Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 18 - A Friend At Midnight

Luke 11:1-13

Do you ever remember when you were a child and you wanted something so bad and you kept asking your parents for it when your birthday or Christmas came around? Maybe your friends had it, or it was advertised in such a way that you were sure that you couldn’t live without it. Perhaps you received something better from your parents, but at the moment it didn’t seem better because it wasn’t exactly what you wanted. It wasn’t until later that you received a better item after a lot of use and realized that your parents really did understand what you wanted and needed. This next parable makes me think of that.

We actually are reading a little before the parable starts so we can have some context. One of the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, and Jesus teaches them what we know today as “The Lord’s Prayer.” After teaching them the prayer, Jesus then tells them the parable of the man who goes to his friend at midnight asking for bread for his guest. A pastor told me that culturally, this has a lot of significance. At that time, when a guest came to stay with someone, the whole village considered them their guest; and they also felt it was the entire village’s responsibility to host and feed the guest. So in this parable, the man that telling the neighbor no when he asked for bread was unheard of. Once again, in this culture people didn’t bake bread every day because it was such a big process. This man was probably the one who had fresh bread, and he was doing the unthinkable to refuse to give it to the neighbor for his guest. He finally gives the bread because the neighbor was “bold.”

Jesus then tells us in verses 9-10, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” I find it interesting that Jesus would finish this parable that outlined the unthinkable response of the neighbor with the bread with that statement. To me, it seems that Jesus was telling the disciples that they have a God that would never do the unthinkable and not provide a need. From a spiritual point of view, I also find it interesting that he used bread as the need in the parable. Please look up John 6:35; Jesus says, “…I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” What greater need do we have than to taste the bread of life? Again, I will go back to Hebrews 11:6 where it says, “…because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” If we seek Him, we will find Him; if we ask for the bread of life, we will receive it!

Jesus then goes on to explain that we who are evil (sinners) know how to give good gifts to our children, “how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Wow! I think sometimes we take this section of scripture out of context and assume that this means that if we ask God with a lot of persistence for something that we will receive whatever we ask. I think Jesus was showing that when we ask for what we really need, God will give it to us freely. Jesus then references the Holy Spirit being given to those who ask.

I also want to take note of one more thing, Psalm 118:19-21 says, “Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.” Praise God that He opens the door for those who ask and seek!

Have you asked for the bread of life? Have you sought Him out and knocked on the door?

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