Then He said to them, 'Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him;' and from inside he answers and says, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.'
Few things in life are more enjoyable than sharing a meal with a friend. 'Let us eat and be merry' (Luke 15:23). 'With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you' (Luke 22:15).
After Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray, He launches into The Parable of the Friend at Midnight. It's about bread: specifically the lack of it. Because a certain man had eaten his daily bread and had none to share with a visiting friend.
So he went to another friend to ask for bread. Perhaps a next-door-neighbor? Perhaps a baker, because he seemed to have plenty of bread. Even though it was late, the bread seeker knocked on the door of the bread giver.
But the bread giver was resting with his family and didn't want to rise. Yet because of his friend's persistence, he got up, opened the door and gave his friend as much bread as he needed to feed his houseguest.
The Jewish traditions of hospitality were rigorous. Caring for a guest was of great importance. Consider the outcome of the rich man in The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (see Luke 16:19-31).* Ignoring the needs of a visitor (or even a visiting beggar) was a grievous sin.
Now consider the embarrassing inconvenience the host undertook by venturing out on behalf of his hungry guest--at a time when most others were sleeping.
Are most of us sleeping now? Are we ignoring our hungry friends and the beggars at our gates--for the embarrassing inconvenience of presenting to them the Bread of Life?
To Be Continued...
*The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+16%3A19-31&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Bread of Life series.