Luke 11:5-10      Go Ahead and Bother Jesus

Rev. David Holwick  K                                   50-Day Adventure

First Baptist Church                                         Week 6

Ledgewood, New Jersey    

April 1, 2001

Luke 11:5-10


GO AHEAD AND BOTHER JESUS



  I. Pests in the night...

      A. "Far Side" cartoon I saw at my mom's hospital -


             God is at work in his kitchen.

             You can tell it's God because he has a long white beard

                and an apron.

             The earth is placed in a pan on the kitchen counter.

             All around God are jars that say Plants, Birds, Insects,

                Brown People, Tan People, Fish.


             God is shaking from one more jar on the globe and says,

                "And now something to make it interesting."


             The jar is labeled, "Jerks."                       #19153


      B. Ever had someone knock on your door at 1:00 am?  Or call you?

          1) If they say your house is on fire or your garage has

                been broken into, you understand.

          2) But what if they get you out of a sound sleep and ask,

                "Can I have three TV dinners?"

          3) I am from the "grumpy" school.

              a) Sometimes I completely forget the visit, relegating it

                    to a bad dream.

              b) I am not very gracious at midnight.


      C. Does God seem grumpy sometimes?

          1) Sincere, gracious and repeated prayers that go unanswered.

          2) Why can't God answer a little faster?

          3) Maybe we are not doing it right...


II. A unique parable found only in Luke.

      A. The traditional understanding.

          1) God wants us to hound him with prayers.  Any hour of the

                night is fine, but we have to pound away at it.

          2) The more prayers, the better.

              a) Praying the rosary.

              b) Tibetan chants:   Ommmmm, Ommmm...


      B. Difficulties.

          1) Persistence is not really taught by this parable.

              a) The parable makes its point by contrast.

              b) But just what is contrasted is disputed.

          2) This parable rewards close study.


III. Rhetorical question - "Who of you has a friend..."

      A. The expression "Who of you..." always expects a negative answer.

          1) "I can't imagine this happening."  (note verse 11, fathers)

          2) According to their custom, under no circumstances would he

                fail to get up and leave his friend's request unanswered.


      B. How long is the rhetorical question?

          1) The NIV stops it at verse 7.

          2) Others think it keeps going thru "my children are in bed".

              a) The point is not a refusal of the request but the utter

                    impossibility of such a refusal.

              b) Oriental hospitality is what is in view.

                  1> They couldn't imagine turning a friend down, no

                        matter what the situation.

                  2> The whole village would lose face.


IV. Figuring out a unique word in this unique parable.

      A. Verse 8 has the word "boldness."  In Greek, anaideia.

          1) Negative meaning in ancient literature - shamelessness.

          2) It always means someone is acting like a jerk.


      B. The early church gave this word a positive spin.

          1) Would it be "shameful" to pray to God?  No.

          2) Also, "knock" in verse 11 is present tense, so suggests

                continual knocking, or persistence.

          3) The persistence of 11:11 was read back into the parable.

              a) (Early on, even the NIV used "persistence" here.)

              b) But "anaideia" never had this meaning.

              c) And the guy is not even knocking, he is speaking.

                  1> Praying shamefully might seem bad, but isn't

                        pestering prayer just as bad?


      C. A further consideration - does word apply to sleeper or host?

          1) Some think it is the sleeper.

              a) All of verse 8 focuses on sleeper.

              b) He doesn't want to lose face in the village.

                  1> The meaning of anaideia is shifted from being

                        shameless to wanting to avoid shame.

          2) More likely the word is applied to the unprepared host who

                is outside seeking help.

              a) NIV now translates it "boldness," or audacity.

              b) He doesn't mind if he is obnoxious, because he knows

                    his neighbor will help him.

              c) We can go to God with the same attitude.


  V. The two focuses of the parable.

      A. It contrasts God with the (rhetorically) unwilling householder.

          1) The focus is more on how God answers than on how we

                should pray.

          2) God is not grumpy and he doesn't have to be pestered.

          3) He is always on call for us.


      B. It is an encouragement to keep on praying, despite lack

            of immediate answers.

          1) The point of the parable is clearly NOT: go on praying

                because eventually you will beat God down.

          2) It is: go on praying because God responds graciously to

                the needs of his children.

          3) This point is confirmed in 11:9-13.

              a) Stress is on the certainty of God's answer to prayer.

              b) Is it worth praying?  Yes, because God is a friend.


VI. Really true?

      A. "Ask and you will receive" seems too good to be true.

          1) One scholar sees this as example of exaggeration.

              a) Jesus often does this as a teaching method.

              b) But we don't always get what we ask for.

          2) Conditions are implied - ask according to God's will.


      B. Don't let these considerations detract from parable's

            portrayal of a loving God.


VII. Prayer can be powerful.

      A. Prayer can have an impact on you.

          1) Pray the 50-Day Adventure prayer every day:


             Gracious Father,


             You've been so good to me.

             Today I'm especially aware of _______________

             I remind myself that whatever the circumstances, when

                I practice your presence I celebrate life at its best.


             I pray for neighbors and friends who don't yet know this

                secret, like [_________].

             Help me care for them as you have cared for me.


             Amen.


      B. You can have an impact on others.


         Alvin Vander Griend tells of a Christian who lived in a

           middle-class suburb in central California.

         He made a commitment to pray:

             five blessings

                on five neighbors

                   for five minutes a day

                      for five days a week

                         for five weeks.


         Surprising things began to happen.

         One neighbor asked him how she could have a personal

            relationship with Christ.

         When the Christian shared the gospel with her, she accepted

            Christ as her Savior.

         A drug-dealing neighbor asked him to pray for him and help him

            turn his life around and get out of the drug business.

         A Buddhist couple from across the street asked if they could go

            to church with the Christian's family.

         And a Hispanic couple living next door asked him to start a

            Bible study for the neighborhood.


         This suburbanite's prayers mattered to God.

         They provided God the opportunity He was looking for to work in

            the hearts and lives of his neighbors.

                                                                   #19151


      C. Pray "shamefully."  You'll be surprised what you can get at

            midnight.



=========================================================================

Although this sermon was part of a "50-Day Adventure," this sermon did

  not follow the ones in that series.


SOURCES FOR ILLUSTRATIONS USED IN THIS SERMON:


#19151  "Your Prayers Matter: Things Happen Or Don't Happen Because

           of Prayer," by Alvin J. Vander Griend, Discipleship Journal,

           #111, May/June 1999, page 44.


#19153  "God Decided To Make It Interesting," cartoon by Gary Larsen,

           date unknown.


These and 17,000 others are part of a database that can be downloaded,

absolutely free, at http://www.holwick.com/database.html

=========================================================================


Study notes:


  I. Andrew Nordland - both stanzas (incl. previous verses) emphasize

        honor (duty).  Friend is in view above, but anaideia means

        "avoidance of shame."

      A. NIV - boldness (man outside)

      B. Johnson:

          1) shamelessness transferred to "avoidance of shame"? >Jeremias

              a) from a negative to a positive.

          2) shamelessness can be "sense of honor" (pos) or "shame" (neg)

              a) "Without a sense of shame" (neg) is best.

              b) The sleeper wants to avoid shame, so he gets up.

II. Two emphases in parable:

      A. The character of God.

          1) If we will do for others to avoid shame, how much more will

                God rush to aid us?

          2) His honor is at stake.

      B. Assurance for humans.

          1) Therefore we are to ask, seek, knock.

          2) Because he is this kind of God, his children have absolute

                assurance.

          3) Our Father will provide exceedingly abundantly beyond

                anything we dare ask or think.

_________________________________________________________________________


Special Section:  Praying For People

"Your Prayers Matter: Things Happen Or Don't Happen Because of Prayer"

   Alvin J. Vander Griend

   Discipleship Journal, #111, May/June 1999, page 44.


When Johnny Jones, living in a middle-class suburb in central California,

made a commitment to pray five blessings on five neighbors for five

minutes a day for five days a week for five weeks, surprising things

began to happen. One neighbor asked him how she could have a personal

relationship with Christ. When Johnny shared the gospel with her, she

accepted Christ as her Savior. A drug-dealing neighbor asked Johnny to

pray for him and help him turn his life around and get out of the drug

business. A Buddhist couple from across the street asked if they could go

to church with Johnny's family. And a Hispanic couple living next door

asked him to start a Bible study for the neighborhood. Johnny Jones'

prayers mattered to God.  They provided God the opportunity He was

looking for to work in the hearts and lives of Johnny's neighbors.


Jesus' story of the friend who came at midnight (Luke 11:5-8) illustrates

and confirms the role of the intercessor. The host in this story has a

friend in need who comes at midnight. He also has a friend with bread.

Unable to meet the need of his midnight guest, this host goes to his

other friend - the one with bread - and pleads boldly and shamelessly

till he receives what is needed. His pleading releases bread to sustain

the life of his needy friend. He is a go-between, an intercessor.


_____________________________


Alan Johnson article...

  I. We pray to a loving father, not a grumpy neighbor.

II. Rhetorical question - "Who of you has a friend..."

      A. This expression always expects a negative answer - "I can't

            imagine this happening."  (note verse 11)

          1) Under no circumstances would he fail to get up and leave

                his friend's request unanswered.

      B. The question extends through verse 7 - "my children are in bed".

          1) It is not a refusal of the request but the utter

                impossibility of such a refusal.

          2) Oriental hospitality is what is in view.

III. Should we identify with the host or the sleeper?

                                                Johnson:    Holwick:

                                                           NIV, NEB, TEV

      A. If he will not give to him              sleeper     sleeper

          1) having arisen                       sleeper     sleeper

              a) because he's a friend           sleeper       host?

              b) but because of his anaideia     sleeper       host?

          2) he will arise                       sleeper     sleeper

      B. and give him whatever he wants          sleeper     sleeper

IV. Anaideia.

      A. Negative meaning in ancient literature - shamelessness.

          1) It never means "persistence."

          2) It always means someone is acting like a jerk.

      B. Would it be "shameful" to pray to God?  No.

          1) Therefore ancient church gave word a positive spin.

              a) Also, "knock" is present tense, so suggests

                    continual knocking, or persistence.

              b) Johnson - "knock" verse is later, and has a spilling

                    effect on parable, where meaning is alien.

          2) Bad theology to see God changing his mind because we are

                obnoxious.

      C. Applies to sleeper or host.

          1) Sleeper - Johnson.

              a) All of verse 8 focuses on sleeper.

              b) He doesn't want to lose face in the village.

                  1> Shift from being shameless to wanting to avoid it.

                  2> (Bailey - Aramaic was misconstrued.)

      D. We pray to a loving father, not a grumpy neighbor.


TEXT:

=====

11:5  Then he said to them,

       "Suppose one of you

        has a friend,

        and he goes to him at midnight

        and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,

11:6            because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me,

              and I have nothing to set before him.'

11:7  "Then the one inside answers,

       'Don't bother me.

          The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed.

        I can't get up and give you anything.'

11:8  I tell you,

       though he will not get up and give him the bread

          because he is his friend,

       yet because of the man's boldness

          he will get up and give him as much as he needs.


Jeremias:                          Johnson:


Can't imagine you the sleeper      Can't imagine that you need bread

have a friend who comes to you     and you go to a friend

and you turn him down.             and he turns you down.


(We identify with the sleeper)     (we identify with the unprepared host)


_________________________________________________________________________


  I. Ray Stedman sermon.

      A. Parable has a note of audacity - guy doesn't have bread, but

            has some "crust."

      B. Friend is motivated by a visitor's need, not his own.

      C. Out of moments of deep necessity, true prayer is born.

      D. God is not like a grumpy neighbor.

      E. God's gifts are given on basis of faith, not unbelief.


II. "The New American Commentary: Luke," Robert H. Stein, 1992, p. 327.

      A. 11:5 - which of you: rhetorical question which Jesus answers.

      B. three loaves - no significance.

      C. children, late hour - inconvenience.

      D. because of man's boldness.

          1) "his" refers to visitor both times it is used.

          2) (sleeper's desire not to be shamed is less likely interp)

      E. boldness is better translated persistence.

          1) same theme found in 18:1-8, with dishonorable character

                contrasted with God.

          2) Luke shifts emphasis?  (but not meaning)

      F. 11:9 - encouragement to continue in prayer.

          1) An invitation to pray, not an order.

          2) Example of exaggeration...

              a) To qualify the saying, however, would displace the

                    focus from God's gracious response to the

                       qualifications, which defeats Jesus' purpose.


III. "Commentary on Luke," I. Howard Marshall,

        New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1978, p. 462.

      A. The parable has two focuses:

          1) It contrasts God with the unwilling householder.

          2) It is an encouragement to keep on praying, despite lack

                of immediate answers.

      B. The point of the parable is clearly NOT: go on praying because

            eventually you will beat God down.

         It is: go on praying because God responds graciously to the

            needs of his children.

          1) Point is confirmed in 11:9-13.

              a) Stress is on the certainty of God's answer to prayer.

          2) Is it worth praying?

              a) Yes, because God is a friend.


Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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