Chapter eleven opens with the disciples’ request that Jesus teach them to pray, “just as John taught his disciples.” The Lord’s response is a short version of the prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13, followed by the teaching on prayer also in Matthew 7:7-11, and an example of persistence in prayer not found elsewhere. Some copies of Luke have the longer version of the prayer to match Matthew, but this was probably not original to Luke. Copyists likely added the longer sections so as to bring Luke in line with Matthew. Matthew includes the prayer within the longer teaching called the “Sermon on the Mount,” which Jesus probably taught repeatedly, rather than as a specific answer to the disciples’ request.
Most of the chapter brings together the two events when the Jewish religious leaders formally rejected Jesus as Israel’s Messiah. Matthew recorded both the Galilee (chapter 12) and Jerusalem (chapter 22) rejections, but Luke did not make that distinction. Since both groups of Pharisees condemned Jesus in similar ways, it is possible that Jesus responded to both in similar ways as well, calling out their blasphemy regarding his casting out demons, pointing to his death and resurrection as “the sign of Jonah,” and pronouncing his woes upon them and their hypocrisy. Although many of the common people still wanted to believe in him, they had seen many false Messiahs come and go, and they thought they could trust their religious leaders to steer them correctly. Unfortunately, this time they were wrong. The closer Jesus got to Jerusalem, the more opposition he would face from the religious leaders and common people alike.