Luke 11: 5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Who is your best friend-the one who will get up and drive across the country to be there for you? How many friends do you have who would stop what they are doing to call you, be there for you, loan or give you money, or baby-sit your children without a moment’s warning? This is the type of friend Jesus is talking about. The friend at midnight!
The true friend will go to court with you – in your most embarrassing moment, when you have been accused or convicted of a horrible crime, the true friend will sit by your side. The true friend will receive you when you are at your worst. Why? Simply because they love and care for you.
Our recent mission trip to Liberia took place in February of 2013. One of the little, but important things you need to travel to Liberia now is a entry visa to get into the country. A person can apply for the visa and mail in the request and hope and pray that the Liberian Embassy in Washington, DC will get your visa back to you in time to make your trip. During this process I saw a great example of friendship. A friend of Dr. Tweh actually drove from Detroit to Washington DC and hand carried our visa applications. Why did he do this? He was concerned that we might not receive the visas in time to make our flight and entry into Liberia. The man did this because he believed in our mission, but also, because he was simply a close friend of Dr. Tweh.
In the Parable of the Friend at Midnight, Jesus draws a parallel between God and the friend at midnight. To Jesus, God was like a friend at midnight who would get up even though they might be tired and finished for the day. God is like the friend at midnight. Jesus says, “ask and it shall be given you, seek and you shall find…” The good news in Jesus is this: God is like a friend at midnight who will get up and help you when no one else will! God will receive you, bless you, forgive you, sustain you in your worse and best moments!
Questions for reflection:
1. What is your first thought when reading this passage of scripture?
2. Have you ever felt like you were having a “midnight experience” – one of those times when you were all alone and in need of support?
3. What are some of the characteristics of God that are similar to the friend in this Parable?
4. What do you think of the friends who will not break their routine to help the friend in need?
5. In today’s world, who is the friend in need?
6. What would the nations of the world be like if a majority of the world’s people assumed an attitude similar to the friend at midnight?
Lord, create within me the desire to be a friend to the friendless, a father and mother to the motherless, a brother to the brother- less and a sister to the sister -less. Help me to rise above the temptation to be selfish and greedy with my blessings. Teach me to share with the poor and help me to encourage the downtrodden. Likewise, make me never so proud that shame prevents me from reaching out to my friends when I need help most. Lord, I thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for your presence. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for your blessings and most of all, thank you for your redemptive love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers at http://puccdetroit.wordpress.com/
Photo: Sierra Leone Beach 2005