Moving into Luke 6 we find Jesus walking with his disciples. It is the sabbath and they find themselves hungry so they pick some of the grain from the field. Once again he finds himself confronted by the Pharisees who insist that it is against the law to do “work” on the sabbath. Jesus’ response is not to correct them directly, but instead, he tells a story of David and his men eating the consecrated bread in the temple when they were hungry. This account is found in 1 Samuel 21. Luke tells us that Jesus then quotes David as saying that ““The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” His point is that all the rules that they insist on enforcing were made by man, but He is the source of the sabbath. What this means further is that as the Lord of the Sabbath, how can his actions toward the sabbath be in violation of the law.
To further drive home the point that these man-made rules of the sabbath are misplaced Luke tells a second story of healing a man who had a withered hand. In this situation, the Scribes and Pharises were waiting for him to break the rules of the sabbath by working (healing) on the sabbath. Jesus knew what they were up to so he ask them a question. “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?” (v. 9) The answer, of course, is that it is always right (lawful) to do good and so Jesus healed the man. As Jesus’ question had left them speechless, they felt humiliated and angry so began to discuss what they could do to him.
From here Luke tells us that Jesus chose 12 of his many disciples to fulfill the role of apostles. The distinction is that a disciple is a student who sits under a particular teacher, where an apostle is a representative of someone such as an ambassador is the representative of King. This is a significant step up for these 12 and Jesus knowing the magnitude of this decision first went off alone to spend time in prayer before making his decisions. We often drop this ball and fail to put serious prayer ahead of decisions, but if Jesus himself dit it, how much more should we do so.
After naming his apostles, Jesus returns to the rest of the disciples with them. As they returned they found a very large crowd of people who had also come to hear him and to be healed by him.
We next find Luke presenting his own account of beatitudes or blessings teaching. We are probably most familiar with this message from Matthew 5. What is unique in Luke’s account is that he presents both the positive and the negative sides. An example of this is found in verse 22 which reads, “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” and it’s counter in verse 25 which reads, “Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.”
I have to ask why Jesus would put these negative positions in the discussion. Is it wrong to be well-fed? Is it wrong to laugh? I think his point is that things being ideal in this life are transient and even false on many occasions. This is his point in verse 26 when he says, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.” This why Jesus transitions from these tit for tat statements to telling us how we are to live.
His discussion of how we are to live in relation to others is summed up in two verses. The first is in verse 27 where he says, “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” The second is in Luke’s presentation of the golden rule, “treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” (v. 31)
He finishes this discussion with a parable and a few more teaching which can be summarized as saying that we can not expect to help others with their issues when we have our own issues to clear up. We can only produce “fruit” as good as we are. Jesus says, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (v. 45)
Jesus concluded with a parable about the foundation on which a house is built. If we expect our lives, our behavior, and our examples to stand strong, then they must be built on the foundation of Christ’s teaching.
My takeaways from this chapter: 1) While many of the rules that were put in place were intended to help people live Godly lives, we need to realize that these rules are not more important than doing what is right in God’s eyes. 2) Doing the right thing in God’s eyes, whether making decisions, helping others, or living our lives must be bathed in prayer. 3) If we are to treat others the way we want to be treated, then we need to not be focussed on ourselves, but be founded on the teaching of Jesus.