Luke 6:1 ¶ 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.
Luke 6:2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?
Luke 6:3 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;
Luke 6:4 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?
Luke 6:5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Luke begins this chapter with a time marker that I didn’t understand—the second Sabbath after what first? A little research revealed that some commentators explain the reckoning of time based on the timing of Passover, which was a Sabbath.
The setting is one in which Jesus and His followers were walking through some corn fields, taking ears of corn (allowed by law) and eating. In the process they were rubbing their hands together (presumably to clean the corn). The Pharisees saw this as breaking the law and confronted Jesus. (That amazes me; they must have been dogging their every step.) Jesus answers them using an incident from scripture (1Samuel 21:1-6). The incident concerns the time that David had to escape from Saul after saying farewell to Jonathan. David was hungry and went to Ahimelech the priest to ask for bread. The only bread available was the showbread that was to be continually kept in the holy place; the priests were allowed to eat it once it was replaced by fresh bread. The priest recognized the need of the men, however, and gave David the bread; he knew that it would not be right to let the men go hungry.
Then Jesus declared Himself, the Son of man, Lord of the Sabbath. He was boldly declaring His authority to determine what was right or wrong. I think Mark adds an important point regarding Jesus’ response.
Mark 2:27–28 “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”
In other words, the Sabbath was meant to be a blessing for man; it was not meant to establish conditions that would harm man. As discussed in the previous chapter, Jesus is presenting the scripture in a “new” light that differed greatly from the “old” practices established in the Talmud.
Luke 6:6 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.
Luke 6:7 And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.
Luke 6:8 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.
Luke 6:9 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?
Luke 6:10 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.
Luke 6:11 And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.
Luke moves on to another incident on another Sabbath in which Jesus is teaching in the synagogue. In the audience was a man with a withered (shrunken and useless) hand. Then we are told that instead of hoping that Jesus would heal the man to give him a better life, the “spiritual leaders” were hoping that He would heal the man so they could accuse Him of breaking the law. Again, knowing what the men were thinking, Jesus tells the man to stand up. He then looks around and poses a question—(my paraphrase) Is it right to do good on the Sabbath and make one whole? Then boldly looking at those present, He healed the man’s hand. This infuriated the scribes and Pharisees, and they began to discuss what to do about Jesus. He was spurning their leadership and belittling their authority before the people.
David Guzik made a good observation: “Apparently, the religious leaders thought it was fine to be filled with rage and desire to kill a godly man who never sinned against anybody on the Sabbath. That was all right, but you better not heal someone on the Sabbath!”
I liked this observation from JFB: “…to neglect any opportunity of doing good is to incur the guilt of doing evil.” That made me think of a verse in James.
James 4:17 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Practice of the letter of the law always hardens one’s heart to the spirit of the law. These men were taking pride in their ability to discipline themselves to obey the law without regard to how that pride was hardening their hearts to the point of a complete lack of compassion toward those in need. This was never the result that God intended the law to have on man.
Mark tells us how Jesus addressed this attitude of the Pharisees.
Mark 7:8–9 “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. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”
Luke 6:12 ¶ And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Luke 6:14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
Luke 6:15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
Luke 6:16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
Luke continues to establish the practice of Jesus to purpose to spend time in prayer with His Father—this time that extended for the duration of the night. This truth emphasizes to me how dependent the man Jesus was on the provision of the Father to Him through His Spirit. That thought really humbles me; I only wish I could maintain my focus that long and be able to talk to the Father that long without falling into rambling.
At this point Luke informs us that Jesus chose twelve (out of many others is implied) disciples that He set apart for special ministry as His apostles—Simon Peter, Andrew (Peter’s brother), James and John (Peter and Andrew’s partners in the fishing business), Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas and Judas Iscariot (the one who betrayed Jesus). The pairing seems to be deliberate to me and may reflect ministry buddies during their time of training with the Savior. Maybe determining the choice of these twelve was the purpose for the night of prayer.
Considering that the twelve apostles would be responsible for establishing the early church, the NIV commentary made an interesting observation: “Jesus probably chose twelve apostles to correspond with the number of tribes of Israel, thereby indicating that a new people of God was coming into existence.”
David Guzik used a quotation in his commentary that reflects my own thinking:
A man once asked a theologian, "Why did Jesus choose Judas Iscariot to be his disciple?" The teacher replied, "I don’t know, but I have an even harder question: Why did Jesus choose me?"
Luke 6:17 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;
Luke 6:18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
Luke 6:19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
“And he came down with them” – This seems to indicate that Jesus time on the mountain was not spent alone, though I am sure He was apart from the others.
When they came down from the mountain, a great multitude of people from all the surrounding country and as far away as Tyre and Sidon (in today’s Lebanon) had gathered to hear Jesus teach and be healed of their diseases and delivered from unclean spirits. Luke emphasizes that ALL who sought it were healed. In fact, he points out that they only had to touch Him to benefit from His virtue (miraculous power).
I’ve noticed when reading scripture that often people are sick because of unclean spirits that possess them. Luke seems to be making a distinction to include those who were being continually harassed or vexed by these unclean spirits as well. I, for one, am convinced that we in the Christian world today do not give much thought to unclean spirits one way or another when considering disease, trouble and oppression. In fact, I am just not sure we give much thought to the reality of supernatural warfare period. Paul is clear in declaring this warfare to be our major source of struggle.
Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Human weapons are quite ineffective in such warfare. That is why Paul tells us that we must appropriate the armor of God.
Ephesians 6:13–18 “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints….”
Most often when I have heard this armor presented, the teaching ends with “the word of God.” I think, however, that the truth of making “prayer and supplication in the Spirit” is necessary for making the most effective use of our armor.
Luke 6:20 ¶ And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
The teaching that Luke records in this next section of verses is noted for its similarity to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, but it is very brief in comparison. Personally, I believe they reference different teachings; and I believe Jesus emphasized the truths He taught many times over throughout His time of ministry. It is also important to note that Luke is clear in stating that this teaching is addressed to His disciples, those that have chosen to follow Him as Lord.
I think that we have to recognize that Jesus is focusing on things that affect the well-being of our Spirit, the true essence of who we are. His first statement is identifying those that have part in the kingdom of God—those who will live in His kingdom for eternity.
Blessed in the Greek references “extremely blessed, fortunate, well off, happy.” At first read it seems an odd word to use with some of these character traits until you recognize the eternal spiritual benefit that accompanies such character.
I think that the reference to being poor corresponds to the “poor in spirit” as stated in Matthew. This would include those who realize that they are spiritually destitute without God’s provision for their healing, for forgiveness of their sins. Following is an excerpt from my study in Matthew.
I think it is also interesting to note that those who are poor in spirit are often those who are truly poor in this world. Those who are poor seem more willing to recognize their need before the Lord than the rich. Why? I think it is because it requires humility to admit you are a sinner. The rich often mistakenly account their wealth as God’s approval on their life. Others who are rich are bound by pride in what “they” have accomplished. Scripture declares this truth elsewhere.
James 2:5 “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”
Matthew 19:24 “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Luke 6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
I think this reference to hunger is that of spiritual hunger; and again I think Matthew clarifies this understanding.
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
Again I will share from my study in Matthew.
This is obviously not a reference to physical hunger, but to spiritual hunger. Scripture is clear that God will be found by those who seek Him, and He will give us the desires of our heart if we acknowledge Him as Lord in our life. Only those who hunger for spiritual nourishment will continue to seek the Lord. When we acknowledge Him as Lord, the desires of our heart will be centered in His desires for us.
Deuteronomy 4:29 “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”
Psalm 9:10 “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”
Psalm 34:10 “…they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.”
Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
I think it is interesting to note that the desire for righteousness results in being filled, which the Greek defines as being “gorged…supplied in abundance…satisfied.” In other words, the provision will be overflowing, far more than we need; satisfaction is a reference to contentment and fulfilled desire.
“blessed are ye that weep….” – I believe this corresponds to mourning in Matthew…
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
…though I really like Luke’s wording—weeping will be turned to laughing. Weeping is a public display of grief or sorrow, and laughter is a public display of joy or satisfaction (from the Greek). I think Luke is showing us how our physical life is always affected by our spiritual life. In other words, we can be joyful in spite of the circumstances surrounding us.
Luke 6:22 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.
Luke 6:23 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.
These verses basically mirror the message of the verses in Matthew except for the phrase “they shall separate you from their company.” The Lord is saying that choosing to follow Him will possibly result in your being hated, taunted and ostracized or alienated “for My sake.” Reality shows that people will even resort to telling lies about those that follow Jesus to justify their own wicked actions. Then, far beyond our normal way of thinking, we are to rejoice with great joy when we are persecuted in that manner. Why? Because it will result in great reward in heaven. Jesus reminds His disciples that the prophets of old had been persecuted in the same way.
Luke 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
Luke 6:25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
As I read this section, I couldn’t help but think of the letter to the Laodiceans in Revelation.
Revelation 3:17–18 “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
I think that Jesus is addressing people with the same attitude in these verses in Luke. The fact that He calls them rich, full and happy is a reference to how they perceive themselves. Because their focus is on the riches and treasures of this world, they will only reap whatever reward this world offers; they are storing up no treasure for eternity. It is then that they will hunger, mourn and weep. I couldn’t help but think of these words of Jesus recorded in Matthew.
Matthew 6:19–21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
In this verse Jesus is declaring the truth that those who are loved by the world are of the world as indicated by the popularity of false prophets who speak according to the itching ears of the people.
Isaiah 30:9–11 “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”
Paul warns Timothy that in the latter days this attitude would become just as prevalent throughout the church as it had become in Israel.
2 Timothy 4:3–4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
Luke 6:27 ¶ But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Luke 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
Jesus continues His message by providing guidelines as to how to live. The word for “love” in the Greek is agapao, to love unconditionally in a social or moral sense; this type of love is a matter of the will. We are to love our enemies and do good to those that hate us. These were not empty words from the mouth of the Lord; during His ministry He exampled this very truth. Following is another excerpt from my study in Matthew:
That totally flies in the face of normal human responses—and that is to the point. As followers of Christ, we are to act supernaturally. Though they did not understand it at the time, it was already in God’s plan to empower those that place their faith in Jesus to be able to overcome the flesh through the Holy Spirit. In fact, that is where the law fell short; it could not empower us to act in obedience. Paul addressed this in his letter to the Romans.
Romans 8:1–5 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
Luke 6:29 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.
Again, from my study in Matthew:
Jesus is declaring that those in His kingdom should be more concerned about showing love than getting justice. It’s the same principle found in the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 25:21-22 “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.”
This type of response is so unexpected that it could cause the wicked person to be ashamed and give you an open door to share with him the things of the Lord. This type of response goes totally against the flesh. Only those who are acting with the empowerment of the Spirit, those who have accepted Jesus as Lord, can hope to respond in this way.
Is Jesus saying that it is wrong to defend yourself? I don’t think so. Scripture is full of times when God’s people have defended themselves against their enemies. In none of the examples in this section of verses did there seem to be an indication of severe injury or a threat to life. They seemed to example times of heated argument or insult or unfair laws. I think the principle is that it is better to trust God for your defense and to avoid physical violence or confrontation whenever possible. The psalmist declared this truth time again.
Psalm 59:17 “Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.”
Psalm 62:2 “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.”
Psalm 89:18 “For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.”
Psalm 94:22 “But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.”
I think it is also important to note that the application was mistreatment of the individual. It is not addressing defense on behalf of another, of those you love or those that are weaker.
Luke 6:30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
And again from Matthew…
This verse really goes with the previous section, but is a little different in that the reference has nothing to do with mistreatment or unfair laws. This is addressing a choice you have to make any time you are approached by someone who wants to borrow from you. The law was clear that you should not refuse to lend to the poor.
Deuteronomy 15:7-8 “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.”
Considering the context, I don’t think that is the main application here. I think the principle would be that everything we have has been given to us by God. We are only stewards of what we possess. In that regard we should be willing to share whenever we have the opportunity. I think it falls under the category of you can’t outgive God. I know that whatever we give to anyone else in honor of Him while trusting Him for our needs will never go unrewarded. Again, I believe that living according to that principle is only possible through the empowerment of the Spirit.
Luke 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
This is the famous golden rule; if only we would truly live by it. Jesus worded it another way in declaring it one of the two greatest commandments.
Mark 12:29–31 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
I think the guiding context in this whole section is love, and the following verse affirms this thought. All our responses to others should be centered on showing love without regard to self. Encourage others to sin is not an act of love. To evidence self-sacrifice and self-control in response to mistreatment and/or provocation from others examples the love of God. We need to trust God to avenge us according to His will.
Luke 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
Luke 6:33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
Luke 6:34 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.
Luke 6:35 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.
Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Jesus is basically saying that those that choose to follow Him are to be different; they are not to act like sinners do. We may be sinners, but we don’t have to act like sinners. Even sinners love those that love them and do good to those that are good to them (loving and doing good from their own perspective). Even sinners are often willing to lend to others as long as they can expect repayment. Followers of Jesus are to be different. We are to love, do good and lend without expectation of anything in return; this will in return result in great eternal reward for us as children of “the Highest.” We are to try to example the Father Who is kind to the unthankful and the evil, Who is full of mercy.
Matthew 5:45 “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Psalms 86:15 “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
Psalms 145:8 “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”
Luke 6:37 ¶ Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
“judge” = to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially), damn, condemn, call into question
“condemn” = to pronounce guilty
“forgive” = to free fully
It’s always helpful to me to look at the meanings of words. We know that we are told elsewhere in scripture to use discernment. I think it is also significant that this statement immediately follows the instruction for us to be merciful. The reference seems to apply to being quick to judge or even call into question someone’s character and/or actions. In other words, one should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
David Guzik makes another important point regarding being judgmental: “We can judge the fruit of others, but we can rarely judge their motives with accuracy.”
I think the main application pertains to condemning others for their sin. More often than not you will find that others will tend to treat you in accordance with how you treat them. I am often reminded of the truth that except for the grace of God, I am sure that sin would characterize my life.
I think it is important to note what it means to forgive—to free fully from any of the consequences of their bad behavior. I treasure the truth declared by the psalmist…
Psalms 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
…and of the writer to the Hebrews.
Hebrews 10:14–17 “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
Luke 6:38 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.
This verse reminds me of the teaching of scripture that you can’t outgive God. Malachi establishes this principle very clearly regarding tithing.
Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
The KJV addition of the words “shall men” in the middle of this verse in Luke is not helpful in this case. I think the context has been clear throughout that it is God Who will reward us for following Him in obedience—not man. It is true, however, that those who are kind and generous to others will more often than not reap the reward of kindness and respect in return.
God is basically saying that He will treat us as we treat others.
Proverbs 22:9 “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.”
Matthew 6:14–15 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Mark 11:25–26 “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
2 Corinthians 9:6 “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”
The verses on forgiveness are heavy statements that are great with import. I think the bottom line is that a true follower of God cannot in clear conscience go to God for forgiveness when he (or she) is harboring unforgiveness against another. We certainly don’t deserve God’s forgiveness or any of the blessings He bestows upon us, so we shouldn’t hold others accountable to a standard that we ourselves cannot meet.
Luke 6:39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
As He often does, Jesus poses rhetorical questions that are meant to cause one to think. In context, Jesus is teaching His disciples spiritual truth. A blind person can’t lead a blind person; a person with vision is needed to lead the blind.
Followers of Jesus are blessed with the ability to understand spiritual truth through the ministry of the Spirit. We cannot expect others to want to hear the truth we have to offer if our lives do not testify to the truth we share.
In Matthew 15 Jesus applied this parable to the teaching of the Pharisees. They couldn’t teach the truth because they did not understand the truth. In fact, what they taught as truth was actually a lie; they were teaching as doctrine the commandments of men—not God.
Luke 6:40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
I think this verse is meant to clarify the context stated above. Those who have chosen to be disciples (followers) of Jesus have in essence stated that they want to be like Him. It was the idea of being “joined together” that stood out to me when I looked at the Greek for “perfect.” When we declare Jesus our Master, our goal should be to make our lives a reflection of His. To be joined together with someone requires that both are working in cooperation with one another, embracing the same truths and morals, and focused on the same purpose.
Luke 6:41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Luke 6:42 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.
In these verses the Lord addresses our propensity to be quick to point out sin in others while overlooking even worse sins in our own lives. Pastor Bob often says something to the effect that your sin looks worse on you than mine does on me. Jesus is telling us that effective ministry requires that we deal with the sin in our own lives first before attempting to help others to recognize their own sin. Jesus is never seeker-sensitive or politically correct; He always declares the truth. If you try to confront others with their sin without first addressing the sin in your own life, you are a hypocrite.
Luke 6:43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Luke 6:44 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.
Luke 6:45 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.
As He often does, Jesus makes an object lesson from nature to teach the next truth. Good fruit trees produce good fruit; bad fruit trees produce bad fruit. Trees are identified by the fruit they produce; you get figs from fig trees and grapes from grapevines.
The application—Men (and women) are like fruit trees. A man who invests in filling his heart with good things will speak good things; a man who does not guard his heart and allows it to be filled with evil things will speak evil things. Conclusion—What is in a man’s heart is revealed by what comes out of his mouth.
I think this conclusion ties in with Jesus’ application to the Pharisees as mentioned in the comments on verse 39 above. Jesus is training His disciples to carry on His ministry and share His message of truth and salvation after He returns to the Father. The message is crucial to the salvation of every man that hears it. Their message would be directly impacted by their character and behavior.
Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Luke 6:47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
Luke 6:48 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.
Luke 6:49 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.
Jesus closes this time of instruction with a very important question. Evidently, these disciples (I am assuming the whole group and not just the 12) had been following Him long enough for Him to notice that many of them were not living according to the principles He was teaching them. His question (my paraphrase)—Why do you call Me Lord and then ignore what I tell you to do?
Jesus then uses another object lesson to make His point. He declares that those who come to Him, listen to Him and then live accordingly are comparable to a man who builds a house by first digging deep and establishing the foundation on a rock. Just like this house would be able to weather the rising tides of the stormy sea, the man who lives according to His instruction will be able to weather the troubles and storms that come into his life. However, the man that chooses to listen but ignore His teaching will be like the man who builds his house on an unstable foundation that will not be able to weather the rising tides of the stormy seas and will end up in ruin. To try to live life in one’s own strength and wisdom will end up in ruin; those who live in dependence upon the strength and wisdom of the Savior will end up in glory.
I think it is significant to note that the strength of the house was dependent on the foundation upon which it was built. So too, we will only be as spiritually strong as the foundation upon which our faith is built. Those who turn to other religions are doomed to fail because there is only one truth—and Jesus is that truth. Those who follow other religions live dependent upon the strength of the flesh; only true Christianity empowers the believer to live in the strength of the Holy Spirit of God.
Isaiah 45:20–22 “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
John 3:17–18 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Acts 4:10-12 “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
1 Timothy 2:5–6 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”