Luke Chapter 6 Sabbath Works, Beatitudes, Judgment

Aug 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Luke, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Luke Chapter 6 Sabbath Works, Beatitudes, Judgment

Luke 6:1 And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

As Jesus and his disciples went through the wheat fields, the disciples, being hungry, plucked the kernels (wheat germ), rubbed them in their hands, and ate. They were not attempting to harvest or store up excess.

Luke 6:2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?

Certain Pharisees asked the disciples why they were doing an unlawful thing on the sabbath days, for they considered rubbing the hands to be work. Today orthodox Jews consider it wrong to push an elevator button on the sabbath (they call it work), so they have self-running elevators in Israel that open on every floor. The use of the term “sabbath days” (plural) shows the Pharisees were looking for things to criticize.

Luke 6:3 And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him.

Luke 6:4 How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the showbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?

Jesus replied, “Have you not read how David and his men ate the showbread of the Tabernacle when they were hungry, and that bread was for the priests?” How quickly Jesus responded! He used David as an example—David, Abraham, and Moses being the individuals most revered by the average Jew back there. The parallel was David and those with him versus Jesus and those accompanying him.

Jesus stressed the fact that David and his men were hungry (Matt. 12:1). Thus this was not  pleasure eating but necessity. Taking a kernel of wheat in their mouths was like taking a pebble. The hard kernel needed much chewing to soften it. Moreover, Jesus had no home to go to for meals, and he and his disciples were in transit.

David’s experience seemed to be a more serious infraction of the Law because the showbread was holy. With Jesus and his disciples, the criticism was that they rubbed the kernels (that is, they labored) to loosen them for eating.

Luke 6:5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Jesus summed up the principle: “The Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” His statement was true, but to the Pharisees, it was like heaping blasphemy upon blasphemy. Jesus was (and is) the Lord of the sabbath. God has “appointed a [sabbath] day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man [Christ Jesus] whom he hath ordained; whereof he [God] hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him [Jesus] from the dead” (Acts 17:31). In other words, Jesus was ordained with regard to the antitypical sabbath day, the Kingdom Age. Mark 2:27 extends the principle: “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” The sabbath was meant to be a blessing and not to put man in a straitjacket as he tries to conform to rules and regulations—thus missing the whole spirit of the sabbath.

Luke 6:6 And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered.

Luke 6:7 And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.

Luke 6:8 But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.

Luke 6:9 Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?

Jesus was in the synagogue on another sabbath. The scribes and Pharisees were watching him to see if he would heal on the sabbath as he had done previously. A man with a withered right hand was present.

Jesus “knew their thoughts [the thoughts or reasonings of the scribes and Pharisees].” They reasoned that Jesus’ actions were a violation of the Law. Jesus thought lightning fast—before the others could get set to question him. He asked the scribes and Pharisees one question: “Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?” They were reluctant to say, “To do good,” and of course it was not lawful to do evil. The answer was obvious: “to do good” and “to save life.” The common people could appreciate this reasoning.

Through these miracles on the sabbath, Jesus showed forth the work of the Kingdom, the antitypical sabbath. To make this particular miracle even more dramatic and manifest, Jesus told the man with the withered right hand to “rise up, and stand forth in the midst” of the congregation.

Luke 6:10 And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

Luke 6:11 And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

When Jesus performed the miracle, the scribes and Pharisees were “filled with madness”—a strong reaction! They anticipated that Jesus might heal the man, but they did not anticipate the manner in which he did the healing. After telling the man with the withered hand to rise up and stand forth, Jesus asked the scribes and Pharisees the question about whether it was lawful on the sabbath days to do good or to do evil. In other words, Jesus asked the question with the man still standing and the others all being seated. When the question was not answered, Jesus looked around at the scribes and Pharisees and then told the man to stretch forth his withered hand. The man did so, and Jesus restored his hand. What a striking scene! The withered hand, being shorter, would have been obscured up in the garment sleeve. When the miracle occurred, the hand was instantly visible below the sleeve.

After the scribes and Pharisees saw such a miracle, it would seem impossible that they could get so mad, but they did. The miracle was outstanding in that Jesus did not just heal a limb or whatever, but he actually “restored” something that was nonexistent. The reaction of the scribes and Pharisees indicates that education and enlightenment alone cannot reform the world. Judgments plus the New (Law) Covenant are needed. Note: Orthodoxy will exhibit this same kind of madness toward the feet members at the end of the age.

Angry that Jesus had embarrassed them, the scribes and Pharisees discussed what they could  do to him. They were in a critical attitude to start with, wanting to minimize him, but Jesus rubbed salt in the wound by looking around at them and asking a question. He pressed thepoint. By no means was everything he did tactful. Many of his statements were very hurtful— but they were also constructive and helpful for those who reacted properly. The scribes and Pharisees ended up looking foolish and Jesus was magnified.

This incident shows us that in the Kingdom Age, when the knowledge of the Lord covers the  earth as the waters cover the sea, there is no guarantee that great numbers will get life. The heart is what matters. If one really wants to be in harmony with the Lord’s will, he will make it.

Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

Luke 6:14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,

Luke 6:15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,

Luke 6:16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

The twelve apostles were selected after Jesus’ ministry had progressed for many months with  preaching and healing. By this time, his fame had spread, and now came the harvesting of the apostles. In other words, Jesus had had some individual contact with them earlier—they just were not officially commissioned until later.

Jesus prayed all night on a mountain before naming the twelve apostles. There he was removed from distracting influences and would have felt closer to his Father. Obviously, his prayers centered on the selection of the apostles. He would have prayed for wisdom regarding whom to select, the names to be given, etc. His praying all night shows the seriousness of the selection.

The apostles were named in pairs, either by disposition or by family. Peter and Andrew were  brothers, as were James and John Zebedee. There were two Judases, two Simons, and twoJameses. Judas Iscariot was listed last, even though he had the potential to be the No. 1 apostle (Paul was his replacement).

Luke 6:17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;

Luke 6:18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.

Luke 6:19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.

Jesus’ fame had spread to Tyre, Sidon, and Judea. People coming from that distance to hear him and be healed were waiting at the bottom of the mountain. After naming the apostles, Jesus came down and saw a multitude who had diverse diseases. What a pitiful sight! Jesus healed them all—after not sleeping the night before. “Virtue” (vigor and vitality) went out of him each time. And he gave a long sermon afterwards (verses 20-49). The statement “the whole multitude sought to touch him” means it was a surging multitude.

Luke 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

Verses 20-49 are a partial reiteration of the Sermon on the Mount (of Beatitudes) in the Sea of Galilee vicinity. Jesus had been on the mountain talking with his apostles (Matthew 5-7). Then he descended to the plain and addressed, first, the disciples and then the multitude—hence a mixed audience. Imagine having the vitality to do so after having just healed so many!

The “blesseds” were addressed to the disciples, but even the subsequent “woe” warnings were good for them to hear, although primarily intended for the multitudes. Hearing the “woes” would be the same principle as being told, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

Luke 6:23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

Luke 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

Luke 6:25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Verses 24-26 list temptations of the Christian: money, power, recognition, men speaking well of us. The temptation is to compromise our position in order to be popular. We must not lose our initial hunger—we must hunger for truth and righteousness to the end of our course. There are times when the hearers should be pleased, but all of our discourses and words should not be given with that end in mind. Pleasing the hearers should not be the guide or pattern of our life.

“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” It is not good to be well liked by everyone. God is looking for those who speak unpopular as well as popular things. To espouse Jesus’ cause, no matter what our condition or station in life, will mean suffering and sacrifice and problems. Consider the rich man, of whom Jesus said, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” (Luke 18:24)—yet some rich men do. Riches are an obstacle to progress because of pride, honor, education, and money. The respect that comes from brethren and the world makes it difficult to be more than conquerors.

Luke 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

Luke 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

Luke 6:29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.

Luke 6:30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

Luke 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

Luke 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

Luke 6:33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

Luke 6:34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

Much practical advice is presented here. We are cautioned not to resist a robber. If we do resist, we are risking our life for money. If someone sues us in court and wins, we are to pay him. If a Roman soldier compelled one to walk a mile, the Christian was to walk two miles literally—or simply to acquiesce without grudging or grumbling. We are to submit to certain indignities, but not to others. Note: As we read through the advice, instruction, and admonitions, we should keep in mind not only that they are generalizations but that they must be balanced with other Scriptures.

“Bless them that curse you” means we are not to respond in like kind, but are to continue to be just and to do what is right. This advice is important whether the individual is a brother or a person in the world. We are to reason on these principles.

“Give to every man that asketh of thee.” This admonition does not mean to keep giving money over and over just because we are asked. Rather, it applies to one in need in the brotherhood. Jesus was giving generalizations. When one asks, our giving should depend on the conditions of the asking. We should be ready to sacrifice under normal circumstances, not under abnormal or repetitive circumstances.

If someone smites us on the cheek, we are to offer the other cheek. In other words, we are not to respond the same way but to submit.

“Pray for them which despitefully use you.” Especially in regard to the brotherhood, we should pray that those who despitefully use us will react favorably—that they will realize their wrong. Of course we do not love those who despitefully use us to the degree that we love an obedient disciple. In cases where the truth is at stake, we should defend ourselves. We are to submit, however, if we are privately or personally slandered and our ministry is not being affected.

Jesus frequently criticized the scribes and Pharisees, and he even criticized his own disciples at times. Similarly, there are times when we are to rebuke and, depending on the nature of the criticism, not forgive unless the erring one asks for forgiveness. We must be careful not to encourage an evildoer, slothfulness, irresponsibility, etc. If someone is able to help himself but just sits back and waits for a gift, we should not give to him. The point is not to encourage spongers.

Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

The general advice continues. We are to love our enemies, not the enemies of God. “Do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again.” We are to lend and do good with a pure motive, not with an ulterior motive or hoping for a corresponding favor. However, this advice does not mean that we are to lend randomly to just anyone who stops us on the street. Paul advises us to limit or refrain from hospitality to those who do not or will not work (2 Thess. 2:6,10-12).

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Our own families should not be deprived just because another is in need. However, as we have opportunity, we are to be especially kind to the household of faith (the consecrated). Other Scriptures balance this verse.

“If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out” (Matt. 5:29). This statement is figurative; i.e., if we have a weakness along a certain line, we must deprive ourselves of the environment that would create or trigger those evil desires. “Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way” is the thought (Heb. 12:13).

In the present life, how is God “kind unto the unthankful and to the evil”? He sends the rain and the sunshine to all—to the good and to the evil (Matt. 5:45). Food grows for the just and for the unjust. Health, sanity, and employment are enjoyed by the good and the evil. However, the greatest kindness is that the Ransom will apply to all sooner or later. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The kindness that God shows the world is a magnanimous blessing of life, opportunities, and happiness. Hence one who commits suicide is reckoned insane.

Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Be merciful as your Father is merciful. In regard to the world, the Father is merciful in generalities, but with the consecrated, everything is important. Their whole life is under His care.

To the world, we are to follow the Golden Rule—doing unto others as we would have them do unto us—but with a fellow Christian, we are to do a lot more than just what justice would require.

Psalm 139:19-22 shows another facet. “Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.” David was speaking under the guidance of the Holy Spirit when he said he hated God’s enemies. There is “a time to love, and a time to hate” (Eccl. 3:8). We are to love our enemies but not God’s enemies. David hated God’s enemies with a “perfect [controlled] hatred” because they opposed God. True Godlike love contains hatred. It was said of Jesus, “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Heb. 1:9).

Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

The Apostle Paul says we are immature if we do not judge under certain circumstances, but we are not to be hypercritical (1 Cor. 6:2,3). Many go through life seeing no good in anything except perhaps themselves. They are always cynical. Others are unbalanced in an opposite direction; that is, they are always bubbly but have no standard. We need the school of Christ for knowledge and understanding.

Consider 2 Chronicles 19:2, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” The lesson is that God’s wrath is upon any of the consecrated who would help a consecrated individual who has become ungodly. The Lord’s Prayer brings out a principle: “And forgive us our debts [trespasses], as we forgive our debtors [those who trespass against us]” (Matt. 6:12). We can forgive those who trespass against us, but not those who trespass against someone else or against God.

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.” If we have a hypercritical disposition, it will boomerang on us. Individuals who habitually criticize are thorns, thistles, and brambles. A tree is to be judged by its fruits. A good tree brings forth good fruit; a bad tree brings forth corrupt fruit (Luke 6:43-45). Therefore, we do judge under proper circumstances.

We are to “condemn not” as a habit, but sometimes condemnation is in order. For example, there are times when an elder must condemn or he will be charged with that responsibility, just as a shepherd is charged with the responsibility of the sheep under his care. The apostles Paul and John named dangerous individuals—false brethren—who were to be avoided because they spread pernicious doctrines that undermined faith.

Liberty is instructed freedom, whereas license is unbridled, ungoverned freedom, which tends toward anarchy. The Scriptures give us the happy medium.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

If one is generous in spirit but within the guidelines of Scripture, he or she will be blessed accordingly—either in the present life or in the next life or both.

Luke 6:39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?

Jesus addressed these questions to the scribes and the Pharisees, who were called “blind guides” and “dumb dogs” in regard to their lack of knowledge of Scripture (Matt. 23:16; Isa. 56:10). They were supposed to be the intelligent religious leaders of that day. True, they were learned—far above the public in knowledge—but what kind of knowledge? It was book knowledge and not according to Scripture. Jesus said, “If you knew the Word, you would not ask this question, for the Word speaks about me. Moses spoke of me” (John 5:46,47 paraphrase). But the scribes and Pharisees could not see Jesus as Messiah, even though he gave many examples.

Luke 6:40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

Verse 40 is a warning that the Christian will never exceed or even equal Jesus in thinking, word, and deed. Papacy assumed such an attitude by changing Scripture, by changing times and seasons.

A disciple “shall be perfected as his master” (King James margin). The Christian is not to think of himself as being above his Master, for he is still a pupil and will never come up to the level of Christ himself, who is perfect. But as a Christian matures, his resemblance to Christ in both doctrine and conduct becomes more discernible. He becomes like or as the Master but not equal to him.

Luke 6:41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Luke 6:42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

A “mote” is a speck, a splinter. A “beam” is a plank, a log. This verse  does not mean we can never correct anyone on any matter, for a brother can counsel a fellow brother. The point is not to be hypercritical. Some who have a large fault criticize others who have a little defect. The defect may be discernible by others, but it is small in comparison to the large fault in the one attempting the correction. Another example is that one who is a talker and not fervently serving the Lord may try to correct one who has a small fault but is prayerfully trying to serve the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength. Certainly we could all find a fault in each other if we looked for it. The same is true of doctrine. It is like the blind leading the blind for one with a log to try to correct one with a speck.

“Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” Verse 42 is not saying we should not take the mote out of a brother’s eye. IF the Christian who has the beam in his own eye gets rid of it, then he can correct the mote in others, for he is then more mature and better able to help a fellow brother. Many of us have planks in our eyes when we first come to the Lord.

Comment: Sometimes the tendency is to see planks in ourselves when we first come to the Lord and think everyone else is perfect and on a pedestal.

Reply: As we mature and study the Word, we become more discerning regarding some who have difficulty in coming up to the standard.

Luke 6:43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Luke 6:44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Stated another way, the mouth is an index of the heart, and habitual words reveal the disposition of the individual. A statement or two does not indicate one’s heart condition, but cumulative words do. A good tree brings forth good fruit; a clear spring, clear water. Men do not gather figs from a bramble bush or grapes from thorns. Likewise, an isolated inappropriate act is not a heart indicator. Verses 41-45 pertain to the general tenor of life.

Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Luke 6:47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like:

Luke 6:48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

Luke 6:49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

The “house” pictures character. A house built on the earth or sand is superficial, whereas a house built on rock represents a determined effort. Both individuals profess to be Christians, but one is merely a hearer of the Word while the other is both a hearer and a doer. To listen to the Word and then try to apply its lessons in our life constitutes “house” or character building.

Those who dig deep into Christ will not only get everlasting life but abundant life, that is, immortality. To build on earth only—not digging down to the rock foundation, Christ—ends in destruction. Hence a mere superficial belief into Christ is not enough, for faith without (character) works is dead (James 2:17). We are to dig down deep into Christ, the foundation, to know what God’s will is—and then obey. That is hearing and doing.

Matthew 7:21-27 is the parallel account. A portion of the text reads, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” “Iniquity” is lawlessness. In other words, if one does not study and obey the Word, he is not adhering to the law of God but is following his own way and his own will. Great evangelists may have no reputation in heaven despite their following down here. They may do great works but not God’s works.

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