The Fourfold Gospel
11:1 And it came to pass, as he was praying in a certain place, that when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray1, even as John also taught his disciples2.
PRAYER TAUGHT AND ENCOURAGED.
- One of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray. Jesus had already taught his disciples how to pray in the Sermon on the
Mount. This disciple probably thought that the prayer already taught
was too brief to be sufficient, especially as Jesus often prayed so
- Even as John also taught his disciples. It was customary for the rabbis to give their disciples forms of prayer, and the Baptist seems
to have followed this practice, though the prayer taught by him appears
to have been forgotten.
11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Father, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come1.
- When ye pray, say, Father, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. The form given by Matthew is fuller than this. See Matthew 6:9-13. The
variation of the two prayers is an evidence of the independence of the
11:5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight1, and say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves2;
- Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight. A most unseasonable hour.
- And say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves. The occasion here described would call for three loaves, that the host and the guest
might each have one, and that there might be one in reserve as an
evidence of liberality.
11:6 for a friend of mine is come to me from a journey1, and I have nothing to set before him2;
- For a friend of mine is come to me from a journey. In the summer Orientals often travel by night to avoid the heat of the day.
- And I have nothing to set before him. The customs of the land then made hospitality so obligatory that the greatest inconvenience and
deepest poverty did not excuse one from practicing it.
11:7 and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not1: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee2?
- Trouble me not. The man within does not use the word "friend". His answer is blunt and discouraging.
- The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee? In the house of a laboring man, the family all
sleep in one room. The pallets, or thin mattresses. are spread upon the
divan, or raise platform, which passes around the room next to the
wall. Where there was no divan and grope about in the dark that he
might unbolt the door and find the required bread was indeed no slight
trouble. He would be apt to step upon, or otherwise disturb, the
11:8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend1, yet because of his importunity he will arise and give him as many as he needeth2.
- Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend. Friendship should have prompted the man to supply his friend. It
- Yet because of his importunity he will arise and give him as many as he needeth. Yet the bread was given to get rid of a noisy beggar,
to be rid of whom all the bread in the house would be willingly
sacrificed if necessary. If a selfish man can be thus won by
importunity, much more can a generous God, whose reluctance is never
without reason, and whose ever-present desire is to bless. Idle
repetition of prayers is forbidden; but persistence and importunity are
encouraged. See Isaiah 42:6; Genesis 18:23-33; Matthew 15:27,28.
11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
- Ask . . . seek . . . knock. See Matthew 7:7. The substance of this passage is recorded by Matthew as a portion of the Sermon on the
Mount. See Matthew 7:7-11.
11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth1; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
- For every one that asketh receiveth. See Matthew 7:8.
11:11 And of which of you that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone1? or a fish, and he for a fish give him a serpent2?
- And of which of you that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone? See Matthew 7:9.
- Or a fish, and he for a fish give him a serpent? See Matthew 7:10.
11:12 Or [if] he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion1?
- Or [if] he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion? This verse is peculiar to Luke. The scorpion is an insect somewhat similar
to a small lobster. It is two or three inches long, and has a sting at
the end of its tail which is about as severe as that of a wasp. The old
commentators tell us that the white scorpion, when rolled up, closely
resembled an egg.
11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him1?
- How much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Matthew has "good things" (Matthew 7:11) where Luke
has "Holy Spirit". The Holy Spirit is the best of all gifts, being as
necessary to the soul as food to the body.
11:14 And he was casting out a demon [that was] dumb1. And it came to pass, when the demon was gone out, the dumb man spake; and the multitudes marvelled2.
BLASPHEMOUS ACCUSATIONS OF THE JEWS.
Matthew 12:22-37; Mark 3:19-30; Luke 11:14-23
- He was casting out a demon [that was] dumb. See Matthew 12:22.
- And the multitudes marvelled. See Matthew 12:23.
11:15 But some of them said1, By Beelzebub the prince of the demons casteth he out demons2.
- But some of them said. That is, some of the multitude. Who these "some" were is revealed by Matthew and Mark (Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22).
- By Beelzebub the prince of the demons casteth he out demons. See Mark 3:22.
11:16 And others, trying [him], sought of him a sign from heaven1.
- And others, trying [him], sought of him a sign from heaven. These probably felt that the criticisms of the Pharisees were unjust, and
wished that Jesus might put them to silence by showing some great sign,
such as the pillar of cloud which sanctioned the guidance of Moses, or
the descending fire which vindicated Elijah.
11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them1, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house [divided] against a house falleth.
- But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, etc. See Mark 3:23.
11:18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand1? because ye say that I cast out demons by Beelzebub.
- And if Satan also is divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? See Mark 3:23.
11:19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.
- And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. See Matthew 12:27.
11:20 But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you1.
- But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you. See Matthew 12:28. The finger of God
signifies the power of God (Exodus 8:19; Exodus 31:18; Psalms 8:3).
11:21 When the strong [man] fully armed guardeth his own court, his goods are in peace1:
- When the strong [man] fully armed guardeth his own court, his goods are in peace. See Mark 3:27.
11:22 but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him1, he taketh from him his whole armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.
- But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, etc. See Mark 3:27.
11:23 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth1.
- He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. See Matthew 12:30.
11:24 The unclean spirit when he is gone out of the man, passeth through waterless places, seeking rest, and finding none, he saith, I will turn back unto my house whence I came out2.
SIGN SEEKERS, AND THE ENTHUSIAST REPROVED.
(Galilee on the same day as the last section.)
Matthew 12:38-45; Luke 11:24-36
- The unclean spirit . . . passeth through waterless places, etc. See Matthew 12:43.
- I will turn back unto my house whence I came out. See Matthew 12:44.
11:25 And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished1.
- And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished. See Matthew 12:44.
11:26 Then goeth he, and taketh1 [to him] seven other spirits more evil than himself; and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man becometh worse than the first.
- Then goeth he, and taketh, etc. See Matthew 12:45.
11:27 And it came to pass, as he said these things, a certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice1, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou didst suck2.
- A certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice. This woman is the first on record to fulfill Mary's prediction (Luke 1:48).
- Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou didst suck. It is the only passage in the New Testament which even suggests
the idolatry of Mariolatry, but it was far enough from it, being merely
a womanly way of expressing admiration for the son by pronouncing
blessings upon the mother who was so fortunate as to bear him.
11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it1.
- Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. Jesus does not deny the fact that Mary was blessed, but corrects
any false idea with regard to her by pointing to the higher honor of
being a disciple was greater than her blessing as a mother; her moral
and spiritual relation to Jesus was more precious than her maternal.
Mary's blessings came through believing God's word (Luke 1:45). To
know Christ after the Spirit is more blessed than to know him after the
flesh (2 Corinthians 5:15,16; John 16:7).
11:29 And when the multitudes were gathering together unto him, he began to say, This generation is an evil generation: it seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of Jonah1.
- This generation is an evil generation: it seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of Jonah.
See Matthew 12:39.
11:30 For even as Jonah became a sign unto the Ninevites1, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation2.
- For even as Jonah became a sign unto the Ninevites. Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, situated on the Tigris River, and in
its day the greatest city of the world. Jonah's preservation was a sign
from heaven, because wrought without human instrumentality.
- So shall also the Son of man be to this generation. The resurrection of Christ was such a sign to the Jews, but rejecting it, they continued
to seek other signs. Also see Matthew 12:40.
11:31 The queen of the south1 shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and shall condemn them: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
- The queen of the south, etc. See Matthew 12:42.
11:32 The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it1: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here.
- The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it, etc. See Matthew 12:41.
11:33 No man, when he hath lighted a lamp, putteth it in a cellar1, neither under the bushel, but on the stand, that they which enter in may see the light.
- No man, when he hath lighted a lamp, putteth it in a cellar, etc. This passage is given in a slightly varying form found in the Sermon on
the Mount. See Matthew 5:15. It is here addressed to the Pharisees
and reproves them for not using the light (his miracles) which was
given to them. If they had had an eye single to goodness, Christ's
light would have enlightened their souls. But their eye was double;
they desired wonders and spectacular signs.
11:34 The lamp of thy body is thine eye: when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light1; but when it is evil, thy body also is full of darkness2.
- The lamp of thy body is thine eye: when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light. See Matthew 6:22.
- But when it is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. See Matthew 6:23.
11:35 Look therefore whether the light that is in thee be not darkness1.
- Look therefore whether the light that is in thee be not darkness. See Matthew 6:23.
11:36 If therefore thy whole body be full of light1, having no part dark, it shall be wholly full of light, as when the lamp with its bright shining doth give thee light.
- If therefore thy whole body be full of light, etc. See Matthew 6:22.
11:37 Now as he spake, a Pharisee asketh him to dine with him1: and he went in, and sat down to meat2.
50. DINING WITH A PHARISEE, JESUS DENOUNCES THAT SECT.
- Now as he spake, a Pharisee asketh him to dine with him. The repast to which Jesus was invited was a morning meal, usually eaten between
ten and eleven o'clock. The principal meal of the day was eaten in the
- And he went in, and sat down to meat. Jesus dined with all classes, with publicans and Pharisees, with friends and enemies.
11:38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first bathed himself before dinner1.
- And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first bathed himself before dinner. The Pharisee marveled at this because
the tradition of the elders required them to wash their hands before
eating, and, if they had been in a crowd where their bodies might have
been touched by some unclean person, they washed their whole bodies.
It was a custom which ministered to pride and self-righteousness.
11:39 And the Lord said unto him, Now ye the Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter; but your inward part is full of extortion and wickedness.
- The Lord said to him. Our Lord's speech is unsparingly denunciatory. To some it seems strange that Jesus spoke thus in a house where he was
an invited guest. But our Lord never suspended the solemn work of
reproof out of mere compliment. He was governed by higher laws than
those of conventional politeness.
11:40 Ye foolish ones, did not he that made the outside make the inside also1?
- Did not he that made the outside make the inside also? Since God made both the inner and the outer, a true reverence for him requires
that both parts be alike kept clean.
11:41 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, all things are clean unto you1.
- But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, all things are clean unto you. That is, give your inner life, your love,
mercy, compassion, etc., to the blessing of mankind, and then your
inner purity will make you proof against outward defilement (Matthew 15:11
Titus 1:15; Romans 14:4).
11:42 But woe unto you Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue2 and every herb, and pass over justice and the love of God: but these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone4.
- But woe unto you, Pharisees! Jesus pronounces three woes upon the Pharisees for three sins, viz.: (1) Hypocrisy, shown in pretending to
be be very careful when they were really extremely careless; (2)
Vainglory (Luke 11:43); (3) Corruption of public morals (Luke 11:44).
- For ye tithe mint and rue. Rue was a small shrub about two feet high, and is said to have been used to flavor wine, and for medicinal
- And all manner of herbs. See Matthew 23:23.
- And pass over justice and the love of God: but these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. The Pharisees in paying
the tenth part, or tithe, to God, were so exact that they offered the
tenth part of the seed even of the spearmint, rue, and other small
garden herbs, and many contended that the very stalks of these plants
should also be tithed. Jesus commends this care about little things,
but nevertheless rebukes the Pharisees because they were as careless
about big things, such as justice, and the love of God, as they were
careful about herb seed.
11:43 Woe unto you Pharisees! for ye love the chief seats in the synagogues, and the salutations in the marketplaces1.
- For ye love the chief seats in the synagogues, and the salutations in the marketplaces. They were vainglorious, loving the honors and
attentions given by men (John 5:44). They loved on week days to be
saluted in the marketplace, and on the Sabbath to sit in the
semi-circular row of seats which were back of the lectern, or desk of
the reader, and which faced the congregation. On the synagogue,
see Mark 1:39.
11:44 Woe unto you! for ye are as the tombs which appear not1, and the men that walk over [them] know it not2.
- For ye are as the tombs which appear not. According to the Mosaic law, any one who touched a grave was rendered unclean (Numbers 19:16).
That they might not touch graves and be made unclean without knowing
it, the Jews white-washed their graves and tombs once a year. Matthew
records Jesus as having taught this lesson by an exactly opposite
figure. See Matthew 23:27.
- And the men that walk over [them] know it not. But Jesus likens a Pharisee to graves which defiled men unawares. Their hypocrisy
concealed their true nature, so that men were injured and corrupted by
their influence without being aware of it.
11:45 And one of the lawyers answering saith unto him1, Teacher, in saying this thou reproachest us also2.
- And one of the lawyers answering saith unto him. Lightfoot supposes that a scribe was one who copied the law of Moses, while a lawyer
expounded the oral law or traditions of the elders. But it is more
likely that the terms were used interchangeably. They leaned to the
Pharisee party, and hence this one felt the rebuke which Jesus
addressed to that party.
- Teacher, in saying this thou reproachest us also. The scribe intimated that Jesus had spoken hastily, and his speech is a suggestion
to Jesus to correct or modify his unguarded words. But Jesus made no
mistakes and spoke no hasty words.
11:46 And he said, Woe unto you lawyers also! for ye load men with burdens grievous to be borne1, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers2.
- For ye load men with burdens grievous to be borne. We have seen in the traditions with regard to the Sabbath how these Jewish lawyers
multiplied the burdens which Moses had placed upon the people.
- And ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. They were careful to lay these burdens upon others, but equally careful
not to bear them themselves--no, not even to keep the law of Moses
itself (Matthew 23:2,3).
11:47 Woe unto you! for ye build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them1.
- For ye build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Tombs were usually dug in the rock in the sides of hills or
cliffs. To build them therefore was to decorate or ornament the
entrance. Though their act in building the sepulchers was a seeming
honor to the prophets, God did not accept it as such. A prophet is only
truly honored when his message is received and obeyed.
11:48 So ye are witnesses and consent unto the works of your fathers: for they killed them, and ye build [their tombs]1.
- So ye are witnesses and consent unto the works of your fathers: for they killed them, and ye build [their tombs]. The lawyers were not in
fellowship with the prophets, but with those who murdered the prophets.
Hence the Savior pictures the whole transaction from the killing of the
prophets to the building of their sepulchers as "one act" in which all
concurred, and all of which were guilty. Abbott gives the words a
figurative meaning, thus: your fathers slew the prophets by violence,
and you bury them by false teaching.
11:49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God1, I will send unto them prophets and apostles; and [some] of them they shall kill and persecute;
- Therefore also said the wisdom of God. The phrase "wisdom of God" has been very puzzling, for the words spoken by Jesus are not found in
any Old Testament book. Among the explanations, the best is that which
represents Jesus as quoting the trend or tenor of several prophecies
such as 2 Chronicles 24:19-22; 2 Chronicles 36:14-16; Proverbs 1:20-33. It may, however, be possible
that Jesus is here publishing a new decree or conclusion of God, for
the words specifically concerned the present generation. If so, Jesus
assents to the decree of the Father by calling it "the wisdom of God",
and the language is kindred to that at Matthew 11:25,26.
11:51 from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zachariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary: yea, I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation2.
- From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah. Abel is accounted a prophet because his form of sacrifice prefigured that of Christ. His
murder is described in the first historical book (Genesis 4:1-8), while
that of Zechariah is described in the last historical book of the Old
Testament (2 Chronicles 24:20-22). From the record of one, therefore, to the
record of the other embraces the entire catalogue of the Old Testament
martyrs. Tradition assigns one of the four great sepulchral monuments
at the foot of Olive to Zechariah.
- It shall be required of this generation. That generation sanctioned all the sins of the past and went beyond them to the crucifixion of the
Son of God. The best comment on this passage is the parable at
Luke 20:9-16. God made that generation the focus of the world's light
and privilege, but the men of that time made it the focus of the
world's wickedness and punishment. The punishment began about
thirty-seven years later in the war with Rome, which lasted five years
and culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem.
11:52 Woe unto you lawyers! for ye took away the key of knowledge1: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered2.
- For ye took away the key of knowledge. A true knowledge of the Scripture was a key which opened the door to the glories of Christ and
his kingdom. This the lawyer had given away by teaching not the
contents of the book, but the rubbish and trifles of tradition.
- Ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. They did not open the door for themselves, and by their
pretentious interference they confused others in their efforts to open
11:53 And when he was come out from thence, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press upon [him] vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things1;
- And to provoke him to speak of many things. They plied him with many questions, hoping that they could irritate him into making a hot
or hasty answer.
11:54 laying wait for him1, to catch something out of his mouth.
- Laying wait for him. For methods used to entrap Jesus, see Matthew 22:15-17,23-28,34-36,46.