Make your own free website on Tripod.com
 
 
 

The Friend at Midnight


    PART VI: THE PARABLES ON PRAYER

             CHAPTER 24  THE FRIEND AT MIDNIGHT
 

                               Introduction

   One day Jesus was praying.  After he finished, one of
         his disciples asked him, "Lord, teach us  to  pray,  just  as
         John  taught  his  disciples."  (Luke 11:1, New International
         Version).  In answer  to  this  question,  Jesus  taught  his
         disciples  the  Model  Prayer  (sometimes  called  the Lord's
         Prayer--John 17 is more correctly called the Lord's  Prayer).
         Jesus then told this parable.

              The Parable of the Friend at Midnight is found  only  in
         Luke 11:5-8.  It is the first parable of a trilogy on prayer.
         All three of the parables on prayer are found only in Luke.
 
 

The Story
  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, because  a  friend
                   of  mine on a journey has come to me, and
                   I have nothing to set before him.'

                       "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.'  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.    (Luke 11:5-8, New International
                   Version).

    Ralph Earle explains local customs in Jesus' day:

                   "Lend" (v. 5) means "grant me the use of, as a
              friendly act."  The "loaves"  of  Jesus'  day  were
              something  quite different from our modern, sliced,
              baker's loaves of  bread.    They  were  like  flat
              breakfast  biscuits  or  small  pancakes.   The man
              wanted three loaves so that he could offer  one  to
              his  guest,  eat  one  with him for fellowship, and
              have an added one to offer his host for "seconds."

     "In his journey" may be translated "out of his
              way."  But in the hot season  in  Palestine  people
              commonly   traveled  at  night.    So  it  was  not
              necessarily unusual that a traveler  should  arrive
              at midnight.  But it was inconvenient for the host.
              In those days it was the custom for  the  women  to
              grind  the barley or wheat each morning with little
              handmills, and make fresh "loaves" of bread for the
              day.  Normally these would be eaten before night.

   The  Greek  word  for  "importunity"   (v.  8)
              [boldness,  NIV]    is  found  only here in the New
              Testament.   It  literally  means  "shamelessness."
              When  one  knows  his  cause  is  just he has to be
              shameless  in  asking.     (Turnbull,   Gen.   ed.,
              PROCLAIMING THE NEW TESTAMENT, THE GOSPEL OF  LUKE,
              by Ralph Earle,  pp. 51-52).
 

                   The Interpretation
     Jesus  makes   his  point  here  based  on  contrast, not
         likeness.  If a neighbor who is not a friend and who  doesn't
         want  to  get  up  and  disturb  his  family will get up just
         because someone is shamelessly persistent, how much more will
         our  loving Heavenly Father give us the things we need, if we
         persist in prayer!  (Barclay, DAILY STUDY BIBLE SERIES, LUKE,
         pp. 147 ff.).

  God wants us to:  (1)  learn  his  will  on  a  specific
         matter;  (2) ask him for the thing needed; and (3) persist in
         faith until the answer to prayer comes.  (See  my  electronic
         book on prayer).
 

                                Central Truth

GOD WANTS US TO PERSIST IN FAITH
                            UNTIL HE ANSWERS PRAYER.
 

                                 Conclusion

                Carr comments:

  Although  idle repetitions in prayer are forbidden,
              persistency and  importunity  in  prayer--wrestling
              with  God,  and  not  letting  him  go until he has
              blessed us--are here distinctly taught....   (Carr,
              CAMBRIDGE GREEK TESTAMENT FOR SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES,
              LUKE, by F. W. Farrar,   p. 261).

  We  give  up  too  easily.  God wants us to realize that
             from the first time we prayed according to his will, he began
             to work toward  answering  prayer.    Our  part  is  to  keep
             believing  until  his  work  is  through,  that is, until our
             prayer has been answered!  END