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Give Us This Day

18 Jun
prayer - 16

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After Jesus told the disciples how to approach God in prayer (Luke 11:2), he told them to pray God would give us our daily bread (Luke 11:3). The request in the Greek is in the present imperative and indicates a continuous operation once begun. In other words Jesus tells us to ask God to begin giving us and continue to give us our daily bread. I get the picture of a request to turn on a faucet for water or a machine to operate. The faucet or machine continues until it is turned off, and this would not be unlike the manna God gave to ancient Israel under Moses.

The manna, which God rained down upon ancient Israel, was given every day for six days, but it stopped on the seventh and continued again on the first day of the next week. This process continued to occur, until the day the children of Israel began reaping the fruits of the Promised Land (Exodus 16:4-5, 14-15, 26; Joshua 5:12).

The Septuagint referred to the manna as the bread of heaven (Psalm 78:23-24), but Jesus said what Moses gave in the wilderness was not the true bread of heaven (John 6:32). Rather, he, Jesus, is the true Bread of Heaven, and he had come down from the Father to give life to the world (John 6:32-33; 48-51).

I have to wonder if there is any significance to the idea that Jesus seems to be addressing community prayer not individual prayer. That is, Jesus tells us to pray: our Father, give us, forgive us, lead us and deliver us. There doesn’t seem to be anything personal that Jesus address here. Rather, Jesus replied to the request put to him, namely “teach us how to pray” (Luke 11:1).

If Jesus tells us to pray that God would give us our daily bread in Luke 11:3, why would he then tell us to take no thought of our daily needs in Luke 12:22-28? Did he contradict himself? When I was a young boy, I never had to ask my parents if they intended on feeding or clothing me. When I was hungry, I may have asked when they intended to fulfill their responsibility to feed me, but I never had to ask them to do so. It was expected. If God is our heavenly Father (Luke 11:2), why should we have to ask him to fulfill what he is responsible to do in the first place? Is he so untrustworthy that we need to keep reminding him of his responsibilities?

I suggest that, because Jesus’ reply to his disciples concerns the group as a whole, and, since the content of Jesus’ doctrine has to do with the Kingdom of God and how that transpires according to the will of God (Luke 11:20), asking God for our daily bread has to do with our working with him to advance his Kingdom. God doesn’t need men to help him do what he intends to do on earth. He could do everything by himself. However, he has shown us that he doesn’t intend to do these things by himself. Rather, he has willed to work through the efforts of men who submit themselves to him. Therefore, if we are to be used by God to do his will, we must act accordingly. Otherwise, God will wait for men who will look to him, whether they come to him in this generation or one following ours (cf. Isaiah 30:1-3, 18).

Our request for daily bread concerns first, that we feed upon Jesus (John 6:48-51), so that the life we live is Christ (Galatians 2:20) and not that of our flesh (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22). Secondly, it has to do with acting in Jesus’ name (WWJD), utilizing only what we have inherited in him (cf. Ephesians 1:3). When we work the works of God, we can do so only by acting in the power or authority given us by Christ (cf. Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 1:20-23). Our tools concern authority to break down demonic strongholds (Luke 10:19-20), and our implements of warfare have to do with putting down spiritual rebellion against God (2Corinthians 10:5; Ephesians 6:11-12).

We cannot do these things by using the power of the flesh, which we have inherited from our first Adam (Romans 8:8; 1Corinthians 15:50). It was Adam who first rebelled against God. How is it possible for a rebel to cast out our rebellion, or, put another way, how can Satan cast out Satan (Luke 11:18)? We cannot expect the powers of this world or the power of the flesh to advance the Kingdom of God. Rather, we can work to works of God only by acting out of the life of our second Adam, who is Christ (Romans 8:9), and so we pray for our daily Bread (Christ).

 

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Posted by on June 18, 2017 in Gospel of Luke

 

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