israel looked for then and shall look for by and by. Now it is the moral judgment of Israel in their present state; and for this occasion was given, by a certain Pharisee asking the Lord to dine 308 with him. He goes at once. He in noway chooses what was pleasing to Himself. As He entered into the house of a tax-gatherer, and refused none of the company there, so also He declines not to seat Himself at table with a Pharisee. When He went into the tax-gatherer's house, the wonder was how He could eat with sinners; the wonder with the Pharisee now is, "that he had not first washed before dinner." Such was their religion.309 Yet the truth, on the face of things, is that washing is for those who are unclean: He Who was pure and holy did not need it. The Pharisee therefore condemns himself doubly. There is a vague consciousness that he needed cleansing. He shows also his blindness to the personal glory of the Lord Jesus, the only One Who needed nothing from without - the Holy One of Israel, the Holy One of God.
The Lord takes this accordingly as the ground of appeal. He "said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish; but your inward [parts] are full of plunder and wickedness." Their religion, all protest to the contrary notwithstanding,310 was essentially of the outside; and, far from being clean, they were full of plunder and wickedness, plundering others and wicked themselves. Although they had the highest reputation among the people, the Lord pronounces them fools; and what His Word censures now His judgment will act on by and by. The judgment of God is always according to the Word of God. What is condemned by the Word of God now will certainly be condemned by the Lord Jesus when He takes the judicial throne. But it was the same God Who made both the outside and the inside. "Fools, hath not he who hath made the outside made the inside also?" They had forgotten Him; they were anxious only for what was seen of men. The Lord looks upon the heart. They did not think of this. Unbelief is always blind, and fixes, if there be a difference, on things the least important. The reason is manifest: it seeks the praise of men and not that of God. The Lord Jesus, however, bids them "rather give alms of what ye have311: and, behold, all things are clean unto you." He knew well that a Pharisee would do nothing less than this - that intense selfishness characterised the whole party. They were faithless and covetous. Him Whom God gave they despised; what they had they kept for themselves. All things therefore were unclean to them.
But there is much more than this. The Lord pronounces successive woes upon them for their zeal about trifles, their love of religious distinction, and their hypocrisy.312 "Woe unto you, Pharisees! for [beginning with that which was seemingly the least evil] ye tithe the mint and the rue and every herb, and pass by the judgment and the love of God: these ye ought to have done, and not have left those aside." It was really the same root of self, fallen human nature under a religious veil. Why did they thus seek to be distinguished from others? Others gave tithes honestly due to God; the Pharisees laid hold of the most minute points which did not cost much and gave themselves credit in the eyes of men not wiser than themselves, but they slighted judgment and the love of God. Righteousness is a due sense of our relationship to God and man; of it they had no adequate measure whatever before them. The love of God was the last thing that came before or from their hearts.313 "These ye ought to have done, and not have left those aside." Let them value their infinitesimals if they would, but let them not neglect the greatest duties.
But it was not merely this God-dishonouring pettiness. "Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the first seat in the synagogues, and salutations in the market-places." Now we come, not so much to personal conduct and pretension to the strictest conscientiousness, but to their love of public reputation for sanctity and of honour in the religious world.
Another ground detected was lower still. "Woe unto you, [scribes, and Pharisees, hypocrites] * for ye are as the sepulchres which appear not, and the men walking over them do not know [it]." Now they are put with the scribes - people learned in the law, who had the character of being the most punctilious in their conduct: both are alike treated as hypocrites - as sepulchres which appear not. Unremoved death, all uncleanness and corruption, was under these fair-seeming religionists.
*After "you," AD (but without "hypocrites"), E, etc., most cursives (69), some Syrr. add "scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites." Edd. omit, as BCL, etc., 1. 33, Syrrcu sin, Amiat. Memph. Arm.
One of the lawyers was offended "and said to him, Teacher, in saying these things thou insultest us also." Then the Lord answers them: "Woe unto you also, doctors of the law! for ye lay upon men burdens heavy to bear, and yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers." They were notorious for their contempt of the very people from whom they derived their importance.314 It is an easy thing to lay burdens upon others; it is hard to bear them. Christianity is the exact opposite of this. Christ comes down first of all and takes the sorest of all burdens, the judgment of our sin and guilt, our condemnation from God; then He leaves us under the Gospel, without that burden. It is true that, till He comes again, we are groaning in the body, waiting not uncertainly but in confidence for Christ to change us even into the likeness of His glorious body. Hence it is that the practical exercise of Christianity is in liberty and joy. No doubt grace brings with it the highest obligations, but they are those of men who are free and who use their liberty for the One whom they love. It was not so with these doctors of the law. They laid burdens upon men that were grievous to be borne, but they themselves did not touch the burdens with one of their fingers. It is only grace that enables one to manifest what the law requires. The doctors of the law were precisely those who showed the least conscience. They thundered the law at others; they did not subject themselves to any of its precepts, except where it suited them. It is grace which purifies the conscience by faith and strengthens it in the will of God.
But if they did not touch any of the burdens that they laid on others, they built the sepulchres of the prophets. This sounded well and holy. What could be more laudable than that they should honour the ancient sufferers and prophets by building their sepulchres? It was really the spirit of the world. First of all they proved that they were the successors of those who killed them, not the successors of the martyrs but of their murderers. Although it seemed the opposite of what their fathers had done, it was the same love of the world which slew the martyrs in that day, and now led men to build their sepulchres in order to make religious capital out of this pious honour. They would fain have the halo that surrounded those men of God thereby to shine upon themselves. It was the love of the world that made the fathers slay them; and the love of the world it was that led their sons to build these sepulchres over them. There was of course nothing of Christ in those who persecuted the martyrs. Was there a whit more in these men bent on empty self-glorification under cover of the righteous victims of old? Therefore says the Lord, "Ye bear witness then and consent to the works of your fathers: for they killed them, and ye build [their sepulchres]."* And to prove that they were the lineal successors of the murderers of the old martyrs, the Lord adds, "For this reason also the wisdom of God hath said, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of these they shall kill and drive out by persecution." 815 It is expressly put as the wisdom of God, because it is not what would appear to man. The builders of the sepulchres of the sufferers might seem to be the farthest removed from the persecuting violence of the fathers; but not so. The contrary would soon appear. God would test them soon by sending prophets and apostles, some of whom they would slay, and some they would persecute, getting rid of them all in one way or another. "That the blood of all the prophets, which hath been poured out from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, who perished between the altar and the temple; yea, I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation." This is a searching and solemn principle. Man fails from the first, and God pronounces on it. But it is always the last who is the most guilty, because the cases of former slaying of the prophets ought to have aroused their consciences. Their building of sepulchres for the saints whom their fathers slew proved that they knew how wrong it was. But the heart was unchanged; and hence a similar testimony produced no less results, but more evil. God's testimony at the present day arouses quite as much hatred as His warnings of old. Hence, little as the Jews thought it (for they had been long without prophets), now that the truth was sent out in power, the same murderous spirit would be manifested, and God would hold the people guilty of all the blood that had been shed from the foundation of the world. Instead of using the example of their fathers to deter them, they followed their guilty footsteps. They were more guilty, because they despised so, solemn a warning.
*["Their sepulchres"]: ACE, etc., 33, Syrr. Amiat. Memph., have these words, which Edd. omit, after BDL.
So it will be in the latter day. There will be a violent outbreak against the witnesses of Jesus, whose blood will be shed like water - a persecution all the more guilty because men will have known it beforehand; they will have owned the guilt of those who did it, and yet they will fall into the same rut themselves. Alas! unbelief is most of all blind to self.
The Lord pronounces finally one more woe. "Woe unto you, the doctors of the law, for ye have taken away the key of knowledge;316 yourselves have entered in and those who were entering in ye have hindered." So they were doing then as others at this present time. Wisdom was there, truth was there, Christ was there: all that the doctors of the law did was to hinder people from profiting by it, in order to maintain their own importance.
"And as he said these things to them,* the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him vehemently, and to make him speak317 of many things." They wanted Him to commit Himself - that the Lord might utter something for which they could drag Him to their tribunal, "watching him [and seeking]† to catch something out of his mouth [that they might accuse him]."‡ Their hearts were filled, not only with plunder, but with wickedness that would take the shape of violence against the truth and those who bore it, just like their fathers. The first Adam is never changed for the better: he is only evil continually: the more good is shown him, the more evil he proves himself to be.
*"As he said these things to them": so Lachm., followed by Blass, after AD, etc., 1, Syrr. Amiat.; Blass adding "before the people," which is in DX, Old Lat. Syrrcu sin. Treg., W. H., and Weiss adopt, "And as he went out thence," after BCL, 33, Memph.
†["And seeking"]: these words are in ACD, later uncials, most cursives, Old Lat., etc.; but Edd. reject them, after BL, Memph. Aeth.
‡["That they might accuse him"]: as ACD, Syrrcu sin; but Edd. omit, as BL, Memph. Aeth. This affords instance of "conflation" (note 3).
Notes on the Eleventh Chapter
Luke 11:1. - Here seems to begin the second narrative (see note 244) of the final journey to Jerusalem, extending as far as 14: 24.
"To pray." Luke has recorded in this place the dictation by our Lord of the formula which goes by His name, in order to bind together the two great supports of spiritual life, Christ's Word (Luke 10:39) and Prayer: see the Expositor's - "Lectures on Matthew," p. 85 f.
The Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Divines has as Question 98, "What is Prayer?" Sabatier answers by "Religion in act" ("Philosophy of Religion," p. 27).
PRAYER has ever been regarded as an appropriate instrument of communion with the Unseen; as such it is the counterpart of His voice to us. The Scriptures and Prayer together fortify believers against mere Mysticism (147A) on the one hand, and against pure Rationalism on the other (cf. Ritschl, "Theology and Metaphysics," p. 476). For the Spirit as the power of such communion, see Romans 8:26, and Exposition of verse 14 f.
Pantheism (exemplified by Buddhism) makes no provision for prayer, which is alien to such systems. Some philosophers and scientists criticize the underlying conception of Prayer as irrational: to their objections Martineau's writings offer effective replies. "Does Prayer influence GOD?" is a common inquiry, to which the answer of S. D. Gordon is: "It does not influence His purpose; it does influence His action. He does nothing without our consent. When we learn His purposes and make them our prayer, we are giving Him the opportunity to act. Nature's laws are merely God's habit of action in handling secondary forces. They involve no purpose of God. His purposes are regarding moral issues. Emergencies change all habits of action. The world is in a great emergency through sin" ("Quiet Talks on Prayer," p. 54 ff.).
281Luke 11:2. - "Father." This is "Abba," Aramaic emphatic form of "father" used in Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6, and Luke's form of invocation.
Chrysostom and Augustine emphasized the Fatherhood of God as characteristic of the Christian dispensation: no Old Testament saint used the epithet save as member of a community. Maurice and other moderns have developed the idea.
Cf. Matthew 6:6, "Thy Father," and verse 9 there, as showing that "our" even in that Gospel must be so taken.
For omission of "in heaven," cf. Luke 6:36; for those words, Matthew 6:9 (as in verses 45, 48 there).
"Hallowed be Thy Name": cf. Leviticus 24:16, by misuse of which the Jews come to treat Yahveh (Jehovah) as taboo, and to employ it in the Temple services only, but in those of the synagogues Adonay (Lord) alone: see references in Schürer, div. ii., vols. 1, 2. In common life they spoke of "the Name" (Aramaic: Shema) (Dalman, p. 149 f.). In the Tosefta "Sanhedrin" (xii. 25) we have, "He that pronounces the Tetragrammaton has no part in the future world." Cf. Joseph. "Antiqq.," ii. 276.
Stock (p. 28) compares the substitution by journalists of "the Founder of Christianity" for "JESUS," etc.
282 "Thy KINGDOM come." To this day the words find place in the Kaddish of the Jewish Prayer Book. Cf. in particular Luke 9:27, Luke 14:15, Luke 19:11, Luke 21:31, Luke 22:16; Luk 22:18, and Luke 23:51, in each of which passages the "kingdom" is regarded emphatically as future. But these words evidently "keep the double aspect in mind" (Warman, "New Testament Theology," p. 23).
In Luke 22:29 f. the Lord speaks of His own Kingdom in the same future aspect of manifestation: see notes on that chapter. For prayer that it may come, see Revelation 22:20, almost the last words of the Bible.
His words about the" Kingdom" are everywhere pregnant. It is "(α) spiritual, (β) apocalyptic" (Stevens, p. 72). The scholars who, as Ritschl and Wellhausen, treat it as solely present are just as much mistaken as those who, with Meyer, J. Weiss and Bousset, regard it as wholly future. Of the latter class is Wernle, the following of whose words, however, so far as they go, are right. "From the beginning to the end of His ministry, not merely at the close (as in Luke 19:11, Luke 22:18), when He might be deemed disappointed as to His mission (Isaiah 49:4), the future is before the Lord" ("Beginnings of Christianity," p. 61). As to the present, mystic, by the Expositor described as "moral," sense of the term (Colossians 1:13), cf. note on verse 20 below, and Charles, p. 318, in connection with Luke 11:20, Luke 16:16, and Luke 17:21. The term is first met with in the "Wisdom of Solomon," 10: 10, and appears also in Psalms of Solomon, 17: 4. For its use in the Targums, see Dalman, "Words of Jesus," p. 91 ff.
In the hands of Augustine, unhappily, the term acquired for mediaeval theologians identity with "Catholic Church": see his "City of God," and cf. note on 8: 1. A further turn was given to its meaning by Protestants, for whom it came to denote "the life of the redeemed after death," or, as the idea was expressed by Martineau, and rightly rejected by him, "the future state of the righteous," in the same sense ("Endeavours after the Christian Life," p. 218).
The perpetual use of this petition, from the Apostolic age to our own time, is of itself evidence that the Church in its truly healthiest mood never ceased to believe in what is now called "the eschatological background" of the Gospels (cf. note 546); and so, not even when Augustine sought to establish an identity of Church and Kingdom, from which misconception such an influential scholar as Wellhausen has not been emancipated. Prof. Mackintosh has written that the eschatological cast of our Gospels "could not be seen clearly till modern scholarship arose" ("Christian Ethics," p. 76), which is correct in the sense that ecclesiastical obscurantism prevailed until, not in Germany during the past few years, but in this country, early Patristic interpretation of the "Kingdom," stripped of its extravagance, was reaffirmed eighty years ago. This was in connection with the quickening among British Christians of the Church's Hope of the "Second Coming" of the Lord, in the light, not of learned theological disquisitions, but of effect being given to spiritual truth, seen in life, and practice governed by Scripture alone. One may trust that the present trend of thought in Germany will receive like impulse; it will be so if the atmosphere of the Gemeinschaften prevail over that of the academical Seminars.
The various Scriptural aspects of the "Kingdom," besides that of its relation to the "Gospel" already touched upon (chapter 8, sub init.; cf. note on Luke 18:16 f,). will be developed in successive notes on verse 20 of the present chapter, Luke 12:31; Luk 12:47f., Luke 14:14, Luke 17:20 ff., Luke 18:16 f., 24 ff., Luke 21:36, Luke 22:16 ff. The attention once given to the doctrine of the CHURCH seems now being transferred to that of the KINGDOM. This is none too soon: for the latter topic provides "the key of knowledge" (cf. Luke 11:52 with Matthew 23:13). Again, Matthew 13:52 cannot apply to the "Church," which is a purely New Testament disclosure (Ephesians 3:5). The absurdity of Rome's application of the "keys" in Matthew 16:19 to the Church is palpable.
The true doctrine of the Kingdom is the most effective instrument in the hands of any Christian scribe who would really strive to serve the present generation, perplexed with so many problems, ecclesiastical and social.
283Luke 11:3. - "Give," δίδου, present; whilst Matthew has δός, aorist, as appropriate to σήμερον there.
"Us." The plural, Dr. John Lightfoot says, was used by Jews in their private prayers, as excluding any idea of the petitioner being apart from the congregation ("Works," vi., p. 426: xi., p. 143).
"Needed," ἐπιούσιος. "Daily" (A.V.) came from the Vulgate. The word here is quite distinct from that found in Jam 2:15. Origen states that ἐπιούσιος was used nowhere else in Jewish literature. The Expositor (see his special pamphlet on "The Lord's Prayer, so-called," p. 29) follows the Peschito Syriac - as did Suidas, followed by Reuss, Godet, Arnold Meyer, etc. - taking it to mean sufficient. Cf. Proverbs 30:8, which Delitzsch has followed in his Hebrew New Testament. The Syrsin has "continual" (amîna): cf. John 6:27. For the light thrown by the various Syriac versions on the actual Aramaic word used by our Lord, see Paper of Margoliouth in Expositor, April, 1910.
The Hebrew "Gospel of the Nazarenes" had mahar, "of tomorrow," with which must be ranged the view taken by Erasmus, Grotius, Bengel, De Wette, Meyer, Bishop Lightfoot ("A Fresh Revision," etc.), H. Holtzmann, with most modern scholars, that the form is derivable from ἐπιοῦσα, in the sense of, for the coming day. Olshausen and Stier, whom Plumptre followed, understood spiritual food.
284 "Bring us not into temptation," as the Spirit did JESUS (Luke 4:1).
285 As to SIN and the initial forgiveness of sins, see note on Luke 24:47, and a pamphlet by the present writer (same publisher). With the present passage cf., of course, Matthew 18:35, and see Saphir on the Lord's Prayer, Lect. XIII.; also Sermons of Augustus Hare (vol. ii.) and H. Melvill (vol. i.).
If the disciples ever offered this prayer during the period of the Lord's ministry, it could not have been in His Name: see John 16:24. Whately contends that Christians do now implicitly so use it, as to which see W. Kelly's remarks in his special pamphlet (s. tit.). "It was intended for those who were true believers, but for whom redemption was yet prospective, and to whom the Holy Ghost had not been given" (p. 21; cf. p. 23). Reference may be made also to Bruce, "Training of the Twelve," where it is described as "for spiritual minors, for Christians in the crude state of Divine life" (p. 51).
Some happy remarks on grounds alleged for its disuse have been made from the usual point of view by Dr. Thirtle, in his Paper entitled "Form and Substance" ("Christian," 20th Jan., 1910). Much of the criticism bestowed upon it does but illustrate Luther's description of the Prayer as "one of the greatest of Christian martyrs."
That it was not meant as a liturgical formula, the different wording in the two Gospels containing it should suggest to all intelligent readers: see Meyer and cf. Harnack, p. 64 f. This difference of scope and form in Matthew and Luke, J. Weiss (on Matthew, p. 286) speaks of as "striking a death-blow to belief in Verbal Inspiration." If such a thing were possible for critics of his school, it could only be by way of mechanical uniformity: the difference between Divine and human vanishes for them.
In defence of a written form of words for congregational prayer, Archbishop Whately made use of a curious argument in a "Letter to a Clergyman of the Diocese of Dublin" (1837). From our Lord's words in Matthew 18:19, as to agreement about petitions made, he extracted an implication of exclusive use of precomposed prayers (p. 8 f.). Christians, however, who use extemporaneous prayer alone, outside of conventional prayers from Nonconformist pulpits, habitually so agree as to subjects of intended prayer. There is nothing in our Lord's statement governing the language of such petitions. Those who approve add their "Amen." As to their being, according to the Archbishop, merely "hearers" while not themselves voicing the mind of the company, à priori impressions are rectified by experience.
The New Testament is generally supposed to be silent as to any use being made, whether privately or publicly, of this formula, either during the lifetime of the Lord or in the period of Apostolic ministry. No answer has naturally been found to Bingham's inquiry, "When did its use begin?" ("Antiqq.," xiii. 7). It is first met with, outside the gospel of Matthew and Luke, in the Didaché (§ 8), and here in the Matthean form, with an injunction that it shall be said thrice daily. But as late as the time of Justin Martyr (Apol., i. 67) extemporaneous prayer (supra) was certainly recognized at celebration of the Lord's Supper (ὅση δύναμις αὐτῳ), translated in Pusey's Library of the Fathers by "with all his strength." By the third century this formula had become "legitimate and ordinary" prayer.
Cf. Exposition by Maclaren, i. pp. 322-325. Reference should also be made, for comparison with this prayer, to the Prayer Book of British Jews (Amidah), pp. 44-54.
286Luke 11:7. - See Schor, p. 25.
287Luke 11:8. - Cf. Mark 11:24. Abrahams says, with reference to the Rabbinic idea of prayer, "The man who prayed expecting an answer was regarded as arrogant and sinful"! (p. 147).
287a Luke 11:9. - "This is the Magna Charta of prayer" (Neil).
288Luke 11:11. - "Shall give," i.e., in answer to him (ἐπιδώσει)
289Luke 11:13. - "Being," to begin with (ὑπάρχων). This word is characteristically Pauline: it occurs again in Luke 16:14; Luk 16:23, and Luke 23:50. As to the doctrine of "Original Sin," see note 617 below.
290 "Father who is of heaven," ἐξ οὐρανοῦ. Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:47, and Weiss, "Theology of the New Testament," p. 93; also his "Sources of Luke's Gospel," p. 73.
Wesley notes the gradation: friend, father, GOD.
291 "Holy Spirit." Syrsin has "good things." Harnack (as Wellhausen) speaks of Luke's change of words as capricious (Matt.: ἄγαθα), e.g., his fondness for "spirit" ("Sayings," p. 10); but cf. verse 20, where our Evangelist has "finger" (δακτύλῳ) for Matthew's "spirit" (πνεύματι), as shown on the next page of Harnack's own book.
Our Lord's word, "good-things," recorded by Matthew, seems to belong to a different time or connection from "Spirit" here. As Dr. Campbell Morgan has said, the former was spoken by Him in the character of Jewish Messiah ("The Spirit of God," p. 172); but the same writer seems to have missed the point (ibid., p. 94) in Luke's record, which regards efficiency in service, and that now, as well as in time yet to come, independently of dispensation. The esteemed minister of Westminster Chapel is right in guarding such passages from the interpretation put upon them by those who support the idea of a "second blessing." But is there any warrant for asserting that the disciples did never act upon the Lord's statement? The same might as well be said of the formula of verses 2-4 in the immediate context.
The omission of the article indicates that a faculty rather than the personal Spirit is spoken of (cf. Middleton on Matthew 1:18, p. 126; Acts 19:2; 1 Corinthians 12:31, 1 Corinthians 14:1, and Php 1:19). As to gifts of the Holy Spirit already spoken of in Isaiah 11:2, see "Catholic Catechism," p. 93, where these are set out.
Warner has described the Holy Spirit as "operative in the subconscious area" (p. 284).
291a "Ask": "The Son was given unasked, the Spirit to be given must be implored" (Neil).
292Luke 11:14 f. - B. Weiss treats these verses as parallel to Matthew 9:32 ff.
293Luke 11:15. - "Beelzebub." The final letter is not shown as b in any Greek MS., but is derived from the Vulgate. The critical reading is "Beelzeboul." So in Matthew 12:24-27; Mark 3:22. As to the meaning of this name, see 2 Kings 1:6, and cf. Dalman, "Aramaic Grammar," p. 137.
294Luke 11:19. - For the use made by Carpenter of these words, see p. 367 of his "Bible in the Nineteenth Century."
295Luke 11:20. - "Finger of God." See Exodus 8:19; Psalm 8:3. Cf. note 291.
296 "The Kingdom of God is come upon you." For φθάλνειν, Cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:15, where the word clearly has the classical sense of "to forestall." "anticipate," whilst in Romans 9:31 it means "to reach." Here it may have the first meaning, "to come unexpectedly" (J. Weiss: "to break," as the dawn), but a few writers labour under the impression, aided by the fact that Heaven and God were to some extent interchangeable in the language of the period (ch. xv. 21), that Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are equivalent terms (so H. Holtzmann). But the Kindom of Heaven is not a mere "euphemism" (as Selbie, p. 85) for Kingdom of God. These are not co-extensive: see note 21 on Mark (p. 245). The "Kingdom of Heaven," as AIlen states (on Matthew 12:28, Matthew 21:43), is a regularly eschatological term. It represents that which is described in expository literature as the "Millennium." from Revelation 20:4. Cf. the Lord's "heavenly kingdom" in 2 Timothy 4:18, and the administration of the "fulness of times" (Ephesians 1:10). In Matt. 13: the Kingdom acquires its heavenly character from the King being there, regarded as having returned to heaven. "The Kingdom of God" extends beyond the Messianic reign, being of endless duration (1 Corinthians 15:28).
297 "Panoply" This word is shared by Luke and Paul (Ephesians 6:11-13), and is peculiar to them.
298Luke 11:21 ff. - The late Count Tolstoi, in conversation with Dr. F. W. Baedeker (Memoir, p. 207), remarked that there would be no prisons - Baedeker had been visiting convicts as a missionary - if people were rightly taught; to which the rejoinder was, that so long as there is sin in the world there will be prisons, and this passage was quoted, of which the Russian writer, who has produced a book on "The Teaching of Jesus," avowed himself ignorant! "When everybody," he writes, "has understood the true teaching, then evil and temptations will come to an end"! (§ 39 ad fin., E. T., p. 85).
299Luke 11:23. - Cf. Matthew 12:30. Just as the first part of this "saying" regards every man's individual relation to the Person of Christ, the second concerns His Work (Hahn).
The principle derived by the Expositor from this verse is now better understood than at the time his comment was written; but there is still room for much improvement with regard to it in the Church "militant."
300Luke 11:24 f. - Martensen considers that the use which Luke makes of this logion bears upon seeming conversion ("Individual Ethics," E. T., p. 152). "An unclean spirit, e.g., lust, is gone out. The man assumes a robe of piety; the unclean spirit returns in another form, e.g., pride and censoriousness." It has been suggested that the exchange of Protestantism for Catholicism has often the character described in 2 Peter 2:20 ff.
Dr. Arnold has preached on verse 25 ("Sermons on the Christian Life," p. 156).
301Luke 11:26. - Cf. Matthew 12:45 for words not in Luke, and illustrating the different design of the Gospels ("Introductory Lectures," p. 325). As to the seven spirits, see note above on 8: 2.
There is a sermon on this verse by Isaac Williams.
302Luke 11:27 ff. - This, as some critics conceive, is Luke's equivalent for what he has omitted of Mark 7:1 ff.
303Luke 11:29-32. - The attitude of critics towards Typology may be gathered from Schmidt, pp. 55-64. "The critical study of the Hebrew Scriptures has, eliminated types." "The reason why modern learning has abandoned typology is . . . it can find no place in history for many persons . . . regarded as types." So complete has become the confusion between the method employed by our Lord and his Apostles and the Patristic allegorizing. People who claim to be "scientific" may be expected to live up to their reputation, which is too often, however, a castle of cardboard. Evolution is supposed to have made Typology impossible!
304Luke 11:30 ff. - "A queen." "Men of Nineveh." The Expositor (as Westcott, "Some Lessons, etc.," p. 55) preferred the indefinite form of rendering.
305 Matthew, whose special use of the prophet's adversity is sometimes belittled, has also preserved the preaching of Jonah as the sign (Luke 12:41).
306Luke 11:33. - "In secret" (W.-H., κρύπτην, or, as Blass and Weiss, κρυπτήν), "in a vault." See Spurgeon's Sermon, 2109.
307Luke 11:35 f. - "The light . . . in thee." Grubb: "The light within is the power of a self-conscious person to enter into communion with God" (op. cit., p. 93: see the whole of chapter 7, and on the relation of such light to the conscience, chapter 12 of his book). Cf. John 11:10 with Gore, "The Creed of the Christian," p. 38 f.
Robert South preached on verse 35.
308Luke 11:37. - "Dine." This was the ἄριστον, or midday meal (breakfast, luncheon): see Acts 10:9 f., and cf. Josephus, "Life," see. 54. For the δεῖπνον (dinner, supper), see chapter 14.
309Luke 11:38. - "Washed (American Revv. 'bathed himself') before dinner." Cf. Mark 7:4, and see Bennett on Mishna, etc., p. 33 f.
310Luke 11:39. - The PHARISEES. As to this party, see Bennett, chapter 9, and paper by Box in Churchman, September, 1911. The Expositor (cf. his pamphlet on the Talmud) here sides with Farrar and Edersheim, against Deutsch and Montefiore. On Deutsch's own showing ("Literary Remains," p. 29) some language of the Talmud about them is just as severe as any in the Gospels.
See Augustine's Sermon in op. cit., vol. i., p. 431.
311Luke 11:41. - "What ye have," ἐνόντα, as taken by Godet and Bishop Basil Jones. Whilst Wordsworth explains by "hearts," the R.V. text makes the word mean souls (cf. Matthew 23:25 ff.); the margin (rejected by W. Kelly in his "Bible Treasury" review), the contents of the cups, which was the view of De Wette, after Theophylact. And so B. Weiss. Cf. Expositor, March, 1909 (p. 282 f., Papyri).
312Luke 11:42 ff. - The woes Matthew has assigned to the Passion narrative.
313 "Love of God" (cf. Luke 10:27, and note there). Save as in John 5:42 (cf. Luke 8:42 of that Gospel), this is peculiar to Luke. In Matthew, "mercy" and "faith." Augustine said that, "one can do anything if he love God." Cf. Jam 1:25. Thomas à Kempis: "If thou didst know the whole Bible by heart . . . what would that profit thee without the love of God?"
As to this element in the Jewish Chassidism of the eighteenth century, see Abrahams, p. 76. For the Old Testament basis, cf. Deuteronomy 6:5 and Deuteronomy 30:20. The Divine claim of love is characteristic of Judaism and Christianity amongst religious systems, as to which see Bettex, "The Book of Truth," p. 676. On the love of God in the Synoptic teaching, see Stalker, "The Ethic of Jesus," chapter x.
314Luke 11:44 f. - Cf Matthew 23:27. According to the Received Text, the "lawyers" seem to distinguish themselves from the "scribes"; but the critical text omits "scribes" here. There can be no doubt that "scribe" was used of any man of learning. Cf. note on Luke 10:25.
315Luke 11:49-51. - Cf. Matthew 23:34. This passage is considered by Afford to be a paraphrase of 2 Chronicles 24:18-22; by Lindsay, as a paraphrase of Proverbs 1:20-31. Cf. Job 12:13, Job 28:23; Proverbs 8:22-31; Wisdom of Solomon, 7: 27; Romans 11:33, and 1 Corinthians 1:24; also note 125 above (Luke 5:17).
Harnack supposes that an apocryphal Jewish writing is quoted ("Sayings," p. 103).
John 7:38 and Jam 4:5 are passages as to which the like question has arisen.
"Hath been poured out," ἐκκεχυμένον. If ἐκχυννόμενον (Tisch.) be read, future bloodshed will be included (Weymouth).
Observe the entail of hereditary guilt attaching to the Jewish people, forerunners of the "historical church" in a like connection (Anderson, "The Bible or the Church," p. 100).
316Luke 11:52. - "The key of knowledge," generally supposed to refer to the symbol of authority handed to new rabbis by the Sanhedrin when commissioning them. See, however, note on verse 2.
317Luke 11:53. - "To make him speak," ἀποστοματίζειν. McClellan: "to urge Him to answer offhand."
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.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
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;
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:
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.
He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.
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.
Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?
But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.
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.
Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.
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.
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.
Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
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:
That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
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.
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.
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:
Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.