Bible Study: Luke, Chapter Six
RHM Bible Study, Luke Chapter Six from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.
Transcript: Today we are going to continue our interactive Bible study and we are going to cover Luke Chapter 6. After the meeting today, or sometime this week, please take the matching Quiz on Luke Chapter 6 that I have prepared on the website. It is on the right hand side and it matches this teaching. Thanks to all that have taken last weeks quiz. Last week we had around 34 participants, and 10 people scored a perfect 100. So let’s get started:
Luke Chapter 6 beginning in verse 1 reading the World English Bible:
Now on the second Sabbath after the first, he was going through the grain fields. His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate, rubbing them in their hands. 2 But some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why do you do that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day?”
Jesus and the disciples were ministering around Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee. On the Sabbath (a Saturday), they were walking through the grain fields and His disciples were hungry, so they picked a few heads of grain, rubbed the husks off of them in their hands and ate them. This grain would have been very hard, and pretty tasteless, so they must have been pretty hungry, and they would certainly not have eaten much of it. This was not stealing, as Deuteronomy 23:25 allowed for the hungry to eat from a field. Gleaning in the fields was the welfare system of the time just as Ruth did to support her mother-in-law Naomi in the book of Ruth.
Deuteronomy 23:24 “When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes at your pleasure, but you shall not put any in your container. 25 When you come into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor’s standing grain.”
You were allowed to pick fruit or grain and eat it, but you couldn’t pull out your sickle and start harvesting like it was yours. The Pharisees were following Jesus around, trying to find fault. They could not find a problem with the gleaning, or they would have accused them of stealing, but instead they targeted the day which they did it on. The Sabbath.
According to the traditional 613 rules and regulations laid down by Jewish traditionalists for keeping the law, the disciples were guilty on several counts of Sabbath-breaking, for they had been plucking the grain, rubbing it in their hands, and then consuming it. That was considered reaping, threshing, winnowing, and preparing food on the Sabbath day, so four violations in one act. If they thought they were stealing, they would have included that as well.
During this time, many rabbis filled Judaism with elaborate rituals and traditions concerning the Sabbath day and the observance of other laws. The ancient rabbis taught that on the Sabbath day, one was forbidden to tie a knot—except that a woman was allowed to tie a knot in her girdle. So if a bucket of water had to be raised from a well, you could not tie a rope directly to the bucket, but a woman could tie her girdle to the bucket, and then to the rope, and this was considered acceptable.
This continues on among Orthodox Jews today. In early 1992 tenants let three apartments in an Jewish neighborhood in Israel burn to the ground while they asked a rabbi whether a telephone call to the fire department on the Sabbath day would violate Jewish law. Observant Jews are forbidden to use the phone on the Sabbath, because doing so would break an electrical current, which is considered a form of work. So in the half-hour it took the rabbi to decide “yes,” the fire had spread to two more neighboring apartments.
In Matthew 23:24 Jesus called them: “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” They would scream over the tiniest perceived infraction, and at the same time justify murdering the prophets of God. That is the type of people that they were dealing with.
3 Jesus, answering them, said, “Haven’t you read what David did when he was hungry, he, and those who were with him; 4 how he entered into God’s house, and took and ate the show bread, and gave also to those who were with him, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests alone?”
The Pharisees prided themselves in their knowledge of scripture, but Jesus asked them “Have you not read?” which is the same as asking if they had ever read their Bible on the subject for they seemed to be ignorant of what the Old Testament meant.
A wise man once wrote: “It is possible to read scripture meticulously, to know the Bible inside our from cover to cover, to be able to quote it verbatim and to pass any examination on it - and yet completely miss its real meaning.” This is what the Pharisees had done.
Jesus used the reference of David eating the showbread from the temple in 1st Samuel chapter 21. When David had to run from Saul, who had made it clear that he planned to kill David, he came to the temple of God and he was hungry. The showbread in the temple was removed each day and replaced with fresh bread. David took the old bread and ate it, and gave it to those with him. According to the letter of the law, he should not have done that, but Jesus was saying that: “Human need is more important than religious ritual.”
God understands that, but people that are steeped in religious tradition cannot grasp this concept.
Hosea 6:6 “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
Psalm 51:16 “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.
The case of David had a lot in common with this incident:
- It involved eating.
- It probably happened on the Sabbath (1 Samuel 21:6).
- It concerned not only David, but also his followers.
5 He said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
Jesus used the title “The Son of Man” and said that He was Lord of the Sabbath. The Pharisees considered this to be more blasphemy, Jesus was claiming that He was equal with God. Jesus had the authority to know whether His disciples had broken the Sabbath law, because He was Lord of the Sabbath.
6 It also happened on another Sabbath that he entered into the synagogue and taught. There was a man there, and his right hand was withered. 7 The scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against him.
Jesus still went to church on the Sabbath, though the leaders there were hostile towards Him. That is difficult to do, we have tried it. The scribes and Pharisees were watching Jesus closely to find a way to accuse Him. They knew that Jesus carried the anointing of God and that He could heal people, yet they sought for a reason to put Him to death.
Luke’s account of this healing is very detailed. It took place in a Jewish synagogue, where Jesus was teaching (6:6). He tells us that it was the man’s right hand that needed healing. Luke was always interested in the tiny details and he had “carefully investigated” the life of Jesus (1:3).
8 But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Rise up, and stand in the middle.” He arose and stood. 9 Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you something: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?” 10 He looked around at them all, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did, and his hand was restored as sound as the other. 11 But they were filled with rage, and talked with one another about what they might do to Jesus.
The story is the same as the grain fields earlier, Jesus placed human need before religious ritual and He healed the man on the Sabbath. The religious leaders became angry because He healed the man on the Sabbath day. Mark 3:5 tells us that Jesus was deeply saddened by their hard hearts.
The Pharisees cared nothing about the man’s suffering, but were more interested in finding a way to use the mercy of Jesus against Him in some way. They were plotting secretly on how to kill Jesus, while condemning Him of a Sabbath infraction as He went about healing the sick. They saw their Sabbath law as precious, while Jesus saw the man as precious. We will see this time and time again as we go through the gospels. Suffice it to say that religion can be a sick thing when it is in the wrong hands, and it is more often used for evil than good.
God had originally created the Sabbath as day of rest from work, intended to be a joyful occasion, but they had turned it into something negative. Jesus showed that there is never a wrong day to do something truly good. Legalistic people always want to debate the rules, but it is not what we have done for God, but what He has done for us that matters.
Something worth noting is the way that Jesus healed the man. Jesus told the man to do something that He could not. “Stretch out your hand” was exactly what the man could not do in his condition. Yet when he attempted to do it, his hand was completely restored. We see this pattern in many places, like when He told the paralyzed man to “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
12 In these days, he went out to the mountain to pray, and he continued all night in prayer to God.
I’m sure that Jesus prayed all the time, but this time was special. He needed clear direction in His life. Mark 3:6 mentions that the religious leaders were plotting with the political leaders on how to kill Him. He was followed by huge crowds, but they could easily be turned against Him. Mark 3:9 tells us that Jesus told His disciples that a boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. Jesus went out to the mountain and He spent all night in prayer. Several of the apostles were known by more than one name, and this can sometimes be confusing. This is the traditional list of their names.
1. Andrew (bar-Jonas)
2. Peter (Simon bar-Jonas)
3. James bar-Zebedee (“James the Greater”)
4. John bar-Zebedee (“the Beloved Disciple”)
5. Nathanael or Bartholomew
8. Matthew or Levi
9. James bar-Alphaeus
10. Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus or Judas bar-James (Jude)
11. Simon the Zealot
12. Judas Iscariot
13 When it was day, he called his disciples, and from them he chose twelve, whom he also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he also named Peter; Andrew, his brother; James; John; Philip; Bartholomew; 15 Matthew; Thomas; James, the son of Alphaeus; Simon, who was called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James; and Judas Iscariot, who also became a traitor.
This was probably the most important event in the ministry of Jesus before the cross and He faced it as a normal man would have to: He prayed about it. These twelve men would carry on His work after He was gone and they had to be chosen carefully. Just as there were twelve tribes of Israel, Jesus chose twelve men from among His disciples and He named them apostles.
The Greek word used here is “apostolos”, which means ‘sent one’.” An equivalent meaning for apostle today would be “ambassador.” Someone who represents another, and they have a message from their sender. Hebrews 3:1 calls Jesus an Apostle and High Priest sent by God. John 20:21 records Jesus saying: “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you”.
These twelve men had the privilege of being with Jesus more often, more intimately, and He began to teach them about the Kingdom of God. When He sent the multitudes away, the twelve apostles stayed. When He crossed the lake to the other side, they were in the boat with Him. They got to see things that others didn’t.
There are some interesting connections within the group of people that Jesus chose. There were two sets of brothers: Peter and Andrew, and James and John. Peter, James, and John were also business associates and partners in fishing. There were opposing political views with Matthew the tax collector, who worked for the Romans, and Simon the Roman-hating Zealot. Then there was Judas Iscariot who would eventually betray Jesus.
Jesus chose Judas Iscariot, knowing that he would become a traitor. In John 6:70 Jesus told His disciples that He chose them, and He knew that one of them was a devil. There was a large crowd of disciples and Jesus had many more to choose from, but He picked these twelve.
17 He came down with them, and stood on a level place, with a crowd of his disciples, and a great number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; 18 as well as those who were troubled by unclean spirits, and they were being healed. 19 All the multitude sought to touch him, for power came out of him and healed them all.
Jesus had no problem drawing a crowd because He walked in the power of the Holy Spirit. He and the newly appointed apostles came down to a level place, and He began to minister. Luke tells us that Power was coming from Jesus and healing them all, so that the whole multitude wanted to touch Him. Luke speaks about this “Power” about 15 times in the book of Luke, and another 10 times in the book of Acts. The word used here for “Power” is “Dunamis.” Dunamis is where the English word “dynamite” comes from and it refers to the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. As the power of the Holy Spirit began to manifest and people were healed, what did Jesus do? He began to teach them.
It is believed that this teaching occurred not far from the city of Capernaum. This sermon is known as “The Sermon on the Plain” because they were in a level place, and it has some differences from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5 through 7, but in many ways, they are similar. The Sermon on the Plain in Luke is much shorter with 34 verses, while the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew spans 111 verses. Jesus traveled all around the area, and it would be perfectly normal for a traveling preacher to teach the same topic to a different crowd in a different place.
The Sermon on the Plain here, and the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, are the core of Jesus’ teachings on ethics and how His disciples should live.
20 He lifted up his eyes to his disciples, and said, “Blessed are you who are poor, God’s Kingdom is yours.
Matthew 5:3 tells this as “the Poor in Spirit”, meaning that you realize that what you have is not enough. That you need help God’s help. It is that emptiness of self and looking to God that brings His kingdom into your life.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Matthew 5:6 tells us “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” The hungry person is always seeking something to eat. This weeping is the godly sorrow that produces repentance to salvation that Paul described in 2 Corinthians 7:10.
22 Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude and mock you, and throw out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.
Soon His followers understood these words. Early Christians had many enemies everywhere and they were excluded, mocked, and regarded as evil. Christians were accused of:
- Cannibalism, because of misrepresentation of communion.
- Immorality, because of misrepresentation of weekly “Love Feasts” and private meetings.
- They were called Revolutionaries because they believed that Jesus would return and there would be a sudden end to history.
- Splitting up families, because when one spouse became a Christian, it often divided the family.
- Treason, because they would not serve the Roman gods or participate in emperor worship, which was common at the time in the Roman empire.
23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven, for their fathers did the same thing to the prophets.
Jesus basically said that when you are persecuted, you are in good company, for so were all of the prophets before you. Most all of His true prophets were persecuted by the establishment of the times. Now we move into the woes, which are the opposite of the blessings:
24 “But woe to you who are rich! For you have received your consolation. 25 Woe to you, you who are full now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe, when men speak well of you, for their fathers did the same thing to the false prophets.
The Holy Spirit is the Great Equalizer among men. Having riches, no sense of need, continual excitement, and good times are a real obstacle to truly experiencing the kingdom of God on this earth and developing a trusting relationship with Him. I’m going to share something with you, and I hope that you will not take it the wrong way, for I am not doing this to build myself up. But most of you that read my writing, and are members here at RHM, understand that I came up with nothing. My mom divorced nine times and we lived in constant poverty. I’m not talking about the kind of poverty where “We were poor but didn’t know it”. Oh, we absolutely knew it. Having enough gas to get to work, and trying to keep the electricity turned on seems to have never been that far away in my life.
It never dawned on me that this was actually a blessing until we attended a conference with an extremely affluent group of Christians. More than one person sitting at our dinner table received a reward for giving over a million dollars to charity, and suffice it to say that Sylvia and I were the poorest people in the room. But when we began to talk about God working in our life, they were blown away because they had never heard such testimonies before, and I realized that what we have is priceless. I just want to say that having to depend on God daily to survive, is not such a bad thing. Because when you have nothing else, He is everything.
27 But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. 29 To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer also the other; and from him who takes away your cloak, don’t withhold your coat also.
Jesus recognized that we will have enemies on this earth. There will be those who curse you, hate you, and mistreat you. We are to love them, and that is difficult. Now to clarify, I do not believe that we can love our enemies as much as we love our nearest and dearest family, or spouse. To do that would be unnatural, impossible, and maybe even wrong. But we can see to it that, no matter what a someone does to us, that we will seek nothing but their good, and that is all that we can hope for.
Also it is wrong to think Jesus meant that evil should never be resisted. Jesus demonstrated with His own life that evil must be resisted at times, such as when He turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple. Paul summed up this idea of Jesus with “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
30 Give to everyone who asks you, and don’t ask him who takes away your goods to give them back again.
This is trusting that even if we lose what we have, God has plenty more and He will take care of us.
31 As you would like people to do to you, do exactly so to them.
This is the “Golden Rule.” If we can live up to it, everything will be fine. Until Jesus, the rule had always been negative like: “Do not do to your neighbor what you do not want him to do to you.” Jesus made it a positive rule “to do” instead of “not do”. I have also found in my life, that what goes around, comes around. We reap what we sow. If you sow butter beans, later you will get a harvest of butter beans.
I have given away computers and got stacks of computers given back to me. I have given $40 in an offering and received $4,000 within a month. The same thing that I planted, came back multiplied. This seems to work in all realms, give and it will be given back to you. Judge not, and you will not be judged. Condemn not, and you will not be condemned. Gossip about someone else, and you will soon be gossiped about. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.
This is contrary to the very nature of the world, but in doing this, we imitate the nature of God who shows love towards His enemies, and is kind to the unthankful, and even the evil.
God is kind: what a powerful statement. Also never view kindness as weakness. I think Al Capone said it best when he said: “Do not mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weakness is not what you are going to remember about me.” Our God is kind even to His enemies, the unthankful, and the evil, but He is not weak.
36 “Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful. 37 Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Set free, and you will be set free.
We could say that Jesus did not prohibit us from judging others. He only requires that our judgment be completely fair, and that we only judge others by a standard we would also like to be judged by, because we will be. Too often we are hypocrites and condemn others while excusing ourselves for the same thing, but He will not allow this.
38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you.”
To put it simply, you just can’t out-give God, because He will always give it back multiplied. He will always return more to you, in one way or another, than you give to Him. When you plant seed, it comes back multiplied. Something that we should make note of, is that it also works with love, blessing, and forgiveness as well.
39 He spoke a parable to them. “Can the blind guide the blind? Won’t they both fall into a pit?
To put it simply, the blind cannot lead the blind. Jesus said this to remind us that some leaders are blind, and that we should beware of them. In Matthew 15:14 Jesus said of some of the religious leaders of His day, “They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
Jesus gave a wonderful promise here. As we are taught by Him and grow in Him, we will become more like Him, and ultimately, when He is revealed, we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2).
41 Why do you see the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye? 42 Or how can you tell your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck of chaff that is in your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the beam that is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye.
Jesus used humor here, and as a carpenter, had never seen a person with a plank, or a beam in their eye. “Here let me remove that 6x6 sticking out of your eye there…” His point was we are generally far more tolerant to our own sin than we are to the sin of others.
A good example of this kind of hypocrisy was David’s reaction to Nathan’s story about the man who unjustly stole and killed another man’s lamb. David quickly condemned the man and said “this man deserves to die!” but he was blind to his own sin of the affair Bathsheba, and having her husband Uriah killed, which was much greater (2 Samuel 12).
43 For there is no good tree that produces rotten fruit; nor again a rotten tree that produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For people don’t gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out that which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings out that which is evil, for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.
Trees are known by the fruit that they bear, and people are known by what comes out of them, be it good or evil.
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things which I say?
Here Jesus makes a distinction between those who hear His sayings, and those who do them. What things? The things that we have covered in this chapter.
47 Everyone who comes to me, and hears my words, and does them, I will show you who he is like. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug and went deep, and laid a foundation on the rock. When a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who hears, and doesn’t do, is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Jesus tells a parable about a person meeting three requirements: 1) Everyone who comes to me 2) and hears My words, 3) and does them. That person is like the man who built his house on the rock. But he who hears, and doesn’t do, is like the man who built a house on the sand without a foundation, and it all collapsed when then storm came.
Both of the men built a house from the ground up, and they seemed to have a lot in common. The only difference was obedience. One of the men lived the words of Jesus, and the other did not.
Take the Quiz for Luke Chapter Six!