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Luke 11:13  (King James Version)
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<< Luke 11:12   Luke 11:14 >>


Luke 11:11-13

This context actually begins back in verse 5 with a story about a man going to another person's house, knocking, knocking, and knocking on the door, but the man asleep inside does not want to get out of bed. We often think that the lesson we are to glean from this is to be persistent with God. However, that is not the lesson in this particular story.

The lesson is the contrast between the churlish man, who had to be forced out of bed to give his friend some help, and God, who readily gives the anointing of His Holy Spirit. A person does not have to beg God to receive His Holy Spirit from Him! He wants to give that to us! It is the one thing that He wants above all other things to give to us, and we do not have to beg Him for it.

Jesus is not saying that we should not be persistent when going before God. Certainly, we should be courteously persistent, but that is not the lesson here (it is, however, the lesson in Luke 18:1-8). Luke 11 teaches that one need not beg God for His Holy Spirit. He will give it to us generously, all that we need, to get us through every single day. He will anoint us with it!

We need to ask Him for it, because it is what will make the day worthwhile. It will smooth out all the irritations and aggravations—the metaphorical flies that buzz around our head every day. Each of them may be capable of leading us to commit spiritual suicide—should a sin grow into something more dangerous.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 23 (Part 3)



Luke 11:5-13

Jesus taught by example, and this is particularly true in terms of prayer. Once, after He was finished praying, His disciples asked Him to show them how to pray (Luke 11:1-4). He responded by giving them an outline of what to include in a typical prayer. Then, after having taught His disciples to pray, Jesus furthers His instruction through the Parable of the Persistent Friend (verses 5-13), which pictures persistence and perseverance in prayer.

The parable includes three friends. A visiting friend had traveled for many hours to where he thought he would be offered food and shelter, but he had none, since his host's family had already eaten and retired to bed for the evening. Custom, however, dictated that the weary traveler be provided food. Not wanting to neglect his friend even though it was late, the host, a persistent friend, went to a sleeping friend's house nearby to ask for bread.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Persistent Friend



Luke 11:13

Though Jesus says God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask, the Bible further qualifies this with conditions. God will give His Spirit only to those who have demonstrated in attitude and behavior that they have repented. Then they must be baptized and obey His commandments. No one who continues to live a lifestyle apart from God's law has received the Spirit of God or has the power of God working in him.

Martin G. Collins
The Holy Spirit



Luke 11:13

Jesus directly calls those to whom He was speaking "evil"! Apparently, they were just ordinary people listening to Him teach; they were not representatives of any of those groups that were constantly disputing with Him. Verse 1 suggests His audience was made up of His own disciples! Yet, there is no equivocation at all in His statement. Evil is synonymous with "diseased," "hurtful," "calamitous," "derelict," "vicious," and "malignant." The word derives from the Greek word for "labor," indicating it is something that is worked at, thus producing these evil effects.

In Matthew 19:16, Jesus Himself is called "good," but He promptly corrects the person, saying that only God is good (verse 17). He presumably said that because there were elements of human nature in Him by virtue of His human birth. Luke 11:13, then, is God's assessment of human nature: evil. Just because a human knows how and actually does some good things - acts of kindness or generosity - does not alter the fact that his heart is still incurably evil. Human pride tends to blunt God's assessment of the carnality within us, motivating any remaining enmity (Romans 7:14-24).

Our pride rises to defend us from the condemnation of the standard to which we are compared - God. We consider Adolph Hitler to have been utterly evil, but he is said to have cherished children and dogs, a trait we would tend to judge as good. In a similar vein, James 3:9-10 says that with our tongues "we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing." Where do those words come from? Do they not proceed out from an evil heart (Matthew 12:34)?

People judge human nature to be a mixture of good and evil, but that is not acceptable for life in the Kingdom of God! It may as well be totally evil! Is God Himself contaminated, a blend of good and evil? According to I John 3:2, in His Kingdom "we shall be like Him." We will be purified and uncontaminated as He is. Human nature's evil mix will not be seen in God's Kingdom.

We should by now realize that salvation can only be by grace. Human nature not only cannot be made good, but even now it resides just under the surface. Our conversion barely covers it over, as Peter's outburst against God's will illustrates and Paul's experience, reported in Romans 7, amplifies.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Communication and Leaving Babylon (Part Two)



Luke 11:11-13

The sleeping friend had to be awakened and pestered into lending the bread, but God does not sleep and is never disturbed when we approach Him. We do not have to force Him into giving because He never gives reluctantly; giving is a major part of His nature. Although God is generous, we should pray perseveringly as David did, not being afraid to ask repeatedly according to His will (Psalm 86:1-7, 15-17).

The intensity God desires in our prayers is emphasized by the admonishment to "ask, seek, knock." All asking is not considered seeking, but only patient and persistent asking. All seeking is not considered looking in the right place, but only seeking the truth. All knocking is not considered attention getting, but only energetic and persistent knocking. The threefold admonition is in itself an admonition to ask diligently, repeatedly, and long-sufferingly. By this parable Christ exhorts us to be patient, persevering, and persistent in prayer. If the persistent friend who sought the bread for his visiting friend was not discouraged by a negative response but continued to ask earnestly, how much more diligent should we be in beseeching God who willingly and abundantly gives (Matthew 6:30-33)? God does not answer our diligent prayers to be rid of us but because He loves us (Psalm 103:13; Isaiah 49:15).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Persistent Friend



Luke 11:1-13

This passage is devoted to one major objective: to instruct us concerning our perception of God the Father.

  1. He is not a reluctant stranger who can be bullied into bestowing His many gifts simply because of our many words. That is not the issue for being persistent.
  2. He is not a malicious tyrant who takes vicious glee in the tricks that He plays on His subjects—by giving a scorpion rather than an egg.
  3. He is not an indulgent grandfather who provides everything that is requested of Him. He does not spoil His children.
  4. He is our heavenly Father who graciously and willingly bestows good gifts when they are needed in answer to prayer.

The key is "good gifts when they are needed." God's good gifts may come a little bit at a time. Sometimes, we are not even aware that it is occurring, yet He has been supplying the very thing that we asked for. Somehow or another, we are not sharp enough spiritually to see it.

The parable clarifies one aspect of why we must be persistent in prayer, but there is another that deals with our perceptions of God's power and His purpose and how our requests fit into them. Unfortunately, we often misunderstand God's role as Creator and tend to think of Him narrowly as being our Benefactor. He is both Benefactor and Creator. However, we tend to emphasize the Benefactor aspect, while He tends to emphasize the Creator aspect. So when we feel a need, and our desire is great because we feel that the need is urgent, we want our desire filled immediately because we see it as the answer.

We may be absolutely correct that it is the answer and that what we are asking for is good in God's eyes—it is according to His will. However, there is more to our request from God's point of view. He lives in a different timeframe than we do; time does not mean the same thing to Him as it does to us. In addition, His perception of our request is different because He is looking at it from the vantage point of His purpose rather than from our limited goals, which are often to have relief, strength, a gift, or power so that we might be able to serve Him better. The request may be good and entirely justified, but God is still looking at it differently than we are.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prayer and Persistence




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Luke 11:13:

Matthew 25:15
Luke 11:13
Luke 18:1-8
Acts :
Galatians 5:17
Ephesians 2:2

 

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