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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Luke 6

Verses 1-49

Chapter 6

Now it came to pass on the second Sabbath ( Luke 6:1 )

Now He is going to deal with a couple of instances on the Sabbath day. We've been introduced now to the Pharisees; they're beginning to really get into it and trying to find fault with Jesus and condemn Him for the things He is doing. And they condemned Him for eating with the publicans. He, of course, spoke out against their condemnation, telling them, "Hey, you guys belong in the old skins, and so I am just going not try and give you the new wine. We're just going to create a whole new system here." And now Luke points out a couple of Sabbath day experiences where He crossed the Pharisees.

It came to pass on the second sabbath after the first ( Luke 6:1 ),

Now that's an interesting way of dating it. We don't know when the first Sabbath was, but on the second Sabbath after the first,

he was going through the corn fields ( Luke 6:1 );

And, of course, that was the wheat, the little thing on the top where all of the grains of wheat are called a corn, and so they were going through the wheat fields.

and the disciples began to pick these little corns of wheat, and they ate them, rubbing them in their hands ( Luke 6:1 ).

Now around the later part of May when the wheat is turned brown and is getting dry, as you are in the area of Galilee it is a tremendous . . . it's called the bread basket of Israel because they grow wheat there, and it grows so well. The winter wheat does so beautifully up there. And so you can take this wheat, and you rub it in your hands, and then you hold open your hands like this, and you blow it, blowing off the chaff, or the husk, and then you can eat the wheat. And it's extremely healthy. As you chew, it forms a gum, and you can just chew that gum all day, or you can swallow it, but it's just very healthy. You're getting the raw fresh wheat. And when I am in Israel in that time of the year, I love to go through the fields and grab the wheat and do just like the disciples, rub it in my hands, and blow the chaff off and eat it. And it's just so healthy, and so good for you.

Now this was perfectly legal under the law. If you were hungry, you could go into a field, and you could eat all that you needed to eat, you just couldn't carry any out. You cant' take a sickle into the field and start harvesting your neighbor's field. But you could eat all that you needed in the field.

So it was perfectly legal for the disciples to go head and pick the wheat, and rub it in their hands, however, not on the Sabbath day. Because you weren't to prepare food on the Sabbath day, nor were you to bear a burden. And the weight of the wheat would constitute a bearing a burden. So they began to find fault with the disciples and Jesus.

Why do you do that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath days? And Jesus answering said, Did you not read so much as this, that what David did when he was hungry, and those that were with him; how he went into the house of God, and took the showbread, and ate it, and gave also to those that were with him; which is not lawful to eat but for the priest alone? ( Luke 6:2-4 )

David was fleeing from Saul. He had his company of men with him, he came to the house of God. He asked the priest for something to eat. And he said, "Well, I don't have anything." And David said, "I'll take the showbread here." Now it was not lawful for any men to eat the showbread, but the priest. There were twelve loaves of bread that they sat out on the table before the Lord, represented of the twelve tribes of Israel. And God's presence among the twelve tribes. And they would leave it out there on the table for seven days, and then the priests would eat it. Well, David came along, he was hungry, his men were hungry, and the priest said, "I don't have anything to eat." David said, "Alright, I'll just take the showbread." And so he took the showbread and he ate it, and he gave it to his men to eat. Not lawful to do. However, human need transcended the law. Human need. Now the disciples had a human need. Hungry, they were hungry going through the field. So they did what David did in essence. The human need transcended the law, and they ate.

And Jesus said, that the Son of man is Lord also [I rule over the Sabbath too, fellows]. So it came to pass on another Sabbath, [He was in Capernaum] and he entered into the synagogue and he was teaching: and there was a man whose right hand was withered ( Luke 6:5-6 ).

Now Matthew and Mark both tell us about this incident, only Luke tells us it was the right hand, but remember Luke is a doctor, and so he is interested in details of the person's problems, physically. And so he is careful to note that it was the right hand that was withered.

And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man that had a withered hand, Rise up, and stand here in the middle. And so the man stood up. And Jesus said unto them, I am going to ask you one thing, is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save a life or to destroy it? ( Luke 6:7-9 )

Now if you were asked that question, how would you answer it? On the Sabbath day is it lawful to do good, or to do evil? When is it ever lawful to do evil? When is it ever lawful to destroy a life? So really they couldn't answer Jesus.

And looking around upon them all, he said to the man, Stretch forth your hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And they were filled with madness [not gladness] ( Luke 6:10-11 );

They were insane with their anger,.

And they began to commune with one another what they might be able to do with Jesus ( Luke 6:11 ).

He is really beginning to irritate them now.

We see suddenly how ludicrous their position is becoming. And when your position becomes untenable, because it is so ludicrous, then the only thing you can do is revered to violence. You know, you're whipped, you better fight. You don't have any reason, you've been wiped out, so what do you do? you fight. Because there is no reason to your position any longer.

So it should be noted that when Jesus said, "Stretch forth your hand," He was making of that man an impossible demand. The man could have argued. He could have said, "Lord, I can't stretch forth my hand, it's withered, can't you see? I've never been able to use this hand. You think if I could stretch forth my hand, I would just have it hanging here by my side all the time?" And he could very easily have argued with Jesus, and said," well, I just can't do it Sir, I wish I could, but I just cant' do it. Because Jesus was making an impossible demand on him, when He said, stretch forth your hand. However, rather than arguing with Jesus, he tried to obey Him. When Jesus said, "Stretch forth your hand," he tried to obey Him. Hey, all of a sudden he found out he could obey. But that's impossible, I can't do that, but there it is. Jesus made an impossible demand of him, he chose to obey, and in the very choosing to obey, the Lord immediately gave him all that was necessary to obey.

Now your problem is you're standing and arguing. Jesus is making impossible demands on you. He is saying, "Be perfect, even as my Father in heaven is perfect" ( Matthew 5:48 ). "Lord, there is no way I can be perfect, You know my flesh." And you're arguing, aren't you? Jesus is saying, "Be strong." "Well, Lord, You think if I could be strong I'd be wallowing in this weakness that I have, and going through all of this misery?" Jesus is saying, "Have victory." "Lord, You think . . . how I want victory." And you are arguing rather than obeying. The moment you will to obey the command of Jesus Christ, as impossible as it may seem, in that very moment He will give to you all that is necessary for you to fulfill that command. He does not command you to do anything, but what He will not empower you and enable you to do it, if you will only will to obey. I love it.

Now it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray ( Luke 6:12 ),

Again, Luke is giving us the insight to the prayer life of Jesus.

and he continued all night in prayer ( Luke 6:12 ).

You men that spend the all night vigils here in the prayer room, you know who is there with you every night? The Lord. He said, "Where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there" ( Matthew 18:20 ). He was used to praying all night. You're in good company. He spent the night in prayer, why? Because the next day He was going to be making some very important decisions. From those disciples that were following Him, He was going to choose twelve to be called apostles. Jesus prayed before important decisions were to be made. I think that that is a tremendous example for us, and we would be very wise to follow it. When we have important decisions to make to spend some time in prayer, seeking God's guidance in those decisions.

So when the day came, he called unto him his disciples: and from them he chose twelve, whom he also named apostles ( Luke 6:13 );

And He gives us the name of the twelve.

Simon, (who he also named Peter,) Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon called the Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who also was the traitor. 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 Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases ( Luke 6:14-17 );

So now He is drawing people, not only from the south, the area of Judea, and Jerusalem, but they are coming from the coastal northern areas of Tyre and Sidon to hear Him and to be healed.

And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitudes sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and he healed them all ( Luke 6:18-19 ).

It is interesting that this declaration, and, of course, here a doctor is talking to you again, the physician Luke, talking about virtue going out of Jesus. But it is interesting to me that this follows His night in prayer, that this power now, this dimension, virtue begins to go out of Him, and people were coming up and touching Him in order to be healed.

And he lifted up his eyes ( Luke 6:20 )

And now, from here to the end of the chapter, we have an abbreviated version of the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:6 , and 7, we have a longer version. There are some differences, enough, that some teachers do not believe that this is actually the Sermon on the Mount, but just another Sermon in which Jesus touched many of the points that He touched in the Sermon on the Mount. There is enough difference that does support that particular theory.

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

You may be poor on this earth, and on this earth's standards, but hey, you're blessed because the kingdom of God belongs to you.

Blessed are you that hunger now: you will be filled. Blessed are you that weep now: you shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, when they will separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake [for my sake. Jesus said,] Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy ( Luke 6:21-23 ):

Now I haven't seen any of you leaping for joy because someone was speaking against you at your job and got you in trouble, and they only did because you were a Christian. I have counseled a lot of people with long faces. They come in just discouraged, defeated, ready to quit, because of the trails they were going through at their job because they were Christians. "Oh, I can't believe the hassle I've got this week," or, "My foreman is really upset." But the Lord said, "When that happens leap for joy, rejoice." Why? Because your reward in heaven is great.

for in the same manner did they treat the prophets. But woe unto you who are rich! for you have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! you will be hungry. Woe unto you that laugh now! you're going to mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you! because this is how they treated the false prophets. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you, bless those that curse you, pray for those that despitefully use you ( Luke 6:23-28 ).

Now suddenly Jesus is giving us a bunch of impossible commands. I am ready to argue. "Lord, how can I love my enemies? No way I can love my enemies. And I don't want to do good to those that hate me. And I don't want to bless those that curse me."

You see, these are unnatural commands. They irritate me. I find myself arguing with them. I really do. I find myself arguing with this commands. Now as long as I am argue with them, I am always going to have a withered hand. I am never going to change. I'll always be trying to get even. I'll always be after the eye for an eye, and the tooth for a tooth. And seeking revenge, and being eaten up by ulcers. But if I just will to obey, "God I am willing to love, but you're going to have to do it, I can't do it." Well, if I am willing, I will find that He will all for me that is necessary for me to obey that command. My part is to be willing to obey. Not to argue with Him, but just be willing to obey, and in that willingness you'll discover the secret of victory. And the Lord will give to you the capacity and the power to obey the commands that He has given.

Now he that will smite you on the one cheek offer him the other; and if he takes away your cloak, don't forbid him to take your coat also. To every man that ask of thee [give], and to him who takes away your goods don't ask for them again. And as you would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise ( Luke 6:29-31 ).

Now so many of the teachers that put this in the negative. "Don't do to anybody what you don't want done to you." That's a very common thing.

Hallal, Confucius, and all of them said something similar to this, but it was always negative. Whatever is distasteful to you, and you don't want that done to you, you just don't do that to some one else, a good rule to follow.

Jesus put it in a positive sense. Hey, not just the negative, not just not hitting him because you don't want him to hit you, but He put it in a positive sense. Whatever you would like people to do you, do that to them. How would you like them to treat you when you've made a mistake? You want them to be kind and understanding and sympathetic. Alright, that's the way you should be to them when they've made a mistake; kind, sympathetic, and understanding. How you would like people to treat you? That's the way you are to treat them, Jesus said. And so, He turns it from a negative to a positive. And so it leads us into actual positive actions rather than just refraining from negative things.

For if you love those which love you, so what? sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those which do good to you, so what? sinners do the same thing. If you lend to those of whom you're hoping to receive a return, so what? sinners also lend, in order that they might get as much again. But love your enemies, do good, lend, hoping for nothing again; that your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind to everyone, the unthankful, the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful ( Luke 6:32-36 ).

Now again we find ourselves arguing, don't we? But these are commands of the Lord. Rather than argue, let's choose and will to obey.

Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall not be condemned: forgive, and you will be forgiven: give ( Luke 6:37-38 ),

And here the law of giving. Give: it's a principle; it's a spiritual law. We've learned to observe natural laws and live by them and profit from them, but we ought also to learn the spiritual laws, and this is a spiritual law; it works. You say, "I don't know how it can work." I don't either, but I know it does.

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

Paul said if you sow sparingly, you're going to reap sparingly. You sow bountifully, you're going to reap bountifully. Whatever measure you mete, it shall be measured to you. So in the giving, the Lord will give back to you on whatever measure you give. However, He will give back more. Because He will give out, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.

So he spoke a parable; Can the blind lead the blind? will they not both fall in the ditch? And the disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why do you behold the mote [the sliver] that is in your brother's eye, and you don't perceive the beam [the four by six] that is in your own eye? ( Luke 6:39-41 )

And I am sure Jesus said this with a smile. Because it gives you a good picture. Some guy with a four by six in his eye, trying to pull a sliver out of his neighbor's eye. And so I am sure this was said with a smile and all. But oh, how typical it is of us. Those who are so critical, ready to find fault with the next person, ready to point out their flaws and their weaknesses, but oh, God help us. There is so much bad in the best of us. And so much good in the worst of us that it ill behooves any of us to speak of the rest of us. The Lord is saying, "Clean up your own act."

Who can you say to your brother, Brother, let me take this sliver out of your eye, when you can't behold the four by six that is in your eye? You hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye, and then you'll be able to see clearly to pull the sliver that is in your brother's eye. For a good tree does not bring forth corrupt fruit; neither does a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. And every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs ( Luke 6:42-44 ),

You don't go out and gather figs off a cactus.

nor from a bramble bush [from a tumbling weed] you don't gather grapes ( Luke 6:44 ).

Everything brings forth after its kind.

And thus a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bring forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks ( Luke 6:45 ).

And all you have to do is stand around and listen to a person's conversation, and it doesn't take long to reveal where their heart is. Out of the abundance of the heart a man speaks. It comes out. And you know, standing around listening to some people, is like standing near an open cesspool. You know what's in their heart; it stinks.

And then Jesus asked a very interesting question. One that we should all be asking ourselves tonight.

Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and you do not the things which I say? ( Luke 6:46 )

You see, the title Lord implies mastery. It implies servant. I am the servant, He is the Lord. In our culture we don't understand what it was to be a slave. To not be able to own anything. To be the total property of another person. To be required to obey implicitly without question anything that was demanded of you. We independent Americans can't even conceive of this. And so we find it easy to say, "Oh, Lord, oh Lord."

And yet, how inconsistent it is if you call Jesus, Lord, and yet you don't obey. Now He is just giving you a lot of things here to consider as far as obedience is concerned. Now James says, "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" ( James 1:22 ). As we read what Jesus ideally requiring of us, and commanding us to do and to be. And then we say, "Oh, Lord, I don't think I can do that. Oh, Lord, there is no way I can do that." And then His response is, "Why do you call me, Lord, unless you're going to do the things I command you to do? You see, if you're not obeying what I am commanding then I am really not your Lord." That's exactly what He is saying to you.

And so this really does create a cause for great self-examination. Paul the apostle tells us when we come to the Lord's table, let a man examine himself, for if we'll judge ourselves, we will not be judged of God. And I think that so often we are just prone to slough off some of the commands of Christ that we don't quite agree with, or we don't want to go along with. Then we pick and choose. "Oh, I like this one. Oh, this is my favorite, oh yea. Well, I don't know about that one, I sort of think people interpret things different way, and I have a different interpretation." But if I am going to use the title of Lord, then I need to take a look at His commands, and at least will to obey them. Not argue with them, but choose to obey them.

Now whosoever comes to me, and hears my sayings, and does them, I'll show you what he is like: He is like a man which build a house, and he dug deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, and the stream vehemently upon the house, it could not shake it; because it was founded on a rock ( Luke 6:47-48 ).

The importance of digging deep and laying a good foundation for your faith in Jesus Christ and the word of God. Too many shallow foundations. Too many people just building a superstructure without a foundation. Building on emotions, building on experiences, building on exciting times, building on the glory, glory, hallelujahs. But when the storm comes, if you haven't laid a good foundation on the rock, the house just isn't going to stand.

He that hears, and does not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately fell; and the ruin of that house was great ( Luke 6:49 ).

Now both cases were subjected to the test of the storm. The Lord does not promise you immunity from problems, from trials, from hardship. It's going to come to every man alike. Through life there are going to be difficult things that we are going to have to face that we cannot understand, or rationalize, as we try to think of a good, loving, just God, and try to rationalize our current situation on the basis of a loving, kind heavenly Father. The storm is going to come. It will beat vehemently. And if you haven't taken the time to lay a good foundation, you're going to find the whole system collapsing around you. And you'll be swept away. How important, we dig deep, that we obey, that we do the things that Jesus commanded. We practice doing them, rather than just arguing with Him, telling Him why we can't do them, and excusing our pleas. He doesn't want you to excuse your condition, He wants you to change from your condition. You say, "I can't do that." That's exactly right. He knows that. But do it anyhow. For when you will to obey, all that you need to obey will be given to you in that moment. God make us willing.

Shall we pray.

Father, we thank You again for the study of Your Word and, Lord, we do want to be doers of Your Word. As we go back and we again use on the commandments, and we find those that do irritate us, those that grate on us, O God, may we truly bow our hearts in submission and say, "Lord, I can't, and I'm willing." And may we, Lord, receive that ability and capacity from You to be and to do all that You want us to be and to do. Help us, Lord! We need Your help. In Jesus' name. Amen.

May the Lord bless you, keep you, fill you with His love, His Spirit, His strength, His power. May the Lord enable you to go forth to do His will, obeying His commandments. In Jesus' name. "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Luke 6". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.