The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Luke 6

Luk 6:1

Cp Deu 23:25: Gleaning was permissible.

ONE SABBATH: "On the second sabbath after the first" (Luk 6:1, KJV, but phrase omitted in some mss): Prob the Sabbath which concluded the feast of Unleavened bread, 7 days after Passover sabbath (Lev 23:8) (WGos 149).

HEADS OF GRAIN: The month "Abib" (or Nisan) sig "early grain", ie spring.

Luk 6:2

Four occasions in Luke where there is conflict about Jesus performing miracles, etc on the Sabbath: Luke 6:2,9; 13:14; 14:3.

SOME: Impl two different attitudes now discernible among the Pharisees.

WHAT IS UNLAWFUL ON THE SABBATH: By rabbinical tradition, eating corn on Sabbath was lawful, but "harvesting" and "threshing" were forbidden.

Luk 6:3

Key point: David was the "anointed one" who came "on king's business"!

Luk 6:4

THE CONSECRATED BREAD: "Shewbread" (AV), "bread of the presence" (RSV).

Luk 6:5

THE SON OF MAN IS LORD OF THE SABBATH: The Sabbath was designed for positive good; it should have been a blessing, not a burden.

Israel was not to be a "slave" to the Sabbath, but to be made free by it.

Jesus is the king of the future "rest", the true "Sabbath"!

The KJV has "Lord ALSO of the Sabbath", impl Christ's lordship over everything else.

OF THE SABBATH: May be "ON the Sabbath".

Luk 6:6

Cp 1Ki 13: Jeroboam stretches out his arm -- withered -- then restored. The outcome: altar was destroyed, sacrifice ceased.

HAND: "Arm" (NEB).

Luk 6:7

One man with a withered hand. Many men with withered hearts!

Luk 6:8

JESUS KNEW: Looking round about on them with anger (Mar 3:5n).

Luk 6:9

Four occasions in Luke where there is conflict about Jesus performing miracles, etc on the Sabbath: Luke 6:2,9; 13:14; 14:3.

DO GOOD... SAVE LIFE: The true purpose of the Sabbath from the beginning.

Luk 6:10

"Jesus looked": vv 5,34; Mar 5:32; 6:41; 7:34; 8:33; 11:11.

Mark's account says they were all silent (Mar 3:4).

STRETCH OUT YOUR HAND: An act of faith. As the lame man stood up to walk, so the man with a withered hand stretched it out! To "stretch out hand" is to seek fellowship with Christ. See Isa 35:3.

HAND: "Arm" (NEB).

HAND... RESTORED: Isa 35:3.

Luk 6:11

Long or repeated conferences. All plots and attempts to get rid of Jesus: Joh 5:16; Mar 3:6; Luk 4:29 ("common people"); Luk 11:54; Joh 7:19-21,25; 8:59; Luk 13:31; Joh 10:31,39; 11:8,16,44-54; Luk 20:14-26; Mat 26:3-5,16. OT prophecies: Psa 140:2; 59:3; 10:9; 71:10,11; 41:7.

PHARISEES: Prob, Jews of influence who favored the rule of Romans and Herod. The aristocracy.

WHAT THEY MIGHT DO TO JESUS: Or, how they might destroy him (Mar 3:6). The downward path of Pharisees -- they question inwardly (Mar 1:27), they ask his disciples (Mar 2:16), they openly accuse (Mar 2:24), and finally they plot (Mar 3:6).

So, evidently, it is wrong to heal someone on the Sabbath, but not wrong to plot a murder!

Luk 6:12

First Christ prays -- before any decision.

Instances of Jesus withdrawing into a mountain, apart -- sometimes for privacy and prayer, and sometimes to instruct his followers: Mat 5:1; 8:1; 14:23; 15:29; 17:1; 24:3; 28:16; Mark 3:13; 6:46; 9:2; 13:3; Luke 6:12; 9:28; 22:39; John 6:3,15; 8:1.

"If ever one of woman born might have lived without prayer, it was our spotless, perfect a Lord, and yet none was ever so much in supplication as he! Such was his love to his Father, that he loved much to be in communion with Him: such his love for his people, that he desired to be much in intercession for them. The fact of this eminent prayerfulness of Jesus is a lesson for us -- he hath given us an example that we may follow in his steps. The time he chose was admirable, it was the hour of silence, when the crowd would not disturb him; the time of inaction, when all but himself had ceased to labour; and the season when slumber made men forget their woes, and cease their applications to Him for relief. While others found rest in sleep, he refreshed himself with prayer. The place was also well selected. He was alone where none would intrude, where none could observe: thus was he free from Pharisaic ostentation and vulgar interruption. Those dark and silent hills were a fit oratory for the Son of God. Heaven and earth in midnight stillness heard the groans and sighs of the mysterious Being in whom both worlds were blended. The continuance of his pleadings is remarkable; the long watches were not too long; the cold wind did not chill his devotions; the grim darkness did not darken his faith, or loneliness check his importunity. We cannot watch with him one hour, but he watched for us whole nights. The occasion for this prayer is notable; it was after his enemies had been enraged -- prayer was his refuge and solace; it was before he sent forth the twelve apostles -- prayer was the gate of his enterprise, the herald of his new work. Should we not learn from Jesus to resort to special prayer when we are under peculiar trial, or contemplate fresh endeavours for the Master's glory?" (CHS).

Luk 6:13

// Num 11:25: Moses chooses 70 elders to assist him. Joshua had taken 12 stones out of Jordan, as a token of Israel's dedication to turn the Land of Promise into God's Kdom. Jesus ("Joshua") now selects 12 men (the first, Peter, a "stone"), baptized in Jordan, to become foundation stones of a new Jerusalem (Rev 21:14). Cp Num 11:25: Moses delegates 70 elders to assist him.

TWELVE... APOSTLES: With 3 purposes (Mar 3:14,15): fellowship, preaching, healing.

Luk 6:15

SIMON WHO WAS CALLED THE ZEALOT: Simon the "tax-hater" (being a Zealot!) joined Matthew the "tax collector". "Strange bed-fellows!"

Luk 6:16

ISCARIOT: Prob "Man of Kerioth", town in south Judea (Jos 15;25). If so, the only non-Galilean (Act 2:7). His father is mentioned (Joh 6:71) -- thus prob a well-known (and rich?) family.

Luk 6:17

STOOD ON A LEVEL PLACE: As though to survey the Land. The seed of Abraham was asserting his right to inherit the Land of promise.

FROM ALL OVER...: See Mat 12:5-21; Mar 3:7-12.

Luk 6:19

All the occasions of Jesus touching, or being touched, in the context of healing (notice that not one of them is in John's gospel): Mat 8:3,15; 9:20,21,29; 14:36; 17:7; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 3:10; 5:27,28,30,31; 6:56; 7:33; 8:22; 10:13; Luk 5:13; 6:19; 7:14,39; 8:44-47; 18:15; 22:51.

Luk 6:20

See Lesson, Poverty, peculiar blessings of.

BLESSED: "Not a passing joy, but a continuing condition of heart."

THE POOR: See Mat 5:3. "Those who are oppressed by the tyrannical power of sin, and who long for the intercession of God" (TM 36). Thus turning upside-down the world's assessment of poverty and riches. Being poor means opportunities for faith, and dependence on God, which the rich must find in other ways.

Luk 6:21

BLESSED ARE YOU WHO HUNGER NOW, FOR YOU WILL BE SATISFIED: Kingdom as a banquet (Mat 8:11,12; Luk 13:29; 22:30; 14:15-24). The only one of the beatitudes to imply an aspiration after something not attained.

BLESSED ARE YOU WHO WEEP NOW: Not for personal loss, but for: (1) Zion (Psa 137:1); (2) God's delay (Dan 10:2); (3) the sins of believers (Ezr 10:6); (4) one's own sins (1Co 5:2; Jam 4:9).

FOR YOU WILL LAUGH: Jesus wept many times (Luk 19:41; Joh 11:35; Heb 5:7). But never is it recorded that he laughed.

Luk 6:22

Vv 22,23: Mat 5:10-12.


Luk 6:23

Persecution as a special privilege (Phi 1:29)!

FOR THAT IS HOW THEIR FATHERS TREATED THE PROPHETS: "By such an experience one joins a noble and glorious fellowship" (WGos 179).

Luk 6:25

// Ecc 7:6.

Luk 6:26

See Jer 5:31. The world's approval can be a danger signal.

Luk 6:27

Nonviolence, submission: Mat 7:12; 10:16; Luk 6:27-31; Isa 53; Rom 12:14-20; 1Co 4:11-13; 6:7; Gal 5:22,23; Eph 4:13; 2Co 11:20; Heb 10:34; 12:14; 1Pe 2:21-23; 3:9; Tit 3:2; Jam 5:6; 1Th 5:14; 2Ti 2:24. Cp examples of Christ (Joh 18:23) and Paul (Act 23:3). Revenge is wrong: Lev 19:18; Pro 20:22; 24:29; 1Co 6:7.

"The sacrifice of God's son bore no relation to justice -- the redemption of the world is upon the principle of forgiveness" (MP 141,142).

Luk 6:28

See Mat 5:10-12; 1Pe 3:16.

Luk 6:30

EVERYONE: Not just your "brother".

Christians should give sacrificially to help people in need. That's what Henry Richards did when he brought the gospel to the people of Banza Mateke. Each day he would translate and explain 10 verses from the book of Luke. When he came to Luk 6, he hesitated because most of his followers were very poor, and might misunderstand this verse. He said that Jesus' words illustrate a principle and had to be interpreted in the light of other Scriptures. But they took them literally and quickly asked for almost everything Richards owned. Without hesitation he gave them what they requested. Soon, his most cherished possessions were in their hands. After talking among themselves, the people concluded that Richards was truly a man of God, for they had never seen anyone so self-sacrificing. One by one they came and returned what he had given them.

Luk 6:31

// Mat 7:12.

Luk 6:35

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES: "Lay your foundation in love and service and kindness. We are never going to help anyone to make a hard decision against the pull of their own animal desires, if we have already embittered them against us by criticism and unconcern: rather in such a case we re-enforce their resistance. We may have gratified our ego by condemning them, and achieved cheap self-satisfaction, but we have done no service for God" (GVG).

SONS OF THE MOST HIGH: The "family likeness" of Rom 8:29.

BECAUSE HE IS KIND...: The Father asks His children only to do what He himself does (Deu 10:17-19).

In Christianity Today, psychiatrist Robert Coles told an amazing story of a girl who had learned to pray for those who were hostile to her. Coles was in new Orleans in 1960 when a federal judge ruled that the city schools must be integrated. A 6-year-old girl, Ruby Bridges, was the only black child to attend the William T Frantz School. Every day for weeks as she entered and left the building, a mob would be standing outside to scream at her and threaten her. They shook their fists, shouted obscenities, and threatened to kill her. One day her teacher saw her lips moving as she walked through the crowd, flanked by burly federal marshals. When the teacher told Coles about it, he asked Ruby if she was talking to the people. "I wasn't talking to them," she replied. "I was just saying a prayer for them."

Coles asked her, "Why do you do that?"

"Because they need praying for," came her reply.


General Robert E Lee was asked what he thought of a fellow officer in the Confederate Army who had made some derogatory remarks about him. Lee rated him as being very satisfactory. The person who asked the question seemed perplexed. "General," he said, "I guess you don't know what he's been saying about you." "I know," answered Lee. "But I was asked my opinion of him, not his opinion of me!"

Luk 6:36

Cp Mat 5:48.

Luk 6:37

JUDGE: "Krinete" = to criticize, discern, divide, as a judge.

CONDEMN: "Katadichazete" = to speak against, formally, as in a courtroom.

FORGIVE, AND YOU WILL BE FORGIVEN: Joh 5:22: judgment committed to Son: 1Co 4:3-5; Rom 2:1,3; 14:4,10,13.

"You are the man!" (2Sa 12:7).

Should we "judge"? Cp sw 1Co 5:3; Luk 12:57; Joh 7:1.

The context in Mat 7 is the "parable" of the mote and the beam (Mat 7:3-5). The saying is found in the rabbinical writings, and is an example of the caustic Jewish humor. It is not difficult to make the transition here from the case of individuals to that of ecclesias or "fellowship" groups. "With what measure we mete and with what judgment we judge, we shall ourselves individually and communally be assessed" (CMPA, Xd 109:12). Who belongs to a "perfect" (or even "near-perfect") group? Are there not always problems nearer to home to occupy the industrious brother, without the necessity of seeking to remove a "mote" from an ecclesial "eye" half-way round the world? We should never judge those in other "fellowships" more severely than we would wish to be judged in the weakest link of our own "fellowship". And if such judgment would make us wince, then perhaps we should re-evaluate our situation!

"The wonderful thing about the Speaker [of Mat 7:1,2] is that he himself is so clear-eyed! There is neither beam nor mote there! He can judge without 'hypocrisy'. And he will. 'The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son' (Joh 5:22). Whosoever therefore usurps this function is guilty of 'contempt of court', 'the court above'! Hence an apostle says to his brethren in the midst of their carnal jealousies and strifes: 'With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you... but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes....' (1Co 4:3-5)... Do not behave as though you sought your brother's damnation rather than his salvation. 'He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends' (Pro 17:9). Do not do it; God hates it!" (CCW, Xd 61:266).

It must not be supposed that Mat 7 [or Luk 6:37] prohibits all ecclesial "judging". Obviously, there are times when ecclesias (through their arranging brothers, or by other means) are called upon to "judge". But in such cases it must be the clear pronouncement of Holy Scripture which provides the basis, and not a whim or passing fancy or even a tradition, well-intended though it be! And judgment must be approached very carefully and humbly, according to the spirit as well as the letter of Mat 18. Some good rules to observe in such cases:
  1. Do not impute to your brethren evil motives (Jam 4:11).
  2. Do not condemn your "weak brother" for what you may consider to be his "imperfect" service (Rom 14:1-13).
  3. Do not withhold forgiveness when the Bible teaches that God can offer it (Jam 2:13). Under no circumstances has our Father laid upon us the burden of being stricter than He has expressly said Himself to be!
  4. Do not anticipate Christ's judgment (1Co 4:5). Our brother is above all else "another man's servant" (Rom 14:4), not our own!
In all the above the emphasis is upon this: We must only with extreme care and reluctance undertake to pass any judgment. We must do so only when absolutely necessary, and not just to satisfy some whim or to elevate ourselves by casting others down. And we must never assume our own infallibility; the Holy Spirit power of "judging" (such as that employed by the apostle Peter upon Ananias and Sapphira) has long since ceased from among the ecclesias.

"It is certainly true that no man ought to speak of a brother's faults behind his back until he have spoken to himself alone, and afterwards with others. But even then, you must be quite sure that the fault is of a kind that would warrant you in withdrawing if he do not submit. If there is any doubt on this head, be silent, and leave the Lord to judge at his coming. We generally find men unwilling to leave things to the Lord. They act as though they had no faith in the Lord's coming, and as if Paul had never written: 'Judge nothing before the time, till the Lord come who will make manifest the counsels of the heart' (1Co 4:5) -- that is, the secret motives which no man can know, and which require to be known before a correct estimate of his action is possible.... It would be wrong for us to judge in personal cases. It is possible to say what ought and what ought not to be done, as a matter of duty for all men; but when it comes to a question whether these are or are not done by particular men, we enter a forbidden field. We must not judge; we must not condemn. We must leave the Lord to do that at his coming. We can, of course, withdraw from a brother who walks disobediently and defends it; but even this we must not do till we have seen him a few times and given him every opportunity of justifying himself. If men were more busy judging THEMSELVES, which they are COMMANDED to do, they would not have so much propensity for judging others, which they are forbidden to do" (RR, Xd 35:388,389).

"The scriptural command is, over and over: 'Judge not, that ye be not judged.' With our puny little limited minds, it is impossible for us to judge fairly, even if we should have all the facts. And we never have ALL the facts.... We must never judge motives, or seek occasions of fault-finding, or believe and peddle hurtful rumors, or talk behind peoples' backs, or speak of sins -- either real or supposed -- TO ANYONE EXCEPT THE PERSON INVOLVED. In doing such, we condemn ourselves. The stern penalties of the law of Christ are very fearful against any of these fleshly abominations: 'As ye judge, so shall ye be judged' " (GVG, Ber 61:81).

"It is always wisdom to judge with mercy and kindness and compassion and fellow-feeling, wherever we must judge at all. When we indulge in the flesh-satisfying practice of judging and criticizing others, we are not only directly disobedient to this command -- we are also manifesting that we do not have the mind and spirit of Christ, and therefore are none of his" (GVG, Ber 57:51).

"However damning the evidence may be against our brother, if we pause and look into our own hearts, we shall go quietly away and leave him with his Lord. There are times when it becomes necessary to take action, but that action must not be taken because we have condemned our brother. It will be taken in the painful consciousness of our own unworthiness, and with a love which will plead intercession before the Throne of Grace. We shall wait with eagerness for the first signs of penitence so that we can joyfully restore the erring one to the fellowship of the saints" (MP 235).

For some reason, it is easier to jump to negative conclusions about people than it is to assume the best about them. When we do this, we ascribe to them bad intentions and evil purposes that may not be true. We also reveal something about ourselves, for the faults we see in others are actually a reflection of our own.

In his little book "Illustrations of Bible Truth", HA Ironside pointed out the folly of judging others. He related an incident in the life of a man called Bishop Potter. He was sailing for Europe on one of the great transatlantic ocean liners. When he went on board, he found that another passenger was to share the cabin with him. After going to see the accommodations, he came up to the purser's desk and inquired if he could leave his gold watch and other valuables in the ship's safe. He explained that ordinarily he never availed himself of that privilege, but he had been to his cabin and had met the man who was to occupy the other berth. Judging from his appearance, he was afraid that he might not be a very trustworthy person.

The purser accepted the responsibility for the valuables and remarked, "It's all right, bishop, I'll be very glad to take care of them for you. The other man has been up here and left his for the same reason!"

"We know that all judgment has been committed to the Son of God and that we are warned not to judge each other. We can all remember the instruction so easily when men try to measure our faults with the unfairness which is nearly always characteristic of human judges. Yet how difficult it is to refrain from judging others. There is a difference of opinion, and human mentality shows at its worst. Instantly there is a tendency to judge motives, to exaggerate faults and to utter condemnations in a manner as if the Lord had never spoken. Some judge the faults or the supposed faults of weaker brethren. Others are busy judging the judges. It is difficult to steer a proper course, but we all are quite well acquainted with the guiding principles. Our difficulties would nearly vanish if we consulted principles more" (PrPr).

Luk 6:38

"With what measure we mete, and with what judgment we judge, we shall ourselves individually and communally be assessed" (CMPA, Xd 109:12; see Mat 7:1,2n).

WILL BE POURED INTO YOUR LAP: Not by men (as KJV puts it), but by God!

Luk 6:39

"The importance of self-criticism in one who is an ecclesial leader" (WGos 223).

Luk 6:41

Vv 41,42: "A hallmark of the unworthy leader: his penchant for wholesale self-righteous censure of others" (WGos 229).

Luk 6:42

"Those things that one cannot improve in himself or in others, he ought to endure patiently, until God arranges things otherwise. Nevertheless when you have such impediments, you ought to pray that God would help you, and that you may bear them kindly.

Endeavor to be patient in bearing with the defects of others, whatever they are; for you also have many failings which must be borne by others. If you cannot make yourself be as you would like to be, how can you expect to have another person be to your liking in every way? We desire to have others perfect, and yet we do not correct our own faults. We would allow others to be severely corrected, and will not be corrected ourselves. We will have others kept under by strict laws, but in no case do we want to be restrained. And so it appears that we seldom weigh our neighbor in the same balance with ourselves" (Thomas a' Kempis).

Luk 6:43

What are "fruits"? (1) type of disciples produced; (2) works in general; or (3) attitude toward Christ.

BAD FRUIT... GOOD FRUIT: Gal 5:22,23; cp Mat 12:33. See 1Ch 4:8n.

Luk 6:44

EVERY TREE IS RECOGNIZED BY ITS OWN FRUIT: Cp parable of tares: sown by the enemy: Mat 13:24-30,36-43.

Cp 1Ch 4:8n.

Luk 6:46

LORD, LORD: Repeating a person's name is a Hebrew expression of intimacy. When God speaks to Abraham at Mount Moriah, as he is about to plunge the knife into the breast of Isaac, He says, "Abraham, Abraham" (Gen 22:11). Or when God encourages Jacob in his old age to take the trip to Egypt, He says, "Jacob, Jacob" (Gen 46:2). Cp the call of Moses from the burning bush: "Moses, Moses" (Exo 3:4) or the call of Samuel in the night, "Samuel, Samuel" (1Sa 3:10). Or consider David's cry of agony, "Absalom, Absalom" (2Sa 18:33), and Jesus' cry of desolation on the cross, "My God, my God" (Mat 27:46). When Jesus confronted Martha (Luk 10:41), when he warned Peter (Luk 22:31), and when he wept over Jerusalem (Mat 23:37) -- in each case we find the word repeated for intimacy's sake.

Some pretend to have a deep relationship with Christ, but this claim is not borne out in their lives. There are many who say, "Lord, Lord", while in fact they live in contempt for Christ's commandments. "If you love me, you will obey what I command," said Jesus (Joh 14:15).

AND DO NOT DO WHAT I SAY: Spoken against those who would "water down" the uncompromising commandments of Jesus.

Luk 6:47

Vv 47-49: // Mat 7:24-27. The language of a "law-giver". All the force of Moses' "10 commandments".

Luk 6:48

WELL-BUILT: That is, built on a rock (Eph 2:20). "Success is simply a matter of pleasing God: happiness is simply a matter of God manifesting His pleasure in our hearts. All else is illusion and delusion: all else is vanity, and -- finally -- sorrow and death. Life can be all deep, quiet, trustful pleasure, even in its pain. Life can be all empty tragedy and failure, even with its glitter and 'success.' Don't build anything on anything but solid rock. If there is no eternal foundation beneath it, then the better we build and the harder we labor, the greater the ultimate loss and remorse. God is the Rock: the only Rock. Build everything you do on Him. It will then stand firm to all eternity" (GVG).

Luk 6:49

// Pro 12:7; 14:11.

A MAN WHO BUILT A HOUSE ON THE GROUND WITHOUT A FOUNDATION: That is, on the sand (Mat 7:26). A parable of the Jews, who relied on their natural descent from Abraham: "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as... the sand on the seashore" (Gen 22:17).

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