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a Bible passage
11 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2He said to them, “When you pray, say:
The Lord’s Prayer
He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
Perseverance in Prayer
5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13If you then, 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!”
Jesus and Beelzebul
14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. 15But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. 17But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. 18If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. 19Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. 22But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. 23Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
The Return of the Unclean Spirit
24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
27 While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” 28But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
The Sign of Jonah
29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! 32The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!
The Light of the Body
33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. 35Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”
Jesus Denounces Pharisees and Lawyers
37 While he was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and took his place at the table. 38The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.
42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others. 43Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honor in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. 44Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.”
45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us too.” 46And he said, “Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them. 47Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. 48So you are witnesses and approve of the deeds of your ancestors; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50so that this generation may be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, 51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation. 52Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”
53 When he went outside, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile toward him and to cross-examine him about many things, 54lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.
It is uncertain whether this form was once only or twice delivered by Christ to his disciples.429429 “Il est incertain si Christ a enseigne ceste formule de prier a ses disciples une fois seulement, ou bien par deux diverses fois.” — “It is uncertain if Christ taught this form of prayer to his disciples once only, or rather at two separate times.” Some think that the latter is more probable; because Luke says that he was requested to do it, while Matthew represents him as teaching it of his own accord. But as we have said, that Matthew collects all the leading points of doctrine, in order that the whole amount of them may be more clearly perceived by the readers when they are placed in close succession, it is possible that Matthew may have omitted to mention the occasion which is related by Luke. On this subject, however, I am unwilling to debate with any person.
Luke 11:1 As John also taught his diciples. John delivered to his disciples a particular form of prayer; and he did so, in my opinion, because the time required it. The state of affairs among the Jews was, at that time, exceedingly corrupted. Every thing connected with religion had so miserably fallen, that we need not be surprised to find few among them, by whom prayer was offered in a proper manner.430430 “Il ne se faut pas fort esbahir si la vraye et pure maniere de prier estoit pratiquee par bien peu de gens.” — “We ought not to be greatly surprised, if the true and pure manner of praying was practiced by very few people.” Besides, it was proper, that the minds of believers should be excited, by prayer, to hope and desire the promised redemption, which was at hand. John might, therefore, have collected, out of various passages of Scripture, a certain prayer adapted to the time, and approaching more nearly to the spiritual kingdom of Christ, which had already begun to be revealed.
Luke 11:5. Which of you shall have a friend, Luke adds this comparison, which is not mentioned by Matthew. The general instruction conveyed by it is this: Believers ought not to be discouraged, if they do not immediately obtain their desires, or if they find them difficult to be obtained: for if, among men, importunity of asking extorts what a person would not willingly do, we have no reason to doubt that God will listen to us, if we persevere constantly in prayer, and if our minds do not slacken through difficulty or delay.
Luke 11:16. And others tempting sought from him a sign. Something similar to this is afterwards related by Matthew, (16:4,) and by Mark, (8:11, 12.) Hence it is evident, that Christ repeatedly attacked them on this subject, so that there was no end to the wickedness of those men who had once resolved 163163 “Qui une fois s’estoyent endurcis;” — “who had once become hardened.” to oppose the truth. There can be no doubt that they ask a sign, in order to plead, as a plausible pretense for their unbelief, that Christ’s calling has not been duly attested. They do not express such submissiveness as to be prepared to yield to two or three miracles, and still less to be satisfied with a single miracle; but as I hinted a little before, they apologize for not believing the Gospel on this pretense, that Christ shows no sign of it from heaven. 164164 “Que Christ ne leur monstre aucun signe d’enhaut qui soit pour seelet ceste doctrine;” — “that Christ shows them no sign from above that is sufficient to seal this doctrine.” He had already performed miracles before their eyes sufficiently numerous and manifest; but as if these were not enough for the confirmation of doctrine, they wish to have something exhibited from heaven, by which God will, as it were, make a visible appearance. They call him Master, according to custom; for such was the appellation given at that time to all scribes and expounders of the law. But they do not acknowledge him to be a prophet of God, till he produce a testimony from heaven. The meaning therefore is: “Since thou professest to be a teacher and Master, if thou desirest that we should be thy disciples, let God declare from heaven that He is the Author of thy teaching, and let Him confirm thy calling by a miracle.”
Luke 11:27. Blessed is the womb. By this eulogium the woman intended to magnify the excellence of Christ; for she had no reference to Mary, 154154 “Il ne faut pas penser qu’elle eust regard a Marie;” — “we must not suppose that she had reference to Mary.” whom, perhaps, she had never seen. And yet it tends in a high degree to illustrate the glory of Christ, that she pronounces the womb that bore him to be noble and blessed. Nor was the blessing inappropriate, but in strict accordance with the manner of Scripture; for we know that offspring, and particularly when endued with distinguished virtues, is declared to be a remarkable gift of God, preferable to all others. It cannot even be denied that God conferred the highest honor on Mary, by choosing and appointing her to be the mother of his Son. And yet Christ’s reply is so far from assenting to this female voice, that it contains an indirect reproof.
Nay, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God. We see that Christ treats almost as a matter of indifference that point on which the woman had set a high value. And undoubtedly what she supposed to be Mary’s highest honor was far inferior to the other favors which she had received; for it was of vastly greater importance to be regenerated by the Spirit of God than to conceive Christ, according to the flesh, in her womb; to have Christ living spiritually within her than to suckle him with her breasts. In a word, the highest happiness and glory of the holy Virgin consisted in her being a member of his Son, so that the heavenly Father reckoned her in the number of new creatures.
In my opinion, however, it was for another reason, and with a view to another object, that Christ now corrected the saying of the woman. It was because men are commonly chargeable with neglecting even those gifts of God, on which they gaze with astonishment, and bestow the highest praise. This woman, in applauding Christ, had left out what was of the very highest consequence, that in him salvation is exhibited to all; and, therefore, it was a feeble commendation, that made no mention of his grace and power, which is extended to all. Christ justly claims for himself another kind of praise, not that his mother alone is reckoned blessed, but that he brings to us all perfect and eternal happiness. We never form a just estimate of the excellence of Christ, till we consider for what purpose he was given to us by the Father, and perceive the benefits which he has brought to us, so that we who are wretched in ourselves may become happy in him. But why does he say nothing about himself, and mention only the word of God? It is because in this way he opens to us all his treasures; for without the word he has no intercourse with us, nor we with him. Communicating himself to us by the word, he rightly and properly calls us to hear and keep it, that by faith he may become ours.
We now see the difference between Christ’s reply and the woman’s commendation; for the blessedness, which she had limited to his own relatives, is a favor which he offers freely to all. He shows that we ought to entertain no ordinary esteem for him, because he has all the treasures of life, blessedness, and glory, hidden in him, (Colossians 2:3,) which he dispenses by the word, that they may be communicated to those who embrace the word by faith; for God’s free adoption of us, which we obtain by faith, is the key to the kingdom of heaven. The connection between the two things must also be observed. We must first hear, and then keep; for as faith cometh by hearing, (Romans 10:17,) it is in this way that the spiritual life must be commenced. Now as the simple hearing is like a transitory looking into a mirror, 155155 “Autant que l’ouye simple est comme quand on regarde en un mirroir, et que la memoire s’en escoule incontinent;” — “since the simple hearing is as when we look into a mirror, and the remembrance of it immediately passes away.” as James says, (1:23,) he likewise adds, the keeping of the word, which means the effectual reception of it, when it strikes its roots deep into our hearts, and yields its fruit. The forgetful hearer, whose ears alone are struck by the outward doctrine, gains no advantage. On the other hand, they who boast that they are satisfied with the secret inspiration, and on this ground disregard the outward preaching, shut themselves out from the heavenly life. What the Son of God hath joined let not men, with wicked rashness, put asunder, (Matthew 19:6.) The Papists discover amazing stupidity by singing, in honor of Mary, those very words by which their superstition is expressly condemned, and who, in giving thanks, detach the woman’s saying, and leave out the correction. 156156 “Et en leurs graces apres le repas, ils prenent le dire de la femme, laissans la correction qui estoit le principal;” — “and in their thanksgivings after a meal, they employ the woman’s saying leaving out the correction, which was the most important matter,” But it was proper that such a universal stupefaction should come upon those who intentionally profane, at their pleasure, the sacred word of God.
Luke 11:30. As Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites. He declares that he will be a sign to them, as Jonah was to the inhabitants of Nineveh. But the word sign is not taken in its ordinary sense, as pointing out something, but as denoting what is widely removed from the ordinary course of nature. In this sense Jonah’s mission was miraculous, when he was brought out of the belly of the fish, as if from the grave, to call the Ninevites to repentance. Three days and three nights This is in accordance with a well-known figure of speech. 166166 “Quant aux trois nuits, il y a ici (cornme on scait bien) une figure que les Grecs et Latins appellent Synecdoche;” — “as to the three nights, there is here (as is well known) a figure which the Greek and Latin writers call Synecdoche.” As the night is an appendage to the day, or rather, as the day consists of two parts, light and darkness, he expresses a day by a day and a night, and where there was half a day, he puts down a whole day.
This narrative agrees in some respects, but not entirely, with the doctrine laid down by Matthew, (10:1-20,) that Christ, in order to correct the superstition of the people, and particularly of the scribes, intentionally disregarded outward ceremonies of human invention, which the Jews were too solicitous to observe. God had prescribed in his Law certain kinds of washings, that by means of them he might train his people usefully to the consideration of true purity. The Jews, not satisfied with this moderate portion had added many other washings, and more especially, that no person should partake of food till he had been washed with the water of purification, as Mark relates more minutely, (12:3,4,) and as is also evident from John, (2:6.) This fault was accompanied by wicked confidence; for they cared little about the spiritual worship of God, and thought that they had perfectly discharged their duty, when the figure was substituted in the place of God. Christ is fully aware that his neglect of this ceremony will give offense, but he declines to observe it, in order to show that God sets very little value on outward cleanness, but demands the spiritual righteousness of the heart.
39. Now you Pharisees Christ does not here charge the Pharisees, as in Matthew, (15:1-20,) and Mark, (12:2-13,) with serving God in an improper manner by human inventions, and breaking the law of God for the sake of their traditions; but merely glances at their hypocrisy, in having no desire of purity except before the eyes of men, as if they had not to deal with God. Now this reproof applies to all hypocrites, even to those who believe that righteousness consists in ceremonies appointed by God. Christ includes more than if he had said, that it is in vain to serve God by the commandments of men, (Mark 7:7;) for he condemns generally the error of worshipping God by ceremonies, and not spiritually, by faith and a pure affection of the heart.
On this point the prophets had always contended earnestly with the Jews; but, as the minds of men are strongly inclined to hypocrisy, they proudly and obstinately adhered to the conviction, that God is pleased with external worship, even when it is not accompanied by faith. But in the time of Christ, they had sunk to such depth of folly, that they made religion to consist entirely in absolute trifles. Accordingly, he directs his accusation against the Pharisees, for being extremely careful to wash cups, and cherishing within their hearts the most abominable filth of cruelty and wickedness He charges them with folly on this ground, that God, who created that which is within the man, his soul, as truly as the body, cannot be satisfied with a mere external appearance. The chief reason why men are deceived is, that they do not consider that they have to deal with God, or, they transform Him according to the vanity of their senses, as if there were no difference between Him and a mortal man.
41. But out of what you have, give alms. Christ, according to his custom, withdraws the Pharisees from ceremonies to charity, declaring that it is not water, but liberality, 285285 “Mais que c’est une prompte affection de faire bien a ceux qui sont en necessite;” — “but that it is an active disposition to do good to those who are in want.” that cleanses both men and food. By these words he does not disparage the grace of God, or reject the ceremonies of the Law as vain and useless; but addresses his discourse to those who feel confident that God will be amused by mere signs. “It is the lawful use alone,” he says, “that sanctifies food. But food is rightly and properly used by those who supply from their abundance the necessities of the poor. It would therefore be better to give alms out of what you have, than to be careful about washing hands and cups, and to neglect the poor.”
The inference which the Papists draw from these words, that alms are satisfactions, by which we are cleansed from our sins, is too absurd to require a lengthened refutation. Christ does not here inform us by what price we must purchase the forgiveness of sins, but says that those persons eat their bread with cleanness, who bestow a part of it on the poor. I understand the words, τὰ ἐνόντα, to mean “the present supply,” 286286 “Les presentes choses, comme aussi ie l’ay traduit au texte;” — “the present things, as also I have translated it in the text.” and not, as Erasmus and the old translator render them, “what remains over.” 287287 It seems quite as natural to suppose, with other interpreters, that τὰ ἐνόντα answers to τὸ ἔσωθεν in the 39th and 40th verses Πλὴν (κατὰ) τὰ ἐνόντα will thus be equivalent to πλὴν (κατὰ) τὸ ἔσωθεν (τοῦ ποτηρίου) δότε ἐλεημοσύνην, but as to what is within the cup give alms out of it. The next, clause commences with καὶ, followed by an ellipsis of (κατὰ), τὸ ἔξωθεν (τοῦ ποτηρίου) μὴ μεριμνήσητε, and give yourselves no concern about what is outside of the cup; for, lo, all things are clean to you. —Ed.
The reproofs which immediately follow may be reserved, with greater propriety, for another occasion. I do not think it probable that Christ, while sitting at table, indulged in this continuous strain of invective against scribes and Pharisees, but that Luke has introduced here what was spoken at another time; for the Evangelists, as we have frequently mentioned, paid little attention to the order of dates.
Luke 11:53. And while he was saying these things to them. I have formerly mentioned that the preceding sentences were not inserted by Luke in their proper place. For while he was relating that Christ at a dinner reproved the scribes, he introduced also the latest discourses by which, a little before his death, he reproved their wicked courses; and in like manner, the reproof which we have just now examined is inserted by Luke, in connection with a different narrative. If any one prefer to follow the opinion of those who conjecture that Christ repeated the same discourses on various occasions, I have no great objection. After pronouncing the curses which have been now explained, he concludes by saying that all the scribes became more inveterate against Christ, so that they did not cease to entrap him by ensnaring questions; which ought to be referred to the conversation held at the table, rather than to his latest discourse. But I have not thought it a matter of great importance to be very exact about the time — a matter which the Evangelist has disregarded.