Luke Chapter 6.27- 49 – Explanation

The Sermon on the Mount – Continued

The Lord Jesus raises the standard of behaviour for His disciples. Loving, doing good, blessing and praying for those who are our enemies and who hate us to the extent of physical abuse, is not a natural reaction. However, this is what He expects from His followers. The rule now is to do to others as we would have them do to us. It is normal to love and do good or to give to those who feel the same way about us, but we have to treat our enemies as we would our friends. We also ought to give to others, not seeking anything in return or just to gain personal advantage. If we show these qualities, we shall receive great reward from the Father, and we will also be displaying His character, for He is kind and merciful to those who are unthankful and evil.

We have not to sit in judgment or condemn others if we don’t want to be judged or condemned ourselves. Then again, if we forgive and give, we shall receive the same in return. Indeed, what we receive in return will be far more abundant than what we actually gave. This encourages us to give abundantly, knowing that we shall receive again in like measure.

Blind leaders who lead the blind (like the Pharisees) are likely to cause them to fall into a pit. Those who follow their teacher are not greater than the teacher, but when the teaching has its desired end in them, then they will be like their teacher.

There is no point in trying to correct some small thing in my brother’s life if there is something far more serious that requires adjustment in my own. That kind of behaviour, the Lord says, is hypocrisy, and we must look at ourselves first and set our own house in order before turning our critical eye on others.

Two trees, two hearts, and two houses

From verse 43 – 49, the Lord gives us three couplets: the good tree and the corrupt tree, the good heart and the evil heart, and the house built upon the rock contrasted with the house built upon the sand.

The type of tree it is determines the type of fruit that it produces. Likewise, a good heart brings forth good treasure, but a heart that treasures up evil will surely produce evil. It is certain that what we are within will manifest itself outwardly.

The illustration of the two houses is given to show what a person who comes to Christ is like, if they hear and carry out His word. They are building upon a sound foundation, which will stand them in good stead when trial and difficulty come. The storms of life will not shake them, because they are built upon the rock of His precious word. However, those who are not obedient to what they hear are building upon the sand. There is no sure basis to their lives, and they have nothing to withstand the pressures that surely come upon us all. They are exposed when the test comes and are swept away, finding themselves in ruin.

Luke Chapter 6.1 – 26

Accused of Breaking the Sabbath (verses 1 – 11)

As the disciples went through the corn fields, they ate ears of corn after rubbing the chaff away with their hands. Because it was the Sabbath day, the Pharisees accused them of breaking the law. The Lord brings before them the example of David being given the showbread from the holy place to eat when he was hungry. This was normally reserved only for the priests, but necessity permitted it to be given to David and those with him (1 Samuel 21). In fact, the law of Moses, while prohibiting work on the Sabbath, did allow for the preparation of food to make a meal (Exodus 12.16). The Lord takes the opportunity to assert His right that He, the Son of man, was Lord over the Sabbath as well.

Again, on another Sabbath day, the scribes and Pharisees watched the Lord when he entered a synagogue. They wanted to see if He would heal a man with a withered hand. The Lord knew they only wanted to find fault, so He asked the man to stand forward in the midst of everyone gathered. He then asked them whether it was lawful to do good or evil, or to save life or destroy it, on the Sabbath day. Looking round upon them all, He then told the man to stretch out his hand, and, when he did this, his hand was made whole like his other hand. They were furious at this, and began to discuss what they were going to do with Jesus.

Praying and calling His disciples (verses 12-16)

Again, Luke emphasises the dependence of the Lord in prayer. This time, He prays on the mountain side, and spends the whole night in communion with His God. If the Lord so prayed, how much more do we need to spend long periods in prayer before God?

When the day broke, He called His disciples, and out of them He chose twelve apostles, whom Luke names, including Judas, who would become the traitor among them.

When He came down to a level place, great multitudes of people came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. Many were also possessed with demons and were healed. All the people tried to touch Him, because power went out from Him to heal them. The Lord can send out power to meet our need, but, no matter how great the need, His power is never diminished.

The Sermon on the Mount (verses 20 – 26)

From Matthew 5 we know that the Lord went back up onto the mountain to give this teaching, and it was given specifically to His disciples.

Here, Luke selects four blessings and four woes pronounced by the Lord. The contrast is between the present and the future, what happens now compared to eternity.

Those who are poor now are blessed, because they inherit the Kingdom of God. They who are hungry now will be filled, and those who weep presently will laugh and find joy in the day to come. Finally, those who are hated, rejected, persecuted and cast out by men are encouraged to take it with joy. They can rejoice, for they will have a great reward in heaven. It is also noted that the Old Testament prophets suffered the same kind of treatment from the Jews of their day.

In contrast, He says “woe to the rich,” for their consolation is only for the present. The full may come to hunger as circumstances in the world change, and those who laugh now will surely come to times of sorrow and tears. Woe to those, He says as well, who have popularity among men who speak well of them, for this may be an indication that the words are false, because they tell the people only what they want to hear.

Luke Chapter 5.18 – 39


Power to Heal (verses 18 – 26)

The fame of the Lord Jesus was now so widespread that even Pharisees and lawyers came from all parts of Galilee and Judea to hear His teaching. Luke tells us that the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Power was available, but not all benefited from that power. How true that is even today. Paul speaks in Ephesians 1 about “the exceeding greatness of His power” which is available through the exalted Lord Jesus, but so few avail themselves of that surpassing power.

However, the incident which follows both demonstrates the power of the Lord to heal physically, and illustrates His ability to forgive sins.

Four men try to bring a paralysed man to Jesus, but cannot get near because of the multitude of people present. How often the crowd prevents people from coming to the Saviour! However, these men are not going to be deterred and are more than prepared for the burden of carrying the helpless man and finding a way to bring him before the Lord. Do we ever think about bringing the burden of others before the Lord? And if we can’t do it physically, surely we could do it in prayer. They take him up to the flat roof of the house, break through the tiling, and lower the man down to lie just in front of the Lord Jesus.

Verse 20 significantly explains that the Lord saw their faith (that is, the faith of all the men), and, as a result, He told the man his sins were forgiven. The reaction of the scribes and Pharisees was to accuse Him of blasphemy, reasoning “who can forgive sins but God alone?” The Lord knew their thoughts and asked them whether it was easier to forgive sins or to tell the man to rise up and walk. He clearly tells them that He would heal the man, so that they would know that He, as the Son of man, possessed the power to forgive sins. He then tells the man to take up his couch and go home, and immediately the man rose up, carrying his couch, and went home giving glory to God. Everyone was amazed and filled with fear, glorifying God.

The call of Matthew and the Pharisees’ questions (verses 27 – 39)

Levi, or Matthew, as he is called elsewhere, was a tax collector. As he sat receiving taxes from the people, Jesus called him to follow him. Matthew immediately left everything and rose up to follow the Lord. He made a great feast for the Lord in his house, and many tax collectors and other people were present. The scribes and Pharisees complained and asked why the disciples ate with tax collectors and sinners. The Lord answered that it was the sick who needed a doctor, and that He had not come to call those who thought themselves righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Next, they questioned Him about why His disciples ate and drank, while John’s and the Pharisees’ disciples fasted and prayed? He told them that people don’t fast when the bridegroom is with them, likening Himself to the bridegroom. However, when He was no longer with them, then there would be a need for fasting in those days.

He then told them a parable pointing out that no-one puts a piece of new cloth onto an old piece. If this happened, it would easily tear the old cloth, and the two pieces of material would not match. Again, He underlined that no-one puts new wine into old wineskins, because it would cause them to burst, the wine would be lost and the bottles would perish. New wine must be put into new wineskins so as to preserve both.

The point of these illustrations was to say that the new and the old can’t be mixed. The Pharisees held onto the old way of life, while the disciples embraced the new. Likewise, Christians ought not to mix the old life they had before salvation with the new life they now have. Paul says if anyone be in Christ they are a new creation. Old things have passed away and all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5.17). The new garments speak of the new character which God has given us in Christ, while the new wine speaks of that new joy and satisfaction enjoyed by all who have been given new life in the risen Lord.