Luke 11

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The Lord's Prayer

Verse 1: 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.” (NRSV)

  • The Lord's Prayer also appears in Matthew 6, though there are numerous differences.
    • Matthew's account is significantly longer.
    • There is nothing truly significant that appears in Luke which does not also appear in Matthew.
      • No one is really sure which is the more original of the two versions, though.
    • The version most people know is Matthew's version.
  • Spending time in prayer was not an unusual event with Jesus, he regularly went away to pray in Luke's gospel.
    • It is interesting that Jesus didn't involve the disciples in his prayers, they apparently didn't know what he did when he went out to pray.
    • This passage does not mention Jesus as being alone, but other instances in Luke do, and it seems to be implied here.
  • Jesus also did not volunteer to teach the disciples, they had to ask
    • Perhaps this was because he thought they already knew, or they weren't ready.
    • We don't know exactly why Jesus did not volunteer to teach them to pray, or why he never taught the crowds how to pray but only the disciples.
  • The question is not whether the disciples should pray or not. Apparently that was a given already.
    • The question was how they should pray. Apparently the disciples did not think that their methods were effective enough.
  • By using the address “Lord”, the disciples are showing that they really are interested in learning (Green 440).
  • There also appears to be some jealousy with the disciples of John.
    • Some of Jesus' disciples used to be John's so they were probably talking about how John had taught them.
    • This might not be an issue of seeking superior wisdom from Jesus so much as a new one.
  • We do not have a written record of John's teachings on prayer to his disciples unfortunately.
  • This is a prayer that is to be a corporate idea, not just an individual one. The disciples asked Jesus to teach “us” to pray, not “me”.
  • Disciples were meant to be like the teacher. And what the disciples right then thought would make them like their teacher was praying like him. That was key to them.


Verse 2: He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. (NRSV)

  • This is not just a prayer, but a model prayer, something that we are supposed to emulate, if not repeat as is. “Whenever” you pray means “any time” or “as often as you do” (Arndt 587).
    • This same wording appears before the Lord's Prayer in Matthew (Nolland 612).
    • Taking it literally, we should prayer this every single time we pray anything. But more likely this is referring to the early church's practice of praying this every time they got together in a group as an early part of the liturgy (Nolland 613).
  • Father is the key phrase of greeting and opening here.
    • God is not called by name, but by a personal title.
    • ”Father” is also a very shocking phrase to that day and age. No one referred to God as a father, that was too intimate, too personal.
    • This use of “father” should be taken in the context of Luke 10:22 where Jesus talks about only knowing the father through the son.
    • Luke is missing Matthew's “who is in heaven” after “father.”
      • The designation of father in heaven is not really needed given that it is a prayer.
  • God's name is more than a title.
    • This goes with the thinking that a name actually communicates something about the things essence or nature (Green 441).
    • God's name refers to God's reputation and honor among people, but in effect is about all of God.
  • ”Hallowed” is another term for “holy” and is referring to praying that God's name is honored like it should be and revered as holy.
    • ”Let God be honored by people like God deserves” might be a good interpretation.
    • In other words, “please bring about a time when everyone honors you.” This ties in with “kingdom come” very closely.
  • God's kingdom has been thought to be many different ideas throughout the years.
    • Some people have associated it with a specific location or “chosen nation”. This is unlikely in my opinion as nothing here would seem to indicate a location or people group.
    • God's kingdom has also been thought to be associated with the second coming of Jesus. That this prayer is about asking for Jesus to come again soon. This is possible, but unlikely as well because Jesus was there at the time, and it seems to be a prayer that Jesus does not exclude himself from saying (though he didn't explicitly include himself either).
    • Matthew gives us another hint by also saying “your will be done on earth the same way as in heaven.” The two things together indicate that God's kingdom is where what God wants gets done here on Earth just like it would be done in heaven.
    • God rules in heaven, and that is his kingdom. This isn't a description of a second kingdom, but the same kingdom coming to us. So it must be a heavenly kingdom in some sense or it isn't the same kingdom (ie God's) coming.
  • This kingdom is something that is not in our control to bring.
    • It is an active aorist in Greek, which means that it is undefined and that the action is all on God.
    • We aren't giving God a timeline, we're just asking God to work whenever it is the right time.
    • God is thought to be in charge of heaven, completely. That is his kingdom. We cannot bring heaven to earth ourselves.
  • Another interpretation would be “make your kingdom visible”. In that sense, we are asking God to show us what he is doing.


Verse 3: Give us each day our daily bread. (NRSV)

  • “Daily bread” is a request here not for all the food we'll need our days, but for the bread we need to eat today. This isn't a storehouse good type of prayer, but a daily reliance on God is being talked about.
  • There are some differences in the original language between Matthew and Luke here. They are the same basic thing, but Luke emphasizes that the continuance of giving bread as we need it, asking to be given our bread each day from now on and Matthew deals with today's need a bit more. But these are minor differences.
  • There is some difficulty with what the word we translate as “daily” means. It is very rare and its' meaning is vague
    • Some scholars take the unknown “daily” (epiousion) to refer to spiritual bread in the future and not real bread now. But this ignores the practical and rather concrete form of the rest of the prayer in exchange for abstract ideas.
    • If this word truly means “daily” then it makes the prayer present tense, and calls into question interpretations of the rest of the prayer that make it about the extreme future.
  • ”Bread” is of course not just about bread but about all food, and indeed everything we physically need to survive.


Verse 4: And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. (NRSV)

  • Most versions of Luke do not have “deliver us from evil” at the end of the prayer, but the King James Version, and the Message paraphrase both do. The KJV uses a different Greek text base than other versions, but I don't know why the Message includes it, as Peterson usually follows the Nestle Aland.
  • Interestingly, this prayer is not ended with the traditional Christian statement of “in the name of…” In fact, there is no real recorded ending to this prayer. It isn't a formal greeting and ending, but a piece of a conversation with God.
  • There is an indication that the reason why we can ask for forgiveness is because we forgive others.
    • If you don't forgive others, we don't have a right to ask to be forgiven ourselves.
    • Of course, Jesus is the main reason we have a reason to think we can be forgiven.
    • This is not why we can be forgiven, but why we can ask. We ask because we have forgiven others. But even then there really isn't any reason for God to forgive other than Jesus.
  • We should never believe that God forces us to sin. This prayer is not asking God to stop forcing us to sin. It is a request to not be brought into anything too crazy that might be tempting towards sin. In other words “God, please remember how fallen I am. Don't lead me into places too crazy for me to handle.”
  • If there was an article “the” in front of “temptation” then it might refer to the final judgment, but as it stands it probably refers to smaller temptations and trials.


Message Ideas/Scripts/Liturgy That Use This Chapter

 VerseDirectionTopicAudienceOccasionCategory
Disbanding Armies2-4Forgiveness is letting go, and we have to do it to know we are forgivenForgivenessAdultsGeneralMessage Idea
Hole-ee-ness52An offering box is passed and almost everything gets put inside, including a person. One character learns that tithing is the beginning of giving to God, not the end.Tithes
Giving
AdultsDramas
Kingdom Come1-2Join in with what God is doing. Prayer is making God's will real here.PrayerAdultsGeneralMessage Idea