Luke 11 Reaction to Jesus' Teaching
Summary

One’s relationship to God involves communicating with Him in prayer. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray and Jesus gave instruction on the content and spirit of acceptable prayer (1-13). Some of His critics accused Jesus of alliance with Beelzebub. He logically declared that such could not be true because Satan would not be divided against himself by helping Jesus cast out devils from the people (14-26). With that, Jesus returned to emphasizing that all people must not only hear God’s word but also do it. An evil generation is condemned; therefore, we should be bright lights to the world (27-36). The last part of the chapter condemns the Pharisees and lawyers because of their hypocrisy (37-54).

The Lord's Prayer

11Now Jesus[1] was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread,[2] 4and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

Question 1

Is Jesus teaching them to repeat this exact prayer or to pray “like this?” See:

Matthew 6:9

5And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence[3] he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11What father among you, if his son asks for[4] a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12or if he asks for an egg, will give him 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!”

Question 2

Are there any limitations on what God will give when we ask for something?

Jesus and Beelzebul

14Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 23Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Return of an Unclean Spirit

24“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Question 3

What is the point of the “unclean spirit” message?

True Blessedness

27As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

The Sign of Jonah

29When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

The Light in You

33“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

Question 4

What does “light” represent? What does “darkness” represent ?

Woes to the Pharisees and Lawyers

37While Jesus[5] was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. 38The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.

42“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”

Question 5

In what ways were the Pharisees and lawyers hypocritical?

45One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, 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 the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 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 required of 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.”

53As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, 54lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.

People
  • The Disciples
  • Asked Jesus to teach them to pray

  • The Pharisees and Lawyers
  • Condemned as hypocrites

Places
  • A certain place (v. 1)
  • The location is not stated. If the events of this chapter took place soon after the visit to Mary and Martha’s house at Bethany, then perhaps in or near Jerusalem. This might also be indicated by the Pharisees and lawyers.

The Lord's Prayer

11Now Jesus[1] was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread,[2] 4and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

Luke 11:2

This prayer is similar to the one Jesus taught in Matthew 6:9-13. Here there are five requests; in Matthew there are seven. Each represents an area of praise, thanksgiving, or supplication. See:

Matthew 6:9-13

5And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence[3] he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11What father among you, if his son asks for[4] a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12or if he asks for an egg, will give him 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!”

Luke 11:5

This parable is designed to teach disciples to pray steadfastly and persistently.


Luke 11:9

God promises to supply our needs. See:

Philippians 4:6,19

If we abide in Him, (see:

John 15:7

according to His will, (see:

Matthew 26:39

knowing that He will do what is best for us (vss. 11-13).

Jesus and Beelzebul

14Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 23Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Luke 11:15

Beelzebub was identified by the Jews as “ruler” (high authority among devils), probably Satan. The Syrians and Philistines had a similar evil spirit that they identified as “lord of dung” or “god of filth”; literally, “Baal (lord) of flies” (having the power to drive away troublesome flies).


Luke 11:16

They wanted a sign from heaven while rejecting the sign he gave, driving out devils.


Luke 11:19

“Your sons” may be Israelites who claimed to be exorcists or they may be the disciples Jesus empowered to cast out demons. If the former, the Pharisees would have to be consistent and condemn their own brethren and deny they were acting by divine power. If the latter, they would be denying the miraculous evidence of the power of God in more than seventy fellow Israelites.

Return of an Unclean Spirit

24“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Luke 11:25

When evil leaves our hearts, we must fill them with God’s righteousness or evil will return.


Luke 11:26

When evil returns, the condition is worse than before. See:

2 Peter 2:20-22; John 5:14; Hebrews 10:29

True Blessedness

27As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

The Sign of Jonah

29When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

Luke 11:30

Jonah was like Jesus in that he was delivered from the depths after three days. See:

Matthew 12:40


Luke 11:31

The Queen of the South came to Solomon whose wisdom came from God (1 Kings 10; 2 Chronicles 9).

The Light in You

33“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

Luke 11:35

“Light” represents goodness, righteousness and truth. See:

Ephesians 5:8-9

“Darkness” represents evil.

Woes to the Pharisees and Lawyers

37While Jesus[5] was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. 38The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.

Luke 11:37

Josephus says there were about 6,000 Pharisees at the height of their popularity. They originally called themselves the “hasidhim” (pious ones). “Pharisees” means “separatists.”

42“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”

Luke 11:42

“Woe” is both an expression of condemnation/judgment and sorrow/regret.

“Rue” was a small shrub with yellow flowers and a pungent odor, a favorite of Orientals.

45One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, 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 the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 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 required of 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.”

53As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, 54lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.

Perspectives

God wants us to pray persistently and then have faith and trust Him to give what is best (1-13).

Jesus can cast out evil from our lives; but we must hear and keep His word (14-36).

God hates hypocrisy. Study the ways in which the Pharisees were hypocritical (37-54).