Parables of Jesus: The Parable of the Friend in Need

Parables of Jesus | Week 2 | In response to the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray, he first shares the Lord’s Prayer, but then moves into an often misunderstood parable that further highlights how we should pray. In the parable, a man in need goes to a neighbour to ask for bread to help feed a visitor. Jesus asks his disciples, would not the man get up and help his neighbour? Filled with cultural dynamics, western readers can often understand the text to be about the persistence of the man asking his neighbour and therefore believe Jesus is teaching us to pray with such persistence. Instead, the parable is actually about the shamelessness of the neighbour and how he will help the man asking because we won’t let his name be shamed for not being hospitable. Therefore, Jesus is saying that when we go to God and ask, we can have assurance that He will not shame His name and will respond. As we pray, we are expanding our capacity to receive. And what does the Father give? The Holy Spirit. We are the friend in need in this parable and Jesus’ promise is that God will give us His Spirit if we ask.

First Baptist Church, Vancouver, BC, 2013 | Luke 11:1-15

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