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?’”
Who of us has ever asked one of our friends for something that could have inconvenienced them? Have we asked a friend for a favor—knowing it was quite out of the ordinary but at the same time knowing that, because they were our neighbor, we could be persistent in our asking? It seems Jesus understands friendship: “Which of you?” All of us have friend. All of us have had friend from which at some time we have asked a favor.
Jesus has just explained to the disciples how to pray, after they’d asked Him to teach them how. He follows up the prayer format with this parable and illustration. Jesus is making it clear in this parable that when He is teaching about prayer, He is not wanting us to be timid or politely proper in our requests. In fact, He is wanting us to treat Him like a close friend or neighbor. Our communication changes based on the relationship we have with a particular person. If we know the person well, we will not be backward in coming forward in our requests. If we were to ask someone for something significant that we have never met, we might be timid at first. We might not be sure of their generosity or their response. But if we have experienced extravagant love and grace from that person, our next approach might be very different.
When we realize the salvation grace that is available to us in Jesus Christ, it changes our prayer life forever. A person is able and willing to give us total forgiveness for our sins, shame and guilt is person we might be willing to approach again for other needs. But if we never truly receive what Jesus has done for us, initially we might be hesitant to ask for more. We might think we are more pious by remaining distant. We might think it is more holy to remain in our struggle. We might think it is more religious to go without.
This friend realized to not have loaves of bread for another friend was not okay. We need to realize that to go without grace and love for another is not okay. And Jesus is more than okay with our asking, and moreover He is wanting to grant us what we need so we can have what we truly need, both for ourselves and for others. If we need grace for others, Jesus is the friend who can provide. His grace sufficient.
Let’s pray to this friend today in our time of need. His name is Jesus.
// Pastor Josh Kelsey