The Parable of the Importune Friend

The parable of the importune, or persistent, friend (Luke 11:5-10) has troubled me for years. I simply could not understand it beyond the surface story, and yet I felt there was more. I, and many Christians, believe that there is nothing in God’s Word by chance.

This parable is about a man who receives an unexpected visitor at midnight and is unprepared for the unexpected. The man goes to a friend to ask for three loaves of bread. The friend refuses because he and his family are already settled in bed for the night. [Please note that the Greek word translated “bed” in Luke 11:7, koite (Strong’s G2845) is defined as a place of resting.] And yet, because of the persistence of the man, the friend does provide him with his requirements.

Let’s look at the elements of this story:

And then there is an interesting fact: In the Jewish celebration of Passover, three “loaves” of unleavened bread are used. Two are in open view. The third “loaf” is hidden, and is traditionally searched for by the children. Christians understand this to be a picture of how the Jews are searching for the Messiah, Jesus. They are aware of the two that are in open view to them; Jehovah God and the Holy Spirit.

Now, let’s put this all together and consider some Scripture: For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. (I Thessalonians 5:2) If the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched. (Matthew 24:43) And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh. (Matthew 25:6) And the foolish (unprepared) said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. (Matthew 25:8) After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven. (Revelation 4:1) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. (Matthew 25:10)

This parable appears to be a picture of the Day after the Church is called Home to be with the Lord. In both this parable and the parable of the Ten Virgins, the surprise occurs at midnight. The man of the house should have been prepared, as was his friend, and as were the five wise virgins. But he was not, so he goes to his friend in the dark of night.

In this parable the friend is a type of the Lord. The Rapture has occurred and the Lord is resting with His children in Heaven. And the door John saw in Revelation 4:1 is shut. But through persistent prayer (the context of this parable is the Model Prayer given by the Lord Jesus) the friend still provides his needs in the form of three loaves; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

This shows us that the Holy and Gracious Lord will hear the supplications of those remaining after the Church has been called Home.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness;
but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,
but that all should come to repentance. – Second Peter 3:9

Our Lord is so gracious. Praise His name, always!

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