New Testament · Parables · Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – Friend in Need

Impudence. Jesus told this story with the result that impudence was more powerful than friendship. To be impudent. What in tarnation is that? Following are a number of synonyms

  • To be offensively bold.
  • Impertinent.
  • Insolent.
  • Disrespectful.
  • Rudeness.
  • Ungraciousness
  • Shamelessness

Let’s read the story Jesus told thousands of years ago, and find truth in it for us today.

Luke 11:5-8

5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

The disciples had seen the Lord pray, and connected His power to His prayer life, and being the disciples they were, they wanted the power. So they asked Him to teach them to pray. The verses preceding this parable are what is commonly referred to as “The Lord’s prayer”. Immediately after giving the disciples a model prayer to use for their own time with the Father, Jesus taught of the power of impudence.

What? I’ve heard of cleanliness being next to Godliness, but this implies Impudence is next to Godliness. My momma never told me that in all my years of listening to her wisdom, nope never said that!

When did the Lord give this parable?

This parable was given near the end of a period of withdrawal from Galilee, approx. 6 months prior to entering into Jerusalem for the last time.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

Jesus and His disciples were in Galilee

Why did the Lord give this message?

As mentioned above, this parable was spoken to the disciples to augment the model prayer. To emphasize an aspect of prayer that is not emphasized enough nowadays. At least in my life!

What was the message for the original audience?

The man in need prevailed (by nagging) in his request to his friend’s apathy, even though they had relationship, knew each other and would see each other in the marketplace in the near future.

Please noticve that the response was curt, short and to the point. The man in bed did not respond out of love, by addressing the one in need by calling him “Friend” or “Brother”. Essentially he told the one at the door to get lost – it is too late. Go away.

When the audience heard this mans response, what might their reaction have been? I don’t know about y’all, but once my feet get under the covers, I turn a deaf ear to many requests. (My wifey and children are the exceptions, and maybe a close friend, but not much more than that!)

But the fellow outside wouldn’t give up. Like go home and come back the next day buddy, give your “friend” a night’s sleep. But noooo. This guy was shameless. He needed some food for another of his friends that showed up on his doorstep, and this was very important in the ancient near east. Hospitality was a cultural requirement in those days, and gave honor to the house which gave the hospitality. This man seeking food was fighting for his visitor, and for his own honor. (Kinda sad that he wasn’t prepared better, but that topic will come up in a later parable).

He nagged the fella in bed until he couldn’t stand it anymore. The mans shamelessness caused the one in bed to get up and supply his need. But let me ask you – was the man who was roused out of bed, do you think he had some anger issues going on? Is that a fair assumption? I think so.

The point is the method of attaining answers in prayer has to do with tenacity, never giving up. The “man in bed” is likened to God in this parable, but remember the differences

  • God never sleeps
  • God doesn’t give excuses about providing our requests
  • God doesn’t get angry by our properly asking for our needs and desires. (He may be disappointed about our lack of consistency in prayer, but that isn’t directly in this parable either!)
  • God seeks to answer our prayers. Let us not blame our Father for our lack of response from Him

If a reluctant sinner won’t get out of bed for his friend due to love, he will get out of bed due to irritation! How much more our Father in heaven?

What is the message for us today?

Is the message that we need to come to God with impunity, nag Him and shamelessly badger Him with requests? Maybe, but I think we need to remember Who we are dealing with in prayer.

He is a loving God, who has sent His only Son to deliver us from the destructive sin in our lives. He has not only forgiven those who trust His Son, He has invited us into His home, into His Body, and allowed us to have relationship as children. (Even as the children in the parable?)

Our invited access to the Father is intimate, personnel, continual, and established. The attitude of nagging is not necessary, yet the attitude of dire need may be the point of the parable.

At least it is for me!

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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