Jesus Preaches Discipleship & Heals Many; Challenges the Religious Leaders Lack of Real Faith

Luke 11-12

One of the key elements of the rabbi — disciple relationship is the willingness of the disciple to learn from the rabbi. Luke 11 opens with Jesus spending time in prayer by Himself and once He is done His disciples ask Him to teach them how to pray, just like John the Baptist taught his disciples.

In the rest of the chapter and on through chapter 12, we see an ongoing contrast between Jesus’ disciples and the traditional rabbinical disciples, the Pharisees and scribes. They contrast in desiring to learn from Jesus, recognizing His authority and power, focus of external religion to faith based relationship with God, depending on God rather than human power, and living each moment in expectation of God’s presence.

There and Then


  • 11:1-13 – Jesus teaches about prayer
  • 11:14-26 – Pharisees falsely accuse Jesus of having a demon for casting out a demon
  • 11:27-28 – Who is truly blessed?
  • 11:29-36 – People seeking a sign; Only sign, the sign of Jonah
  • 11:37-52 – Jesus rebukes the religious leaders for their external religion and lack of faith
  • 11:53-54 – The religious leaders begin plotting against Jesus
  • 12:1-12 – God knows our circumstances and we need not fear
  • 12:13-34 – Jesus denounces covetousness and encourages faith in God, Who will provide
  • 12:35-40 – Always be ready for Christ’s return
  • 12:41-48 – Strive to be a faithful steward, always working.
  • 12:49-53 – Jesus is a watershed, only two choices, for or against
  • 12:54-59 – Use our minds to make good but maybe difficult choices


Jesus, Disciples, Pharisees and scribes, women in the crowd, Peter


  • 11:1-36 – Somewhere in southern Judea, near Bethany, since Jesus was at Martha, Mary and Lazarus live there (Luke 10:38-42).
  • 11:37-54 – Jesus is invited to a Pharisee’s home for lunch.
  • 12:1-59 – Finally, Jesus and his disciples are somewhere large enough for a crowd of thousands to assemble.


Chapter 11 opens with Jesus being off by Himself, praying. This must have been a common thing for Him to do because His disciples waited until He was done to approach Him, asking Him to teach them how to pray. This is part of His short public ministry, sometime in the year prior to the final Passover when He would be crucified and then raised from the dead. At some point He traveled back to Galilee because in 13:22, He is described as preaching in towns and villages on His way to Jerusalem.

Key Words:

Pray, Persistence, Sign, Beware, Woe, Worry, Readiness

Key Verse(s):

Luke 11:27-28 While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” 28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Luke 12:35-36 “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.36 “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.

Cross References:

I did a search for other phrases based on the phrase “teach us” from the disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray. The results, “Luke – Teach Us”, can be found on the Downloads page under the Topical Studies folder.

A similar message like that of 11:28 can be found in various other places in God’s word.1

Leviticus 19:37 ‘You shall thus observe all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them; I am the LORD.'”

Numbers 15:40-41 so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. 41 “I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God.”

Deuteronomy 4:4-6 “But you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you. 5 “See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. 6 “So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

Psalms 119:105-106, 111-112 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. 106 I have sworn and I will confirm it, That I will keep Your righteous ordinances. … 111 I have inherited Your testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart. 112 I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, even to the end.

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

Romans 2:11-13 For there is no partiality with God. 12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

James 1:21-25 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.


There were no particularly difficult passages in these chapters.


  1. How do I persistently ask God for things that would be beneficial to others and myself?
  2. How do I make sure that I don’t assign the things of God to something or someone other than God?

Notes & Commentaries:

The Sign of Jonah2Wiersbe pointed out something interesting in regard to connection between Jesus and Jonah when Nicodemus was defending Jesus before the chief priests who were rejecting Jesus as a prophet for being from Galilee (John 7:40-52). One of the chief priests says this, “Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.” But Jonah was from Galilee.

In Bible Overview and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia it is shown that Jonah was from Gath-hepher in the land of Zebulun in Galilee (Joshua 19:13; 2 Kings 14:25; Jonah 1:1). Wiersbe points out the connection to Isaiah who foretells of a light being shone on Galilee, on Zebulun and Naphtali in Isaiah 9:1-2.

Of course, we know that Jesus was that “great light” who fulfilled the prophecy. Nicodemus must have made some connection between Jesus and Jonah beyond the obvious one that Jesus Himself makes with regard to being in the grave for 3 days like Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days. When you consider Jonah prophesied that Jeroboam II of Israel would restore the borders of Israel, which he did, and that he also was sent to Nineveh to preach repentance to them, which they did, the similarities are even greater since Jesus came to bring repentance and restoration of people to God.

Joshua 19:10-13 Now the third lot came up for the sons of Zebulun according to their families. … 13 From there it continued eastward toward the sunrise to Gath-hepher, to Eth-kazin, and it proceeded to Rimmon which stretches to Neah.

2 Kings 14:25 He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which He spoke through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was of Gath-hepher.

Jonah 1:1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,

Isaiah 9:1-2 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. 2 The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

John 9:5 “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”

Here and Now

Answer the questions below as you reflect on your own life and this study3: my LOG vs others SPECK

S — Are there sins to avoid or confess?

  • Beware of being covetous of anything belonging to other people.
  • Beware of and root out any source of hypocrisy between my faith and its practice.

P — Are there promises from God to claim?

  • If I hear and observe the word of God, I will be blessed.

E — Are there examples to follow?


  • The Disciples in asking Jesus to teach them to pray.


  • The Pharisees for failing to recognize and acknowledge Jesus’ power over disease or demons.
  • The Pharisees for having an external works-based religion rather than a faith-based relationship with God resulting in faithful living.

C — Are there commands to obey?

  • Live in a constant state of active readiness, anticipating the soon arrival of our Master, whether it is in 1,000 years or in the next minute.

K — How can this passage increase my knowledge about God / Jesus Christ / Holy Spirit?

  • Our heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
    Jesus’ authority from God the Father is evident in His teaching and His ability to heal diseases and cast out demons.

Other Application Questions to be Considered

Are there principles to guide?

Are there warnings to heed?

Are there attitudes to adopt?

Are there actions to take?

An outline for Luke is available on the Downloads page in the Outlines folder.


Galan, Benjamin et al. Bible Overview. Torrance: Bristol Works, Rose Publishing, 2012. Print.

Orr, James. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. e-Sword, 1939.

Smith, Jerome H. Nelson’s Cross-Reference Guide to the Bible: Illuminating God’s Word Verse-by-Verse. Thomas Nelson, 2007. Print.

The Navigators. The Navigator Bible Studies Handbook. Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress, 1986. Print.

Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Commentary: Matthew—Galatians. Vol. 5. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books; SP Publications, Inc., 1989. Print. 6 vols.

1     (Smith 1130) on Luke 11:28, with additions.
2     (Wiersbe 318) on John 7, (Galan et al.) on the book of Jonah, and (Orr) on Jonah.
3     Navigator Bible Study Handbook (The Navigators) with additions & Matthew 7:1-5.