I keep being impressed with what Luke has to offer us each week. I know this to be true, but the more you read Scripture, the more sticks out to you in new and fresh ways. Call it life, call it wisdom, call it the Holy Spirit – likely a combination of all three – call it what you wish, but Scripture meets us where we are and speaks.
This week I would like to highlight just a few places that grabbed me.
First, Jesus’ teaching on prayer found in Luke 11:1-13. We get Luke’s version of the Lord’s prayer – a bit shorter than Matthew’s version. Although there is a lot explore there, I want to spend some time on the next portion. Jesus says imagine you have a friend that you go to in the middle of the night for bread – after your friend gives you an excuse Jesus says this:
I assure you, even if he wouldn’t get up and help because of his friendship, he will get up and give his friend whatever he needs because of his friend’s brashness. (Luke 11:8)
From there Jesus goes on to describes how even we as people know how to give good gifts – not bad ones – therefore, the Father in heaven give good/needed gifts.
And then He ends with this phrase:
If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
A few things about prayer:
– We are called to practice brashness in our prayers. Brash – really. Brash is defined as self-assertive in a rude, noisy, or overbearing way. What does it mean to be bold, loud, and let it all be seen by God type of way? We usually think of prayer as a very controlled practice. This describes prayer as an act of desperation and confidence. I still wrestle with this parable of Jesus, but we have to think about it and pray through it. The hero is the one that wakes up a friend with brashness.
– God knows how to give good gifts. God is good and the things He gives are good things. He does not give us things that harm or hurt us.
– Why does Jesus say that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those that ask? How is this tied to this thought of prayer? I am not for sure, but here is a thought: What if the greatest gift we can be given from prayer is not the physical gift, but instead the gift of the Holy Spirit? Paul says in Romans 8 that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf in prayer for things we can only communicate in groans and sighs (Romans 8:26,27)
What do you think that Jesus needs us to know from this passage?
Second, Jesus seems to always push against people that want to lift His family up – see verse 27,28. Jesus says the one that is happy or blessed is the one that hears God’s word and puts it into practice. He goes on to say in this section (Luke 11:27-36) that we all need an eye examination. He says that the eye is the lamp of the body if it is bad – then the whole body experiences darkness – but if it is good – then the light dominates. I want to put forward that the way we see the world, others and most importantly God determines if we are full of light or darkness. Seeing is not always seeing. Just because we see something does not mean we see things the way they are. In a world where facts can be called alternate facts and an untrue narrative can be promoted, and bought by not only the emperor but the onlookers as well. We as humans have a way of making up our own truth that satisfies us. When we do this, we invite darkness. Our eyes must be tested and tested again by God’s light, God’s standard.
And this seems to flow into the final section of this chapter. In one of my other Bible’s this section was called “the Woes to the Pharisees”. Jesus cuts to the heart of what it means to have your eyes be bad. What is most interesting to me is that the Pharisees and legal experts were attempting to please God in their service.
As they sought to please God and enforce God’s rule(s) they missed God.
I worry from time to time that we who hang around the church if we are not careful can fall into the trap of missing God while we talk/living in all the trappings of God.
May God keep our eyes healthy and full of light.