Friday, June 22, 2018

LUKE 11:37-44 SHINY OUTSIDE BUT STINKY INSIDE

SHINY OUTSIDE BUT STINKY INSIDE
LUKE 11:37-44

Luke 11:37-38 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.

Susie: One of the Pharisees in the crowd invited Jesus to dinner at his home. Sounds nice, but we must remember that the Pharisees were constantly looking for instances to accuse Jesus of breaking their laws or traditions. Jesus walked in and apparently went immediately to the table and reclined. The Pharisee was appalled that Jesus did not “wash” before dinner. This was not a matter of hygiene but a break with tradition:

Pulpit Commentary as quoted at

Verse 38. - He marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner. An elaborate system of utter meaningless ablutions, each carried out with particular gestures, had been instituted by the rabbinical schools. All these senseless forms and ceremonies had been developed out of the original simple directions to secure cleanliness in the Levitical Law. It is probable that our Lord, intending to bring about this discussion. pointedly abstained from even the ordinary ablution on this occasion. The language of ver. 37 seems to point to his entering the house and at once sitting down at the table. The Talmud has many references to these practices. R. Akhibha, it proudly relates, died of thirst rather than pass over these preliminary washings. In the same compilation we read that it was currently supposed that a demon sat on hands unwashed.

Susan: Jesus probably made this faux pas on purpose to bring about the topic of cleanliness within as well as without that He wanted to address.

Luke 11:39 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.

Susie: Jesus is not criticizing the Pharisees’ dishwashing technique. He is metaphorically addressing the way they present themselves versus how they really are.

Susan: By all outward appearances, the Pharisees were in line with God’s laws while in their hearts they were deceptive and sometimes purely evil.

Luke 11:40 Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?

Susie: The Lord made our entire being, the earth-suit (our body) and the person that fills it (our mind, will, and emotions). God had given specific requirements for cleanliness of the body (which the Pharisees had elaborated upon), but He demanded inner cleanliness as well. The Pharisees were meticulous about their outward appearances but neglected to develop the inward character that God demands.

Susan: The reason they neglected their inward personal development was that it took more time, effort, and energy than they were willing to expend.

Susie: We will also see that they were more concerned with looking good to others in order to secure a prominent position than they were with demonstrating love for God and others.

Luke 11:41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers quoted at

That which defiles is selfishness; that which purifies is the unselfishness of love.

Susan: Jesus was explaining that generosity and love supersede outward rituals.

Susie: We see this in the next example, as well as the importance of have both the outward obedience and the inward motivation of the love of God.

Luke 11:42 But woe3759 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.

Susie: Jesus could be pronouncing woe as a judgment on the Pharisees or saying they are bringing woe upon themselves by their actions. We do not use the word “woe” much in our day to day conversations. Therefore, we are providing the original Greek word definition from Strong’s and a dictionary definition of the English word:

The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

3759 – ┼Ćuai – a primary exclamation of grief; “woe” – alas, woe

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary quoted at



Woe:
1. (n.) Grief; sorrow; misery; heavy calamity.
2. (n.) A curse; a malediction.

Susan: The Pharisees were making offerings of everything in the spice rack while withholding their hearts which is really withholding themselves.

Susie: They tithed to the max but in compassion they were lax. They would cheat widows out of their homes. They were like modern tenement owners who make a show of philanthropy but rent out apartments that should be condemned.

Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Susan: The Pharisees were similar to slum lords. They enjoyed a high place in society by being ruthless with the poor.

Susie: Outwardly they “cleaned up good,” but inside they were devoid of justice and compassion. The Lord told them they should take care of both the inward attitudes and the outward appearances.

Luke 11:43 Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.

Susan: They wanted prestige in the community.

Susie: However, as stated before, they had no true concern for the welfare of their neighbors in the community.

Luke 11:44 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.

Susie: Even walking over a grave caused the Jew ceremonial defilement, meaning the person could not participate at the temple or synagogue until ritual washing had been performed. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus compared the Pharisees to whitewashed tombs that looked clean on the outside but contained decaying flesh (Matthew 23:27). Tombs were whitewashed as a warning to walk around rather than over them. Here, Jesus says they are like graves that have not been properly marked, thus causing people to be unaware that they had been defiled.

Susan: The Pharisees were truly dead men walking. They had no life in them because they did not accept Jesus or His teaching. By rejecting the Son whom God had sent, they were rejecting God Himself.

Susie: They looked like upstanding religious leaders but were leading the people astray by their unbelief. We will see this clearly in the next chapter of Luke:

Luke 12:1b Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Ponder this and Apply it: People sometimes say of someone, “She is so Pharisaical,” meaning judgmental, legalistic, and hypocritical. Before we start pointing that finger at others, we need to examine our own lives. Is our motivation for church attendance to look good to others? Or are we truly worshipping God with our hearts? Do we give because it is expected, or to be listed as the biggest donor, or out of love for God and others? Do we spend more time putting on our dress clothes and makeup for church than we do preparing our hearts to worship and hear the word of God? Do we give all the right answers in Bible study but fail to love our neighbor? I remember my mom telling me about hearing a preacher in England. The congregation was shouting “Amen,” “That’s right,” and “Preach it, Brother.” The minister shouted back, “You say “amen” on Sunday, but I’ll be bailing you out of jail on Monday!” Oh my! That’s a drastic example, but does our behavior on Monday through Saturday reflect the Lord we claim to worship on Sunday?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

LUKE 11:29-36 LET THE LIGHT IN


LET THE LIGHT IN
LUKE 11:29-36
(see also Matthew 12:38-42)

Luke 11:29-30 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.

Susie: A large crowd had gathered to hear Jesus teach. Many of them hoped to see a great miracle such as a sign in the sky. Why did Jesus call them an “evil generation?”

Susan: One of the reasons He called them evil is He had already performed many signs, yet they did not believe. Their perspective had not been changed by the miracles He had already shown them, so what difference would one more sign make? Not any!

Susie: Let me refresh your minds about Jonah (Jonas). Jonah was the prophet who did not want to preach to the people of Nineveh and tried to run away. He was swallowed by a huge fish who coughed him up on the shore three days later after he had some time to repent and decide to obey God by prophesying doom to the Ninevites. But he knew that God, in His mercy, would offer them the opportunity to repent. His account of having survived three days in the belly of the fish may have been a “sign” for the Ninevites since they worshiped a god in the form of a fish. It may have given him the “foot in the door” with them to cause them to listen to his message.

Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Susan: Jonah’s story is used by Jesus as a pictorial illustration of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection on the third day. For those of us looking back in time, we realize that Jesus was predicting the fact that He would rise from the dead after three days.  For those who would believe the apostle’s account of those events, the resurrection would be the most powerful sign of the reality of Jesus’s deity, the fact that He was truly the Son of God.

Luke 11:31 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.

Susie: If you are not familiar with the story of the queen who visited Solomon to tap into his wisdom, it is found in 1 Kings chapter 10. She came a long distance—some scholars say southern Arabia and others, Ethiopia—to ask Solomon questions.

Susan: Solomon was famous for his tremendous wisdom which was a gift from God, not just academic prowess due to self-effort.

1 Kings 4:29-30 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.

Susan: Jesus is the one greater than Solomon. He was wiser than the wisest king in all of Jewish history. As the Son of God, Jesus was omniscient (all-knowing) and the very source of wisdom.

Luke 11:32 The men of Nineveh 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.

Susie: Jonah, the extremely reluctant prophet, preached to the Ninevites, and they repented in sackcloth and ashes (Jonah 3:6-10).

Susan: Jonah prophesied that the Lord was going to allow an enemy to destroy Nineveh in forty days. Although he offered no hope, that amount of time was designed by God to allow for repentance. The Ninevites believed Jonah as the prophet of God and instituted a national fast from the king’s palace to the peasant’s hut. They even put sackcloth on their domesticated animals!

Susie: Jesus was a far greater preacher than Jonah, since He was Himself the King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus came preaching “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Yet, there were many who did not receive and believe His message. Therefore, Jesus tells the crowd which contained many pharisees that both the Ninevites and the Queen of the South would condemn them because they refused to hear and believe the Son of God, One far greater than Jonah or Solomon.

Luke 11:33 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.

Susan: Jesus’s ministry was not hidden. It was public—in the synagogues, in the streets, on the seashore, in the countryside, and in the Temple. Neither did His apostles whisper the Gospel in secret. They preached publicly despite persecution. The signs, the miracles, Jesus had already performed were not done in secret either. They were done in public places before many witnesses.

Susie: When there is good news to share, it should not be contained. Instead it should be spread abroad as much as possible. The news of Jesus’s resurrection, the “sign of Jonah,” would be preached far and wide.

Luke 11:34 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.

Matthew 6:22-23 (CJB) ‘The eye is the lamp of the body.’ So if you have a ‘good eye’ [that is, if you are generous] your whole body will be full of light; but if you have an ‘evil eye’ [if you are stingy] your whole body will be full of darkness. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

The Complete Jewish Study Bible note on Matthew 6:22-23:

Jesus quotes a common proverb and comments on it. “If you are generous” is added by the translator, because in Judaism “having a good eye” (an ′ayin tovah) means being generous or looking at people positively. “Having a bad eye” (an ayin ra′ah) means being stingy or having a negative outlook toward others.

Susan: One with a “good eye” sees the world from the positive perspective of a glass half full, and the “bad eye” negatively sees the glass half empty.

Susie: In the case of the Pharisees and others who continued to ask for another sign, they were seeing Jesus and His miracles from a position of unbelief. Therefore, they were constantly wanting Jesus to prove Himself, yet they would never accept that proof.

Susan: Your outlook determines your outcome. Their outlook was a complete lack of faith. Therefore, their outcome was that they did not believe Jesus to be the Messiah. Their physical eyes worked perfectly well, but their perception was clouded by unbelief.

Luke 11:35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

Susie: Jesus calls people to self-examination. However, the standard by which we measure our beliefs must be the word of God. The Light that is in us must be that of God’s Holy Spirit and the understanding of the scripture. If our basic tenets, basic principles of faith are not correct, we will make errors when it comes to the details.

Susan: We must be rooted and grounded in Jesus and His teachings in order to live according to God’s precepts.

Luke 11:36 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.

Psalm 18:28  For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.

Susan: We can only be filled with light, the right understanding of Father God, by being filled with Jesus and guided by His Holy Spirit.

John 8:12Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

John 16:13-15 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Ponder this and Apply it: Do a self-check. Are you basing everything in your life on God’s truth, on the light He has shown you in His word? Or are you allowing things of this world to cloud your perception? Jesus is the Light, and His Holy Spirit illuminates the word to help us understand. When we choose to head off into the dark, we are headed for trouble. Determine today to “walk in the light,” keep your focus on Jesus, and let your light shine to draw others to Him.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

LUKE 11:21-28 THE STRONG MAN AND THE STRONGER MAN


THE STRONG MAN
AND THE STRONGER MAN
Luke 11:21-28

Luke 11:21 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.

Susie: Let’s define some terms before we delve into the significance of this verse:

·     Strong man = Satan
·     Palace = this world
·     Goods = unbeliever’s lives
·     Stronger man = Jesus Christ
·     Armor = the crafty wiles Satan uses to keep people under his rule
·     Spoils = those who trust in Jesus for deliverance

Susan: One of Satan’s titles is “prince of this world” which is why the Lord speaks of the strong man’s palace.

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

Susie: Satan is under the mistaken assumption that his goods, the people under his control, cannot be stolen from him since he has great power in this world. However, there is One greater.

Susan: Jesus overcame Satan by the power of His own blood as the final Passover Lamb.

Susie: Satan is a defeated foe, but he has not quit struggling. He still exerts power in this world, but he will ultimately be cast out into the lake of fire. Jesus has the power to disarm him and take back the people he has deceived.

Colossians 1:12-14 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:



Isaiah 53:12 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.

Luke 11:23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.

Susie: This teaching of Jesus is recorded in other places in scripture as well.

Matthew 12:30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

Mark 9:40 For whoever is not against us is for us.

Luke 9:50 "Do not stop him," Jesus replied, "for whoever is not against you is for you."

Susan: There is no neutral ground when it comes to Jesus. There are no fence dwellers allowed; complete allegiance is required. The following quote expresses it well:

The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: entire article may be found at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=LUke+11%3A21-28&version=KJV


There are no Switzerlands in this cosmic war. He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters. Jesus says that neutrality to him is opposition to him. To decide for God, one must decide for Jesus. In a cosmic war there are no spectators; everyone lines up on one side or the other. The implication is to be careful which side you choose. The miracles not only make a statement about Jesus' authority; they ask a question about our response.

But even where there is opposition, the opponents are not abandoned to their fate. Evangelism is infiltration into enemy lines. Rejection is not a cause for abandonment, since we never know when a Saul might become a Paul.

Susie: The Pharisees had just accused Jesus of working in concert with Satan, so they were definitely not for Him, but were against Him. Next Jesus explains what happens after a false exorcist casts out a demon.

Luke 11:24 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.

Susie: Jesus explained what happens when a demon is cast out of the human it has been inhabiting. Like a hermit crab searching for a new shell, the demon looks for a new person to possess, to dwell in.

Susan: The demon wants to wrap itself in a new earth-suit. When it is not able to find a weak and vulnerable enough person to use as its vessel, it gives up and goes home to its old haunt, the original host person.

Luke 11:25 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.

Susie: Notice that when the demon returns to the person, he finds the life swept and dressed up. Sweeping removes some dirt but is not as effective as washing. The person has done their best to clean up their act by their own power, but they have not been washed clean.

Susan: The person did their best, but self-effort only goes so far. The only effective cleansing agent is, indeed, the soap of His love, the blood of Jesus. It is the only cleaner that provides permanent results.

Susie: After Jesus clears out our sin, He then fills our emptiness with His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit continually cleans us from within and fills us up to the point that no demon can enter in as long as we are yielded to Him.

James 4:6-7 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Susan: Satan still tries to wield influence over believers, to oppress them. However, the Holy Spirit guides, directs, and strengthens us against the schemes of our enemy, the evil one.

Susie: If a person has tried to change by their own power and is not depending upon Jesus, they are vulnerable. The demon not only reenters but brings his entire crew, like a street gang to mess up the person worse than before. The only defense against this invasion is to have the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit! The Pharisees who performed exorcisms had a measure of success in getting the demon to leave, but it was a temporary respite for the person. They did not preach the power of Jesus or guide the person to that relationship. Therefore, the person was left empty and still completely unable to please the Lord.

Luke 11:27 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.

Susan: This woman in the crowd may have grown nervous about all the demon talk and wanted to refocus the discussion to something pleasant that did not make her brain go tilt.

Susie: Therefore, she complimented Jesus’s wisdom by saying how blessed his mother must be to have raised such a Son.

Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Susan: Jesus explained that His mother’s blessing did not lie in His birth, but in her obedience to God and what He asked of her. We, too, are blessed when we obey what God asks and fulfill His purposes in our lives.

Luke 6:47-48  Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Ponder this an Apply it: Satan has power, but Jesus had more power. His Holy Spirit living within us has the power to overcome Satan in our lives. Are you tapping into that power source daily? Plug yourself into the Holy Spirit by utilizing scripture, prayer, fellowship, and worship. When you face temptation, ask the Lord to help you resist. He will show you how to escape it and live victoriously for His glory. Two verses you should memorize:

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

LUKE 11:14-20 BY THE FINGER OF GOD


BY THE FINGER OF GOD
LUKE 11:14-20

Luke 11:14 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.

Susan: We no longer use the word “dumb” to describe a person who cannot or does not speak because it now has a derogatory connotation. The demon had cause the man to be mute, but once Jesus cast it out, the man began to speak.

Susie: The people were amazed to hear the man talking, but not all of them gave God the glory for this miracle.

Luke 11:15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

Susan: Beelzebub was a derivation of Baalzebub which means “Lord of flies.” The was possibly a derogatory play on Baalzebul meaning “Prince Baal” or “exalted Lord.” The New Testament Jews used this term interchangeably with the name “Satan.” Therefore, they were saying that Jesus received the power to cast out demons from Satan himself!

Luke 11:16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.

Susie: Some of the people were looking for an even greater sign than casting out a demon, perhaps rearranging the stars or causing some other disturbance in the sky. They were trying to trick Jesus into displaying power to prove Himself. We will see His answer to this demand in the next lesson.

Susan: They did not understand what a miracle it was to free a person’s soul, spirit, and body from the grip of the Enemy. They did not see the extreme value of being delivered from Satan’s control.

Luke 11:17 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.

Susie: Since Jesus was both fully man and fully God, He was omniscient (all-knowing). Therefore, He knew what they were thinking about Him.

Susan: Jesus answered them by pointing out that their logic was like swiss cheese, full of holes large enough for a semi-truck to drive through.

Susie: If a kingdom has infighting, it is defeating itself. If one general within an army wages war with another general fighting for the same nation, the army will be destroyed, and the nation will fall before the enemy ever engages them in battle.

Luke 11:18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

Susan: Jesus asked if He were working for Satan, why would Satan have Him destroy demons who were also working for Satan. Why would Satan destroy his own forces? He wouldn’t because that would be counterproductive to his mission of destroying the kingdom of God.

Luke 11:19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

Susie: Jesus further explained that if He were casting out demons by Satan’s power, then the Pharisees who claimed to perform exorcisms could be accused of the same thing. Those who approved of these possible fake exorcisms by certain Pharisees were quick to accuse Jesus of operating under demonic power. They were in essence judging themselves by judging Him.

Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

Susie: The “finger of God” symbolized the power of God or ability given by God Himself. The original Ten Commandments were written not by Moses but by God Himself, by “the finger of God.”

Exodus 31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

Susan: If Jesus, by God’s choosing, manifested the power of God Himself, He was ushering in the Kingdom of God. Jesus was setting in motion God’s rule and reign in the hearts of those who trusted in His Messiah, His Son.

Ponder this and Apply it: People often ascribe the work of God to “nature” or “coincidence”. Think of something in recent events that was written off in this way. Take a moment to ask yourself whether or not the incident could have been “the finger of God.” We talk about a manager having his “finger in every pie”, but God truly does have an interest in every aspect of our lives. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to the powerful work He is doing in and through you every day. You will be amazed not only at His power but with His lovingkindness to work all things for the eventual good of His children.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

LUKE 11:11-13 POSITIVE ANSWER TO PRAYER


POSITIVE ANSWER TO PRAYER
LUKE 11:11-13
(See also Matthew 7:9-11)

Luke 11:11-12 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?

Susie: Most modern translations omit the reference to the bread and stone. It was included in two early manuscripts and is definitely included in Matthew’s account. That said, small loaves of bread greatly resembled stones in Israel. One is reminded of Satan tempting Jesus to turn the stones to bread in Matthew 4. However, a child would break a tooth trying to bite into a stone. Nor would a man give his child a snake on the plate rather than the fish the child asked for. That would scare the child and potentially harm him if the snake were alive. We read that a white scorpion in the Holy Land could resemble a small egg if its legs were tucked under, but it was venomous enough to kill a child! The answer to these rhetorical questions is that not even the worst father would dream of doing such things!

Luke 11:13 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?

Susan: All people sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) because all are born with a sin nature ever since Adam made the choice to disobey God’s direct command.

Susie: Therefore, Jesus calls us “evil,” having a natural inclination toward sin.

Susan: Even though as humans we are far from perfect, we nurture and care for our children.

Susie: Matthew’s Gospel differs slightly in Jesus’s next comment saying “good things” rather than “the Holy Spirit”:

Matthew 7:11b how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Susan: The good things are the spiritual qualities we need, and the Holy Spirit within us is the provider and nurturer of those characteristics. The heavenly Father is the giver of all good gifts and particularly what we need in order to serve Him more effectively.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Susie: The point Jesus is making is that we imperfect people want what is best for our children. Therefore, we can be certain our Father will not withhold what is best when we ask according to His will.

Ponder this and Apply it: For what, then, are we to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking? We are to ask God for the gift of the Holy Spirit’s nurture in our lives, for all the character traits of Christlikeness to grow in us. When we ask for this, the best of all gifts, God will not shortchange us or give us something harmful. We can trust our Heavenly Father to lovingly and perfectly provide all we need to be who He has called us to be. Spend some time in prayer asking for spiritual blessings rather than just the necessities of our earthly life. I am reminded of a song by Jimmy and Carol Owens with the line, “Lord, make me like you.” May that be our prayer today. Listen to the song here: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?hsimp=yhs-att_001&hspart=att&p=Make+me+LIke+You+by+Jimmy+and+Carol+Owens#id=1&vid=9a57a96325d4333bca4a5ca5013d7759&action=click