Friday 4th June 1999
Epistle to The Cyberchurch
To my dearest Beloved,
during our recent Yunnan trip we were led to study the parables and see how they could help us become better people.
To extend the theme I looked at this parable for our first Yunnan Fellowship.
Today we look at Luke 11:1-13.
When Jesus was asked by his disciples to teach them to pray, his precious response was recorded Matt 6:9:13 and Luke 11:2-4.
This prayer is known to us as The Lord's Prayer or Our Lord's Prayer.
It is also known as Pater Noster, from the first two words in the Latin version as recorded in the Vulgate.
I have a Hanyu Pinyin version from my Chinese bible.
Pater noster, qui es in caelis,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
hallowed be thy name;
Adveniat regnum tuum;
Thy kingdom come;
fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra.
thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
And forgive us our trespasses,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
as we forgive those that trespass against us.
Et ne nos inducas in tentationem
And lead us not into temptation,
sed libera nos a malo.
but deliver us from evil.
Women zai tianshang de fu:
Yuan ren dou zun nide ming wei sheng.
Yuan nide guo jianglin;
yuan nide zhiyi xingzai dishang rutong xingzai tian shang.
Mian womende zhai,
rutong women mianle rende zhai.
Bu jiao women yujian shitan;
jiu women tuoli xiong e.
Yinwei guodu, quan bing, rong yao, quan shi nide,
zhidao yong yuan.
The marginal notes in my bible says of Matt 6:13 that the earlier manuscripts end at "deliver us from the evil one. Amen"
while some later manuscripts bear the subscript "for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen"
(possibly a doxology added in by the very early proto-church??)
Luke 11:5-8. The setting is real for the eager disciples who surround their teacher, and reflects a common occurrence in those days:
Journey from place to place was on foot or donkey.
One may get waylaid by robbers.
Fast food joints were not available.
A traveler may come in from a distant place hungry, with no food to eat.
A local friend may receive him, but having no breed to supply, go to a neighbor in turn.
Jesus tells of how one might to go plead for a loaf of bread for a friend in need.
"My children are with me in bed"
The middle East setting was such that there was a common bedroom: and perhaps a mat on the floor served as a bed. (Matt 9:6 "bed" in KJV is "mat" in NIV). Children huddled with parents in bed for warmth and security and because there was no where else to sleep. Not a 18 room mansion, not even a 4 room HUDC, but a one room house. Living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining room all rolled into one. So papa and mama are in bed, and all seventeen children around them, fast asleep: no wonder he is not willing not get up to answer the door, ransack the kitchen and give a loaf of bread. Don't bother me.
But persistence. Knock, knock, knock. Ask, ask, ask. The request in itself is good. For bread for a hungry friend in need.
He will get up and give him as much as he needs.
A MODERN PARABLE
A modern paraphrasing (nimus mil)
Suppose one of you has a younger brother who is sick. In bed with fever. The fever breaks and your brother wakes up hungry. You yourself are too young to cook. So you go to your parent's bedroom and knock at the door.
"Mama mama, DeDe has woken up and is hungry, please get him some supper".
The door is already locked.
Perhaps papa and mama are busy.
Perhaps they are engaged in doing whatever papa and mama usually do.
But as you pound the door and beg,
"Mama, Papa, DeDe has woken up and is HUNGRY, PLEASE get him some supper",
even walls of stone will crumble, heart will melt, and mama will come to meet the needs of DeDe, all for your persistent pleading.
ASK SEEK KNOCK
Luke 11:9-10 Jesus teaches us to be persistent in asking and to search diligently, and to pound on the gates of heaven.
Teach us to pray, the disciples asked.
And The Teacher responded:
And in the closing phrase He teaches us to ask for the very best.
Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish would give him a snake
Or if he asks for an egg , will give him a scorpion?
Give us this day our daily bread:
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him (Matt 7:11)
Yes, in physical terms we are to be dependent on God for supplying our
food, shelter, clothes. But is there a spiritual dimension to this request? Luke 11:13 confirms there is: of all the gifts we should plead for, the highest and the utmost is for the gift of the Holy Spirit
The third person of the Trinity is the least spoken of. It could take 3 years of our study and still there would be just a superficial acquaintance: But let us just look at the titles ascribed to God the Holy Ghost: Study these and pray the the Holy Spirit will reveal himself to you: And come upon you, to baptise you afresh.
Comforter, Counselor, Paraclete (John 14:16)
Eternal Spirit (Heb 9:14)
Free Spirit (Ps 51:12)
Holy Spirit (Ps 51:11, Eph 1:1,34, 4:30)
Power of the Highest (Luke 1:35)
Spirit of Adoption, Spirit of Sonship (Rom 8:15)
Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:11)
Spirit of Counsel (Is 11:2)
Spirit of Glory (1 Peter 4:14)
Spirit of God (Gen 1:2)
Spirit of Grace (Zech 12:10)
Spirit of Holiness (Rom 12:10)
Spirit of Judgment (Is 4:4)
Spirit of Knowledge (Is 11:2)
Spirit of Life (Rom 8:2)
Spirit of Lord God (Is 61:1)
Spirit of Might (Is 11:2)
Spirit of Prophecy (Rev 19:10)
Spirit of The Father (Matt 10:20)
Spirit of The Lord (Is 11:2)
Spirit of The Son (Gal 4:6)
Spirit of Understanding (Is 11:2)
Spirit of Wisdom (Is 11:2)
In closing, let us refocus on the tender relationship between our heavenly father and his children. In the stiff upper lip tradition of the British aristocracy, a child was to address his father as "Sir", and never by name. But amongst the peasantry, there is a much warmer closer relationship and we call our father by the endearing "Papa" or "Pa" or "Ah Pa" "Daddy" or "Dad" or "Bapak" or "'Pak" or "Tieh- Tieh"...
Jesus did likewise.
He addressed his heavenly father as "Abba", the Hebrew word that a child would tenderly use to address the father. Praying in anguish, ever more earnestly, till his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44), Jesus calls out to his beloved dear father "Abba"...(Mark 14:36)
And we are blessed, for we too may call out to God as our Father, our
for the spirit testifies with our spirit that we ARE God's children.
And by him we cry "Abba, Father"...(Rom 8:15)
Because you are really are His sons, God has sent the Holy Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying "Abba Father!" (Gal 4:6 AMP)
Close with our Lord's prayer...
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