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Bible Commentaries

Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 6

  1. Introduction
    READ: Gen 2:1-3
    1. The Sabbath was originally supposed to be a day of refreshment, worship and healing…a day to remember all God has done for us – a day to enjoy fellowship with God.
    2. The Pharisees and legalists in Jesus’ day had so contorted the Sabbath with all of their things that could not be done because it was considered work that they had lost sight of its true meaning.
    3. Jesus has, over the past few weeks, been slowly showing us that He was bringing a new way – some of the things He has done include forgiving sins, calling an “Anti-Jew” to follow Him, shown His power over nature and illness, and we finished last week by looking at the meaning of not putting new wine in old wineskins.
    4. Today, we’re going to see Jesus begin dismantling the ideas around the Sabbath as a way of showing the world that the interpretations of the law and the accompanying traditions have lost their original intent and need to be replaced.
    5. Jesus will not say that the Sabbath is bad…just that its meaning should be as originally intended. Jesus is taking the people, and us, to the place of grace…

Verses 1-5

  1. Sabbath: Need vs. Ritual
    1. Accusation
      Luk 6:1-2 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. 2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?
      1. His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands: There was nothing wrong with what they did.
      2. Their gleaning was not considered stealing, according to Deu_23:25 which says, When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn.
      3. The problem was with the day on which they did it. The Rabbis made an elaborate list of “do” and “don’t” items relevant to the Sabbath and this violated some of their “RULES”…
      4. When the disciples did what they did, in the eyes of the religious leaders they were guilty of reaping, threshing, winnowing, and preparing food. Four violations of the Sabbath in one mouthful!
      5. Understand, that the legalistic part of the Sabbath does not apply to Christians as we are to have the opportunity of worship, rest, and healing everyday because of what Jesus did on Calvary – the Holy Spirit living in us will provide us our Sabbath rest continually if we will let Him.
    2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Response
      Luk 6:3-5 And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him; 4 How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? 5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
      1. Jesus responds to the accusation with two important principles… the first is:
        1. ​​​​​​​Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry: (this would immediately offend religious leaders… “Haven’t you read?” implying they don’t know the scriptures…
        2. The reference to David’s use of the Shew bread“ that was considered holy in the temple (from 1Sam 21:1-6) and shows the first principle:
        3. Human need is more important than religious ritual.
        4. This is exactly what many people, steeped in tradition, simply cannot accept.
        5. But what God really wants is mercy before sacrifice
          1. ​​​​​​​Hos 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
        6. He wants us to love people more than religious rituals as we find in Isa 58:1-9.
        7. David writes in Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
        8. The heart of the issue is the issue of our heart towards God!
        9. G. Campbell Morgan says, “Any application of the Sabbath Law which operates to the detriment of man is out of harmony with God’s purpose.”
      2. The second issue in Jesus’ response is this:
        1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​“The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath” – This principle is even more dramatic than the first as Jesus is declaring that HE IS the Lord of the Sabbath and that He’s not offended by their actions!
        2. The extendion of this is: “If the Lord of the Sabbath is NOT offended, then the Pharisees shouldn’t be either”.
        3. Sometimes we can have the same attitude as the Pharisees with things that offend us…
        4. Chuck Smith in the 60’s had his elders coming to him complaining that the barefoot hippies were getting the carpet dirty – Chuck’s response was, “Then we should rip out the carpet!”.
        5. People are always more important than stuff!

Verses 6-11

  1. Healing on the Sabbath
    1. Correcting Error
      Luk 6:6-11 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. 7 And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the Sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. 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. 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? 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. 11 And they were filled with madness; and communed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
      1. This next occurrence we read about on the Sabbath concerns a man with a withered hand. Jewish tradition said that you could preserve life on the Sabbath but it drew the line at providing any addition actions.
      2. This situation almost appears to be a setup by the Pharisees…they have a man with a withered hand (the Greek wording implies that it was not from birth, rather, from something that happened during his life).
      3. And…look at what it says, “they were watching Jesus to see if He would heal on the Sabbath”.
      4. (v. 8) it tells us: “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. 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?”
      5. I love seeing the different viewpoints from the Gospel writers…Mark and Luke say the same thing (perhaps Luke had spoken with Mark and recorded what Peter had told him)
      6. Matthew, who had been there, says in Mat 12:11-12 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.
      7. The religious leaders watched Jesus closely, but with no heart of love for Him or concern for the man - We should be sensitive to the fact that we, too, can watch Jesus, but still have our hearts be far away from Him. We can see people in need and justify why they should not get help…but is that the Lord’s heart?
      8. Jesus’ question to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or evil…to save life or to destroy it” shows us the truth about the Sabbath – there is never a wrong day to do something that is truly good!
      9. Jesus constantly rebuked the religious leaders of his day for this kind of heart.
      10. Mar 7:6-9, 13 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
  2. Conclusion
    1. ​​​​​​​This passage concludes with the Pharisees filled with rage, and discussing with one another what they might do to Jesus:
    2. But, Jesus wasn’t trying to reform the Sabbath…He was trying to show that in their understanding of the Sabbath, they missed the whole point.
    3. A legalist wants to get you debating rules; but the point isn’t which rules, the point is the basic way we approach God. Is it based on what we do for Him, or is it based on what He has done for us in Jesus Christ?

Verses 17-35

  1. Introduction
    READ: Isaiah 55:1-7
    1. We looked at Jesus choosing His Apostles last week…and have seen Him systematically take apart the ideas that the Pharisees believed.
    2. We saw that the Sabbath was made for man and not the other way around…we saw that God approves of doing good even on the Sabbath and have even seen Jesus forgive sins!
    3. Today, we will hear Jesus tells us more of His desires for our lives as He leads us, through word and example, towards our destiny – living our lives for Him – FOR JESUS.
    4. Hos 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
    5. This is a universal statement that applies to us -- God extended mercy to us because of His love through His Son Jesus who was born as a baby, lived a perfect life, and then died in our place…taking our punishment for sin that we might have everlasting life.
    6. This leads us to His desire that we extend mercy, grace and forgiveness towards others…just as God has for us…
    7. Thus, a message that is repeated in different forms at different locations with different audiences…the message of LOVE.
  2. Sermon on the Plain
    1. ​​​​​​​The Setting
      1. ​​​​​​​Luk 6:17-19 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; 18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
      2. Jesus came down off the mountain from picking His disciples and found a great crowd…from way up north to way down south…
      3. V. 17 tells us that they came to hear Him, and to be healed. They came first and formost for hope through His teaching and then came for help…the order in which we ought to provide to others ourselves…
      4. The multitude sought to touch Him and He healed them all…Jesus will – if we come with a humble and contrite heart – meet us right where we are and bring us hope and help too!
    2. Blessings
      1. Luk 6:21-23 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 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. 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.
      2. Luk 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
      3. Jesus lifted up His eyes on His disciples – that’s who He is teaching to…
      4. The vision He gives to us is that of Heaven and not of earth…
      5. Blessed are the poor à they see their need for heaven and not earth – this world has no hope for them…they are blessed because they willingly reach out to Jesus!
      6. Luk 6:21-23 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
      7. The hungry sees their dependence upon God and not themselves. Those who are without basic needs often are willing to reach out to the One who promises to provide all of our needs.
      8. Dependence upon God is a key component of living a Kingdom focused life – it’s a key component to walking by faith and not by sight.
      9. Blessed are ye that weep now …meaning here on earth, for you shall laugh in heaven. A Kingdom minded person will see the brokenness and depravity of this world and it will break their heart as it did Jesus’ heart. (Remember, Jesus wept over Jerusalem).
      10. The blessing comes in knowing that Heaven is a place of joy, not sorrow where there is no more suffering and no more tears.
    3. Woes
      1. ​​​​​​​Luk 6:24-26 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
      2. Woe to the rich – their dependence is upon their money and not God!
      3. 1Ti 6:6-10 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
      4. Woe to they who are full as they don’t see their day by day dependence upon God like they who are hungry.
      5. Woe to they who laugh now and don’t see the hurt and depravity of the world – they don’t have the Father’s heart.
      6. Woe unto you when men shall speak well of you – meaning worldly people speaking highly of you – we are not to be focused on the things the world esteems… we are to be loving, kind and live in the world but not “OF” the world.
      7. Joh 15:18-20 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
    4. Love Your Neighbor
      1. ​​​​​​​Love Your Enemies:
        1. ​​​​​​​Luk 6:27-28 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
        2. 1Pe 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
        3. Joh 15:12-17 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
        4. Jesus tells us how to love our enemies…by doing good to them, blessing them and praying for them!
        5. ​​​​​​​Can we? Do we? Will we?
      2. Give Freely:
        1. ​​​​​​​Luk 6:29-35 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 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. 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.
        2. Pro 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
        3. Psa 37:21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
        4. Act 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
        5. 1Pe 2:21-23 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
  3. Conclusion
    1. ​​​​​​​God desires for us to give as Jesus gave…
    2. God desires for us to Love as Jesus loved…
    3. God desires for us to be dependent upon Him, look at the world with His eyes and His heart and respond to the world as He would…remember, just as we spoke of last week, we are ambassadors – representatives of Jesus to the world.
    4. God desires for us to show mercy, not sacrifice and have an abounding love for people…

Verses 36-49

  1. Introduction
    READ: Luke 6:27-36
    1. We looked, last time, at Jesus and His giving of the sermon on the plain.
    2. We saw that those who are blessed are those who come to God with a humble heart – recognizing they are nothing and they have nothing except what God has given them.
    3. Pride – thinking we are something when we are not, taking thought for ourselves, our reputation, our own sufficiency and our own selfishness will keep us from receiving God’s blessings.
    4. Instead, we must see that all that we have and all that we are or are not is because our lives are in God’s hands.
    5. Recognizing His great love and mercy leads us to a life of receiving His grace and loving Him for who He is.
    6. Today’s message will turn this idea around from God giving His grace to us; to showing us we are to be extending grace to others who may or may not deserve it. Remember, if there is any deserving in the equation, it’s not grace.
    7. Jesus wants us to give grace in the same way He gives it to us… in fact, Heb 13:9 tells us that it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace…
  2. Hearts of Grace
    1. ​​​​​​​Judging
      1. ​​​​​​​Luke 6:37-38 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 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.
        1. Judgment, condemnation and un-forgiveness all stem from pride. Thinking of ourselves and not of the other person. Remember what Paul wrote in:
          1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
          2. Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
        2. We deserve Judgment, we deserve condemnation and we certainly do not deserve to be forgiven – yet God has forgiven us, God does not condemn us and we will not be judged for our sin because Jesus already was when He went to the cross.
          1. ​​​​​​​Rom 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
        3. We must understand…we cannot love and have a Judgmental attitude…
        4. If we won’t forgive…we don’t truly understand God’s forgiveness…
        5. If God gives us such amazing grace – shouldn’t we extend it to others?
    2. Humility
      1. ​​​​​​​Luk 6:39-42 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 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? 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.
      2. The blind can’t lead the blind – we need to remove our own blindness before we can lead or help others.
      3. Our blinding is removed as we follow the Holy Spirit who leads us in all truth…
      4. And as we follow the Word of God which is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
      5. We need to choose to follow these leadings…
      6. And Jesus is telling us that we need to check ourselves before we judge someone else… we’ll always find that we’re no better!
      7. We may find that our actions are different, or more acceptable – but if we’re truly honest, our hearts will still fall short.
        1. ​​​​​​​BUT: Pro 16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
        2. Therefore we must choose: Php 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
      8. The principle is brought out by the Apostle Paul in Gal 6:1-5 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
    3. Bearing Fruit
      ​​​​​​​Luk 6:43-45 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 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. 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.
      1. Here, we are being likened to fruit trees…Jesus is allowing us to see ourselves as others see us
      2. What does the fruit of our lives look like? Do people like to be around us? Are people encouraged by our words and actions? Are we a light with joy and peace?
      3. Think about the people you are around that make you feel lower, less or incapable or un-appreciated. You generally try to not be around them. Is this how we make others feel?
      4. This is especially important in marriage – we should be our spouses biggest fans…we should be their best encouragers and they should love to be with us. If we aren’t or they don’t…there’s a problem in the relationship!
      5. I have encountered in the past couples where one spouse, while standing next to the other spouse, complained and demeaned them in front of others…this doesn’t lead to a positive and successful marriage.
      6. The words that come out of our mouths are the indicator for the condition of our hearts… and often, that is painful to acknowledge and own up to…yet, Jesus wants us to give Him our hearts and allow Him to do the changes as we immerse ourselves in His Word and spend time with Him.
      7. If we do not desire to be with God, to read His Word and to be with His people…there is a problem in our relationship with Him – there’s a problem in our hearts!
    4. ​​​​​​​Lord, Lord
      Luke 6:46-49 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 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. 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.
      1. Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
      2. Our hearts desire should be to love Jesus and follow by obeying Him…when we do, the blessing of fellowship is evident and obvious and we will want more and more!
      3. Obeying is a choice – the fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, arrogancy, and the evil way. When we have the Lord’s heart we won’t want to break it – our goal and our lives will be about loving, obeying and serving our Lord and Master in Heaven.
      4. It’s how we establish a firm foundation for our lives…it is how we stay on the narrow path – it’s how we experience the amazing blessing of fellowship with the Father.
      5. Our lives should be centered upon not only receiving the grace of God – but our lives should have the outward focus of extending this same grace.
      6. Nobody is perfect…least of all: “US”. Shouldn’t we cut others the same slack and give the same grace that we ourselves would like to receive?
  3. Conclusion
    1. ​​​​​​​Mic 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
    2. Where are we building our house?
    3. Where is our foundation?
    4. Who is the Lord of our lives?
Copyright Statement
Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Luke 6". "Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". 2017.