Three Loaves Luke 11: 1-13 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
I heard a sermon at a conference preached by Pastor Doug Fisher. I’m not going to preach his message but I want to acknowledge that the thought for this sermon came from his and incorporates some of what he preached. I’m giving credit where credit is due.
The companion passage to Lk 11:1-13 is found in Matt 7:7-11. Both of these passages deal with prayer. In Lk 11:1, the disciples had asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” One of the things he taught them to ask for was their daily bread. He said, “Give us day by day our daily bread,” [Lk 11:3].
On the one hand, our daily bread is our food. We ask him for our daily bread in the same way that a son asks his father for food. Notice in the illustration, a son asks his father for bread, fish and an egg. These are for his physical nourishment. Jesus fed the 5,000 and the 4,000 fish and bread. In Jn 21:12-13, when the Lord told his disciples to “Come and dine,” he fed them fish and bread. In Prov 30:7-9, Agur prayed to the Lord, “feed me with food convenient for me.” He wanted enough so that he was not poor, but not so much that he would be full and deny the Lord. He wanted daily bread. And we should ask the Lord for this. The Lord will give you what you need in the same way that a father gives his son what he needs, not things that are harmful for him like a stone, a serpent or a scorpion. You never want to get to the place where you forget that your daily bread comes from the Lord. His daily bread is a good thing [Matt 7:11].
On the other hand, our daily bread is our spiritual necessity. In Lk 11:5-10, Jesus gave the disciples a parable to illustrate, spiritually, what it means to ask for daily bread. In the parable, there is a fellow who has a friend that comes to him in a journey [Lk 11:6]. And the fellow has “nothing” to set before his friend. So, the fellow goes to his “Friend,” [Lk 11:5] and asks for “three loaves.” Because it is midnight when the fellow asks his Friend for the loaves, his friend is reluctant to give them to him. However, the fellow is not taking “no” for an answer. He asks with “importunity,” [Lk 11:8]. To be importunate is to be “troublesomely urgent: overly persistent in request or demand.” Some synonyms for importunate are “burning, compelling, dire, pressing, urgent.”
Do you see the connections? We are the fellow that has nothing. Jesus said, “without me ye can do nothing.” We have friends that need something spiritually from us but we have nothing, spiritually, to offer any of our friends. So, we are to go to our Friend, the Lord, and ask for three things to give them (three loaves). And we are to ask with importunity. That is, we are to ask with urgency, with a compelling, dire, pressing request, knowing that we shall receive that for which we ask. The Lord said, “Ask and it shall be given you,” [Lk 11:9].
What do the three loaves for which we are to ask represent? They represent three things that are spiritually connected to bread. They are “good things,” [Matt 7:11]. And they are three things that the Lord gives us so that we can give them to our friends. The three loaves are:
Jesus Christ, the bread of life – Jn 6:47-48 – you have Jesus if you are saved. So, we are not asking for him as if we need to be saved over and over every day. We are asking so that we have him to give to someone else. In Acts 8:35, Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch. In Acts 10:36-43, Peter preached Jesus to Cornelius. He had enough to go around for his kinsmen as well. In 2 Cor 4:5, we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.
The word of God, our daily bread – Matt 4:4 – in Jud 7:13-14 the sword of Gideon [the word is likened to a sword in Eph 6 and Heb 4] was represented in the soldier’s dream by a cake of barley bread. We have to give them the word of God. They are born again by the word of God [Jas 1:21, receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls; 1 Pet 1:23, being born again… by the word of God]. In 2 Cor 5:18-21 this is called the word of reconciliation which is preached by us as ambassadors for Christ.
The Holy Spirit – Lk 7:13 – you see, when they get Jesus, the bread of life, not only do they fill their hunger, but they also quench their thirst [Jn 6:35]. This is due to the work of the Holy Spirit when we set something before our friends. Look at Jn 7:37-39. The Spirit of God must be flowing out of our bellies as rivers of living water. We must be filled with the Spirit of God. His disciples knew to pray and be filled with the Spirit [Acts 4:31] so that they could preach the word of God with boldness.
It takes all three of these, if we are going to meet the needs of our friends who come to us in a journey [Lk 11:6]. And in order to have sufficient to give them, the Lord taught us that we need to pray for these things with importunity. We are guaranteed by the Lord that we will have these three loaves if we ask for them. He said, “Ask, and it shall be given unto you.” In 2 Tim 3:16-17, the word of God is given to us by inspiration. He said, “Seek, and ye shall find.” Is 55:6 says, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” He said, “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” In Lk 24:32 he opened to them the scriptures; Lk 24:45 says, “then opened he their understanding that they might understand the scriptures.” Understanding is the work of the Holy Spirit [Is 11:2; Jn 16:13-14; Job 32:8]. So, Jesus gave us three petitions for three loaves.
Interestingly, the JW’s and Mormons and even the Catholics talk about the Bible and Jesus. But they don’t have the Holy Spirit. So, they are just giving their people a stone [statue] a serpent and a scorpion [all three connected with the devil].
The three loaves represent the word of God, the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Apart from these three we have nothing to set before our friends. If you want to meet the spiritual needs of your friends, the Lord said to pray and ask him for the three loaves that will fill their spiritual hunger and quench their spiritual thirst.
Conclusion: I believe that we can follow the Lord’s teaching and see the spiritual result that he promised. I believe that our lack of ability to set something before our friends can be attributed to our failure to follow the Lord’s instruction when he taught us to pray.