Luke 11

Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray

1 One day, Jesus was praying in a certain place. He finished praying. Then, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Master, John taught his disciples how to pray. Please teach us as he did.’

2 Jesus replied, ‘When you pray, you should say this:

“God, our Father, we want people to give honour to you.

We want the day when you rule everyone to come soon.

3 Please give to us the food that we need each day.

4 Forgive us for our sins,

because we also forgive everyone who has done wrong things against us.

And do not let us agree to do wrong things.” ’

5 Jesus then told a story to teach them how to pray. He said, ‘Let me tell you about someone who goes to a friend's home at midnight. “My friend,” he says, “please give me three loaves of bread. 6 A friend of mine is on a journey and he has arrived at my house. But I have no food to give him.” 7 But his friend answers from inside his house. He says, “Do not cause problems for me! I have locked my door. My children and I have gone to bed. So I cannot get up and give you any bread.” ’

8 Then Jesus said, ‘I will tell you what will happen. Perhaps your friend will not give you anything just because you are good friends. But if you continue to knock and ask for bread, your friend will get up. He will give you bread, as much as you need.

9 So I tell you this. Continue to ask God for what you need. Then God will give it to you. Continue to look for what you need. Then you will find it. Continue to knock at the door and God will open it for you. 10 Everyone that asks for something will receive it. Everyone that looks for something will find it. God will open the door for everyone that knocks on it. 11 Some of you are fathers. If your son asks you for a fish, you would not give him a snake instead. 12 If he asks you for an egg, you would not give him something dangerous. 13 You are bad. But even you know how to give good things to your children. Your Father in heaven knows much better than you do how to give good things to his children. So he will give the Holy Spirit to everyone who asks him.’

11:13Jesus is telling us that we must pray. We must continue to pray, and then God will listen to us. He will give us the good things that we ask for. The most important thing to ask for is the gift of his Holy Spirit. He sends him to those that ask for him.

Jesus teaches about the Devil

14 One day, Jesus was telling a bad spirit to go out of a man. Because of the bad spirit, the man could not speak. But after it had gone out of him, the man could speak again. All the people that were watching were surprised at this. 15 But some people in the crowd were not happy with Jesus and they said, ‘This man can send bad spirits out of people because Beelzebul gives him authority. That is Satan, the one who rules all the bad spirits.’

11:15People used the name Beelzebul when they spoke about the Devil. This is another name for the Devil.

16 Some other people wanted to test Jesus to see what he would do. So they asked him, ‘Do something powerful for us to see. Then we will know that God has really sent you.’

11:16Jesus only used the power that he had from God to help people. He only did something special when his Father asked him to. He would not use it to cause people to believe in him. He had already done many powerful works. But they chose not to believe that he was the Messiah.

17 But Jesus knew what those people were thinking. He said to them, ‘If armies in a country start to fight each other, they will destroy their own country. If people in one family fight against each other, they will destroy their own family. 18 So Satan would not fight against himself. If he did that, it would be the end of his kingdom. But you say that Beelzebul helps me to destroy bad spirits. 19 If that is true, what do you say about your own disciples? They also send bad spirits out of people. You would not say that it is Satan's power that helps them. So your own people show that you are wrong about this. 20 When I send bad spirits out of people, I use the power of God. This shows that God has come to rule among you.

21 When a strong man has all the weapons he needs to fight with, he can take care of his own house. Nobody will be able to rob him of the things inside his house. 22 But someone may come who is stronger than he is. That man will attack him and beat him. The strong man believed his weapons would keep him safe. But the stronger man will take his weapons away. He will take the strong man's things and give them to other people.

11:22The strong person is the Devil. The stronger person that comes is Jesus. He fights the Devil and he beats him. When he commands bad spirits to leave people, they do. This shows that he is stronger than the Devil. So it was wrong to think that the Devil was helping him.

23 If someone does not agree to help me, he is working against me. You should work with me to bring people to me for help. If you do not do that, you are making people run away from me.’

11:23People are either helping Jesus, or they are helping the Devil. They are helping the Devil if they do nothing to help Jesus.

24 Jesus then said, ‘When a bad spirit goes out of a person, it travels through dry places. It looks for a new place to live. But maybe it does not find anywhere. So it says to itself, “I will return to the place where I lived before.” 25 Then it goes back to that person. It finds that the place is empty. Everything there is now good and clean. 26 So the bad spirit goes out and it brings back seven other spirits. They are even worse than itself. They all go into the person and they live there. Now the person's life is even worse than it was before.’

11:26When the Jewish leaders commanded a bad spirit to leave a person, it often came out. But later it went back to live inside the person again. Because the Holy Spirit did not fill him, there was room for bad spirits to come in.

27 While Jesus was saying this, a woman in the crowd shouted out. ‘How happy is the woman that gave birth to you! How happy is the woman that fed you from her breasts!’

28 Jesus replied, ‘It is the people who hear God's message who are happy. They are happy if they obey it.’

Jesus talks about Jonah

29 The crowd around Jesus was growing very large, so he began to speak to them. ‘The people that are alive today are very bad,’ he said. ‘They want God to show them something powerful. But God will not do this for them. They will only see the same powerful thing that God did for Jonah. 30 Jonah showed God's power to the people who lived in Nineveh. They knew that God had sent him. In the same way the Son of Man will show God's power to the people that are living today. Then they will know that God has sent me.

11:29We can read about Jonah in the book of Jonah in the Old Testament of the Bible. God sent him to a town called Nineveh. He told the people there that they must stop doing bad things. He had been inside a big fish for three days. They could see that God had made him alive again. Jesus also would become alive again, three days after he died.

31 Also, the queen of Sheba travelled a long way to see King Solomon. She wanted to hear his wise words. When God judges everyone, she will stand up. She will speak against you who are alive today. She will show that you are bad people. She listened to King Solomon. But look! There is someone here now who is greater than Solomon was.

11:31We can read about this queen in 1 Kings 10:1-10. The Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon. He was a wise and important king.

32 When God judges everyone, the people who lived in Nineveh will be there. They will stand up and they will speak against you. They will show that the people who are alive today are bad. When Jonah spoke to the people in Nineveh long ago, they stopped doing bad things. But look! There is someone here now who is greater than Jonah was.’

Jesus talks about light

33 Then Jesus said, ‘When someone lights a lamp, he does not hide it. Nor does he put it under a pot. Instead, he puts it in a high place. Then other people who come into the room can see the light from the lamp. 34 Your eyes are like lamps and your body is like a room. Be careful that your eyes are like a clean lamp, then your whole body will have light. But if your eyes are dirty, your whole body will be completely in the dark. 35 So you must be careful. Be sure that you really have light in you. Be sure that you are not still in the dark. 36 Your whole body needs to have lots of light. Nothing dark should be there. It will be as if a lamp is shining its bright light on you.’

11:36If a person lets Jesus rule his life, there will be nothing dark or hidden. Those that do not believe the messages of Jesus are like a person in the dark.

Jesus warns some Pharisees

37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to eat a meal with him. So Jesus went to the Pharisee's house and he sat down at the table. 38 Jesus did not wash his hands before he ate the meal. This surprised the Pharisee. 39 So the Lord Jesus said to him, ‘You Pharisees are like someone who only cleans the outside of his cup and his plate. You only clean the part that people can see. But inside, your mind is full of bad thoughts. You like to take things from other people. 40 What fools you are! God made the inside of you as well as the outside. He knows all about you. 41 So be ready to give things to poor people. Then you will be really clean, on the inside as well as the outside.

11:39Jesus was speaking about the things that other people cannot see. The Pharisees thought about the part that other people could see. But God sees the reason why we do things.

42 It will be very bad for you Pharisees! When you grow spices to cook with food, you give a tenth part of these small things to God. You are right to obey this rule. But you do not do the most important things. You do not help people in a good way. You do not really love God. You should have done the important things as well as the other little things.

43 Yes, it will be very bad for you Pharisees! You like to sit in the best seats in the meeting place. And you like people to praise you in the market place.

44 It will be very bad for you. You want to seem good to other people, but you are bad on the inside. You are like a grave that has nothing to show that it is there. People walk on that place because they do not know that there is a dead person there.’

11:44The Jews put a mark at the place where they had buried a dead person. They put white paint on it. They did this so that people would see it. So then they would not touch it. If they did touch it, they would stop being clean. God's rules told them what they should do to be clean again. Jesus was saying that people might copy the Pharisees. If they did, they also would not be clean.

45 Then a teacher of God's Law spoke out. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘when you say these things, you are also saying bad things about us.’

46 Jesus replied, ‘It will be very bad for you as well, teachers of God's Law. You give rules to people to obey. Those rules are like things that are too heavy for people to carry. You do not even help people to carry them. Not even with one finger do you help them!

11:46These heavy things were all the rules that the teachers had made. The people tried to obey all these rules, but it was too difficult for them. The teachers did not show the people how to obey the rules.

47 Yes, it will be very bad for you! A long time ago, your ancestors killed God's prophets. Now, you build up beautiful stones to show the place where they buried them. 48 You know that your ancestors killed the prophets. Now you build up the places where they buried them. So you show that you agree with your ancestors. You agree with what they did. 49 God is wise. Because you do not obey what is true, he said, “I will send my prophets and apostles to go to them. But they will kill some of my servants. They will hurt others of them.” 50 Since the beginning of the world, people have killed God's prophets. But God will punish the people who are alive today for all those murders. 51 Abel was the first to die like this and Zechariah was the last. They even killed Zechariah in the yard of the temple, near the altar. Yes, God will punish the people who are alive today for all those murders.

11:51Through the years bad men have killed many good men. The prophets wrote in the Bible about many people who died in that way. Abel was the first person like that (). Zechariah was the last person like that (2 Chronicles 24:21).

52 It will be very bad for you teachers of God's Law! You have studied God's message. But you do not then accept it. You have also stopped people who really wanted to know God's message. Then they could not go on to accept it and go into God's kingdom.’

53 Then Jesus left that place. The Pharisees and the teachers of God's Law were angry against Jesus. They were asking him many difficult questions. 54 They wanted to make him say something wrong. Then they could take hold of him.