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The Shameless Man

Jesus told a parable about a man who goes to his friend at midnight to ask for bread because he had a visitor. The Lord describes him as persistent (Lk 11:8) because he continues to knock even when his friend is reluctant to help him. The story reminds us of the importance of persistence in prayer. But is there more to this parable?

In looking at the Greek text of Luke, the word that is translated as "persistence" really means "shamelessness." Why is the man shameless? Can shamelessness be a positive attribute? He may be regarded as shameless because he ignored societal rules by bothering a friend at midnight for some bread, when not only the friend, but also the friend's entire household, would be disturbed. So why is his shamelessness something we can learn from?

To answer this question, we must consider the reason for the man's behavior: he had a visitor. It was crucial that the visitor be treated with hospitality—how could this be possible if he had no bread to offer his guest? Thus, in order to show hospitality to his guest, the man was willing to sacrifice his own honor.

If we put ourselves in the man's position, are we willing to sacrifice our own comforts for others? He risked his own reputation for a visitor. From a Christian standpoint, are we able, for the sake of the gospel, to do and believe things that may lead to society's rejection?

Applying this lesson to the main context of the passage, we realize that when we make a request of God, we should do so unabashedly, especially when God has already promised it. Praying for the Holy Spirit is such a request. Jesus said to His disciples, "How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" (Lk 11:13). To receive the Holy Spirit, He teaches us, we need to spend time and effort in prayers. Because it is a promised gift of God, we can ask for the Holy Spirit without shame.

Publisher: True Jesus Church