Luke 11 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Luke 11)

Verse 2

[2] And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

When ye pray, say — And what he said to them is undoubtedly said to us also. We are therefore here directed, not only to imitate this in all our prayers, but to use this very form of prayer. Matthew 6:9.

Verse 4

[4] And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Forgive us; for we forgive them — Not once, but continually. This does not denote the meritorious cause of our pardon; but the removal of that hinderance which otherwise would render it impossible.

Verse 5

[5] And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

At midnight — The most unseasonable time: but no time is unseasonable with God, either for hearing or answering prayer.

Verse 9

[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.

Matthew 7:7.

Verse 13

[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 him?

How much more shall your heavenly Father — How beautiful is the gradation! A friend: a father: God! Give the Holy Spirit - The best of gifts, and that which includes every good gift.

Verse 14

[14] And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.

It was dumb — That is, it made the man so. Matthew 12:22.

Verse 15

[15] But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

But some said, He casteth out devils by Beelzebub — These he answers, Luke 11:17. Others, to try whether it were so or no, sought a sign from heaven. These he reproves in Luke 11:29 and following verses. Beelzebub signifies the lord of flies, a title which the heathens gave to Jupiter, whom they accounted the chief of their gods, and yet supposed him to be employed in driving away flies from their temple and sacrifices. The Philistines worshipped a deity under this name, as the god of Ekron: from hence the Jews took the name, and applied it to the chief of the devils. Mark 3:22.

Verse 16

[16] And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.

Matthew 12:38.

Verse 17

[17] But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.

A house — That is, a family.

Verse 20

[20] But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

If I cast out devils by the finger of God — That is, by a power manifestly Divine. Perhaps the expression intimates farther, that it was done without any labour: then the kingdom of God is come upon you - Unawares, unexpected: so the Greek word implies.

Verse 21

[21] When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

The strong one armed — The devil, strong in himself, and armed with the pride, obstinacy, and security of him in whom he dwells.

Verse 26

[26] Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

The last state of that man becometh worse than the first — Whoever reads the sad account Josephus gives of the temple and conduct of the Jews, after the ascension of Christ and before their final destruction by the Romans, must acknowledge that no emblem could have been more proper to describe them. Their characters were the vilest that can be conceived, and they pressed on to their own ruin, as if they had been possessed by legions of devils, and wrought up to the last degree of madness. But this also is fulfilled in all who totally and finally apostatize from true faith.

Verse 27

[27] And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked! — How natural was the thought for a woman! And how gently does our Lord reprove her!

Verse 28

[28] But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it — For if even she that bare him had not done this, she would have forfeited all her blessedness.

Verse 29

[29] And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.

It seeketh — The original word implies seeking more, or over and above what one has already.

Verse 32

[32] The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

They repented at the preaching of Jonah — But it was only for a season. Afterward they relapsed into wickedness, till (after about forty years) they were destroyed. It is remarkable, that in this also the comparison held. God reprieved the Jews for about forty years; but they still advanced in wickedness, till having filled up their measure, they were destroyed with an utter destruction.

Verse 33

[33] No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

The meaning is, God gives you this Gospel light, that you may repent. Let your eye be singly fixed on him, aim only at pleasing God; and while you do this, your whole soul will be full of wisdom, holiness, and happiness. Matthew 5:15; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16.

Verse 34

[34] The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

But when thine eye is evil — When thou aimest at any thing else, thou wilt be full of folly, sin, and misery. On the contrary, Matthew 6:22.

Verse 36

[36] If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

If thy whole body be full of light — If thou art filled with holy wisdom, having no part dark, giving way to no sin or folly, then that heavenly principle will, like the clear flame of a lamp in a room that was dark before, shed its light into all thy powers and faculties.

Verse 39

[39] And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

Now ye Pharisees — Probably many of them were present at the Pharisee's house. Matthew 23:25.

Verse 41

[41] But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

Give what is in them — The vessels which ye clean, in alms, and all things are clean to you. As if he had said, By acts directly contrary to rapine and wickedness, show that your hearts are cleansed, and these outward washings are needless.

Verse 42

[42] But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Wo to you — That is, miserable are you. In the same manner is the phrase to be understood throughout the chapter.

Verse 44

[44] Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.

For ye are as graves which appear not — Probably in speaking this our Lord fixed his eyes on the scribes. As graves which appear not, being overgrown with grass, so that men are not aware, till they stumble upon them, and either hurt themselves, or at least are defiled by touching them. On another occasion Christ compared them to whited sepulchres, fair without, but foul within; Matthew 23:27.

Verse 45

[45] Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.

One of the lawyers — That is scribes; expounders of the law.

Verse 48

[48] Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

Whom they killed, ye build their sepulchres — Just like them pretending great reverence for the ancient prophets, while ye destroy those whom God sends to yourselves. Ye therefore bear witness by this deep hypocrisy that ye are of the very same spirit with them.

Verse 49

[49] Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:

The wisdom of God, agreeably to this, hath said - In many places of Scripture, though not in these very words, I will send them prophets - Chiefly under the Old Testament: and apostles - Under the New. Matthew 23:34.

Verse 50

[50] That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

The blood of all shall be required of this generation — That is, shall be visibly and terribly punished upon it.

Verse 51

[51] From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

And so it was within forty years, in a most astonishing manner, by the dreadful destruction of the temple, the city, and the whole nation.

Between the temple and the altar — In the court of the temple.

Verse 52

[52] Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

Ye have taken away the key of knowledge — Ye have obscured and destroyed the knowledge of the Messiah, which is the key of both the present and the future kingdom of heaven; the kingdom of grace and glory.

Ye have not entered in — Into the present kingdom of heaven.