Summary: This is a sermon about prayer.
Bread, in one form or another, has been the staple of the human diet from the fall forward. The LORD told Adam that by the sweat of his face he would eat bread (Genesis 3:19).
From the earliest times, humanity has eaten bread.
The Aztecs had bread as did the Romans who seem to have perfected the art of making bread.
Almost every culture past and present has some type of bread, from the modern tortillas of Mexico to the roti of Pakistan. Everyone has bread.
This year has been a year of baking. One amateur baker, the inventor of Xbox Jonathan Blackley, has attempted this year to d what is called experimental archaeology by taking ancient yeast found in Egypt and looking at ancient texts tried to recreate the ancient bread of Egypt. He has been baking ancient bread.
Painted on the tombs of the Pharaohs are pictures of servants carrying bread. The dead were buried with loaves of bread because they thought that even in the realm of the dead surely they had to eat. The people who built the Egyptian pyramids were themselves built by bread... Workers were given a daily ration of about 10 loaves of bread... The Egyptians had 117 words for bread... But they didn’t write down a single recipe. So it takes effort and trial and error.
Bread means life.
When Jesus was asked by His disciples to teach them to pray, central to His teaching was this important word, bread. He taught his disciples to pray a specific prayer in Luke 11:3:
"Give us day by day our daily bread."
He then tells a story about a man who has a midnight visitor, but no bread to feed them, and asks what a father would do if His child asked for bread.
Baking ancient Egyptian bread may be a fun hobby, but understanding Jesus ancient recipe for the bread of life is a necessity.
While we are to mature in our Christian life, there are fundamental things that we must continue no matter how far we grow. Prayer is one of those things. In our text, the disciples have asked Jesus to teach them to pray.
"This petition is concerned with dependence upon God for the fundamentals of life..." (Luke NICNT Joel P. Green). The Bread.
Jesus's answer does not give a technology of prayer, a time table, etc. This is seen in the fact that there is continuity with the next section. Pray with persistence, but... Luke is looking to Whom we are praying in each of these. The common thread in these three illustrations is bread. This is because Luke is emphasizing a way of seeing the God, self, and the world rather than a method of prayer.
1. Realigning Our Relationships
The Lord’s Prayer begins with the words “Our Father.” It never uses the personal pronouns I, me, my, or mine.
The man in the story of the midnight guest is knocking on the door of a friend because he has guests. The friend has children sleeping in the home. The need of the would be host became the need of the entire village. Friend = all things common. Honor. Proverbs 3:27-28
In both stories, there are more individuals involved in the asking and receiving than one. There are more needs than the needs of the one.
Prayer is about realizing whose children we are. Praying in this way changes the way we treat others because we realize that our fellow Christians and our fellow human beings are also children of the one Father. Prayer is grounded in a relationship (Father = Lord of the household; friend = someone with whom you share a common life).
In the Greco-Roman world that would have first read Luke was a system called paterfamilias. In it, the father has absolute rule over the household. Every child that was born could be accepted or rejected. If a father did not want a child, the child could be rejected, aborted, exposed, sold into slavery. Fathers could choose their children’s spouses or whether they could marry, divorce, or remarry. They chose whether a child could have money. They had absolute power. Their motives might be wrong and their ways harsh.
God has all power in a greater sense than any of the Roman fathers ever could. He is the Almighty. The sun rises on His time. But God is not cruel or mean and His motives are not to harm or hurt. Earlier in Luke Jesus says:
In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 22 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”