Luke 6 Commentary


Jensen's Survey of the NT by permission
MacArthur's Introduction to the Gospel of Luke
Swindoll's Introduction to Luke - chart on right

Luke 6:1 Now it happened that He was passing through some grainfields on a Sabbath; and His disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating the grain. (NASB95)

NET  Luke 6:1 Jesus was going through the grain fields on a Sabbath, and his disciples picked some heads of wheat, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them.

GNT  Luke 6:1 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν σαββάτῳ διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ σπορίμων, καὶ ἔτιλλον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἤσθιον τοὺς στάχυας ψώχοντες ταῖς χερσίν.

NLT  Luke 6:1 One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of grain, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grain.

KJV  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.

ESV  Luke 6:1 On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands.

NIV  Luke 6:1 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels.

ASV  Luke 6:1 Now it came to pass on a sabbath, that he was going through the grainfields; and his disciples plucked the ears, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

CSB  Luke 6:1 On a Sabbath, He passed through the grainfields. His disciples were picking heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.

NKJ  Luke 6:1 Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands.

NRS  Luke 6:1 One sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them.

YLT  Luke 6:1 And it came to pass, on the second-first sabbath, as he is going through the corn fields, that his disciples were plucking the ears, and were eating, rubbing with the hands,

Summary of first section - The Son of Man Asserts His Authority as Lord of the Sabbath

Luke 6:1–5 Picking, Rubbing, and Eating Grain on the Sabbath
Luke 6:6–11 Healing a Shriveled Hand on the Sabbath

Parallel passages - Words in bold not found in Luke

Matthew 12:1+ At that time (kairos = season, opportune time) Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. 

Mark 2:23+ And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. 

Fruiting Heads of Wheat


Observe Irving Jensen's Luke Overview chart above and notice that from Luke 4:14 through Luke 9:51+ Luke's focus is on (1) the Identification of Jesus as the Son of God and (2) the authentication of His identity by miracles performed during the time of ministry in Galilee over His first 18 months (approximate). In this next section in Luke 6:1-11 we see that one of the other objectives of His early ministry was to challenge the legalism of the Pharisees, a challenge which naturally resulted in opposition which would crescendo on the Cross where the Jews would crucify their Miracle Working Messiah! 

Recall the context - Jesus was about age 30 (Lk 3:23+), He had been baptized by John (Lk 3:21+), the Spirit had come upon Him like a dove (Lk 3:22+) and He had been tempted by the devil for 40 days in the wilderness (Lk 4:1-13+), and now Jesus "in the power of the Spirit" (Lk 4:14+) began His official presentation (as Messiah) to Israel in His hometown synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath by standing up and reading from the prophet Isaiah 61:1-2a+ (Lk 4:16-21+). SABBATH SCENE #1 - He was initially well received ("gracious words" - Lk 4:22+), but after speaking of the healing of a "Gentile dog," "Naaman the Syrian," (Lk 4:23-26, 27+) such opposition and rage arose that the hometown Jews cast Him out of the city and took Him to the brow of the hill (cf modern Mount Precipice) in order to throw Him off the cliff (Lk 4:28+). So from the very outset, this first Sabbath experience ended in Jewish opposition which was to be a harbinger of Sabbath scenes to come! 

This inaugural Sabbath scene was followed by His SABBATH SCENE #2 in which He taught in the synagogue in Capernaum, a city in Galilee, (Lk 4:31-36+) where He cast out a demon from one of the men attending the synagogue (so much for church being a place of holy people), with the result that "the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district." (Lk 4:37+). Luke's subsequent SABBATH SCENES #3-7 (you might consider reading them for context) are described by Luke in Lk 6:1-2+ (SABBATH SCENE #3 in the grain fields - disciples doing "work"), Lk 6:6-9+ (SABBATH SCENE #4 "another Sabbath" in the synagogue - healing a withered hand); Lk 13:10-16 (SABBATH SCENE #5 in the synagogue - healing a woman ill 18 years) and Lk 14:1-5+ (SABBATH SCENE #6 in the home of a leader of the Pharisees - healing man of dropsy). It is notable that Luke's final mention of the Sabbath, the final SABBATH SCENE #7, so to speak, was the description of Jesus' tomb (Lk 23:54-55+), in a sense symbolizing that as the God-Man, the Lord of the Sabbath had accomplished His work of providing the "rest" found in His redemption and was Himself "resting on the Sabbath," and so the women who had visited the tomb also "rested according to the commandment." (Lk 23:56+). 

So we see that Luke describes seven Sabbaths, seven scenes on the seventh day, the holy day to the Jews which Jesus had strategically selected to  challenge their "addition of tradition." (to wit, many traditions!) He knew that the seventh day of the week was the weekly day of rest and worship for Jews and therefore His Sabbath confrontations did not occur by chance (see more on this below) for in so doing He was confronting one of the four major distinctives of Judaism - (1) Sabbath keeping, (2) Circumcision, (3) rules about eating clean and unclean foods and (4) worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. 

God's setting aside of the seventh day, the Sabbath, was originally thoroughly Biblical for God had instituted this special day in the Pentateuch, a day which among many other things, would serve to separate the behavior of the Jews and serve as a witness to the Gentiles that there was something "different" about the Jews, that difference being of course that they had been given access to the only true God in stark contrast to the Gentile worldview plagued by a plethora of pseudo-gods. Can you imagine what the Gentiles thought when they heard some of the absurd, inane, even humorous things the Jews did (see below; see also  Messianic Jewish writer Alfred Erdersheim's description of the perversion of the Sabbath) to pervert (and in fact ultimately profane) the holy Sabbath! And so the Sabbath was a set aside to be a special day, Moses recording...

Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves. (Exodus 23:12)

‘Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. (Deuteronomy 5:13-14)

The Jews had thoroughly perverted God's good day of rest especially abusing the phrase "you shall not do any work" and made it in essence into a "heavy burden" that was onerous! And even though they had made it a day of burden rather than blessing, the Jews still held the Sabbath in such high regard that their "sages" (so-called even though in truth they were not that Biblically wise!) had written the Sabbath would actually be observed in hell (b Sanh 65b). The sages had also written that if Israel kept two Sabbaths perfectly, the  Messiah would come (b Shab 188b)! That is how sacred this day was to the Jews.

As an aside I often hear Christians today saying things like "Have a wonderful Sabbath day," (and similar statements) in referring to worship on Sunday, which is in fact the first day of the week and NOT the seventh day, which was the only true Sabbath Day! While I understand what they mean, such greetings do confuse the importance of the first day of the week, the Lord's Day (Sunday) and the last day of the week, the Sabbath, for as Warren Wiersbe says "The Sabbath is a reminder of the completion of "the old Creation," while the Lord's Day is a reminder of our Lord's finished work in "the new Creation" (2 Cor. 5:21+; Eph 2:10+; Eph 4:24+).The Sabbath speaks of rest after work and relates to the Law, while the Lord's Day speaks of rest before work and relates to grace." (See Wiersbe's thoughts on Sabbath)

Now it happened - First note that the KJV (based on the older manuscript, the Textus Receptus) has a phrase not found in most modern translations - on the second sabbath after the first. In actuality, as discussed above this is not entirely accurate (not to mention that it is not accepted as authentic when compared to better Greek manuscripts), for this is actually Jesus' third Sabbath Scene.

Notice the phrase now it happened. We get the verb happen from the word hap and the Webster's first entry is "to occur by chance." We commonly hear the phrase "it just so happened." Here our English mindset gives us an incorrect meaning of these opening words. They did not happen by chance. Not one thing Jesus did was by accident or chance and this Sabbath encounter is no exception. This was a divinely ordained confrontation of the traditions of the pseudo-pious Pharisees and the truth of the Lord of the Sabbath! Matthew's parallel passage actually uses the Greek word kairos for time which speaks of an opportune time, much like our "window of opportunity." In other words, miss this time and you miss the "opportunity." (cf See Paul's exhortation for believers  to Redeem the Time). Jesus was a man on mission and did not miss opportunities (and as aside remember we are called to "imitate Him" - 1 Cor 11:1+, 1 Jn 2:6+, 1 Pe 2:21+. See Walking Like Jesus Walked! - How are you doing regarding your divine allotment of kairos moments! Don't waste your moments, for they may never occur again! Ben Franklin said "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise" especially in regard to redeeming the time - are you going to bed early that you might wake up early and be ready to redeem the opportunities God gives you EVERY day?)

In this case of course the "opportunity" was the right place, right day, and right actors, so that the stage was set for another confrontation between the Pharisees and Jesus (cf Luke's record of Jesus' first confrontation with religionists and note the time phrase "one day" reflecting once again God's providence - Lk 5:17-21+ - See Providential Happening that changed the life of Ruth the Moabitess). It was the right "season" (kairos)  for a  "perfect storm" ordained by God Who is sovereign over His creation (including storms!), even allowing the creation (in this case the Pharisees) to question their Creator (Jesus)! Notice the irony here for the Hebrew word Sabbath means rest, but it is only by believing in the Person of Jesus that one can find true rest (cf Mt 11:28-30+). These Pharisees were clearly "restless," for there is no spiritual rest in external religious observances! Just as Jesus had taught in the Sermon on the Mount, keeping of external laws (much less man-made non-Biblical traditions) could never bring true rest internally  (and eternally) and righteousness that pleases God (compare Jesus' way in Mt 5:6+ versus the Pharisees' way in Mt 5:20+), for true righteousness comes from the heart of the one who places his or her faith in Christ Jesus our Rest! (cf Ro 10:9-10+). Have you entered His perfect rest by grace through faith in the Lord of the Sabbath (Rest)?  Play Kari Jobe's "Be Still My Soul - In You I Rest."

He was passing through some grainfields on a Sabbath - As discussed above Jesus passing was providential not perchance! It was on a Sabbath which was God's perfect timing for a confrontation between those who were righteous in their own eyes and the only One Righteous in God's eyes! It was in a sense a war of the worlds, a war between the temporal world of the Pharisees and the eternal world of God's Kingdom.

We might subtitle this section confrontation in some grainfields. Other confrontations had been in synagogues and in Peter's home, but now the confrontation is "out in the open" so to speak. From here on in cornfields to the Cross, the Pharisees will fight with "no holds barred." 

Grainfields (4702)(sporimos from speiro = to sow) is an adjective (in neuter plural =  tá spórima) which pertains to being sown and thus means sown fields, fields of growing grain (Three times in the NT  = Mt. 12:1; Mark 2:23; Luke 6:1 and in the Septuagint only in Gen. 1:29 - twice and Lev. 11:37). The grain is most likely either wheat or barley and since it was ripe enough to eat, this event probably occurred in either spring or summer.

On a Sabbath -  This phrase on a Sabbath is found in Matt. 12:2; Matt. 24:20; Lk. 6:1; Lk. 14:5. Click here for lengthy discussion of the Sabbath in the commentary on Leviticus 23:3.  Robertson reminds us that this is Jesus' second Sabbath confrontation in the Gospel of Luke - The first was Luke 4:31-41. There was another in John 5:1-47. See word study on the Hebrew word for Sabbath (07676) which is sabbat which derives from the verb shabath (07673) meaning to desist (from exertion), cease (see this use of the verb in Ge 8:22, Jer 31:36-note), rest (first used of God resting in Creation - Ge 2:2-3), repose, cease from labor. So here the noun form sabbat means intermission, the Sabbath (day), the day of rest, the holy seventh day; a week, the sacred 7th year, a sabbatical year. It was not until the giving of the Law at Mt Sinai that the keeping of the Sabbath became a part of the law and a sign of God's covenant relationship with His people (Ex 20:8-11 Ex 31:12-17).

Sabbath (4521)(sabbaton from shabath 07673 = to cease from work, intermission - see note on shabath) in this context refers to the seventh day of the week, held sacred by the Jews (Mt 12:8; Mk 2:27f; Lk 6:7, 9; Jn 5:9f, 18; Acts 1:12; 13:27, 44)

Sabbath = The Sabbath day (Sabbath is from a verb meaning “to cease, ““to desist,” or “to rest” cf. Ge. 2:2) was given to the Jews after they came out of Egypt (Ex. 20:8-11; Neh. 9:14) and was a special sign between Jehovah and His chosen people (Ex 31:13-17). It was to be a day of rest, refreshment, and worship for God's people. It was also a covenant sign indicative of Jehovah's authority in the nation of Israel. No other nation was given a Sabbath (cf Ps 147:19-20). When Israel kept the Sabbath, they showed the pagan nations that they were a distinctive people and were subject to their God. Keeping Sabbath was in a sense a way of demonstrating Israel's trust in God, trusting that He would honor their labors with fruit. We may plant the seeds and water them, but it is God who gives the increase (1 Cor 3:6). But the Jews had begun to cherish the Sabbath as a religious ritual. Jesus is in a sense "declaring war" on the religious establishment which worshiped the Sabbath but not necessarily the God of the Sabbath. 

His disciples (mathetes) were picking the heads of grain - As background only Mt 12:1+ adds that "His disciples became hungry." Mark adds that the disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads (Mk 2:23+). Literally Mark says they "began to make a way plucking the ears." Mark is not saying the disciples began to trample through the grain fields. Jesus' disciples (including the 12 but probably others as discerned from Lk 6:13+ where "He chose twelve" implying from among others who were following) were picking which in the imperfect tense depicts them repeatedly plucking heads of grain as they walked along. This is an interesting verb for picking (tillo) in classical Greek it was used most often of pulling out hair or feathers, which gives us a good picture of what they were doing. And since it was the Sabbath what they were doing was interpreted as work in the eyes of the legalistic hypocritical hyper-critical Pharisees.  MacArthur specifically states that "the disciples were guilty in the eyes of the Pharisees of reaping (picking the grain), threshing (rubbing the husks together to separate the chaff from the grain), and winnowing (throwing the husks away), and thus preparing food." Is it not absurd how far legalism will go when it veers from what is stated clearly in the Word of God! In fact what the disciples were doing was permitted by the Law, for Moses stated only one Sabbath restriction and that was that one could not fill a vessel or use a harvesting implement!  "When you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, then you may eat grapes until you are fully satisfied, but you shall not put any in your basket. “When you enter your neighbor’s standing grain, then you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not wield a sickle in your neighbor’s standing grain." (Dt. 23:24-25)

Think for a moment of what it must have been like to be a Jew ever in the watchful eyes of the Pharisees who served as  "legalistic police!" For law-keeping Jews, there was a frantic need to know a mountain of traditional regulations concerning it and a constant dread lest some minor infraction of an unknown rule might bring divine disfavour on their heads. They had even prescribed the amount that could be plucked and eaten on the Sabbath and it need be no larger than the size of a dried fig, hardly enough to satisfy ones hunger but large enough to convict a sabbath-breaker should they gather more than a fig-sized portion! This was a law of the rabbis, not a law of Moses, the law of God. God cared for men and had made allowance for hungry travelers (Dt 23:25), but the Pharisees could care less!

Picking (5089)(tillo) means to pluck, to pull, to pull out commonly used to describe the action of picking or plucking something such as grass or heads of grain. Tillo was used in medicine to pull out hairs. This verb is incorporated in the name of a disorder known as trichotillomania in which people compulsively pull out their hair. Uses only in the synoptic accounts in Matt. 12:1; Mk. 2:23; Lk. 6:1. Liddell-Scott has other meanings in classic Greek - to tear one's hair in sorrow for any one, metaphorically to pluck, vex, annoy. Three times in the Septuagint - Ezra 9:3 ("pulled some of the hair from my head and my beard" - in great distress), Isa 18:7, Da 7:4. 

Heads of grain (4719)(stachus) describes the  the fruiting spike of a cereal grain, head or ear (of grain). It also means (not used this way in NT) the flower of the aromatic plant spikenard, shaped like a head of grain. Louw-Nida says stachus refers to "the dense spiky cluster in which the seeds of grain such as wheat and barley grow (restricted in NT contexts to references to wheat)" In Romans 16:9 it is a proper name of a man Stachys. L-S says that in classic Greek it could refer generally to a scion, child, progeny. This noun is frequently used in the Septuagint and in Greek literature denoting an “ear of corn (grain).” Stachus is used repeatedly in the Septuagint in the prophecy God gave to Joseph about the "seven ears of grain." (Ge 41:5) that resulted in him being elevated to the position of power in Egypt second only to Pharaoh. This is the word used in the providential meeting of Boaz and Ruth "And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”" (Ru 2:2). It is used in Dt 23:25 "When you enter your neighbor’s standing grain, then you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not wield a sickle in your neighbor’s standing grain."

Rubbing them in their hands, and eating (esthio in imperfect tense = taking a bite, then another and another of) the grain - Rubbing is the verb psocho (only use in the Bible) in the present tense (continually rubbing) which BDAG says means "rub something under pressure so as to make it smaller or to rub so as to thresh or separate the seed from its husk."  Rubbing them in their hands is recorded only by Luke and as noted above is significant for this act is what the Pharisees interpreted as performing the work of threshing on the Sabbath! Plummer agrees that "According to Rabbinical notions, it was reaping, threshing, winnowing, and preparing food all at once." (See some of the the Rabbinical rules below regarding the Sabbath)

m. Šabbat 7.2 This passage from the Mishnah, if at all representative of the kinds of prohibitions in Jesus’ day, reveals the strictness with which the commandment “to keep the Sabbath holy” was understood.

  A. The generative categories of acts of labor [prohibited on the Sabbath] are forty less one:
  B. (1) he who sews, (2) ploughs, (3) reaps, (4) binds sheaves, (5) threshes, (6) winnows, (7) selects [fit from unfit produce or crops], (8) grinds, (9) sifts, (10) kneads, (11) bakes;
  C. (12) who shears wool, (13) washes it, (14) beats it, (15) dyes it;
  D. (16) spins, (17) weaves,
  E. (18) makes two loops, (19) weaves two threads, (20) separates two threads;
  F. (21) ties, (22) unties,
  G. (23) sews two stitches, (24) tears in order to sew two stitches;
  H. (25) he who traps a deer, (26) slaughters it, (27) flays it, (28) salts it, (29) curds its hide, (30) scrapes it, and (31) cuts it up;
  I. (32) he who writes two letters, (33) erases two letters in order to write two letters;
  J. (34) he who builds, (35) tears down;
  K. (36) he who puts out a fire, (37) kindles a fire;
  L. (38) he who hits with a hammer; (39) he who transports an object from one domain to another—
  M. lo, these are the forty generative acts of labor less one.

THOUGHT: The Pharisees as usual were "splitting hairs." Stated another way the Pharisees were straining out gnats and swallowing camels as Jesus accused them of in Mt 23:24 declaring "You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" Jesus was saying that the Pharisees picked out the smallest and least points to focus on (which in fact were not even God's commandments but men's additions - see the "addition" in "B.(1)" above), while completely ignoring the most important matters, like compassion (they could care less that Jesus' disciples were hungry!). Jesus uses hyperbole imagining someone about to take a drink of water from a cup, noticing that there is a tiny gnat (pix) in it, and straining the water to remove the gnat and then drinks the water, never noticing that there was a camel floating in the cup (so to speak of course!) Jesus makes the point rather dramatically that the religious leaders were focusing on lesser matters written by fallen men, while completely ignoring the more important matters of the holy God! Isn't that what our flesh is so prone to do! We all have a bit of "Pharisee" in us from time to time. Lord, deliver us by Your Spirit and the Law of the LORD which is perfect reviving our souls. In Jesus Name. Amen (Ps 19:7+).  

Background on the Sabbath Rules

John MacArthur on the endless number of Sabbath rules -

"The Talmud devotes twenty-four chapters to Sabbath regulations, describing in painfully exhaustive detail what was and was not permitted to be done. The result was a ridiculously complex system of external behavior restraints—so much so that one rabbi spent two and a half years studying just one of the twenty-four chapters! For example, traveling more than 3,000 feet from home was forbidden. But if one had placed food at the 3,000 foot point before the Sabbath, that point would then be considered a home, since there was food there, and allow another 3,000 feet of travel. Similarly, a piece of wood or a rope placed across the end of a narrow street or alley constituted a doorway. That could then be considered the front door of one’s house, and permit the 3,000 feet of travel to begin there. There were also regulations about carrying items. Something lifted up in a public place could only be set down in a private place, and vice versa. An object tossed into the air could be caught with the same hand, but if it was caught with the other hand, it would be a Sabbath violation. If a person had reached out to pick up food when the Sabbath began, the food had to be dropped; to bring the arm back while holding the food would be to carry a burden on the Sabbath. It was forbidden to carry anything heavier than a dried fig (though something weighing half as much could be carried two times). A tailor could not carry his needle, a scribe his pen, or a student his books. Only enough ink to write two letters (of the alphabet) could be carried. A letter could not be sent, not even with a non-Jew. Clothes could not be examined or shaken out before being put on because an insect might be killed in the process, which would be work. No fire could be lit, or put out. Cold water could be poured into warm water, but not warm into cold. An egg could not be cooked, not even by placing it in hot sand during the summer. Nothing could be sold or bought. Bathing was forbidden, lest water be spilled on the floor and wash it. Moving a chair was not allowed, since it might make a rut in a dirt floor, which was too much like plowing. Women were forbidden to look in a mirror, since if they saw a white hair, they might be tempted to pull it out. Other forbidden things included sowing, plowing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, grinding, kneading, baking, shearing, washing, beating, dyeing, or spinning wool, tying or untying a knot, catching, killing, or skinning a deer, salting its meat, or preparing its skin....It was to people crushed by the unbearable burden (Matt. 23:4; Luke 11:46; Acts 15:10) of manmade, legalistic regulations that the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30-note). (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10)

Warren Wiersbe on the Sabbath -  

The sanctity of the seventh day was a distinctive part of the Jewish faith. God gave Israel the Sabbath law at Sinai (Neh. 9:13-14) and made it a sign between Him and the nation (Ex. 20:8-11; 31:12-17). The word Sabbath means "rest" and is linked with God's cessation of work after the six days of Creation (Ge 2:2-3). Some of the rabbis taught that Messiah could not come until Israel had perfectly kept the Sabbath (ED: ACTUALLY TWO SABBATHS), so obeying this law was very important both personally and nationally.

To call Sunday "the Sabbath" is to confuse the first day and the seventh day and what each signifies.

The Sabbath is a reminder of the completion of "the old Creation," while the Lord's Day is a reminder of our Lord's finished work in "the new Creation" (2 Cor. 5:21; Eph 2:10; Eph 4:24).

The Sabbath speaks of rest after work and relates to the Law, while the Lord's Day speaks of rest before work and relates to grace.

The Lord's Day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead as well as the coming of the Holy Spirit and the "birthday" of the church (Acts 2).

The early church met on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2). However, some Jewish believers kept the Sabbath, and this sometimes led to division. Paul addressed this problem in Romans 14:1-15:13 where he gave principles to promote both liberty and unity in the church. But Paul always made it clear that observing special days had nothing to do with salvation (Gal. 4:1-11; Col. 2:8-17).

We are not saved from sin by faith in Christ plus keeping the Sabbath. We are saved by faith in Christ alone.

By their strict and oppressive rules, the Pharisees and scribes had turned the Sabbath Day into a burden instead of the blessing God meant it to be, and Jesus challenged both their doctrine and their authority. He had announced a new "Year of Jubilee" (Luke 4:19), and now He would declare a new Sabbath. He had already healed a lame man on the Sabbath, and the religious leaders had determined to kill Him (John 5:18; also John 5:16). Now He was to violate their Sabbath laws on two more occasions. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Alfred Edersheim has a lengthy discussion on the man-made rules that were to be followed on the Sabbath, writing "The terribly exaggerated views of the Rabbis, and their endless, burdensome rules about the Sabbath may best be learned from a brief analysis of the Mishnah, as further explained and enlarged in the Jerusalem Talmud. [6476] For this purpose a brief analysis of what is, confessedly, one of the most difficult tractates may here be given." (See Appendix xvii. The Ordinances and Law of the Sabbath as Laid Down in the Mishnah and the Jerusalem Talmud)

Related Resources on Sabbath:

ILLUSTRATION - Captain Eddie Rickenbacker and seven crew members ditched their plane into the Pacific Ocean on October 21, 1942, and found themselves stranded on three rafts with no water and only four oranges. Tying their boats together, they drifted day after day without food or water, sometimes delirious, tortured by the relentless sun, and constantly encircled by the triangular dorsal fins of sharks.

What followed is one of the most incredible stories of our time. "If it weren't for the fact that I had seven witnesses," Rickenbacker later said, "I wouldn't dare tell this story because it seems so fantastic." The men credited their amazing survival to something in the pocket of Private Johnny Bartek. It was a pocket-sized, khaki-bound New Testament with a zipper arrangement that made it waterproof. From the beginning, Bartek, a devoted Bible student, maintained his morning and evening devotions. All the men began joining him. Starting in Matthew's Gospel, they soon came to Mt 6:31-34. It immediately became their hope, inspiration, and prayer.

Matthew 6:31-34... Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? [32] (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. [33] But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. [34] Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

This passage was like an anchor for these men floating at sea. As the men read those verses day after day, provisions arrived in the nick of time and in very bizarre ways. Just when they were near starvation, for example, a bird would inexplicably land on Rickenbacker's head and they would grab it, carve it up for food, and use its innards for fishing bait. Just when they were near death by thirst, a cloud would drift over and fill their raft with drinking water.

Later, one of the men, Lieutenant James Whittaker, wrote a best-selling account of the ordeal entitled We Thought We Heard the Angels Sing, in which he described finding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ during those 21 never-to-be-forgotten days. Whittaker said, "I don't think there was a man of us who didn't thank God for that little khaki-covered book. It led us to prayer and prayer led us to safety."

Thank God we have a Lord who can satisfy our cravings! His love squelches our loneliness. His serenity smothers our sadness. His fulness leaves us full and satisfied. (Rod Mattoon - Mattoon's Treasures from Luke, Volume 1)

Luke 6:2  But some of the Pharisees said, "Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"

NET  Luke 6:2 But some of the Pharisees said, "Why are you doing what is against the law on the Sabbath?"

GNT  Luke 6:2 τινὲς δὲ τῶν Φαρισαίων εἶπαν, Τί ποιεῖτε ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν;

NLT  Luke 6:2 But some Pharisees said, "Why are you breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?"

KJV  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?

ESV  Luke 6:2 But some of the Pharisees said, "Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?"

NIV  Luke 6:2 Some of the Pharisees asked, "Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"

ASV  Luke 6:2 But certain of the Pharisees said, Why do ye that which it is not lawful to do on the sabbath day?

CSB  Luke 6:2 But some of the Pharisees said, "Why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"

NKJ  Luke 6:2 And some of the Pharisees said to them, "Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?"

NRS  Luke 6:2 But some of the Pharisees said, "Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?"

YLT  Luke 6:2 and certain of the Pharisees said to them, 'Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbaths?'


Parallel passages - Words in bold not found in Luke

Matthew 12:2+ But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.” 

Mark 2:24+ The Pharisees were saying to (imperfect tense = over and over they were questioning) Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 

But some of the Pharisees said - Now where did these "brood of vipers" (Mt 3:7+) come from? It is interesting that in the first two SABBATH SCENES (#1 and #2) described above, there is no mention of opposition from the Pharisees. Notice however that after Jesus had cast out the demon in SABBATH SCENE #2 the result was that "the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district." (Lk 4:37+). So most likely somewhere about this time the "spiritual antennae" (so to speak) of the Pharisees began to "vibrate." Jesus was now no longer incognito but "on the radar" of the Pharisees! 

Mark is more descriptive writing "The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing (poieo in present tense = continually doing) what is (ou = absolutely) not lawful on the Sabbath?” (Mk 2:24+) where were saying is in the imperfect tense picturing the pernicious Pharisees as questioning Jesus again and again. You can almost hear them prattle on! These legalists were ever on high alert to find "legal" (their version of legal, not God's!) violations by Jesus, ever looking for some accusation that would stick against Him in their religious courts so they could debunk this dangerous (to their reputations and pocket books!) "Miracle Worker." As Wiersbe laments "How tragic that their slavish devotion to religious rules blinded them to the true ministry of the Law as well as the very presence of the Lord who gave them the Law." (BEC)

Pharisees (5330)(pharisaios) is transliterated from Hebrew parash (06567 - to separate) which is from an Aramaic word peras  (06537) ("Peres" in Da 5:28-note), signifying to separate, owing to a different manner of life from that of the general public. After the resettling of the Jewish people in Judea on their return from the Babylonian captivity, there were two religious groups among them. One party contented themselves with following only what was written in the Law of Moses. These were called Zadikim, the (so-called) "righteous one." The other group added the constitutions and traditions of the elders, as well as other rigorous observances, to the Law and voluntarily complied with them. They were called Chasidim or the pious, who beyond the legal requirements of ritual and ethical Jewish observance in daily life. From the Zadikim the sects of the Sadducees and Karaites were derived. From the Chasidim were derived the Pharisees and the Essenes. In 1 Macc 2:42RSV, among the persons who joined Mattathias against Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), about 167 b.c., are named the Asideans (Asidaíoi), who are described as voluntarily devoted to the law. The Asideans are mentioned also in 1 Macc 7:13RSV; 2 Macc14:6RSV. In the time of our Lord, the Pharisees were the separatists of their day, as well as the principal sect among the Jews. The Pharisees considered themselves much holier than the common people (Lk 18:11, 12+). They wore special garments to distinguish themselves from others (See Edersheim's description). PRINCIPLE TENETS OF PHARISEES: In opposition to the Sadducees, the Pharisees maintained the existence of angels and spirits and the doctrine of the resurrection (Acts 23:8+), which the Sadducees denied (Mt 22:23; Mk 12:18; Lu 20:27+). The Pharisees made everything dependent upon God and fate (see Josephus, The Jewish Wars, ii.8.14 - scroll down). However, they did not deny the role of the human will in affecting events (see Josephus, Antiquities, xviii.1.3). They prided themselves on their ZEAL FOR TRADITION: The Pharisees distinguished themselves with their zeal for the traditions of the elders, which they erroneously taught was derived from the same fountain as the written Word itself (LIKE SOME RELIGIONS DO TODAY PLACING PRONOUNCEMENTS OF MERE MEN ON THE SAME PEDESTAL AS PROCLAMATIONS OF THE HOLY GOD!), claiming both to have been delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai (Mt 15:1-6; Mk 7:3-5). See also paradosis (3862), tradition, and éntalma (1778), a religious precept versus entole (1785), commandment. (See more detailed notes from William BarclayBaker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology has an excellent summary of Pharisees.

Pharisees in the Gospel of Luke and Acts - Lk. 5:17; Lk. 5:21; Lk. 5:30; Lk. 5:33; Lk. 6:2; Lk. 6:7; Lk. 7:30; Lk. 7:36; Lk. 7:37; Lk. 7:39; Lk. 11:37; Lk. 11:38; Lk. 11:39; Lk. 11:42; Lk. 11:43; Lk. 11:53; Lk. 12:1; Lk. 13:31; Lk. 14:1; Lk. 14:3; Lk. 15:2; Lk. 16:14; Lk. 17:20; Lk. 18:10; Lk. 18:11; Lk. 19:39;  Acts 5:34; Acts 15:5; Acts 23:6; Acts 23:7; Acts 23:8; Acts 23:9; Acts 26:5; Phil. 3:5

Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath? - If you compare the parallel passages in Matthew and Mark, you notice that the Pharisees make the accusation against His disciples, but Luke records they directly accuse Him as their "Rabbi" for here the "you" is plural (including both Jesus and His disciples). Both versions are compatible because Mark says they were saying this over and over, so sometimes they alluded to the disciples and sometimes to Jesus as their Leader. As described above, the Pharisees and Scribes had turned the Sabbath Day into a burden instead of the blessing God meant it to be for the people (See MacArthur's examples of the ridiculous burdens these vipers added to the Word of God and in effect "set aside the commandment of God in order to keep their traditions." Mk 7:9+). Steeped in their man-made laws and regulations, they saw this as unlawful although God had not stated it was unlawful. As discussed above it was lawful to pick grain from another's field to satisfy hunger (Dt. 23:25). In short, they were not breaking the Sabbath based on God's Word. At the institution of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Moses was told by God regarding Sabbaths, "On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, EXCEPT what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you." (Ex 12:16). The disciples were "preparing" the grain for themselves. Notice they were not roasting it or cooking it in any way, simply eating it to satisfy their hunger. 

Edersheim on why it was not lawful on the Sabbath - On any ordinary day this would have been lawful; but on the Sabbath it involved, according to the Rabbinic statutes, at least two sins, viz., plucking the ears, which was reaping, and rubbing them in their hands (Luke 6:1), which was sifting, grinding, or fanning. The Talmud says: 'In case a woman rolls wheat to remove the husks, it is considered as sifting; if she rubs the heads of wheat, it is regarded as threshing; if she cleans off the side-adherencies, it is sifting out fruit; if she bruises the ears, it is grinding; if she throws them up in her hand, it is winnowing'" (Life and Times of Jesus)

Lawful (1832)(exesti from from ek = out + eimí = to be)   is an impersonal verb, signifying "it is permitted, it is lawful" (or interrogatively, "is it lawful?"). Exesti occurs most frequently in the synoptic Gospels and the Acts, especially in Jesus' conflicts with the Pharisees over His actions (and those of His disciples) on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:2; 12:4; 12:10; 12:12, etc). 

BDAG - 1. to be authorized for the doing of something - it is right, is authorized, is permitted, is proper. 2. to be within the range of possibility, it is possible (Acts 2:29)

Friberg notes exesti is an impersonal verb; (1) as denoting that there are no hindrances to an action or that the opportunity for it occurs it is possible, followed by an infinitive ( Acts 2.29); (2) predominately as denoting that an action is not prevented by a higher court or by law it is permitted, it is lawful, it may be done (Mk 10.2) (Analytical Lexicon)

TDNT on exesti - “It is free,” denoting a. an action that is possible because there is occasion for it or no obstacle to it, b. an action that is not prevented by a higher norm or court, and c. an action to which there is no psychological or ethical block. In the NT the term mostly refers to God’s law or will with its specific demands, especially the OT law.

Exesti - lawful(26), may(3), permissible(1), permitted(2). Matt. 12:2; Matt. 12:4; Matt. 12:10; Matt. 12:12; Matt. 14:4; Matt. 19:3; Matt. 20:15; Matt. 22:17; Matt. 27:6; Mk. 2:24; Mk. 2:26; Mk. 3:4; Mk. 6:18; Mk. 10:2; Mk. 12:14; Lk. 6:2; Lk. 6:4; Lk. 6:9; Lk. 14:3; Lk. 20:22; Jn. 5:10; Jn. 18:31; Acts 2:29; Acts 8:37; Acts 16:21; Acts 21:37; Acts 22:25; 1 Co. 6:12; 1 Co. 10:23; 2 Co. 12:4

Exesti is used only 3 times in the Septuagint - Ezra 4:14 (""it is not fitting"), Esther 4:2 ("no one was [permitted] to enter the king's gate wearing sackcloth and ashes"), Esther 8:12.


Barclay's notes on the Pharisees and the ministry of Jesus - 

If we are to understand what happened to Jesus we must understand something about the Law, and the relationship of the scribes and the Pharisees to it. When the Jews returned from Babylon about 440 b.c. they knew well that, humanly speaking, their hopes of national greatness were gone. They therefore deliberately decided that they would find their greatness in being a people of the law. They would bend all their energies to knowing and keeping God’s law.

The basis of the law was the Ten Commandments. These commandments are principles for life. They are not rules and regulations; they do not legislate for each event and for every circumstance. For a certain section of the Jews that was not enough. They desired not great principles but a rule to cover every conceivable situation. From the Ten Commandments they proceeded to develop and elaborate these rules.

Let us take an example. The commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy”; and then goes on to lay it down that on the Sabbath no work must be done (Exodus 20:8–11). But the Jews asked, “What is work?” and went on to define it under thirty-nine different heads which they called “Fathers of Work.” Even that was not enough. Each of these heads was greatly sub-divided. Thousands of rules and regulations began to emerge. These were called the Oral Law, and they began to be set even above the Ten Commandments.

Again, let us take an actual example. One of the works forbidden on the Sabbath was carrying a burden. Jeremiah 17:21–24 says, “Take heed for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day.” But, the legalists insisted, a burden must be defined. So definition was given. A burden is “food equal in weight to a dried fig, enough wine for mixing in a goblet, milk enough for one swallow, oil enough to anoint a small member, water enough to moisten an eye-salve, paper enough to write a custom-house notice upon, ink enough to write two letters, reed enough to make a pen” … and so on endlessly. So for a tailor to leave a pin or needle in his robe on the Sabbath was to break the law and to sin; to pick up a stone big enough to fling at a bird on the Sabbath was to sin. Goodness became identified with these endless rules and regulations.
Let us take another example. To heal on the Sabbath was to work. It was laid down that only if life was in actual danger could healing be done; and then steps could be taken only to keep the sufferer from getting worse, not to improve his condition. A plain bandage could be put on a wound, but not any ointment; plain wadding could be put into a sore ear, but not medicated. It is easy to see that there was no limit to this.

The scribes were the experts in the law who knew all these rules and regulations, and who deduced them from the law. The name Pharisee means “The Separated One”; and the Pharisees were those who had separated themselves from ordinary people and ordinary life in order to keep these rules and regulations. Note two things. First, for the scribes and Pharisees these rules were a matter of life and death; to break one of them was deadly sin. Second, only people desperately in earnest would ever have tried to keep them, for they must have made life supremely uncomfortable. It was only the best people who would even make the attempt.

Jesus had no use for rules and regulations like that. For him, the cry of human need superseded all such things. But to the scribes and Pharisees he was a law-breaker, a bad man who broke the law and taught others to do the same. That is why they hated him and in the end killed him. The tragedy of the life of Jesus was that those who were most in earnest about their religion drove him to the Cross. It was the irony of things that the best people of the day ultimately crucified him. From this time on there was to be no rest for him. Always he was to be under the scrutiny of hostile and critical eyes. The opposition had crystallized and there was but one end. Jesus knew this and before he met the opposition he withdrew to pray. The love in the eyes of God compensated him for the hate in the eyes of men. The approval of God nerved him to meet the criticism of men. He drew strength for the battle of life from the peace of God—and it is enough for the disciple that he should be as his Lord. (Daily Study Bible)

Here is another description of the Pharisees by Barclay - 

In many ways the Pharisees were the best people in the whole country. There were never more than 6,000 of them; they were what was known as a chaburah, or brotherhood. They entered into this brotherhood by taking a pledge in front of three witnesses that they would spend all their lives observing every detail of the scribal law. What exactly did that mean? To the Jew the Law was the most sacred thing in all the world. The Law was the first five books of the Old Testament. They believed it to be the perfect word of God. To add one word to it or to take one word away from it was a deadly sin. Now if the Law is the perfect and complete word of God, that must mean that it contained everything a man need know for the living of a good life, if not explicitly, then implicitly. If it was not there is so many words, it must be possible to deduce it. The Law as it stood consisted of great, wide, noble principles which a man had to work out for himself. But for the later Jews that was not enough. They said: “The Law is complete; it contains everything necessary for the living of a good life; therefore in the Law there must be a regulation to govern every possible incident in every possible moment for every possible man.” So they set out to extract from the great principles of the law an infinite number of rules and regulations to govern every conceivable situation in life. In other words they changed the law of the great principles into the legalism of by-laws and regulations. The best example of what they did is to be seen in the Sabbath law. In the Bible itself we are simply told that we must remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy and that on that day no work must be done, either by a man or by his servants or his animals. Not content with that, the later Jews spent hour after hour and generation after generation defining what work is and listing the things that may and may not be done on the Sabbath day. The Mishnah is the codified scribal law. The scribes spent their lives working out these rules and regulations. In the Mishnah the section on the Sabbath extends to no fewer than twenty-four chapters. The Talmud is the explanatory commentary on the Mishnah, and in the Jerusalem Talmud the section explaining the Sabbath law runs to sixty-four and a half columns; and in the Babylonian Talmud it runs to one hundred and fifty-six double folio pages. And we are told about a rabbi who spent two and a half years in studying one of the twenty-four chapters of the MishnahThe kind of thing they did was this. To tie a knot on the Sabbath was to work; but a knot had to be defined. “The following are the knots the making of which renders a man guilty; the knot of camel drivers and that of sailors; and as one is guilty by reason of tying them, so also of untying them.” On the other hand knots which could be tied or untied with one hand were quite legal. Further, “a woman may tie up a slit in her shift and the strings of her cap and those of her girdle, the straps of shoes or sandals, of skins of wine and oil.” Now see what happened. Suppose a man wished to let down a bucket into a well to draw water on the Sabbath day. He could not tie a rope to it, for a knot on a rope was illegal on the Sabbath; but he could tie it to a woman’s girdle and let it down, for a knot in a girdle was quite legal. That was the kind of thing which to the scribes and Pharisees was a matter of life and death; that was religion; that to them was pleasing and serving God. Take the case of journeying on the Sabbath. Ex 16:29 says: “Remain every man of you in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” A Sabbath day’s journey was therefore limited to two thousand cubits, that is, one thousand yards. But, if a rope was tied across the end of a street, the whole street became one house and a man could go a thousand yards beyond the end of the street. Or, if a man deposited enough food for one meal on Friday evening at any given place, that place technically became his house and he could go a thousand yards beyond it on the Sabbath day. The rules and regulations and the evasions piled up by the hundred and the thousand. Take the case of carrying a burden. Jeremiah 17:21–24 said: “Take heed for the sake of your lives and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day.” So a burden had to be defined. It was defined as “food equal in weight to a dried fig, enough wine for mixing in a goblet, milk enough for one swallow, honey enough to put upon a wound, oil enough to anoint a small member, water enough to moisten an eye-salve,” and so on and on. It had then to be settled whether or not on the Sabbath a woman could wear a brooch, a man could wear a wooden leg or dentures; or would it be carrying a burden to do so? Could a chair or even a child be lifted? And so on and on the discussions and the regulations went.

It was the scribes who worked out these regulations; it was the Pharisees who dedicated their lives to keeping them. Obviously, however misguided a man might be, he must be desperately in earnest if he proposed to undertake obedience to every one of the thousands of rules. That is precisely what the Pharisees did. The name Pharisee means the Separated One; and the Pharisees were those who had separated themselves from all ordinary life in order to keep every detail of the law of the scribes. (Daily Study Bible)

Luke 6:3  And Jesus answering them said, "Have you not even read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him,

NET  Luke 6:3 Jesus answered them, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry–

GNT  Luke 6:3 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Οὐδὲ τοῦτο ἀνέγνωτε ὃ ἐποίησεν Δαυὶδ ὅτε ἐπείνασεν αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ [ὄντες],

NLT  Luke 6:3 Jesus replied, "Haven't you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry?

KJV  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;

ESV  Luke 6:3 And Jesus answered them, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:

NIV  Luke 6:3 Jesus answered them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?

ASV  Luke 6:3 And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read even this, what David did, when he was hungry, he, and they that were with him;

CSB  Luke 6:3 Jesus answered them, "Haven't you read what David and those who were with him did when he was hungry--

NKJ  Luke 6:3 But Jesus answering them said, "Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:

NRS  Luke 6:3 Jesus answered, "Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?

YLT  Luke 6:3 And Jesus answering said unto them, 'Did ye not read even this that David did, when he hungered, himself and those who are with him,


Parallel passages 

Matthew 12:3+ But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions

Mark 2:25+ And He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; 

And Jesus answering them said - Notice how Jesus appeals to the Scripture to refute their human regulations! This is a good pattern for us to remember when we are questioned or challenged - Appeal to Scripture and the God of the Scripture for He is the best defense attorney!  In short, "What saith the Lord" (in His Word) is always a good pattern to imitate when we are have "theological disagreements" with "religious" folks! See below for the passage Jesus referenced. Jesus is quoting this passage about David to show that "Any application of the Sabbath Law which operates to the detriment of man is out of harmony with God’s purpose.” (Morgan)

Have you not even read - Don't you love the subtle way Jesus rebukes the religious hypocrites? He uses a "counter question" (as in Lk 5:23+, Lk 10:26+, Lk 20:3-4+, Lk 20:24+), which is clearly a rhetorical device He frequently used, for He knew they had read the story of David (cf other similar rhetorical rebukes of religionists by Jesus - Mt 19:4, Mt 21:16, 42, Mt 22:31, Mk 12:10). Their problem was not in the (head) reading, but in the (heart) understanding! O, thank God that we as believers have the Author of the Holy Word living inside us to give us understanding of the supernatural Word (cf the prayer in Ps 119:18, Lk 24:45+), which natural (unredeemed) men simply cannot understand, for as Paul wrote "a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for (term of explanation - What does Paul explain?) they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because (term of explanation - what does Paul explain?) they are spiritually appraised." (1 Cor 2:14+) (See related topic - Illumination of the Bible) So here Jesus is countering their specious arguments with a well-known Biblical precedence that had similarities to the present situation. 

What David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him - Jesus' disciples had the same condition, a human need, specifically hunger (Mt 12:1). Jesus' point was that the God of the OT allowed David to eat food to meet their need, but the Pharisees had far less concern for human needs than in protecting their manmade (often uncompassionate) regulations! In the parallel passage in Matthew, their apathy to human need and lack of compassion led Jesus to remind them that God desires compassion over sacrifice (and what they were doing was not even sacrificing, but simply defending human rules.) The hardness of their hearts blinded them to the true meaning of God's Word and His heart behind His Word. 

Was hungry (3983)(peinao from peín = hunger) means to feel the pangs of lack of food. The majority of the NT uses speak of literal hunger. Jesus manifested His compassion by elevating feeding the hungry to high level in His teaching in Mt 25:35, 37, 42, 44.

What David did - The context is that David had fled from King Saul who was opposed to David and tried to kill him (1 Sa 20:31–33). David went into hiding as a fugitive, taking a few men with him and while in the wilderness, they became hungry. One fact that is not found in the following account is that the priest Ahimelech sought the Lord's approval as we learn from the spy Doeg the Edomite's account in 1 Sa 22:10 stating that Ahimelech "inquired of the LORD for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” Ahimelech came to understand that the preservation of David's life was more important than the ceremonial regulations concerning consecrated bread! In short, the priest discerned the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law! He is a good example for all us to emulate. Here is the story to which Jesus refers...

Then David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest (THIS TEXT DOES NOT SAY SPECIFICALLY IT WAS THE SABBATH); and Ahimelech came trembling to meet David and said to him, “Why are you alone and no one with you?” 2 David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has commissioned me with a matter and has said to me, ‘Let no one know anything about the matter on which I am sending you and with which I have commissioned you; and I have directed the young men to a certain place.’ (NOTE THAT DAVID ACTUALLY DECEIVES AHIMELECH - HE HAD NOT BEEN COMMISSIONED BY SAUL! - AND HIS LIE ULTIMATELY LED TO THE DEATH OF THE PRIESTS - 1 Sa 22:9-18!) 3 “Now therefore, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.” 4 The priest answered David and said, “There is no ordinary bread on hand, but there is consecrated bread; if only the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 David answered the priest and said to him, “Surely women have been kept from us as previously when I set out and the vessels of the young men were holy, though it was an ordinary journey; how much more then today will their vessels be holy?” 6 So the priest gave him consecrated bread; for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence which was removed from before the LORD, in order to put hot bread in its place when it was taken away (See Leviticus 24:5-9+, cf Ex. 25:23-30).  (1 Sa 21:1-6)

Comment - Notice that David broke a definite law given by Moses, for the consecrated bread was meant to be eaten only by the priests (Lev. 24:5-9), but Jesus' disciples had violated only a man-made rule!


Luke 6:4  how he entered the house of God, and took and ate the consecrated bread which is not lawful for any to eat except the priests alone, and gave it to his companions?"

NET  Luke 6:4 how he entered the house of God, took and ate the sacred bread, which is not lawful for any to eat but the priests alone, and gave it to his companions?"

GNT  Luke 6:4 [ὡς] εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως λαβὼν ἔφαγεν καὶ ἔδωκεν τοῖς μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ, οὓς οὐκ ἔξεστιν φαγεῖν εἰ μὴ μόνους τοὺς ἱερεῖς;

NLT  Luke 6:4 He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests can eat. He also gave some to his companions."

KJV  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?

ESV  Luke 6:4 how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?"

NIV  Luke 6:4 He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions."

ASV  Luke 6:4 how he entered into the house of God, and took and ate the showbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat save for the priests alone?

CSB  Luke 6:4 how he entered the house of God, and took and ate the sacred bread, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat? He even gave some to those who were with him."

NKJ  Luke 6:4 "how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?"

NRS  Luke 6:4 He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?"

YLT  Luke 6:4 how he went into the house of God, and the loaves of the presentation did take, and did eat, and gave also to those with him, which it is not lawful to eat, except only to the priests?'

Parallel passages - Words in bold not found in Luke

Matthew 12:4+ how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? 5 “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? (Jesus' point here is that the priests still had to do the WORK associated with the daily sacrifices. The point is that "some aspects of the Sabbath restrictions are not inviolable moral absolutes, but rather precepts pertaining to the ceremonial features of the law" - MacArthur) 6 “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. (Really some One greater! God in the flesh. This is an indirect but very clear claim of His deity!) 7 “But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ (quoting Hos 6:6, quoted earlier by Jesus in Mt 9:13 - the Sabbath was a reflection of divine compassion for it gave man and beast needed rest each week!) you would not have condemned the innocent.


Mark 2:26+ how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.


Priests Changing Showbread each Sabbath


The drawing depicts the priests removing the old consecrated bread and replacing with the new consecrated bread on the Sabbath. The priests were then allowed to eat the old consecrated bread. 

How he entered the house of God (The Tabernacle as there was no Temple at this time), and took and ate the consecrated bread which is not lawful for any to eat except the priests alone, and gave it to his companions?" - When we compare Luke's version with the parallel passage in Matthew (see above), we note that :Jesus gave three arguments to defend His disciples: what David did (Mt. 12:3-4), what the priests did (Mt. 12:5-6), and what the Prophet Hosea said (Mt. 12:7-8)." (Wiersbe) The consecrated bread is also known as the "consecrated bread of the Presence," the “bread of presentation,” the “showbread,” or “bread of the Presence,” and was composed of 12 loaves (representing the 12 tribes of Israel) freshly baked every Sabbath and placed on the table in the sanctuary (the Holy Place) of the Tabernacle (and later the Temple). The old loaves were eaten only by the priests (Lev 24:5-9+, cf Ex. 25:23-30, Ex 35:13, Ex 39:36). 

Jesus agreed that generally it was not lawful for any but the priests to eat the bread. However, David (the anointed of God, the predecessor of the "Greater David") and his men had a legitimate need and so God was not offended by their action! There is no record in the Bible of David and his men being condemned for eating the consecrated bread in their time of great need! In the present context the "Greater David's" men were in need of sustenance, which by comparison with the OT story should have resulted in no condemnation. Unlike the OT story, religious men stood as judges in the place of God and condemned Jesus' men for an action God Himself did not condemn.

THOUGHT - Do we ever put ourselves in the place of God as judges of other men's actions, only later to find out that their attitudes and/or actions were justified. If we are honest, there is a little bit of "Pharisee" in all of us! Deliver us O God! Amen! 

Lawful (1832)(see exesti) - Regarding "not lawful" see comments above on Matthew's additional description of this encounter in Mt 12:5. 

Consecrated (shewbread, showbread) (4286)(prothesis from protithemai = set before oneself to be looked at or exposed to view and then to purpose or plan) is literally placing before or setting before and so means the setting forth of a thing or placing of it in view, a putting forward openly -- a presentation, setting forth, plan, design, purpose, resolve, will. Prothesis has a secular Greek use meaning setting forth of something in public and in a similar NT use refers to the name give to the shewbread ("loaves of presentation") in the Temple which is "exposed before God". The bread before the Presence of the Lord consisted of twelve loaves of wheat bread offered every Sabbath (12 = number of the tribes of Israel) and arranged in two rows on the table before the Holy of Holies and to remain there for seven days.

Kistemaker adds that the Bread of the Presence "symbolized the constant fellowship of the people with their God, receiving their bread from him, eating with him, being consecrated to him, and gratefully acknowledging their indebtedness to him by means of this offering." (BNTC-Mt) (RelatedWhat was the bread of the Presence; The Shewbread)

Prothesis in the NAS is translated consecrated(3), purpose(7), resolute(1), sacred(1). Here are all 12 uses, with only those in the Gospels and Hebrews referring to consecrated or sacred bread. Matt. 12:4; Mk. 2:26; Lk. 6:4; Acts 11:23; Acts 27:13; Rom. 8:28; Ro 9:11; Eph. 1:11; Eph. 3:11; 2 Tim. 1:9; 2 Tim. 3:10; Heb. 9:2

Vincent on the consecrated bread - Lit., the loaves of proposition, i.e., the loaves which were set forth before the Lord. The Jews called them the loaves of the face, i.e., of the presence of God. The bread was made of the finest wheaten flour that had been passed through eleven sieves. There were twelve loaves, or cakes, according to the number of tribes, ranged in two piles of six each. Each cake was made of about five pints of wheat. They were anointed in the middle with oil, in the form of a cross. According to tradition, each cake was five hand-breadths broad and ten long, but turned up at either end, two hand-breadths on each side, to resemble in outline the ark of the covenant. The shewbread was prepared on Friday, unless that day happened to be a feast-day that required sabbatical rest; in which case it was prepared on Thursday afternoon. The renewal of the shewbread was the first of the priestly functions on the commencement of the Sabbath. The bread which was taken off was deposited on the golden table in the porch of the sanctuary, and distributed among the outgoing and incoming courses of priests (compare save for the priests). It was eaten during the Sabbath, and in the temple itself, but only by such priests as were Levitically pure. This old bread, removed on the Sabbath morning, was that which David ate.

NET Note  -  Each loaf was made from 3 quarts (3.5 liters; Heb “two tenths of an ephah”) of fine flour. The loaves were placed on a table in the holy place of the tabernacle, on the north side opposite the lampstand (Ex 26:35). It was the duty of the priest each Sabbath to place fresh bread on the table; the loaves from the previous week were then given to Aaron and his descendants, who ate them in the holy place, because they were considered sacred (Lev 24:9+). These were the loaves that David requested from Ahimelech for himself and his men (1 Sa 21:1–6; cf. also Mt 12:1–8; Mark 2:23–28).


Except the priests alone - "Luke added “only” (alone) to his account in order to emphasize David’s violation of the commandment. This ultimately heightens the authority of the One greater than David, i.e., the Lord of the Sabbath." (Stein)

NET Note: sums up Jesus' reference to David - Jesus’ response to the charge that what his disciples were doing was not lawful is one of analogy: ‘If David did it for his troops in a time of need, then so can I with my disciples.’ Jesus is clear that on the surface there was a violation here. What is not as clear is whether he is arguing a “greater need” makes this permissible or that this was within the intention of the law all along.

Only Mark 2:27+ has the note that "Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Robertson comment - Mark alone has this profound saying which subordinates the Sabbath to man's real welfare (mankind, observe, generic article with anthrōpos, class from class). Man was not made for the Sabbath as the rabbis seemed to think with all their petty rules about eating an egg laid on the sabbath (!) or looking in the glass, etc. See 2 Macc. 5:19RSV and Mechilta on Ex 31:13: "The sabbath is delivered unto you and ye are not delivered unto the sabbath." Christianity has had to fight this same battle about institutionalism. The church itself is for man, not man for the church."

Rod Mattoon -  The shewbread was called the "Bread of the Presence," or the "Bread of the Face," because it was laid before the Lord in the Tabernacle every Sabbath morning. It was also called the "continual bread" because there was always bread on the table in God's presence. The placing of the bread in God's official presence symbolized the fact that God was the source of Israel's strength and nourishment and reminded them of their dependence upon the Lord for everything, physical and spiritual. The Lord continues to be our source of strength today. We too, are to be dependent upon Him for all of our needs. These twelve loaves of bread were baked with flour that was sifted no fewer than eleven times. It was pure, heavy bread, not like what we get at the store today. Two omers, or 41/2 to 5 quarts of flour were used in each loaf of bread. The combined weight of the bread alone was 90-100 pounds. The loaves were kneaded one at a time. In the Temple, the dough was made in one mold and shaped in a second mold for baking. A third mold was used to keep it whole. The height of the bread was seven fingers. Each loaf of bread represented a tribe of Israel. The loaves were laid on a table of solid gold that was three feet long and one and a half feet wide. The height was the same as the Ark of the Covenant. This reminds us that the same grace which grants us mercy (ark) also allows fellowship and provision (table of shewbread) to maintain the Christian life. The table was also constructed with a double crown all the way around it, giving it elegance and beauty. This crown also held the bread in place. The bread stood for the presence of God and no one but the priests were to eat of this bread. At the end of the week, the bread would be replaced with fresh loaves, and the old loaves were reserved for the priests to eat. There were two tables in the hall entrance to the Holy Place. One was marble and one was gold. There was one table of shewbread in the actual Holy Place. Eight priests were involved in changing the bread. Four priests removed the bread and four replaced the new bread. The new bread was placed on a marble table which was cool. During this replacement process, the bread was removed and replaced at the same moment. The table of shewbread always had bread on it. The old bread was placed on the gold table in the hall. Going from marble to gold taught the people they were to always go up, and not to go down or digress. They were to always be steadfast and never retreat. Whatever was holy must be honored. This is why the old bread was placed on the gold table. This bread was eaten by the priests. On one occasion, the high priest gave this special bread to David and his men to eat as they were fleeing from Saul. The priest understood that their need was more important than ceremonial regulations. The loaves given to David were the old loaves that had just been replaced with fresh ones. Although the priests were the only ones allowed to eat this bread, God did not punish David because his need for food was more important than the priestly regulations. This is the same message that Jesus was trying to get across to these Pharisees. By comparing Himself, and His disciples to David and his men, Jesus was saying, in effect, "If you condemn me, you must also condemn David." Jesus was not condoning disobedience to God's laws. Instead, He was emphasizing discernment and compassion in enforcing the ceremonial laws, something the self-righteous Pharisees did not comprehend. He was stressing the importance of helping people. For doing this, He was opposed. We see here the divine principle that "human needs" must not be subjected to cold legalism and that God desires "mercy, not sacrifice." (Hos 6:6KJV)

Luke 6:5  And He was saying to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

NET  Luke 6:5 Then he said to them, "The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath."

GNT  Luke 6:5 καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς, Κύριός ἐστιν τοῦ σαββάτου ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

NLT  Luke 6:5 And Jesus added, "The Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath."

KJV  Luke 6:5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

ESV  Luke 6:5 And he said to them, "The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath."

NIV  Luke 6:5 Then Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

ASV  Luke 6:5 And he said unto them, The Son of man is lord of the sabbath.

CSB  Luke 6:5 Then He told them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

NKJ  Luke 6:5 And He said to them, "The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath."

NRS  Luke 6:5 Then he said to them, "The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath."

YLT  Luke 6:5 and he said to them, -- 'The Son of Man is lord also of the sabbath.'

Parallel passages - Word in bold not found in Luke

Matthew 12:8+ “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” 

Mark 2:28+ “So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”


And He was saying to them - Was saying is in the imperfect tense, which depicts this as action as being in progress. Only Luke has this description of Jesus speaking the following proclamation. While Jesus had defended the actions of His disciples by comparing their hunger to that of David in the OT, now He makes another defense. His defense here is  that His authority as Son of Man also allowed their actions because He as the Son of Man was Lord of the Sabbath.

The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath - By using the phrase Son of Man Jesus Jesus is in essence claiming that He is the  Messiah and all three synoptic Gospels have this important Messianic declaration. Jesus is the Master of the Sabbath day. It is notable that Lord is first in position in the Greek text placing emphasis on Jesus' Lordship over the Sabbath. The literal Greek order reads something like "Lord He is of the Sabbath the Son of Man." Can you follow Jesus' reasoning? He is claiming that He has authority over this Day which God had instituted in Genesis 2:1-3. By doing this, Jesus is in fact claiming that He is equal with God. As an aside we know from Paul that "by Him (Jesus) all things were created," (Col 1:16, cf John 1:3, Heb 1:2) thus Jesus actually was the Creator of the Sabbath. To reiterate the defense of His disciples is that since He is the Lord of the Sabbath, He is free to do on this day whatever He pleased, in this case seeing that His hungry disciples were fed! To put it bluntly, Jesus' Lordship trumps the man-made rules of the Jews! Jesus has the authority over the Law! If David could override the Law without blame, how much more could the greater Son of David, the Messiah himself, do so? We do not have to guess whether the Pharisees "caught" Jesus' allusion to the fact that He was God! This proclamation was followed by another miracle on the Sabbath in Lk 6:6-10 with a violent response and a desire to destroy Him (Lk 6:11+, cf Mt 12:14, Mark 3:6)

MacArthur adds that "By claiming authority over a divinely instituted ordinance, Jesus was claiming full equality with God. Compare John 5:9-17, where our Lord was again confronted over His Sabbath activity (Jn 5:9) and replied, “My Father is working… and I Myself am working” (Jn 5:17). Here again He clearly declared His equality with God, as evidenced by His sovereignty over the Sabbath.

Wiersbe reasons that "David and his men ate the loaves, and what Jew would condemn Israel's great king? "He was God's anointed!" they might argue, but that was exactly what Jesus claimed for Himself (Luke 4:18+ = "“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR."). Not only was He God's Anointed, but He was also the Lord of the Sabbath!

THOUGHT:  Rod Mattoon applies this truth to our lives -  Christ is our Sabbath, He is our rest because He supplies everything that the Sabbath day was meant to give to men: peace, rest, restoration, renewal, regeneration, and communion with God.

Son of Man - this name is used of Jesus in Daniel 7:13+ and is used repeatedly by Luke - Lk. 5:24; Lk. 6:5; Lk. 6:22; Lk. 7:34; Lk. 9:22; Lk. 9:26; Lk. 9:44; Lk. 9:56; Lk. 9:58; Lk. 11:30; Lk. 12:8; Lk. 12:10; Lk. 12:40; Lk. 17:22; Lk. 17:24; Lk. 17:26; Lk. 17:30; Lk. 18:8; Lk. 18:31; Lk. 19:10; Lk. 21:27; Lk. 21:36; Lk. 22:22; Lk. 22:48; Lk. 22:69; Lk. 24:7 (Related:  What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of Man?,  What does it mean that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath?)

Lord (master, owner)(2962)(kurios from kuros = might or power, related to kuroo = to give authority) primarily means the possessor, owner, master, the supreme one, one who is sovereign, in this case sovereign over the Sabbath, so revered by the religious Jews. It is so sad that the Jews venerated the Day and  violated the "Day Star" (2 Pe 1:19KJV+) the very One Who at His return will be recognized even by those who pierced Him (Rev 1:7-note) as the "bright and morning star" (Rev 2:28+; Rev 22:16+)! NET Note on Lord - The term “Lord” (kurios) is in emphatic position in the Greek text. To make this point even clearer a few (Lucan) manuscripts add “also” before the reference to the Son of Man, while a few others add it before the reference to the Sabbath. (Mark 2:28 clearly has this word). 

Robertson comments on the addition of even in Mark 2:28 writing that "Mark, Matthew (Matthew 12:8), and Luke (Luke 6:5) all give this as a climax in the five reasons given by Christ on the occasion for the conduct of the disciples, but Mark has the little word "even" (kai) not in the others, showing that Jesus knew that He was making a great claim as the Son of Man, the Representative Man, the Messiah looked at from His human interest, to lordship (kurios) even of the Sabbath. He was not the slave of the Sabbath, but the Master of it. "Even of the Sabbath, so invaluable in your eyes. Lord, not to abolish, but to interpret and keep in its own place, and give it a new name" (Bruce).

Mattoon - As Christ's authority was in conflict with the authority of the Pharisees, the same conflict continues today in our own personal lives. Christians find themselves in conflict with Christ and His Word. Do you acknowledge the authority of Jesus Christ in your own life? Are you yielded to His will and Word? Do you acknowledge His ownership of your life? These are the fields of battle in the life of the believer. Each day we are to submit to His lordship, yet, our flesh doesn't want to do this, thus, the battle rages in our heart. Paul spoke of this struggle.

Romans 7:23-25... But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. [24] O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? [25] I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

This conflict with our flesh is why we are challenged from the Scriptures to yield to Him and His will. We are reminded of His ownership.

Romans 12:2- And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20.... What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? [20] For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Is Christ the master of your life? This is a good decision to make in spite of the opposition you may receive from other people. You can only serve one master. It might as well be the Lord.

Matthew 6:24- No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

John Kenneth Galbraith, in his autobiography, A Life in Our Times, illustrates the devotion of Emily Gloria Wilson, his family's housekeeper: It had been a wearying day, and I asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while I had a nap. Shortly thereafter the phone rang. Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House. "Get me Ken Galbraith. This is Lyndon Johnson." "He is sleeping, Mr. President. He said not to disturb him." "Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him." "No, Mr. President. I work for him, not you." When I called the President back, he could scarcely control his pleasure. "Tell that woman I want her here in the White House." President Johnson was impressed by the loyalty of this woman for the man she served. We too, should have that same kind of devotion to the commands of Christ.

Gotquestions What does it mean that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath?

Answer: The phrase “the Lord of the Sabbath” is found in Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:28, and Luke 6:5. In all three instances Jesus is referring to Himself as the Lord of the Sabbath or, as Mark records it, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28). In these verses, Jesus is proclaiming that He is the One who exercises authority even over the rules and regulations that govern the Sabbath day.

As such, Jesus was proclaiming to the world, especially to the legalistic Pharisees, that He was greater than the Law and above the laws of the Mosaic Covenant because, as God in flesh, He is the Author of those laws. Unable to keep the Law, however, the Pharisees had instituted a complex and confusing system of Sabbath laws of their own that was oppressive and legalistic. They had set up strict laws regarding how to observe the Sabbath, which included 39 categories of forbidden activities. In essence, these religious leaders had made themselves lords of the Sabbath, thus making themselves lords over the people.

As Creator, Christ was the original Lord of the Sabbath (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:10). He had the authority to overrule the Pharisees’ traditions and regulations because He had created the Sabbath—and the Creator is always greater than the creation. Furthermore, Jesus claimed the authority to correctly interpret the meaning of the Sabbath and all the laws pertaining to it. Because Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, He is free to do on it and with it whatever He pleases.

As Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus had the right, power, and authority to dispense it in any way He pleased, even to the abolishing of it and reinstituting it as the Lord’s Day, a day of worship. Since the Lord of the Sabbath had come, He who is the only true “Sabbath rest” made the old law of the Sabbath no longer needed or binding. When He said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27), Jesus was attesting to the fact that, just as the Sabbath day was originally instituted to give man rest from his labors, so did He come to provide us rest from laboring to achieve our own salvation by our works. Because of His sacrifice on the cross, we can now forever cease laboring to attain God’s favor and rest in His mercy and grace.

Steven Cole on the Sabbath Confrontation - Luke presents the Pharisees’ confrontation with Jesus’ disciples over their picking grain on the Sabbath to show the growing tension between the Jewish leaders and Jesus and to show that He is Lord of the Sabbath. The Law of Moses allowed for picking the grain as you walked through a neighbor’s field (De 23:25). The problem, in the Pharisees’ minds, was that picking grain was reaping, rubbing the grain was threshing, blowing away the husks was winnowing, and the whole process was preparing food. All this was work according to their rules, and thus forbidden on the Sabbath. So the disciples were not breaking God’s Sabbath commandment, but rather the rabbinic refinement of that commandment. Jesus and the disciples were challenging pharisaic custom.

But surprisingly, Jesus did not point out that His critics were following the commands of men rather than the commands of God. Instead, He took an incident from the life of David (1Sa 21:1-7) in which he violated the letter of the law in order to meet human needs. David and his men were fleeing from Saul. They came to the Tabernacle, where David asked the priest for the consecrated bread, which was put on the table of shewbread and replaced each Sabbath. The priests could then eat the old bread (Le 24:9). But in this case, David and his men, who were not priests, ate the bread. Jesus’ point is that legitimate human need (hunger) superseded the letter of the ceremonial law. People take precedence over ritual, even if that ritual is ordained by God.

His critics were probably thinking and about ready to ask, “What makes you think that you can compare yourself with David?” But then Jesus makes the stunning claim that He, the Son of Man, is the Lord of the Sabbath! Since God had instituted the Sabbath at creation (Ge 2:1-3), as well as stipulated it in the Ten Commandments through Moses, Jesus was saying that He was above Moses and was in fact on the same level as God who originated the Sabbath command! As the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus had the authority to interpret the force, intent, and limits of the Sabbath law. As the next incident and many others in the Gospels show, Jesus challenged the legalistic approach of the Pharisees, which was not God’s intent in giving the Sabbath law.

Legalism always kills the joy of the good news that Jesus came to bring. It is a common problem in our day, but there is a lot of confusion about it. So we need to be careful to understand what it is and what it is not. In the first place, obedience to God’s commandments is not legalism. Jesus often emphasized the importance of obedience to God’s Word. The Bible is full of various rules, some negative, some positive, which God has commanded for our good. Keeping them is not legalism. Being under grace does not mean that we are free to disobey God or hang loose with regard to His moral commandments.

Secondly, keeping manmade rules is not necessarily legalism. There are many areas not specified in the Bible where we need some rules to function as a Christian family or church. While these human rules are not as important as the commands of Scripture, there is a proper place for them and keeping them is not tantamount to legalism. For example, if your parents set a curfew for you, they are not being legalistic and you are not free to disregard their curfew because you’re “under grace”!

So what is legalism? Essentially, it is an attitude of pride in which I congratulate myself for keeping certain standards and condemn those who do not keep them. Usually the legalist thinks that his conformity to these rules makes him acceptable to God, either for salvation or sanctification. Invariably, these standards are not the great commandments of the Bible, such as loving God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. Most often they are external things which the legalist is able to keep (see Mt 23:23-28).

The legalist judges spirituality by external conformity to certain rules. “Do you keep the Sabbath as we have defined it? Very well.” It doesn’t matter whether your heart is full of pride or lust or greed. What matters is that you keep the Sabbath rules. Legalists ignore motives and inner righteousness. What matters to them is outward conformity. God hates that sort of thing, because it stems from the flesh (Is 1:11-14). God is concerned that we please Him from our hearts.

What about this matter of the Sabbath? Is Sunday the Christian Sabbath? Are we required to observe it as the Jews observed Saturday? If not, does it apply in any way to us? After all, it is one of the Ten Commandments, and all of the others apply to us! If you want a more detailed treatment, I refer you to my message, “God’s Day of Rest” (Ge 2:1-3 [12/17/95]). But briefly, I think that in reacting against legalism concerning the Lord’s Day, we’ve thrown the baby out with the bath water. The principle of setting one day in seven apart for worship and rest is a gift that God has given to the human race for our benefit. “The Sabbath was made for man.” If we treat every day the same, except that on Sunday we attend a church service, we’re missing the blessing God intended by giving us the Sabbath commandment. We should set apart the Lord’s Day as a special day for worship and for rest from our normal duties. If we do not, we will suffer for it.

Clearly, we are not under the rigorous regulations which applied to the Jewish nation, where God demanded that a man caught gathering sticks on the Sabbath should be stoned (Nu 15:32-36). But neither are we free to shrug off the Sabbath principle completely. Some say that Christ is to be Lord of all our time, so we don’t have to set apart one day a week to Him. That’s like saying that since all our money belongs to God, we don’t have to give regularly. God knows how we’re made and that we need one day a week to worship, to rest, and to reflect on spiritual matters. There is a biblical basis for arguing that that day should be Sunday.

So even though we are not under the letter of the Jewish Law, there is an abiding principle of setting apart unto the Lord one day each week. We don’t do it to earn points with God or to check it off our list to prove that we’re spiritual. We don’t take pride in our observance of the Lord’s Day and condemn those who are not up to our level of spiritual insight. But we should set aside the Lord’s Day out of love for Him, in order to honor Him.

So, asceticism and legalism kill the joy of the gospel Jesus came to bring. (Avoiding Gospel Killjoys Luke 5:33-6:5)


We should notice, in this passage, what excessive importance hypocrites attach to trifles. We are told that, "One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of wheat, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grains." At once the hypocritical Pharisees found fault, and charged them with committing a sin. They said, "Why do you that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath days?" The mere act of plucking the heads of wheat of course they did not find fault with. It was an action sanctioned by the Mosaic law. (Deut. 23:25.) The supposed fault with which they charged the disciples, was the breach of the fourth commandment. They had done work on the Sabbath, by taking and eating a handful of food.

This exaggerated zeal of the Pharisees about the Sabbath, we must remember, did not extend to other plain commandments of God. It is evident from many expressions in the Gospels, that these very men, who pretended such strictness on one little point, were more than lax and indifferent about other points of infinitely greater importance. While they stretched the commandment about the Sabbath beyond its true meaning, they openly trampled on the tenth commandment, and were notorious for covetousness. (Luke 16:14.) But this is precisely the character of the hypocrite. To use our Lord's illustration, in some things he makes fuss about straining out of his cup a gnat, while in other things he can swallow a camel. (Matt. 23:24.)

It is a bad symptom of any man's state of soul, when he begins to put the second things in religion in the first place, and the first things in the second, or the things ordained by man above the things ordained by God. Let us beware of falling into this state of mind. There is something sadly wrong in our spiritual condition, when the only thing we look at in others is their outward Christianity, and the principal question we ask is, whether they worship in our communion, and use our ceremonial, and serve God in our way.

Do they repent of sin? Do they believe on Christ? Are they living holy lives? These are the chief points to which our attention ought to be directed. The moment we begin to place anything in religion before these things, we are in danger of becoming as thorough Pharisees as the accusers of the disciples.

We should notice, secondly, in this passage, how graciously our Lord Jesus Christ pleaded the cause of His disciples, and defended them against their accusers. We are told that He answered the cavils of the Pharisees with arguments by which they were silenced, if not convinced. He did not leave His disciples to fight their battle alone. He came to their rescue, and spoke for them.

We have in this fact a cheering illustration of the work that Jesus is ever doing on behalf of His people. There is one, we read in the Bible, who is called "the accuser of the brethren, who accuses them day and night," even Satan, the prince of this world. (Rev. 12:10.) How many grounds of accusation we give him, by reason of our infirmity! How many charges he may justly lay against us before God! But let us thank God that believers "have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous," who is ever maintaining the cause of His people in heaven, and continually making intercession for them. Let us take comfort in this cheering thought. Let us daily rest our souls on the recollection of our great Friend in heaven. Let our morning and evening prayer continually be, "Answer for me, answer for me, O Lord my God."

We should notice, lastly, in these verses, the clear light which our Lord Jesus Christ throws on the real requirements of the fourth commandment. He tells the hypocritical Pharisees, who pretended to such strictness in their observance of the Sabbath, that the Sabbath was never intended to prevent works of necessity. He reminds them how David himself, when suffering from hunger, took and ate that show-bread, which ought only to be eaten by the priests, and how the act was evidently allowed of God, because it was an act of necessity. And He argues from David's case, that He who permitted His own temple rules to be infringed, in cases of necessity, would doubtless allow work to be done on His own Sabbath days, when it was work for which there was really a need.

We should weigh carefully the nature of our Lord Jesus Christ's teaching about the observance of the Sabbath, both here and in other places. We must not allow ourselves to be carried away by the common notion that the Sabbath is a mere Jewish ordinance, and that it was abolished and done away by Christ. There is not a single passage of the Gospels which proves this. In every case where we find our Lord speaking upon it, He speaks against the false views of it, which were taught by the Pharisees, but not against the day itself. He cleanses and purifies the fourth commandment from the man-made additions by which the Jews had defiled it, but never declares that it was not to bind Christians. He shows that the seventh day's rest was not meant to prevent works of necessity and mercy, but He says nothing to imply that it was to pass away, as a part of the ceremonial law.

We live in days when anything like strict Sabbath observance is loudly denounced, in some quarters, as a remnant of Jewish superstition. We are boldly told by some people, that to keep the Sabbath holy is legal, and that to enforce the fourth commandment on Christians, is going back to bondage. Let it suffice us to remember, when we hear such things, that assertions are not proofs, and that vague talk like this has no confirmation in the word of God. Let us settle it in our minds, that the fourth commandment has never been repealed by Christ, and that we have no more right to break the Sabbath day, under the Gospel, than we have to murder and to steal.

The architect who repairs a building, and restores it to its proper use, is not the destroyer of it, but the preserver. The Savior who redeemed the Sabbath from Jewish traditions, and so frequently explained its true meaning, ought never to be regarded as the enemy of the fourth commandment. On the contrary, He has "magnified it, and made it honorable."

Let us cling to our Sabbath, as the best safeguard of our Country's religion. Let us defend it against the assaults of ignorant and mistaken men, who would gladly turn the day of God into a day of business and pleasure. Above all, let us each strive to keep the day holy ourselves. Much of our spiritual prosperity depends, under God, on the manner in which we employ our Sundays.

Luke 6:6  On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.

NET  Luke 6:6 On another Sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and was teaching. Now a man was there whose right hand was withered.

GNT  Luke 6:6 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ἑτέρῳ σαββάτῳ εἰσελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν καὶ διδάσκειν. καὶ ἦν ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖ καὶ ἡ χεὶρ αὐτοῦ ἡ δεξιὰ ἦν ξηρά.

NLT  Luke 6:6 On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching.

KJV  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.

ESV  Luke 6:6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered.

NIV  Luke 6:6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled.

ASV  Luke 6:6 And it came to pass on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man there, and his right hand was withered.

CSB  Luke 6:6 On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching. A man was there whose right hand was paralyzed.

NKJ  Luke 6:6 Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered.

NRS  Luke 6:6 On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.

YLT  Luke 6:6 And it came to pass also, on another sabbath, that he goeth into the synagogue, and teacheth, and there was there a man, and his right hand was withered,

Parallel Passages - Words in bold not found in Luke

Matthew 12:9+  Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And a man was there whose hand was withered... 

Mark 3:1+  He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. 


On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue - Luke does not state specifically but this may have occurred soon after the Sabbath incident in the grainfields. Jesus had just claimed He was Lord of the Sabbath, which was tantamount to calling Himself God and once again He proceeds to authenticate not only His lordship over the Sabbath but His divinity by healing this nameless man's paralyzed hand.

Synagogue (4864)(sunagoge from sunágo = lead together, assemble or bring together) refers to a group of people “going with one another” (sunago) literally describes a bringing together or congregating in one place. Eventually, sunagoge came to mean the place where they congregated together. The word was used to designate the buildings other than the central Jewish temple where the Jews congregated for worship.

Historically, the Synagogues originated in the Babylonian captivity after the 586 BC destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar and served as places of worship and instruction. Sunagoge was the name of a group "Synagogue of the Freedmen" (Acts 6:9). In the time of Jesus and the apostles every town, not only in Palestine but also among the Gentiles if it contained a considerable number of Jewish inhabitants, had at least one synagogue, the larger towns several or even many. That the Jews held trials and even inflicted punishments in them, is evident from such passages (Mt 10:17, 23:34), a haunt of demon possessed (Mk 1:23). Synagogues were frequently a place of teaching and proclamation of the Gospel (Mt 4:23, 9:35, 12:9, 13:54, Mk 6:2, Lk 4:15, 16, Lk 4:44, 6:6, 13:10, Jn 6:59, 18:20, Acts 9:20 = Paul immediately "began to proclaim Jesus," Acts 13:5 = Paul proclaimed "the word of God," Acts 14:1 = place Paul, et al, spoke and where "a large number of people believed," Acts 17:17, 18:4, 18:19, 19:8 = Paul, et al reasoned with various audiences in synagogues).

Related Resources:

And was teaching - One of the first things Jesus did as he began His ministry after He had been tempted in the wilderness (Lk 4:1-13+) was to return to Galilee "in the power of the Spirit" (Lk 4:14+) and begin "teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all." (Lk 4:15+) Mt 9:35+ gives us a summary of Jesus' ministry during this time stating that "Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness." Notice "healing" is last, for that was secondary to the message of the Gospel which alone would bring spiritual healing, while the physical healing simply authenticated His authority and His divinity. Someone has commented that He performed so many healings in Israel that there were almost no sick people remaining. If this is true (and it is a reasonable statement), it is amazing and tragic that so few believed in Him for spiritual healing! John recorded that "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." (Jn 1:11+). 

Was teaching (present tense - continually, Jesus' priority - Lk 4:14-15, 31, 44; Lk 5:15, 17, most likely the Gospel - cf Lk 3:18; 4:18; 7:22; 20:1; Mark 1:14)(1321) (didasko from dáo= know or teach; English = didactic; see noun didaskalia and adjective didaktikos) means Jesus was  providing instruction with a focus on content and with the purpose of discovering God's truth. This was in marked contrast to  the Greek forums where bantering about of various ideas and opinions was the primary concern (Acts 17:21+). Teaching was a priority with Jesus (and it should be with us) (cf Mk 1:21+, Mk 2:2+) and when Jesus taught the crowds were amazed (Mt. 7:29+; Mk 1:22+; Lk 4:32+, cf Lk 19:48+ = " all the people were hanging on to every word He said"), because He taught with authority (exousia and we also should teach with authority empowered by the Holy Spirit) unlike the scribes and Pharisees (Mt 7:29+). 

Short Excursus on Didasko - Didasko refes to imparting positive truth. It is the responsibility of every believer (Col 3:16), and is part of the Great Commission (Mt 28:20). It is especially the responsibility of church leaders. “An overseer, then, must be… able to teach” (1Ti 3:2). Heresy flourishes where sound Christian teaching lags. The idea is to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them by word of mouth (tutor, direct, advise, put in mind). In the NT almost without exception didasko refers to the teaching of groups. Didasko means to teach a student in such a way that the will of the student becomes conformed to the teaching taught. So the teacher teaches in such a way that as the student is taught, he now changes his mind saying in essence ''I won't do it this way, but I will do it this way because I've learned this doctrine or this teaching.'' Doctrine determines direction of our behavior, conformed to world or to God? Teaching that Scripture finds significant is not that which provides information alone but also the teaching that creates disciples who live in responsive obedience to God's will.


And there was a man there whose right hand was withered - There "just happened" providentially to be a paralyzed person present! Jesus could have put off this healing until after the Sabbath, but this was an appointment for confrontation! In fact Jesus repeatedly healed on the Sabbath (Luke 4:31-35; 13:10-17; 14:1-6; John 5:1-9; 9:1-14). And so clearly this is another divinely ordained appointment for our Lord. O, that we would be in such communion and communication with our heavenly Father that we too would continually be in the center of His will an not miss any of His divine appointments! Amen!

Notice that  only Luke the physician mentions the right hand which is important because the majority of people are right handed. In any case in this agrarian culture it would have been difficult for this man to carry out any meaningful labor.

Withered (3584)(xeros) means dry, dried (up) (1) literally, of land dry (Heb 11.29); dry land (Mt 23.15); of plants dry, parched; used by Jesus describing a tree in dry conditions as a picture of coming judgment on Jerusalem (Lk 23.31); (2) of a damaged member of the body paralyzed, withered, useless (Mt 12.10, Jn 5:3, Lk 6:6,8)  A green tree and a dry tree are used to symbolize the righteous and the wicked (Septuagint - Isa. 56:3; Ezek. 17:24; 20:47 [cf. Ps. 1:3]). Xeros was used to refer to the dry land as opposed to the sea (Matt. 23:15; Heb. 11:29; Jonah 1:9). In the creation God said "let the dry land appear." (Ge 1:9, 10) In Genesis 7:22 all those who lived on “dry land” died in the Flood. In Ezekiel 37:11-note the prophet was commanded to prophecy to the “dry bones,” a metaphor describing the nation of Israel.

A withered hand like dried fruit (think of a dried plum = a prune!)

Xeros - 8x in 8v -dry(2), land(1), withered(5).  Matt. 12:10; Matt. 23:15; Mk. 3:3; Lk. 6:6; Lk. 6:8; Lk. 23:31; Jn. 5:3; Heb. 11:29

Xeros - 31x in 28v  in the Septuagint -Gen. 1:9; Gen. 1:10; Gen. 7:22; Exod. 4:9; Exod. 14:16; Exod. 14:21; Exod. 14:22; Exod. 14:29; Exod. 15:19; Jos. 3:17; Jos. 4:22; Jos. 9:5; Job 24:18; Ps. 66:6; Ps. 95:5; Isa. 9:18; Isa. 37:27; Isa. 56:3; Ezek. 17:24; Ezek. 20:47; Ezek. 37:2; Ezek. 37:4; Ezek. 37:11; Hos. 9:14; Jon. 1:9; Jon. 2:10; Hag. 2:6; Hag. 2:21;

Mark 3:1 uses the verb form xeraino which refers to atrophy and was used of dead plants that had dried up and wasted away. 

Luke 6:7  The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him.

NET  Luke 6:7 The experts in the law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they could find a reason to accuse him.

GNT  Luke 6:7 παρετηροῦντο δὲ αὐτὸν οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι εἰ ἐν τῷ σαββάτῳ θεραπεύει, ἵνα εὕρωσιν κατηγορεῖν αὐτοῦ.

NLT  Luke 6:7 The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man's hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.

KJV  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.

ESV  Luke 6:7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him.

NIV  Luke 6:7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.

ASV  Luke 6:7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath; that they might find how to accuse him.

CSB  Luke 6:7 The scribes and Pharisees were watching Him closely, to see if He would heal on the Sabbath, so that they could find a charge against Him.

NKJ  Luke 6:7 So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him.

NRS  Luke 6:7 The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him.

YLT  Luke 6:7 and the scribes and the Pharisees were watching him, if on the sabbath he will heal, that they might find an accusation against him.

NAB  Luke 6:7 The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.

NJB  Luke 6:7 The scribes and the Pharisees were watching him to see if he would cure somebody on the Sabbath, hoping to find something to charge him with.

GWN  Luke 6:7 The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Jesus closely. They wanted to see whether he would heal the man on the day of worship so that they could find a way to accuse him of doing something wrong.

BBE  Luke 6:7 And the scribes and Pharisees were watching him to see if he would make him well on the Sabbath, so that they might be able to say something against him.


Parallel Passages - Words in bold not found in Luke

Matthew 12:10+ And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”–so that they might accuse Him. 

Mark 3:2+ They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 

The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely - These religious hypocrites were spying on Jesus out of the corner of their eyes, waiting surreptitiously like a wild animal waiting to pounce on its unknowing victim (of course Jesus knew full well these malicious men were looking to pounce on Him!)  "Their eyes were peeled on every move Jesus made. This word is in the imperfect tense (over and over, again and again) which means they watched the Lord continually." (Mattoon) As MacArthur observes the Scribes and Pharisees knew that according to their man-made additions to God's holy law "The most a physician or relative was permitted to do on the Sabbath was keep the sick person alive, or maintain the status quo of their condition, until the following day. Anything more than that was regarded as work, and therefore a violation." (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Mark 1-8).

The Scribes (1122) (grammateus from grapho = to write) was one skilled in Jewish law and theology scribe, expert, scholar (Mt 2.4) NET Note adds that "The traditional rendering of grammateus as “scribe” does not communicate much to the modern English reader, for whom the term might mean “professional copyist,” if it means anything at all. The people referred to here were recognized experts in the law of Moses and in traditional laws and regulations. Thus “expert in the law” comes closer to the meaning for the modern reader."

The Pharisees (see note) were watching closely - Can you see the bitter irony here? They were watching closely (like vultures circling) Jesus to entrap Him, when they should have been listening carefully as he preached the Gospel which only had the power to release them from their entrapment in sin (Lk 4:18-19-note)

Watch...Closely (3906)(paratereo from para = beside + tereo = watch) means to watch closely, to observe scrupulously or carefully, even with the sense of to spy. To watch (maliciously), lie in wait for (Mk 3:2; Lk 6:7; 14:1). It means to observe from the side, to observe minutely, going along as it were with the object for the purpose of watching its movements (Swete). It was used for keeping a watchful eye on criminals, for watching out for a bowl lest it be stolen (MM). Galen used the subst. of empirical medical observation (DMTG, 260). It was also used of observing one’s conduct to see if the person would act falsely toward another. Watch one's opportunity (Lk 20:20). Watch, guard (Acts 9:24). To observe as a religious act or ritual (Gal 4:10). MacArthur adds depicts their "intensive, sinister observe carefully, to be on the lookout, or to pay heed to.” Often, as it does here, the word takes on a sinister tone, and could be translated, to lurk, to watch for an opportunity or to lie in wait (cf. Lk 14:1; 20:20; Mark 3:2). The scribes and Pharisees were by no means neutral observers, but rather spies." 

Friberg - with a general sense of directly perceiving something through close observation; active and middle have the same meaning; (1) keep under observation, watch closely; with a malicious intent lie in wait for, lurk for, narrowly watch with hidden intent (Mk 3.2); (2) as being on guard keep watch over, keep (Acts 9.24); (3) of scrupulous attitude in religious matters observe, keep, carefully obey rules about (Gal 4.10) (Analytical Lexicon)

Gilbrant - The verb paratēreō  can be found in classical Greek from the Fourth Century B.C. and generally means “watch closely.” Occasionally it means “to carefully observe laws or commandments.” More often, though, it is used to refer to the careful observation of things (e.g., symptoms of a disease or omens) or persons. The observation of persons could be that of attentive listening, careful supervision, or even lying in wait to cause injury (Liddell-Scott). Jewish writers utilized both meanings. The Septuagint, however, uses paratēreō only twice. In Psalm 37:12 it is used for the Hebrew word zāmam (“think, plan, plot”). The translators of Psalm 130:3 used paratēreō to translate the Hebrew term shāmar (“observe”) and gave it the unique meaning of “keeping something in mind.” Five of the six New Testament uses of paratēreō carry the idea of “lying in wait.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Paratereo - 6x in 6v  - observe(1), watched(1), watching(2), watching...closely(2).

Mark 3:2  They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.

Luke 6:7  The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him.

Luke 14:1  It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely.

Luke 20:20  So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some statement, so that they could deliver Him to the rule and the authority of the governor.

Acts 9:24  but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death;

Galatians 4:10  You observe days and months and seasons and years.

Paratereo - Twice in the Septuagint

Psalm 37:12 The wicked plots against the righteous And gnashes at him with his teeth.

 Psalm 130:3 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 

To see if He healed on the Sabbath - The religious spies knew that Jesus had previously broken the Sabbath according to their traditions (see Lk 4:31–41; Lk 6:1–5), and were on high alert for another episode of breaking the Sabbath! And so the "IF" is a first class condition which assumes a fulfilled condition. In other words, the religious watchdogs anticipated that Jesus would in fact heal the paralyzed man. Jesus' enemies knew that He could heal, but were not sure if His power was divine or demonic (Lk 11:14–20). But in either case, their burdensome rabbinic traditions restricted healing on the Sabbath to life threatening situations, and a paralyzed limb certainly would not qualify! (cf Mishnah, m. Shabbat 6.3; 12.1; 18.3; 19.2; m. Yoma 8.6). It followed that non-life-threatening healing would be justification for accusing Jesus of profaning the Sabbath. Luke records a similar episode of another Sabbath healing writing that "the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” (Luke 13:14)

He healed (2323) (therapeuo from therapon = an attendant, servant) means primarily to care for, to wait upon, minister to. It has two main senses in the NT, one speaking of rendering service (Acts 17:25) and the more common use describing medical aspects such as to take care of the sick, to heal, to cure (Matt. 4:24; 12:10; Mark 1:34; Luke 6:7; 10:9),  to recover health, to restore. Therapeúō can mean to heal miraculously (e.g., Mt 4:23, 24; 10:1, 8; Lk 4:40, Acts 4:14).

Here are all of Dr Luke's uses of therapeuo - Lk. 4:23; Lk. 4:40; Lk. 5:15; Lk. 6:7; Lk. 6:18; Lk. 7:21; Lk. 8:2; Lk. 8:43; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 9:6; Lk. 10:9; Lk. 13:14; Lk. 14:3; Acts 4:14; Acts 5:16; Acts 8:7; Acts 17:25; Acts 28:9

On the Sabbath - This expression of time is the key to this confrontation, for healing constituted "work." The NET Note adds that "The background for this is the view that only if life was endangered should one attempt to heal on the Sabbath (see the Mishnah, m. Shabbat 6.3; 12.1; 18.3; 19.2; m. Yoma 8.6)." Bock adds "The rabbis taught that you could not heal on the Sabbath unless a life was in danger, a baby was being born, or a circumcision needed to be performed (Darrell Bock, Luke [Baker], 1:528). The Pharisees knew this "test case" was not a matter of life or death. So in performing healing of this man's withered arm, Jesus was in effect "practicing medicine" on the Sabbath, a practice forbidden by Jewish tradition, except in life-threatening situations. There was no Law in the Scriptures that forbade healing on the Sabbath. Healing is an act of mercy (cf Mt 12:7, Hos 6:6, Micah 6:6-8) and there are no time restrictions in God's eyes, but only in men's depraved hearts!

So that they might find reason to accuse Him - As John MacArthur points out "Ironically, these self-appointed guardians of the Sabbath system did not want to stop Jesus from breaking their Sabbath rules; they actually wanted Him to perform a healing, so they would have cause to indict Him. Christ’s performing a healing would thus best suit their heinous hatred. Interestingly, never throughout His entire ministry did they doubt His ability to heal (cf. Lk 5:17-26+), which proved His ability to forgive sin (Lk 5:24+). Yet the convoluted reasoning in their sinful, prideful, obstinate hearts was that if Jesus did heal, the consequence would be that they could charge Him with breaking the Sabbath." (Luke Commentary)

Find (2147)(heurisko) means to find after searching and so to discover. The legalists were purposefully seeking a legal loophole against Jesus, an activity they continued until the time of the Crucifixion (cf Lk 11:53,54; Lk 20:20; Mt 26:59,60). 

Accuse (2723)(kategoreo  from kata = against + agora = the assembly, a place of public speaking. Other sources have agoreuo = to speak. The prefixed preposition kata- suggests animosity!) means to speak against a person before a public tribunal, to bring an accusation in court or to bring a charge publicly. The idea is to speak openly against, to condemn or accuse mainly in a legal sense. The cognate word kategoria was a legal technical term that referred to the content of the accusation or charge made against someone. Note that all of the Gospel uses involve accusing Jesus (except John 5:45), especially at the mock trials before His crucifixion. Luke's uses of kategoreo - Lk. 6:7; Lk. 23:2; Lk. 23:10; Lk. 23:14; Acts 22:30; Acts 24:2; Acts 24:8; Acts 24:13; Acts 24:19; Acts 25:5; Acts 25:11; Acts 25:16; Acts 28:19 As the context shows the Pharisees did not just want to accuse Him but to kill Him, Lk 6:11 describing them as filled with rage, out of their mind with anger causing them to begin to conspire as to how they might destroy Him! Presumably they were thinking of Ex 31:15 that stated that "whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death."


m. Šabbat 22.6*

According to this rabbinic tradition, a person was not even allowed to set a broken bone on the Sabbath.

  E.… And they do not straighten [the limb of] a child or set a broken limb.
  m. ʿEduyyot 2.5*

This passage from the Mishnah reveals restrictions placed on medical treatment and healing on the Sabbath. See also m. Šabbat 14.4 and 19.2 below.

  A. Three matters did they say about before R. Ishmael, and he did not rule concerning them either to prohibit or to permit, and R. Joshua b. Matya worked them out.
  I B. He who cuts open an abscess on the Sabbath—
  C. if it is to make an opening for it, he is liable.
  D. But if it is to draw out the pus from it, he is exempt.
  II E. And concerning him who traps a snake on the Sabbath—
  F. if he got involved with it so that it would not bite him, he is exempt.
  G. But if it was for purposes of healing, he is liable.…

 m. Šabbat 14.4*

  A. He who is concerned about his teeth may not suck vinegar through them.
  B. But he dunks [his bread] in the normal way,
  C. and if he is healed, he is healed.
  D. He who is concerned about his loins [which give him pain], he may not anoint them with wine or vinegar.
  E. But he anoints with oil—
  F. not with rose oil.
  G. Princes [on the Sabbath], anoint themselves with rose oil on their wounds, since it is their way to do so on ordinary days.
  H. R. Simeon says, “All Israelites are princes.”

 m. Šabbat 19.2*

For the text of 19.2, see m. Šabbat 19.1–2 in section 13.12 below.
  t. Šabbat 16.22*

According to this passage from the Tosefta, Shammai did not permit prayer for the sick on the Sabbath, but Hillel did allow it.

  A. And so did Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel say, “The House of Shammai say, ‘They do not distribute charity to the poor on the Sabbath in the house of assembly—
  B. “ ‘even funds to marry an orphan boy and an orphan girl.
  C. “ ‘And they do not make a match between a man and his mate.
  D. “ ‘And they do not pray for a sick person on the Sabbath.’
  E. “And the House of Hillel permit.”

Luke 6:8  But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, "Get up and come forward!" And he got up and came forward.

NET  Luke 6:8 But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, "Get up and stand here." So he rose and stood there.

GNT  Luke 6:8 αὐτὸς δὲ ᾔδει τοὺς διαλογισμοὺς αὐτῶν, εἶπεν δὲ τῷ ἀνδρὶ τῷ ξηρὰν ἔχοντι τὴν χεῖρα, Ἔγειρε καὶ στῆθι εἰς τὸ μέσον· καὶ ἀναστὰς ἔστη.

NLT  Luke 6:8 But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, "Come and stand in front of everyone." So the man came forward.

KJV  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.

ESV  Luke 6:8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, "Come and stand here." And he rose and stood there.

NIV  Luke 6:8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Get up and stand in front of everyone." So he got up and stood there.

ASV  Luke 6:8 But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man that had his hand withered, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.

CSB  Luke 6:8 But He knew their thoughts and told the man with the paralyzed hand, "Get up and stand here." So he got up and stood there.

NKJ  Luke 6:8 But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, "Arise and stand here." And he arose and stood.

NRS  Luke 6:8 Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come and stand here." He got up and stood there.

YLT  Luke 6:8 And he himself had known their reasonings, and said to the man having the withered hand, 'Rise, and stand in the midst;' and he having risen, stood.

NAB  Luke 6:8 But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, "Come up and stand before us." And he rose and stood there.

NJB  Luke 6:8 But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man with the withered hand, 'Get up and stand out in the middle!' And he came forward and stood there.

GWN  Luke 6:8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he told the man with the paralyzed hand, "Get up, and stand in the center of the synagogue!" The man got up and stood there.

BBE  Luke 6:8 But he had knowledge of their thoughts; and he said to the man whose hand was dead, Get up and come into the middle. And he got up and came forward.

Parallel Passage:

Mark 3:3+ He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” 


He knew what they were thinking - Sometimes we as humans can gain a sense of what was is thinking by observing the other person's face. While the faces of the religious leaders were likely very "telling," that is not how Jesus knew. He is God and as God He "looks at the heart." (1 Sa 16:7) Jesus knew the religious leaders did not come to be taught but to spy on Him! In His omniscience, Jesus knew this was a trap, but little did these would be religious "trappers" know that they would soon be the ones trapped! The word for thinking is more literally their reasonings, which implies that Jesus knew His opponents methods, schemes and plans to trap Him. They were like their father the devil, a liar and murderer (Jn 8:44), filled with their father's "schemes" (Gk = methodeia)(Eph 6:11+).

Jesus' ability to read their minds is further evidence of His divinity, for only God knows the heart of men  (1 Sa 16:7; 1 Ki 8:39; 1 Chr 28:9; Jer. 17:10; Ezek 11:5+). In John 2 we read "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them (HE WAS NOT BELIEVING THEIR BELIEF IN HIM WAS GENUINE), for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man." (Jn 2:23-25+

THOUGHT - This truth should sober every person (believer or not) and motivate us who are believers to memorize and enabled by grace to practice Philippians 4:8+ so that our thoughts are ever Godward (as much as that is possible in our fallen condition). Remember that it was the sense of this omniscience that  made Peter say "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!" (Luke 5:8+). 


Luke 5:22+ But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts?

Luke 9:47+ But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side,

Luke 11:17+ But He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls.

Thinking (1261) (dialogismos from diá = through or as a preposition to intensify meaning of + logizomai = reckon, take an inventory, conclude; source of our English dialogue) means literally reasoning through and so to think or reason with thoroughness and completeness, think out carefully, reason thoroughly, consider carefully, weighing. In the Greek writings dialogismos described the thinking of a man deliberating with himself. It refers to calculated consideration (good or bad as discussed below). It pictures one deliberating with one’s self which conveys the basic meaning of inner reasoning.

And He said to the man with the withered hand, "Get up and come forward!" And he got up and came forward -  The NET version reads "Get up and stand here." (Lk 6:8NET). Jesus was calling this man to take "center stage" so everyone in the synagogue could see this man and his shriveled hand. He knew the Jewish leaders were watching "out of the corner of their eye,"  and he knew what they were thinking, and so now He boldly brings this paralyzed man directly in their line of vision. He is not trying to hide what He is about to do (cf Jn 18:20, cf Acts 26:26+). This is a direct confrontation of the ridiculous rabbinical rules that fell like heavy burdens on the observance of the Sabbath, a day which God had given as a day of rest! W A Criswell adds that in calling the paralyzed man out of the assembly "Jesus seems to have gone out of His way to break the regulations with which the Jews governed the Sabbath. He emphasizes that it is always right to do good."  This scene recalls Jesus' words to the paralyzed man in Mark 2:11 "“I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” 

Withered (3584) see note above on xeros

Get up (egeiro) and come forward!" (both verbs aorist imperative) And he got up and came forward - Jesus was in charge of the situation! Notice that the paralyzed man did not initiate the contact, but Jesus did, knowing full well that He was walking into the trap of the Scribes and Pharisees. Imagine for just a moment what inner glee they must had as the paralyzed man got up (anistemi) and came forward! They thought "This time we've got Him!" It was at this point they questioned Him "“Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him." (Mt 12:10)

This passage reminds us of a similar Sabbath scene at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (Jn 5:1-3), John recording...

A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”Jesus *said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.” (John 5:5-10)

Luke 6:9  And Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?"

NET  Luke 6:9 Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, to save a life or to destroy it?"

GNT  Luke 6:9 εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς πρὸς αὐτούς, Ἐπερωτῶ ὑμᾶς εἰ ἔξεστιν τῷ σαββάτῳ ἀγαθοποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι, ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀπολέσαι;

NLT  Luke 6:9 Then Jesus said to his critics, "I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?"

KJV  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?

ESV  Luke 6:9 And Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?"

NIV  Luke 6:9 Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?"

ASV  Luke 6:9 And Jesus said unto them, I ask you, Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good, or to do harm? to save a life, or to destroy it?

CSB  Luke 6:9 Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do what is good or to do what is evil, to save life or to destroy it?"

NKJ  Luke 6:9 Then Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?"

NRS  Luke 6:9 Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?"

YLT  Luke 6:9 Then said Jesus unto them, 'I will question you something: Is it lawful on the sabbaths to do good, or to do evil? life to save or to kill?'

NAB  Luke 6:9 Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?"

NJB  Luke 6:9 Then Jesus said to them, 'I put it to you: is it permitted on the Sabbath to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy it?'

GWN  Luke 6:9 Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you-what is the right thing to do on a day of worship: to do good or evil, to give a person his health or to destroy it?"

BBE  Luke 6:9 And Jesus said, I put the question to you, Is it right to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil? to give life or to take it away?

Parallel Passages

Matthew 12:10+ And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”–so that they might accuse (kategoreo) Him. 11 And He said to them (rhetorically for the answer was obvious and assumed), “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? (Presumably their traditions allowed this action to avert economic loss and He got no argument from the Pharisees on this point) 12 “How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it IS lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

John MacArthur has an interesting comment: No Pharisee would have contended that sheep were as valuable as men, who they knew were created in God's image. But in practice, the Pharisees treated other men with less respect than they treated their animals, because in their hearts they did not respect, much less love, their fellow men, including their fellow Jews. They contemptuously subjugated human life and welfare to religious tradition. One of the most obvious tragedies of Hinduism is its disregard for human welfare in the name of human welfare. A beggar is not given food because it would interfere with his karma and prevent him from suffering his way to the next highest level of existence. A fly is not killed because it is the reincarnation of some unfortunate human being of past ages. Rats are not killed for the same reason and are allowed to eat and contaminate food supplies without any interference. Cows are considered sacred and are given what food is available, while human beings are allowed to starve. In a similar way the Pharisees despised other human beings, showing more compassion for a sheep than for a crippled man who was even a fellow Jew. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15)

Mark 3:4+ And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent (siopao from siope = silence, a hush) 


And Jesus said to them, "I ask you - You is the religious leaders (but in plural does not exclude the crowd) and if they were their usual self-righteous selves, they were undoubtedly seated on the front row for they loved "the chief seats in the synagogues" (Lk 11:43+, cf Lk 20:46+, Mt 23:6, Mk 12:39)! They had "ringside seats" (so to speak) for this fight! If we compare Matthew's version, Jesus' question here would seem to be a response (a so-called counterquestion) to His opponent's question for Mt 12:10+ says "they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”" In their presumption, pomp and arrogance they accosted Jesus with their challenge about the unlawfulness of healing even before He healed the man (but notice in so doing they clearly were acknowledging His power to heal)! In fact what they were attempting to do was to entrap Jesus into healing on the Sabbath so they could accuse Him of breaking their tradition. But as Jesus often did when questioned, He responded to their question by asking them a question! Notice their response to Jesus' question in Mk 3:4! Absolutely not a peep from the Pharisees!

Is it lawful (exesti) to do good (root = agathos) or to do harm (root = kakos) on the Sabbath, to save (sozo) a life or to destroy (apollumi) it - "Had they approved doing good and saving a life, they would have contradicted tradition; and, on the other hand, they obviously would not have advocated doing evil or killing. They were trapped in the illogic of their heartless, unscriptural traditions. Their only outward recourse was to keep silent." (As recorded in Mk 3:4, cf Lk 13:17,14:6, 20:40, Acts 6:10). (MacArthur) They may have been silent on the outside but they were seething on the inside!

THOUGHT - Christ shows us that we are not to be intimidated when it comes to the matter of doing what is right and helping people.

Robert Stein - Jesus challenged the thought of his opponents. The ultimate issue for him was not doing good versus doing nothing but rather doing good versus doing evil, for failure to do good in such instances is in effect to do evil (cf. Jas 4:17).

Mattoon - Jesus laid down the great principle that whatever the rules and regulations may say, it is always right to do a good thing on the Sabbath day. God gave that law to help people, not to hurt them.

MacArthur explains that Jesus' "question was a powerful charge against them on at least three levels. First, it exposed the unlawful nature of their extrabiblical restrictions and traditions. Clearly, the Old Testament law encouraged people to do good and prohibited them from doing harm. But the rabbinic regulations of the Pharisees caused harm to those trying to follow them. As such, it was the Pharisees and not Jesus who were violating God’s law. Second, the question exposed their calloused attitude toward suffering and pain. They were more interested in bringing harm on Jesus than they were in helping the suffering man. Finally, the question targeted the Pharisees’ plot against the Lord. How ironic that the self-professed protectors of the Sabbath secretly wanted the Messiah Himself to violate their rabbinic restrictions so that they could one day put Him to death. The revelation from God made it clear that He was more concerned with His people doing good and showing compassion to others than with their fastidious observance of religious ceremonies and rituals. (The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Mark 1-8)

Do you see the horns of the dilemma of the Scribes and Pharisees? To agree that it is lawful to do good and to save a life on the Sabbath would have left them with no basis for accusing Jesus of wrongdoing. On the other hand if they agreed that it is good to do harm and to destroy a life on the Sabbath, they would be going against the clear teaching of the Old Testament, not to mention that they would in essence be admitting that they were filled with evil instead of mercy (In fact they were filled with evil, but refused to vocalize it in this situation). And so as Mark 3:4 says, they did the only wise thing they had done up to this point - they kept their mouth shut! Wouldn't it have been great to have been a fly on the wall! And imagine what the rest of the Jews in the synagogue must have been thinking when they heard Jesus' question! Not only was Jesus' teaching amazing (Mt 7:28-note), His arguments and logic were "watertight"  (indisputable, irrefutable, unassailable, impregnable; , flawless, airtight, bulletproof, conclusive). 

MacArthur - Paradoxically these religious errorists scrupulously observed the minutiae of their Sabbath laws while at the same time plotting to murder the Lord of the Sabbath. As David Gooding observes,"The religious mind is a curious thing. It is not necessarily interested in common morality; still less in relieving human misery and affliction. It is interested in keeping rules; particularly the rules which spring from its own cherished interpretations of Scripture or tradition; and to these interpretations it will attribute the inflexible authority of God himself. Let God incarnate, contrary to its interpretations, interpose with a miracle of divine goodness to relieve human misery, then instead of revising its interpretations it will plan to stop such miracles happening again. (According to Luke [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987], 116)." 

What the Bible teaches rightly notes that "much that was done by the religious leaders was neither good nor merciful. They had truly neglected mercy, and the Lord Jesus was exposing them. The Lord's question went unanswered for the obvious reason that they would have condemned themselves by a positive or a negative response. This impotence fed their rage." 

Luke 6:10  After looking around at them all, He said to him, "Stretch out your hand!" And he did so; and his hand was restored.

GNT  Luke 6:10 καὶ περιβλεψάμενος πάντας αὐτοὺς εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Ἔκτεινον τὴν χεῖρά σου. ὁ δὲ ἐποίησεν καὶ ἀπεκατεστάθη ἡ χεὶρ αὐτοῦ.

NLT  Luke 6:10 He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, "Hold out your hand." So the man held out his hand, and it was restored!

KJV  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.

ESV  Luke 6:10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, "Stretch out your hand." And he did so, and his hand was restored.

NIV  Luke 6:10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was completely restored.

ASV  Luke 6:10 And he looked round about on them all, and said unto him, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored.

CSB  Luke 6:10 After looking around at them all, He told him, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was restored.

NKJ  Luke 6:10 And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.

NRS  Luke 6:10 After looking around at all of them, he said to him, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was restored.

YLT  Luke 6:10 And having looked round on them all, he said to the man, 'Stretch forth thy hand;' and he did so, and his hand was restored whole as the other;

NAB  Luke 6:10 Looking around at them all, he then said to him, "Stretch out your hand." He did so and his hand was restored.

NJB  Luke 6:10 Then he looked round at them all and said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' He did so, and his hand was restored.

GWN  Luke 6:10 He looked around at all of them and then said to the man, "Hold out your hand." The man did so, and his hand became normal again.

BBE  Luke 6:10 And looking round on all of them, he said to him, Put out your hand. And he did so: and his hand was made well.


Parallel Passages

Matthew 12:13+ Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. 

Mark 3:5+ After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored

After looking around at them (compare John's description of the risen Christ Whose "eyes were like a flame of fire" - Rev 1:14+) - Scroggie says this verb for looking describes a slow, searching gaze. Jesus was giving them a chance to respond to the question of Lk 6:9. However as recorded in Mark 3:4+ no one said a word! Therefore Jesus proceeded to answer His own question, not with words but with deeds. It is easy to say do good, but here Jesus actually did good by healing the man's withered, paralyzed hand. 

Looking around (4017)(periblepo from peri = around + blepo = to look) means literally to glance at or look around in various directions. All but one of the 7 NT uses describe Jesus looking around. In the NT periblepo is found only in the middle voice (reflexive voice) meaning to look round about oneself. Periblepo takes on a slightly different sense in some non-Biblical contexts where it was used to be on the lookout for, ("they are looking for someone to plunder," or "Elizabeth looked about to see where she could hide").  Liddell-Scott on periblepo - (1) to look round about, gaze around, Xen., to look round at,  (2) to seek after, look about for, Luc. (3) to gaze on, admire, respect, to be jealous of, suspect force, or to covet it,

Mark 3:5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He *said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

Mark 3:34  Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He *said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!

Mark 5:32  And He looked around to see the woman who had done this.

Mark 9:8  (Context - Transfiguration) All at once they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, except Jesus alone. 

Mark 10:23  And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”

Mark 11:11  Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late. 

Luke 6:10  After looking around at them all, He said to him, “Stretch out your hand!” And he did so; and his hand was restored.

Periblepo - 4x in 4v in the Septuagint - Ge 19:17 = "Do not look behind you...or you will be swept away.”; Ex 2:12 = "So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand."; Jos. 8:20 = "When the men of Ai turned back and looked, behold, the smoke of the city ascended to the sky..."; 1 Ki. 20:40; Job 7:8

Mark 3:5+ alone records Jesus' feeling on this occasion, explaining that Jesus piercing look at them was not with benevolence, but with anger (orge a word the NT uses primarily of God's holy, righteous wrath), but it was a look mixed with anguish, for our Lord was grieved (even Jesus' anger was mingled with sorrow and sadness for He knew what eternal fate awaited these unbelieving men - cf Mt 23:37, 38, Lk 19:41-44, 2 Pe 3:9+) at their hardness (Picturesque noun porosis = expresses condition of moral insensibility - "deadness that supervenes when the heart has ceased to be sensible of the stimuli of the conscience" = state of "moral ossification" like a callus on one's hand which prevents feeling in the skin beneath) of heart." One can only imagine the consciences of these men as the Creator of the Universe turned around and His righteous gaze met with each of their into their eyes! One would have thought that one look from Jesus would have gotten their attention (cf John on the Isle of Patmos - Rev 1:14, 17, 18+), but their hearts were intractably hardened! We all know a few folks like this, who we've shared the truth with again and again, only to see them take a increasingly harder stance against the truth of the Gospel of Jesus! This is such a tragic scene! As an aside, Mark 3:4 is the only place in all four Gospels that specifically states Jesus was angry!


"Stretch out your hand!" And he did so; and his hand was restored - Labor on the Sabbath was forbidden and in one sense Christ really did no work per se, except commanding the man to stretch out his hand. The man's response was immediate obedience. He believed Jesus and he acted on Jesus' command. And he was immediately healed, one previously paralyzed hand now matching his other good hand (Matthew 12:13+)! Can you imagine the reaction that rippled through the synagogue at that moment? Some Jews were undoubtedly filled with amazement, but the legalistic Pharisees (as discussed in the next verse) were filled with "insane" rage!

The paralyzed man's obedience (reflecting his belief - see Obedience of faith) resulted in his restoration (See Cole's discussion of his faith below). J C Ryle adds "The command, at first sight, seems unreasonable, because the man's obedience was apparently impossible. But the poor sufferer was not stopped by any doubts or reasonings of this kind. At once we read that he made the attempt to stretch forth his hand, and, in making it, was cured. He had faith enough to believe that He who bade him stretch forth his hand, was not mocking him, and ought to be obeyed. And it was precisely in this act of implicit obedience, that he received a blessing. "His hand was completely restored!" This should have raised the question in the minds of His opponents "Would God demonstrate His power through Jesus, if Jesus was breaking God's law and doing wrong?"

Stretch (aorist imperative)(1614) (ekteino from ek = out + teino = to stretch) means stretch out literally, as a gesture with one's hand stretched out. Jesus' stretched His hands out "toward His disciples" (Mt 12:49), to Peter drowning (Mt 14:31), to the leper (Mk 1:41, Mt 8:3, Lk 5:13, cf healing in Acts 4:30). Ekteino is used of the stretching out of Paul's hand as he prepared to offer his verbal defense (Acts 26:1). Ekteino refers to Jesus telling the lame man to stretch out his hand (Mt 12:13, Mk 3:5, Lk 6:10). Ekteino can mean stretching out one's hands with a hostile intent to lay hands on or arrest (Lk 22.53). As a euphemistic figure of speech referring to one's hands stretched out in crucifixion (Jn 21.18). In Mt 26:51 when they came to arrest Jesus Peter "extending his hand, drew out his sword, and struck." In Acts 27:30 ekteino refers to the sailors pretending to "to lay out (stretch out the) anchors from the bow, (Act 27:30). In the Septuagint in Exodus 7:5 ekteino is used of God stretching out His hand over Egypt and deliver Israel (cf Ps 138:7)  frequently of Moses telling Aaron to stretch out his hand and staff (Ex. 7:19; 8:5-6,16-17), and of Moses stretching out his hand to bring plagues (Ex 9:22-23; 10:12,21-22)

His hand was restored - Mt 12:13 adds " like the other." In other words, the withered hand (paralysis had produced atrophy of the muscles (see picture) and thus decrease in size of his hand), not only had the nerve function restored but also the muscular tone and strength. When Jesus heals, He heals completely! Praise God!

Restored (600)(apokathistemi from apo = from + kathistemi = to set in order, appoint) means literally to restore to an earlier condition. Apokathistemi in secular Greek was a medical technical term for restoring to health (to cure) (Mt 12:13+, Mk 3:5, Mk 8:5, Lk 6:10). This verb is used in the Septuagint to describe restoration of Nebuchadnezzar's reason (Da 4:36+)

Luke 6:11  But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

NET  Luke 6:11 But they were filled with mindless rage and began debating with one another what they would do to Jesus.

GNT  Luke 6:11 αὐτοὶ δὲ ἐπλήσθησαν ἀνοίας καὶ διελάλουν πρὸς ἀλλήλους τί ἂν ποιήσαιεν τῷ Ἰησοῦ.

NLT  Luke 6:11 At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.

KJV  Luke 6:11 And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

ESV  Luke 6:11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

NIV  Luke 6:11 But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

ASV  Luke 6:11 But they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

CSB  Luke 6:11 They, however, were filled with rage and started discussing with one another what they might do to Jesus.

NKJ  Luke 6:11 But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

NRS  Luke 6:11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

YLT  Luke 6:11 and they were filled with madness, and were speaking with one another what they might do to Jesus.

NAB  Luke 6:11 But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

NJB  Luke 6:11 But they were furious and began to discuss the best way of dealing with Jesus.

GWN  Luke 6:11 The scribes and Pharisees were furious and began to discuss with each other what they could do to Jesus.

BBE  Luke 6:11 But they were full of wrath, and were talking together about what they might do to Jesus.


Parallel Passages - Words in bold are not found in Luke's version

Matthew 12:14+ But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy (apollumi the very word Jesus used in Lk 9:25-note ["perish" in Lk 13:3, 5] which would describe the ultimate fate of Jesus' accusers!) Him. 15 But Jesus, aware of this (), withdrew from there. And many followed Him, and He healed them all,

Mark 3:6+ The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians (normally bitter enemies of one another! cf "The enemy of my enemy is my friend!") against Him, as to how they might destroy (apollumi)  Him.

John MacArthur comments on the description found only in Mark's Gospel - "In their quest to kill the Messiah, the Pharisees found an interesting ally in the Herodians. The Herodians were an irreligious and worldly political group that supported the dynasty of Herod the Great and, by extension, Rome. These secular Jews were viewed by their fellow countrymen as loyal to Greco-Roman culture and traitors to their own religious heritage. They could not have been more different than the Pharisees, whom they normally regarded as their archenemies. These two groups found a common enemy in Jesus. The Pharisees hated Jesus because He openly opposed their hypocritical system of works-righteousness. The Herodians hated Jesus because His popularity with the people made Him a potential threat to the power of Herod and of Rome (cf. John 6:15; 19:12), which they supported. Consequently, both rejected God’s Son." (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Mark 1-8)

But - term of contrast - What is the contrast? An amazing miracle had just transpired which should have resulted in praise and glory to God. These religious hypocrites were unimpressed by the power of His miracle, the authority of His words and the compassion of His heart. Instead, it resulted in a fomenting of anger and hatred in these hard-hearted antagonists of Jesus. Albert Einstein was right when he said, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." It is sad that this brilliant Jewish man failed to recognize the great spirit of the Jewish Messiah (as best I can discern from his life story). Do you see the sad irony that played itself out in the synagogue -- on one hand As Jesus sought to restore a needy man, while on the other hand the leaders were seeking to destroy the Healer! 

They themselves were filled with rage -  The word for rage (anoia - see below) denotes an almost "insane: or mindless fury, to the point that these Phariesse were beside themselves ; the opponents were beside themselves with intense, irrational anger! As Mark 3:5 says their hearts were hardened to the point that they could not rejoice in the healing of a man who had been in need. All they do was react against Jesus! Their anger clouded their minds to the true meaning of the Sabbath. 

Notice the principle that what fills you will control you! If one is filled with the Spirit, the Spirit controls (Eph 5:18+= filled, Eph 5:19ff+ = effect of filling - notice first thing He controls is our tongue!), but if one is filled with rage (= Acts 19:28+, jealously = Acts 5:17+, Acts 13:45+), then rage controls his reasoning ("discussed together what they might do to Jesus.") What a curious response in the face of a great miracle. Their response has to do with the fact that they hated to be publicly humiliated (cf. Mt 23:6, 7). Also they were unable to answer His reasoning as explained above (Lk 6:9, 10+). And they must have been frustrated because Jesus healed the man only with a command, without performing any actual “work” for which He could be charged.

THOUGHT - Steven Cole applies their rage to us - If you struggle with anger, especially irrational, explosive anger that makes you want to harm someone else, Jesus is going to stomp on your toes! If you’ll stop and examine the source of your anger, invariably pride and selfishness will surface. Pride makes me angrily assert that I am right without even listening to the other side: “We don’t need to discuss the matter! I’m right and you’re wrong!” Selfishness means that I didn’t get my way, and I want my way! At the root of all anger is a refusal to submit to the sovereignty of God who is not doing things as I want them done!

In Luke 4:28-29+ we read of a similar reaction in Jesus' hometown synagogue in Nazareth, this time to the preaching of Jesus regarding Namaan the leper who was cleansed while none of the lepers in Israel were cleansed which incited the congregation so that... 

"All the people in the synagogue were filled with rage (THEIR FILLING) as they heard these things; (THEIR ATTITUDE/ACTION) and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff." In that passage Luke used a different Greek word for rage,  thumos from thúo = move impetuously, particularly as the air or wind, a violent motion or passion of the mind; move violently, rush along) describes passion (as if breathing hard) and so speaks of an agitated or "heated" anger that rushes along (impulse toward a thing).

Filled (4092)(pimplemi from the obsolete pláō = to fill) to fill, to make full, to complete. Luke's first use in Lk 1:15 describes John the Baptist's being filled with the Holy Spirit even in his mother's womb (cf Lk 1:41). Luke describes Zacharias as filled with the Spirit (Lk 1:67). In Lk 4:28 he describes the synagogue "filled with rage" in response to Jesus' teaching. In Lk 5:26 he describes the multitude as "filled with fear" (apparently reverential fear as they were glorifying God). At Pentecost and the coming of the Spirit, "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:4, cf Peter in Acts 4:8, those who just prayed in Acts 4:31). The religious leaders were filled with jealousy (Acts 5:17, Jews in Acts 13:45) and put the apostles in jail. Paul would be filled with the Spirit (Acts 9:17). To reiterate, a simple study of Luke's uses demonstrates that what fills a person is what controls a person. This begs the question - Do you seek to begin each day filled with the Spirit? (Eph 5:18-note).

Rage (454)(anoia from a = without + nous = mind) describes the characteristic of one who is without understanding (anoos), a wild, mindless rage, one that is empty of understanding. In this passage the idea is that of an irrational (not understandable) anger like one who is insane. They were "out of their mind" with internal anger. Thayer says in this context anoia is "madness” expressing itself in rage." The only other use of anoia is twice in 2 Ti 3:9 "But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also." Paul is using the OT example of these men to emphasize to Timothy that sooner or later the folly of false teachers and preachers becomes obvious to all. 

Gilbrant on anoia - Literally anoia means “not understanding.” Thucydides could say that “to make war (polemēsai) is much anoia” (2.61), i.e., it is foolish (Liddell-Scott). The writer of Proverbs understood anoia to be related to deception (Pr 14:8) and characteristic of a child (Pr 22:15). The Preacher, too, associated anoia with youthful folly (Ecclesiastes 11:10), but he made a link between anoia and anger (thumon [cf. 2349] here translates the Hebrew kā‛as̱, “anger,” “to be angry”). It refers to the malice, hatred, and violence of Simon, who plotted against Onias the High Priest (2 Maccabees 4:6RSV “folly”). So, we see that anoia not only means foolishness in the sense of a “lack of understanding or intelligence” (see Wisdom of Solomon 15:18RSV), it also carries a nuance (determined by context) of malicious folly or anger that is irrational. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Anoia - 5x in the Septuagint - Job 33:23; Ps. 22:2; Pr 14:8 ("foolishness of fools is deceit"); Pr 22:15 ("Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child"); Eccl. 11:10

Related Resources

Discussed together what they might do to Jesus - Luke leaves this open ended but both Matthew 12:14+ and Mark 3:6+ state specifically what they wanted to do - they wanted to destroy Him where the Greek word apollumi means to destroy utterly! The created ones desiring to utterly destroy their self-existentimmutable, eternal Creator! No wonder Luke describes their rage with the rare noun anoia - they were relentlessly irrational! As alluded to above, the irony is that Jesus uses this same verb apollumi in His counterquestion to the Pharisees in Lk 6:9 ("to save a life or to destroy it").  Let us not miss the irony here, for as the legalistic Pharisees are accusing Jesus of breaking the law to keep the Sabbath holy, they themselves are breaking the law "You shall not murder!" (cf Mt 5:21, 22+)! 

IVP Background Commentary has an interesting note on what they might do to Jesus - Unintentional violations of the Sabbath, or issues of disagreement about what constituted the sabbath (matters that were debated) were normally treated lightly; capital punishment (Ex 31:14; 35:2) was thought appropriate only for those who willfully rejected the Sabbath. Jesus’ opponents go far beyond their own teachings here.

John MacArthur - These two (Sabbath confrontation) incidents (Lk 6:1-11) bring out the stark contrast between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders. It is the contrast between the representative of God’s truth, and the representatives of false religion; between divine truth and human tradition; between profound knowledge and madness; between goodness and wickedness; between compassion and cruelty; between open honesty and hidden deception; between divine power and human impotence; between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Yet God’s grace can penetrate even the most hardened heart. Not all of the Pharisees permanently rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 15:5 notes that there were “some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed.” One of those believing Pharisees, Saul of Tarsus, became the great apostle Paul. The self-proclaimed foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), he was called by the risen Lord to preach the gospel throughout the Roman world. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10)

Steven Cole - Put yourself in this man’s place. If you have any sort of physical handicap, the last thing you want is for someone to call attention to it in a public setting. If you have a blemish on your face, you try to camouflage it with make up. Perhaps this man kept his hand pulled up under his robe so that people wouldn’t notice it. Yet Jesus looks directly at the man and says, literally, “Rise and stand in the midst.” In other words, “Front and center where everyone can see your problem.” How embarrassing! Didn’t Jesus know how the man must feel? Think of what this did to his self-esteem! Why couldn’t Jesus have taken him aside privately and not called attention to his problem?

Our pride makes us want to hide our embarrassing problems both from public view and from Jesus’ view: “Withered hand? Why no, I just like to keep it up my sleeve. Nice weather we’ve been having, isn’t it?” But hiding your problems from Jesus and denying that you have them is a sure-fire way not to get them healed. Like this withered hand, it may be something that has hindered your life for years. It has kept you from being all that God wants you to be for His kingdom. Every time anyone gets near to exposing your problem, you quickly withdraw and divert attention from it or get defensive and angry.

But Jesus always goes for the jugular! To the immoral woman at the well, Jesus said, “Go call your husband and come back.” To the rich young ruler, He said, “Go sell everything you have and give it to the poor.” To the woman with the issue of blood (how embarrassing!), who just wanted quietly to get healed and be on her way, Jesus stopped in the busy crowd and demanded, “Who touched Me?” He made her confess in public what had happened to her. To this man Jesus said, “Stretch out your hand.”

What if the man had stretched out his good left hand? “See, it is perfectly good! No problems with my hand!” I think he would not have been healed. Right there in front of the whole crowd, he had to stretch out that embarrassingly withered right hand for it to be made whole. Even so, you may have an embarrassing sin problem that Jesus wants you to confess in order to be healed.

So Jesus often deliberately stomps on your toes. The question is, “How will you respond?” When Jesus stomps on your toes …

2. Don’t resist Him, but respond with obedient faith.

The response of the scribes and Pharisees was quite different than the response of the man with the withered hand. They went away in a rage, determined to do away with Jesus. He went away healed. Let’s learn that …

A. We resist Jesus when we respond in anger and resolve to get rid of Him.

How do you respond when God’s Word confronts your sin? It may be a sin that you have kept hidden from public view. Perhaps you have convinced yourself that it’s really not a big problem, even though it actually causes you a lot of trouble. People often do this with drug and alcohol abuse. They hide the extent of it from everyone else and then they convince themselves that it’s really not so bad. Besides, they tell themselves that they need it to cope and probably everyone else does it to some extent, too. When the Lord confronts them with the problem through caring family or friends, they get defensive and angry. If they go to a church where the Bible is preached, and the sermons confront their sin, they drop out or find a church that isn’t so threatening. I often hear of people who stop coming here because my preaching stepped on their toes. Well, it steps on my toes, too! But the sad thing is, if you walk away from God’s Word, you won’t get healed.

B. We respond with obedient faith when we believe and act on Jesus’ word.

The man with the withered hand pictures how we should respond when Jesus stomps on our toes. He could have refused to do what Jesus asked because of fear of the Pharisees. They easily could take out their anger on him: “You know what our law states. Why didn’t you wait and come back tomorrow for healing? This upstart Jesus is just undermining our heritage and way of life! You shouldn’t have gone along with Him!” But the man wanted to be healed even if it meant enduring the wrath of the Pharisees.

He could have refused to obey Jesus out of embarrassment, as I’ve already said. When Jesus asked him to stretch out his hand, he could have thought, “Is He mocking me? He knows that my problem is precisely that I cannot stretch out my hand!” He could have thought of a lot of excuses why he couldn’t do what Jesus asked him to do. But instead, recognizing his own impotence and need, he believed and obeyed Jesus. He was instantly healed.

There were several elements in his obedient faith that we must follow.

First, he recognized and admitted his need and inability. He didn’t angrily say, “Why are you singling me out? I’m no different than anyone else here.” He didn’t deny or camouflage his problem. He didn’t offer to go fifty-fifty in helping Jesus solve the problem. If you want Jesus to heal your soul, you must admit, “I am a hopeless, helpless sinner. My thoughts, my attitudes, my words, and my deeds have continually violated Your holy Word. I cannot save myself. Lord, I need Your powerful Word to save me.”

Second, he believed in Christ’s ability to heal him. This isn’t stated, but it’s implicitly behind his action. Probably he had heard how Jesus had healed the paralytic. He knew how Jesus had healed everyone who gathered at Peter’s door one evening. He had just heard Jesus teach. Now Jesus was looking directly at him. He knew and believed that Jesus had the power from God to heal him. Even so, we must look at the records of Jesus’ life and ministry and come to the conclusion that He is who He claimed to be. He is God in human flesh, the only Mediator between sinners and a holy God. He is able to save my soul.

Third, he acted in obedience to Christ’s command. Jesus commanded him to do something impossible: “Stretch out your hand!” But with the command, Jesus imparted the power and ability to obey it. The man obeyed and was instantly healed. Jesus commands sinners to do something impossible: Repent and believe in the gospel (Mk 1:15). If you will look to Him and cry out, “Lord, I cannot repent and believe by my ability, but grant me repentance and faith by Your grace,” He will do it and you will be instantly saved.

Although the text does not say so, I agree with G. Campbell Morgan’s insight (The Westminster Pulpit [Baker], 1:294) that Jesus didn’t heal this man so that he could wrap his healed hand in a bandage and protect it, but so that he could use it. By exercising and using it, he would maintain the new strength. Even so, when the Lord has delivered us from our sins, He expects us to use our healed lives in service for His glory.


Morgan also points out that the only man in the synagogue that Jesus sought out was the man with the greatest need. If you have a problem, it does not exclude you from Jesus. Rather, it makes you the target of His gracious call. You may have an embarrassing problem that you would rather not face up to and you certainly don’t want to expose it in public. But Jesus says to you, “Arise and stand in the midst! Admit that you have a sin problem.” He just kinda sorta stomps on your aorta! But if you will respond in obedient faith, He will say, “Stretch out your hand!” He will impart the power of His salvation, and you will be changed in your heart to the praise of the glory of His saving grace. When Jesus stomps on your toes, don’t resist Him. Respond with obedient faith and He will save you and use you for His glory. (Luke 6:6-11 When Jesus Stomps on Your Toes)


These verses contain another example of our Lord Jesus Christ's mode of dealing with the Sabbath question. Once more we find Him coming into collision with the vain traditions of the Pharisees, about the observance of the fourth commandment “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." (Exodus 20:8). Once more we find Him clearing the day of God from the rubbish of human traditions, and placing its requirements on the right foundation.

We are taught in these verses, the lawfulness of doing works of mercy on the Sabbath day. We read that before all the Scribes and Pharisees, our Lord healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. He knew that these enemies of all righteousness were watching to see whether He would do it, in order that they might "find an accusation against Him." He boldly asserts the right of doing such works of mercy, even on the day when it is said, "you shall do no manner of work." He openly challenges them to show that such a work was contrary to the law. "I will ask you one thing," He says, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do evil? to save life or to destroy?" To this question His enemies were unable to find an answer.

The principle here laid down, is one of wide application. The fourth commandment was never meant to be so interpreted, as to inflict injury on man's body. It was intended to admit of adaptation to that state of things which sin has brought into the world. It was not meant to forbid showing kindness on the Sabbath to the afflicted, or attending to the needs of the sick. We may drive in a carriage to minister comfort to the dying. We may stay away from public worship, in order to fetch a doctor, or be useful in a sick room. We may visit the fatherless and widow in trouble. We may preach, and teach, and instruct the ignorant. These are works of mercy. We may do them, and yet keep the Sabbath holy. They are not breaches of God's law.

One thing, however, we must carefully remember. We must take heed that we do not abuse the liberty which Christ has given us. It is in this direction that our danger chiefly lies in modern times. There is little risk of our committing the error of the Pharisees, and keeping the Sabbath more strictly than God intended. The thing to be feared is the general disposition to neglect the Sabbath, and to rob it of that honor which it ought to receive. Let us take heed to ourselves in this matter. Let us beware of making God's day a day for visiting, feasting, journeying, and pleasure parties. These are not works of necessity or mercy, whatever a self-willed and unbelieving world may say. The person who spends his Sundays in such ways as these, is sinning a great sin, and proving himself entirely unprepared for the great rest in heaven.

We are taught, secondly, in these verses, the perfect knowledge that our Lord Jesus Christ possesses of men's thoughts. We see this in the language used about Him, when the Scribes and Pharisees were watching Him. We read that "He knew their thoughts."

Expressions like this are among the many evidences of our Lord's divinity. It belongs to God only to read hearts. He who could discern the secret intents and imaginations of others, must have been more than man. No doubt He was man like ourselves in all things, sin only excepted. This we may freely grant to the Socinian, who denies the divinity of Christ. The texts the Socinian quotes, in proof of our Lord's manhood, are texts which we believe and hold as fully as himself. But there are other plain texts in Scripture which prove that our Lord was God as well as man. Of such texts the passage before us is one. It shows that Jesus was "God over all, blessed forever." (Rom. 9:5.)

Let the remembrance of our Lord's perfect knowledge always exercise a humbling influence upon our souls. How many vain thoughts, and worldly imaginations, pass through our minds every hour, which man's eye never see! What are our own thoughts at this moment? What have they been this very day, while we have been reading, or listening to this passage of Scripture? Would they bear public examination? Would we want others to know all that passes in our mind? These are serious questions, and deserve serious answers. Whatever we may think of them, it is a certain fact that Jesus Christ is hourly reading our hearts. Truly we ought to humble ourselves before Him, and cry daily, "Who can tell how often he offends?" — "Cleanse me from secret faults." (Ps 19:12) "God be merciful to me a sinner!" (Lk 18:13, cf  Ps 26:11, 41:4, 10, 56:1, 57:1, 67:1, 86:3, 119:58, 132)

We are taught, lastly, in these verses, the nature of the first act of faith, when a soul is converted to God. The lesson is conveyed to us in a striking manner, by the history of the cure which is here described. We read that our Lord said to the man whose hand was withered, "Stretch forth your hand." The command, at first sight, seems unreasonable, because the man's obedience was apparently impossible. But the poor sufferer was not stopped by any doubts or reasonings of this kind. At once we read that he made the attempt to stretch forth his hand, and, in making it, was cured. He had faith enough to believe that He who bade him stretch forth his hand, was not mocking him, and ought to be obeyed. And it was precisely in this act of implicit obedience, that he received a blessing. "His hand was completely restored!"

Let us see in this simple history, the best answer to those doubts, and hesitations, and questionings, by which anxious inquirers often perplex themselves, in the matter of coming to Christ. "How can they believe?" they ask us — "How can they come to Christ? How can they lay hold on the hope set before them?" The best answer to all such inquiries, is to bid men do as he did who had the withered hand. Let them not stand still reasoning, but act. Let them not torment themselves with metaphysical speculations, but cast themselves, just as they are, on Jesus Christ. So doing, they will find their course made clear. How, or in what manner, we may not be able to explain. But we may boldly make the assertion, that in the act of striving to draw near to God, they shall find God drawing near to them, but that if they deliberately sit still, they must never expect to be saved.

Luke 6:12  It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.

KJV 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.

Parallel Passage: 

Mark 3:13-19+  And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him.


Mark mentions that Jesus went up on the mountain but interestingly omits the fact that He prayed. Luke frequently shows Jesus in the "secret place" praying to His Father in Heaven and particularly before major events in His ministry. Lk 3:21; 5:16; 9:18, 28, 29; 11:1; 22:32, 40-46. The major event here is of course His selection of the 12 disciples who will carry on His ministry after His death, burial, resurrection and ascension. It is fascinating that in answer to prayer, Jesus is led to select one man, Judas Iscariot, who would follow along with Jesus for almost 3 years but who was never a genuine disciple of Jesus. 

THOUGHT - Jesus clear dependence on direction from His Father is an important reminder that we too as His followers need to beseech our Father in Heaven before any and every important decision in our life! How are you doing? Are you as convicted as I am? Would our life be different if we truly practiced this type of dependent prayer? As someone writes Jesus "is our great example for a life of prayer, and if He knew His need of communion with the Father, how much greater is our need!"

It was at this time - This expression of time begs the question "What time?" Luke has just recorded two confrontations regarding supposed Sabbath violations with the Jewish religious leaders. Presumably this time of extended prayer follows the healing of the man's withered right hand on the Sabbath but one cannot be dogmatic. In any event, given the rising level of hostility against His ministry it was clearly time to chose disciples whom He could equip and train to carry on the ministry after His crucifixion, which would take place 1.5 to 2 years later.

THOUGHT - Jesus knew His time was short and that He must zealously, wisely redeem the time! How about us beloved? Is our time any less short? Lest we become complacent pious procrastinators we need to emblazon the words of James on our forehead (so to speak) "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." (James 4:14+).

THOUGHT - Phillips makes an excellent point "A fixed law of Jesus was never to act in independence of His Father. The original sin in the Garden of Eden was the sin of acting in independence of God. Luke begins this section by showing us the dependence of the Lord upon His Father." Should we as His disciples do any less? How many decisions do we make independent of our Father's input? Woe! I am very convicted and need to radically increase the number of decisions I am making only after communion with my Father Who art in Heaven! How about you?

Constable suggests "In view of mounting hostility it was imperative that He receive direction from His Father in this choice. A mountain or hill was a traditional place to pray since it provided seclusion and its elevation gave the person praying a special sense of nearness to God. Luke alone mentioned Jesus' all night prayer vigil. It shows Jesus' conscious dependence on God, a special emphasis in the third Gospel. The early church followed Jesus' example (Acts 13:2; 14:23; cf. Acts 1:2, 24-26) (Luke 6)

That He went off to the mountain to pray (proseuchomai) - Pray is in the middle voice which is distinguished by the fact that passive voice the subject is intentionally, voluntarily acting in His own interest, and He receives the benefit of the action. 

THOUGHT - Interesting thought on the "voice" of the verb -- praying in the middle voice benefiting the one who is praying! Have you ever thought of your praying to the Father in that way, with that benefit?

Jesus was the Master Teacher Who always practiced what He preached! He taught us to pray "Our Father" (Mt 6:9+) and He modelled it to us! Listen to what Jesus taught relating to prayer and communion with His Father.

"Truly, truly (AKA THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT - LISTEN UP! LEARN! APPLY!), I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner." (Jn 5:19)

I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear (BY IMPLICATION FROM HIS FATHER), I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." (Jn 5:30)

"So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me." (Jn 8:38).

THOUGHT - Is this not in a sense what we are asking our Father for when we pray "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven"? I wonder how many times we pray those words, but then turn around and almost immediately go off to do our own selfish will? Just thinking! 

Related Resources: 

NET Note on to the mountain - The expression to the mountain here may be idiomatic or generic, much like the English “he went to the hospital” (cf. Lk 15:29+), or even intentionally reminiscent of Ex 24:12 (LXX), since the genre of the Sermon on the Mount seems to be that of a new Moses giving a new law. (ED: It is interesting that the Greek has the definite article "the" [to'] preceding "mountain" which does suggest it was a specific known mountain. More than that we will have to wait until Heaven to find out which mountain!) 

And He spent the whole night in prayer (proseuche) - This is the record of Jesus praying all night prayer and in fact the only record of anyone in the NT praying all night! A similar dependence on prayer is seen in choosing servants of the Lord in Acts 13:1-4+. The verb is dianuktereuo (dia = through + nux = night, this is a hapax legomenon) in the present tense meaning that  Jesus "continued all night."  MacArthur observes that "In His humanity, having set aside the independent use of his divine attributes (Phil. 2:5-8+), Jesus sought the Father’s will in choosing the Twelve....Jesus sought the Father's will in everything He did, doing absolutely nothing independently or on His own initiative (John 5:19, 30; 8:28)." (MNTC-Mt) 

John Phillips - Jesus was about to make a momentous decision, one that would affect the future of the world, but first He must spend time talking it over with God. Luke emphasizes here the essential humanity of the Lord Jesus. Consequently, he emphasizes the Lord's habits of prayer. All too often we make decisions and blunder into distressing situations simply because we fail to pray earnestly enough about them. Jesus never made that mistake. The Lord not only was dependent on the faithfulness of His Father but also was about to become dependent on the faithfulness of His friends. No wonder He felt the need for a full night of prayer....The decisions He was about to make called for great spiritual discernment. The character, capacity, and commitment of each disciple had to be weighed. (ED: HOW FASCINATING THAT HE CHOOSE ONE WHO WOULD BETRAY HIM!) (Ibid) 

Hendriksen adds that the twelve "included even the man who was going to become a traitor, in order that, without in any way canceling human responsibility, God’s counsel regarding the salvation of His people might be carried out. See Luke 22:22+; Acts 2:23+ (= Jesus "delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God")." (BNTC-Luke)

Darrell Bock notes that "This text is one of several where Luke associates an event with prayer (Luke 1:13; Luke 2:37; Luke 3:21; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12, Luke 6:28; Luke 9:18; Luke 11:1-2; Luke 18:1; Luke 22:41, Luke 22:45)." (The IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Luke)

D.L. Moody said something that should convict us all - "I'd rather be able to pray than be a great preacher; Jesus Christ never taught his disciples how to preach, but only how to pray."

In His high, priestly prayer, Jesus mentions His original 12 disciples as a gift from God

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world (His 12 Apostles); they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 “Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9 “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 1 5“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19“For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.  (John 17:6-19)

Comment: As an aside it is worth noting that Jesus' prayer in John 17 is predominantly for His original apostles but does include prayer for all believers. His great prayer can be broken down as follows - (1) Jesus' prayer for Himself (John 17:1-5); 2) Jesus' prayer for the apostles (John 17:6-19); and 3) Jesus' prayer for all NT believers who will form the church (John 17:20-26).

Pray (4336) (proseuchomai from pros = toward, facing, before [emphasizing the direct approach of the one who prays in seeking God’s face] + euchomai = originally to speak out, utter aloud, express a wish, then to pray or to vow. Greek technical term for invoking a deity) in the NT is always used of prayer addressed to God (to Him as the object of faith and the One who will answer one’s prayer) and means to speak consciously (with or without vocalization) to Him, with a definite aim. The imperfect tense signifies Jesus is praying over and over, again and again. He did not fall asleep while praying as so many of us do in early morning hour!

Spent the whole night (1273)(dianukteriuo from diá = through + nuktereúō = to pass the night from núx = night) means to pass the night and this is the only NT use. It describes His prayer as continuing throughout the entire night. 

Prayer (4335)(proseuche from pros = toward or immediately before + euchomai = to pray or vow) is the more general word for prayer and is used only of prayer to God. The prefix pros would convey the sense of being immediately before Him and hence the ideas of adoration, devotion, and worship. The basic idea is to bring something, and in prayer this pertains to bringing up prayer requests. In early Greek culture an offering was brought with a prayer that it be accepted. Later the idea was changed slightly, so that the thing brought to God was a prayer. In later Greek, prayers appealed to God for His presence. Proseuche is used 37 times in the NT. Note the concentration of prayer in the early church! (see uses in Acts below) What has happened to us as a church in America? How might this relate to how infrequently we see the power of the Lord at work in our midst? Is your church a praying church? Luke's uses of proseuche - Lk. 6:12; Lk. 19:46; Lk. 22:45; Acts 1:14; Acts 2:42; Acts 3:1; Acts 6:4; Acts 10:4; Acts 10:31; Acts 12:5; Acts 16:13; Acts 16:16

Oh, help me, Lord, to take the time
To set all else aside,
That in the secret place of prayer
I may with You abide. —Anon.

One secret of effective prayer is prayer in secret.

Warren Wiersbe - Why did He pray all night? For one thing, He knew that opposition against Him was growing and would finally result in His crucifixion; so He prayed for strength as He faced the path ahead. Also, He wanted the Father's guidance as He selected His 12 Apostles, for the future of the church rested with them. Keep in mind that one of the Twelve would betray Him, and Jesus knew who he was from the beginning (John 6:64). Our Lord had real human emotions (Luke 22:41-44; Heb. 5:7-8), and it was through prayer that He made this difficult choice. ( Bible Exposition Commentary)

ILLUSTRATION Sir George Adam Smith tells how he and his guide were climbing the Weisshorn in the Swiss Alps. It was stormy and they were making their climb on the sheltered side of the peak. When they reached the summit, they were filled with the exhilaration. Sir George forgot about the fierce winds, leaped up and was nearly blown over the edge to the glacier below! The guide grabbed hold of him and exclaimed:“On your knees, sir! You are safe here only on your knees!” Prayer drives us to God! – Prayer doesn’t pull God toward my will, but helps me to align with His will!

Sledding And Praying

Now it came to pass in those days that [Jesus] went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. —Luke 6:12

When the snow flies in Michigan, I like to get my grandkids, grab our plastic sleds, and go slipping and sliding down our backyard. We zoom down the hill for about 10 seconds, and then climb back up for more.

When I travel to Alaska with a bunch of teenagers, we also go sledding. We are hauled by bus nearly to the top of a mountain. We jump on our sleds and, for the next 10 to 20 minutes (depending on levels of bravery), we slide at breakneck speeds down the mountain, holding on for dear life.

Ten seconds in my backyard or 10 minutes down an Alaskan mountain. They’re both called sledding, but there is clearly a difference.

I’ve been thinking about this in regard to prayer. Sometimes we do the “10 seconds in the backyard” kind of praying—a quick, spur-of-the-moment prayer or a short thanks before eating. At other times, we’re drawn to “down the mountain” praying—extended, intense times that require concentration and passion in our relationship with Him. Both have their place and are vital to our lives.

Jesus prayed often, and sometimes for a long time (Luke 6:12; Mark 14:32-42). Either way, let us bring the desires of our heart to the God of the backyards and the mountains of our lives.By Dave Branon

Lord, please challenge us to pray constantly—both in
short sessions and long. As we face the valleys, hills,
and mountains of our lives, may we lift our hearts
and minds to You in constant communication.

The heart of prayer is prayer from the heart.


Rod Mattoon - Walter Rauschenbusch gives some great principles on praying.

1. Be simple and direct in your secret prayer. The grace of simplicity is not to be despised in public prayer; but when we call on God in secret, any formality or elaborateness in our petitions is an offense.

2. Pray audibly. You need not lift your voice to be heard in the street, but it is vastly better to pray not merely in your thoughts but also with words. The utterance of our wants helps us to define them.

3. Be honest in your secret prayer. Do not express any want that you do not feel. Do not confess any fault that you do not mean to forsake. Do not keep anything back. Remember that it is He that searcheth the heart to whom you are speaking.

4. Pray earnestly. The words need not be loud, but the desire should be intense. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. No listless, drowsy petitioning will serve.

5. Do not mock God in your prayers. Do not beg Him to come to you. You know that He is never far from any soul that seeks Him. That prayer is answered before you utter it.

6. Do not ask God to do for you that which He has expressly bidden you to do. Pray always with special reference to the needs of the day and the hour—the warfare to be waged, the temptations to be resisted, the work to be done, the sorrow to be borne. Put your life into your prayer and let it be the most real and the most immediate business of your life.

ILLUSTRATION  I have been asked, "What is the best position to pray?" The story about three preachers answers this question. Three preachers were talking about prayer in general and the appropriate and effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman was working on the phone system in the background. One minister shared that he felt the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship. The second suggested that real prayer was conducted on your knees. The third suggested that they both had it wrong. The only position worth its salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face. By this time the phone man couldn't stay out of the conversation any longer. He interjected: "I found that the most powerful prayer I ever made was while I was dangling upside down by my heels from a power pole, suspended forty feet above the ground!" Beloved, don't worry about your position, just pray! (Mattoon's Treasures – Treasures from Luke, Volume 1) 

Related Resources:

Spurgeon - Morning and Evening - 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? Lord Jesus, teach us to pray. 

Rich Cathers - I imagine that praying through the night is a little like fasting on its impact in prayer. Andrew Murray: “Prayer is the one hand with which we grasp the invisible. Fasting is the other hand, the one with which we let go of the visible.”

“Fasting helps to express, to deepen, and to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain the Kingdom of God.”

Sometimes we talk too much about prayer and pray too little.

Andrew Murray also writes, "The unconverted man says, “Conversion is easy tomorrow, but hard today. I’ll put it off.” Even so, prayer that is now difficult appears easy in the future. Alas, you will find it just as hard in the future as now. ... Reading a book about prayer, listening to lectures and talking about it is very good, but it won’t teach you to pray. You get nothing without exercise, without practice. I might listen for a year to a professor of music playing the most beautiful music, but that won’t teach me to play an instrument."

Pray beloved. Practice prayer. Grow in prayer.

Luke 6:13  And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles:

KJV 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;


Parallel Passage: 

Mark 3:13-19  And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. 14 And He appointed twelve (see comment below for phrase not found in NAS), so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, 15 and to have authority to cast out the demons

Comment on phrase missing from NAS: The NAS does not include a phrase found in the ESV and the NET (whom he named apostles).

NET Note explains "The phrase "whom he named apostles" is lacking in the majority of MSS (A C(2 )[D] L ¦(1 )33 Û latt sy). Several primary Alexandrian and Caesarean witnesses (a B [C* W] Q ¦(13 )28 pc co) include the phrase, so the external evidence is strongly in favor of this reading, especially since Alexandrian witnesses tend to witness to the shorter reading. It is possible that the Alexandrian witnesses have inserted these words to bring the text in line with Luke 6:13 (TCGNT 69), but against this is the internal evidence of Mark's style: Mark tends toward gratuitous redundancy. Thus the inclusion of this phrase is supported by both internal and external evidence and should be regarded as more likely original than the omission."

Matthew 10:1  Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.  2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

When day came - After persevering in prayer the Father revealed His will regarding who His Son was to chose for His apostles.

He called His disciples to Him - This call is not the verb kaleo (which includes the nuances of to invite or to summon) but the verb prosphoneo which is simply to address another person. Mark 3:13+ and Mt 10:1 on the other hand says Jesus summoned them (verb proskaleo) which is a legal technical term meaning to summon and was only used in the middle voice meaning to call to oneself, usually the one of higher rank doing the calling. There is there is normally nothing special about the call.

   As, of old, Apostles heard Him
    By the Galilean Lake,
   Turned from home and toil and kindred,
    Leaving all for His dear sake.
   Jesus calls us; o'er the tumult
    Of our life's wild, restless sea,
   Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,
    Saying, "Christian, follow Me!"

Called (4377)(prosphoneo from pros = to + phoneo = to call) means to speak to someone, to call out, to address (Mt 11:16; Lk 7:32; 23:20; Ac 22:2; cf. 21:40) or to call to oneself (Lk 6:13; 13:12; Ac 11:2). The verb speaks of the act of verbal communication between two individuals or groups and is almost exclusively used by Luke.

Gibrant - In classical Greek prosphōneō has a variety of meanings depending on the context. It can mean “to speak” or “address” words to someone. A further sense is “to command.” It can be used when “dedicating” a book (Liddell-Scott). To “call by name” is another use. In the Septuagint prosphōneō appears only in noncanonical books. In 1 Esdras 2:21RSV certain Samaritans wrote to the Persian king indicating the necessity they felt to speak to or address him (cf. 2 Maccabees 15:15RSV). In 1 Esdras 6:6RSV it means “to report.” Later in the same chapter prosphōneō describes the act of the Persian king in giving orders: “Let him send us directions” (RSV, verse 22). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Prosphoneo - 7x in 7v -  : addressed(1), addressing(1), call(2), called(1), called...over(1), spoke(1).

Matthew 11:16  "But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children,

Luke 6:13  And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles:

Luke 7:32  "They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.'

Luke 13:12  When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your sickness."

Luke 23:20  Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again,

Acts 21:40  When he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, motioned to the people with his hand; and when there was a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew dialect, saying,

Acts 22:2  And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he said,

   Jesus is calling in accents of tenderness,
   Jesus is calling, my brother, to thee,
   Just as of old, by the waters of Galilee,
    Fell from His lips the command,
    Follow Me!

Disciples ("Students" "Followers" "Learners") (3101)(mathetes  from manthano = to learn which Vine says is "from a root math, indicating thought accompanied by endeavor". Gives us our English = "mathematics") describes a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal. In Greek and Jewish culture prominent rabbis, orators, philosophers, or teachers would attract followers, who would travel with them from place to place. Discipleship includes the idea of one who intentionally learns by inquiry and observation (cf inductive Bible study) and thus mathetes is more than a mere pupil. A mathetes describes an adherent of a teacher. Mathetes itself has no spiritual connotation, and it is used of superficial followers of Jesus (like those who no longer followed Him in Jn 6:66) as well as of genuine believers.

Ralph Earle - As followers of Jesus we are to be, first of all, learners. We are to learn from Him by listening to Him, learn the truth that will set us free (John 8:32) and keep us from error. But we are also to learn from Him by looking at Him‑ learn how to live a life of beauty and blessing. (Word Meanings in the New Testament)

Barclay writes that "All his life a Christian should be learning more and more about Jesus. The shut mind is the end of discipleship!"

Christ had many disciples. At one point He sent 70 out in pairs to proclaim the gospel (Lk 10:1-note). But on this occasion, He chose 12 and specifically commissioned them as apostles, which is literally the “sent ones." As described below He also bestowed on them special authority to use in the preaching  of the Gospel  (cf. Acts 1:21, 22+).

And chose twelve of them - Why twelve? Surely this relates to the 12 Tribes of Israel. And none were from the religious establishment of Israel.  The verb chose implies a selection from a larger number of disciples, of which Christ had many. In Lk 10:1 "the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come." These 12 are selected and specifically commissioned as apostles or "sent ones" and as discussed below were given special authority to deliver His message on His behalf (cf Acts 1:21, 22).  

Robertson notes chose is from "The same root (leg) used for picking out, selecting and then for saying. There was a large group of "disciples" or "learners" whom He "called" to Him (prosphoneo), and from among whom He chose (of Himself, and for Himself, indirect middle voice (of eklego). It was a crisis in the work of Christ. Jesus assumed full responsibility even for the choice of Judas who was not forced upon Jesus by the rest of the Twelve. "You did not choose me, but I chose you," (John 15:16, cf Jn 15:19, Jn 6:70, 13:18) where Jesus uses eklego as here by Luke.

MacArthur on chose - Like Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and all the prophets, the twelve disciples were chosen by God's sovereign will and for His sovereign purpose, being foreordained to His service before the foundation of the world. That has always been God's way. He divinely chose Israel, He divinely chose His prophets and His apostles, and He divinely chooses those today who become the leaders of His own Body, the church. Acts 13:1-4 and Acts 20:28 clearly teach that the Holy Spirit sovereignly places men in leadership in the church. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15)

Chose (1586)(eklego from ek = out, out of, out from + légo = select, choose) (see related eklektos) means literally to select out, single out or choose out of. The idea in eklego speaks of the sizable number from which the selection is made. It implies the taking of a smaller number out of a larger. For example, in secular use, Virgil's Eclogues (from eklego) are short, selected excerpts taken from a more larger collection of poems.

MacArthur on twelve - The importance of the number was underscored by the addition of Matthias to take Judas’s place (Acts 1:23-26). Since Israel and its leaders were apostate, the Twelve were to serve as the leaders of the new, true Israel of God—the redeemed, believing remnant. Jesus made that connection clear in Luke 22:29-30 when he told the Twelve that they would reign over Israel in the millennial kingdom: “Just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” In MacArthur's Mark Commentary he writes "The number twelve was not arbitrary or accidental. It represented the fact that, in the messianic kingdom, these twelve men would be given the responsibility to rule over each of Israel’s twelve tribes (cf. Luke 22:28-30; Rev. 21:12-14). By selecting twelve apostles, Jesus was sending an unmistakable message to the leaders of Israel that they were spiritually disqualified, and therefore shut out of His kingdom. He confronted them directly, publicly, and repeatedly with such denunciations. Instead of repenting, their determination to kill Him increased." (See related book by Dr MacArthur - Twelve Ordinary Men)

Wiersbe's thoughts on why twelve - The number of the disciples is significant because there were twelve tribes in the nation of Israel. In Genesis, God started with Jacob's twelve sons, and in Exodus, He built them into a mighty nation. Israel was chosen to bring the Messiah into the world so that through Him all the nations of the earth could be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3). However, the nation of Israel was now spiritually decayed and ready to reject her own Messiah. God had to establish "a holy nation, a peculiar [purchased] people" (1 Peter 2:9), and the 12 Apostles were the nucleus of this new "spiritual" nation (Matt. 21:43). (The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1)

He also named as apostles - These were disciples who were also apostles, which identifies those Who Jesus sent out as messengers and to whom He delegated authority. Luke does not elaborate on the authority Jesus gave these 12, but both Mark and Luke give us additional details. Mark says that Jesus "appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, 15 and to have authority (exousia = the right and the might!) to cast out the demons." (Mk 3:14-15). Matthew's description is similar stating that Jesus "gave them authority (exousia = the right and the might!) over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal (therapeuo) every kind of disease and every kind of sickness." (Mt 10:1)

In summary, Jesus gave authority to the 12 apostles (presumably also Judas Iscariot!) over demons and diseases, to cast out the former and heal the latter. Notice however that their primary objective was not these "miraculous deeds" but was to preach (Mk 3:14), the verb kerusso (see study of this interesting verb) which means to herald (as a herald [kerux/keryx] would publicly cry out a king's proclamation) the message of Jesus, almost certainly referring to their public proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom (cf Lk 9:1-2 below). Kerusso is the very verb Jesus used when He issued His parting commission to the apostles to "Go into all the world and preach (aorist imperative = Conveys a sense of urgency) the Gospel (euaggelion) to all creation." (Mk 16:15) Matthew records that Jesus began His ministry in Galilee "proclaiming (kerusso) the Gospel (euaggelion) of the kingdom" (Mt 4:23, cf Mt 9:35, Mt 24:14, 26:13, Mk 1:14,  Mk 13:10, 14:9, Lk 4:18, Lk 8:1 - all these passages have the combination of kerusso and euaggelion)

John MacArthur comments that "Although Jesus chose the Twelve at this time, He did not officially commission them and grant them authority to heal and cast out demons until later (Luke 9:1-note)."

Luke 9:1-2 (see commentary) states that Jesus "called the twelve together, and gave them power (dunamis) and authority (exousia = the right and the might!) over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim (the same verb as in Mk 3:14 = kerusso and here in present tense = continually proclaim) the kingdom of God and to perform healing (iaomai) ."

Mark 3:14 adds a phrase not found in Luke - so that they would be with Him  - John MacArthur explains "Mark articulates two reasons why He appointed the twelve. The first was simply so that they would be with Him. By constantly spending intimate time with Jesus (for 3 years with God incarnate!), the Twelve would be personally mentored by the Messiah Himself. They would be trained as His apprentices. These twelve men would be responsible for the spread of the gospel and the establishment of sound doctrine, laying the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20). For the remainder of His earthly ministry, Jesus intensely invested Himself in preparing them. Second, Jesus appointed these men so that He could send them out to preach. They were trained to be the first generation of heralds of the good news of salvation, following in the footsteps of their Lord, who Himself proclaimed the gospel of God (Mk 1:14). Jesus was a preacher, as was John the Baptist and the Old Testament prophets before Him. The disciples were to follow in that legacy of preaching the truth of the gospel. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Mark 1-8).

In his comments on Matthew's Gospel MacArthur adds "Much can be learned from the classroom, from good books, and from personal experience. But spiritual growth comes best from close contact with a holy example. A consistently pure life that is patient, loving, reverent, and that has peace of heart and mind is an unmatched tutor for godly living. To hear a godly person talk to others and pray to God, to see him act and react, and to feel his heartbeat for the Lord is to be trained in the best of all schools. The disciples were a humanly defective and inept group, but their Teacher was unsurpassed. His intention was not to teach them to be the best they could be in their own capacities and strength but to teach them to be what they could be through His provision and power....For three years they lived with this Man among men who never uttered a word that was not true, who never sinned in thought or deed, who never lost His temper, and who was never angry except in righteous indignation over evil. Though He was the Son of God, He never followed His own will or took glory for Himself. He cared nothing for His own welfare but everything for the welfare of others, literally wearing Himself out with fatigue in their service. He healed the sick, cleansed the demon-possessed, and raised the dead; and He loved anybody and everybody. Now He appointed the "twelve, that they might be with Him" (Mark 3:14) in order that they might become like Him. And they did. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15)

Herbert Lockyer elaborates on so that they would be with Him - They have no occupation, they have given up the pursuits in which they were engaged: their fishing, their tax gathering, and their agriculture. They carry on no business; they simply walk around and behind their leader, talking to each other or to Him, and when He speaks to the people who begin to gather, they listen just like everybody else. The only thing they do is go with Him from place to place. They are idle, and it begins to be a question of whether it is not doing harm and giving rise to reproach that twelve grown men are being kept idle for no apparent purpose and neglecting obvious duties in order to do so. (All the Apostles of the Bible)

Apostles (652)(apostolos from apo = from + stello = send forth) (Click discussion of apostle) means one sent forth from by another, often with a special commission to represent another and to accomplish his work. It can be a delegate, commissioner, ambassador sent out on a mission or orders or commission and with the authority of the one who sent him. Apostolos referred to someone who was officially commissioned to a position or task, such as an envoy. Cargo ships were sometimes called apostolic, because they were dispatched with a specific shipment for a specific destination. In secular Greek apostolos was used of an admiral of a fleet sent out by the king on special assignment. In the ancient world a apostle was the personal representatives of the king, functioning as an ambassador with the king’s authority and provided with credentials to prove he was the king's envoy. Of the Gospel writers, Luke has the most uses of apostle especially in the book of Acts - Lk. 6:13; Lk. 9:10; Lk. 11:49; Lk. 17:5; Lk. 22:14; Lk. 24:10; Jn. 13:16; Acts 1:2; Acts 1:26; Acts 2:37; Acts 2:42; Acts 2:43; Acts 4:33; Acts 4:35; Acts 4:36; Acts 4:37; Acts 5:2; Acts 5:12; Acts 5:18; Acts 5:29; Acts 5:40; Acts 6:6; Acts 8:1; Acts 8:14; Acts 8:18; Acts 9:27; Acts 11:1; Acts 14:4; Acts 14:14; Acts 15:2; Acts 15:4; Acts 15:6; Acts 15:22; Acts 15:23; Acts 16:4

The original apostles were with Jesus from the time of His baptism by John (the inauguration of His earthly ministry) until His ascension having also witnessed His resurrection (Acts 1:22+). The apostles were with Jesus as Peter summarized from the time "starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:37-38+)

Robertson writes the word apostle (apostolos) "is derived from apostellō, to send (Latin, mitto) and apostle is missionary, one sent. Jesus applies the term (apostolos) to Himself (John 17:3) as does Hebrews 3:1-note. The word is applied to others, like Barnabas, besides these twelve including the Apostle Paul who is on a par with them in rank and authority, and even to mere messengers of the churches (2 Cor. 8:23). But these twelve apostles stand apart from all others in that they were all chosen at once by Jesus himself "that they might be with him" (Mark 3:14), to be trained by Jesus himself and to interpret him and his message to the world. In the nature of the case they could have no successors as they had to be personal witnesses to the life and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1:22). The selection of Matthias to succeed Judas cannot be called a mistake, but it automatically ceased." 

MacArthur gives the Jewish background on apostles - The concept of an apostle can be traced to the Jewish concept of the shaliach, which also referred to a messenger sent with full authority to act on behalf of another. Some rabbis, for example, were sent to the Diaspora (Jews living outside of Palestine) with authority to act on behalf of the Sanhedrin on various matters. A shaliach could also act on behalf of an individual, similar to the modern-day legal concept of power of attorney. Thus in Jewish practice, the shaliach was the same as the one who sent him (cf. John 13:20; Gal. 4:14). David, for example, proposed marriage to Abigail through messengers, and she signified her acceptance of his proposal by washing their feet (1 Sam. 25:40-42). Jesus’ designating the Twelve to act on His behalf would thus have been understood by everyone in that culture. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10)

  Matthew 10:2-4 Mark 3:16-19 Luke 6:14-16 Acts 1:13
1 Simon Peter Simon Peter Simon Peter Peter
2 Andrew James Andrew James
3 James James James James
4 James Andrew James Andrew
5 Philip Philip Philip Philip
6 Bartholomew Bartholomew Bartholomew Thomas
7 Thomas Matthew Matthew Bartholomew
8 Matthew Thomas Thomas Matthew
9 James son of
James son of
James son of
James son of
10 Thaddaeus Thaddaeus Judas son or
brother of
Judas son or
brother of
11 Simon the Cananaean Simon the Cananaean Simon the Zealot Simon the Zealot
12 Judas Iscariot Judas Iscariot Judas Iscariot --


Rod Mattoon applies the principle of "sent ones" (apostle) to our lives. While we are not like Jesus' apostles, we are sent out as His ambassadors of the Great News:

That responsibility continues today with us. We are His ambassadors and are to be sharing the truths of God's Word with others that need Him, and also with those who have already trusted in Him. We too, are walking Bibles and examples of truth.

2 Corinthians 3:2- You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;

2 Corinthians 5:20- Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

1 Timothy 4:12- Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

ILLUSTRATION - The Greek word apostolos means someone who is sent out. It can be used for an envoy or an ambassador. They were to be his ambassadors to men. A little girl received in Sunday School, a lesson on the disciples. She did not get the word quite right because she was very young, and she came home and told her parents that she had been learning about Jesus' samples. Beloved, the ambassador is the man, who in a foreign land, represents his country. He is supremely the sample of his country. The Christian is ever sent to be an ambassador for Christ, not only by his words, but by his life and deeds. What kind of ambassador are you for the Lord?

Fly With The Eagles: Luke 6:12-16

He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles. —Luke 6:13

A well-known business leader commented on the winners and the losers in his profession. “The winners fly with eagles,” he said, “and the losers run with turkeys.”

When Jesus selected the small group to whom He would entrust His mission in the world, the men appeared to be anything but “eagles.” Jesus knew that by His power and grace they could soar, but first He had to teach them to fly together.

What a strange mix! There was Peter, impetuous and uncouth. Andrew was simple and believing, but Thomas had a question mark for a mind.

Then consider Matthew and Simon. Matthew probably had held his post as tax collector by cooperating with the Romans. Simon the Zealot may have belonged to a guerrilla band determined to make life miserable for the foreign overlords of Rome by disrupting their trade or by rioting in the streets. Think of it—it would be a little like having one from the political right and one from the political left on the same church board.

Why this diversity? Perhaps to teach us that loyalty to Jesus comes first. Discipleship, true to its name, requires us to learn love and obedience and submission in a diverse community of faith under one Head—Jesus Christ. - Haddon W. Robinson 

God builds His church with different stones,
He makes each one belong;
All shapes and sizes fit in place
To make the structure strong.

Unity among believers comes from our union with Christ.

Steven J. Cole - The task of proclaiming the gospel to the world’s six billion people is daunting. But the principle of multiplication yields amazing results. You’ve heard examples like this: Suppose you had a choice of two jobs, each lasting 35 days. One pays $1,000 a day; the other pays a penny the first day and doubles the amount each day. If you took the first job, you would earn $35,000. But if you too the second job, you’d end up with $171,798,717.84!

I realize that the process doesn’t work perfectly with people. But if every Christian would not only lead one person each year to the Lord, but also train that person to reach one more, it wouldn’t take long for billions to hear, assuming that we are crossing cultural and linguistic barriers. So our goal should not only be to win people to Christ, but to disciple them so that they will reach others who will reach still others. If you don’t have a discipling mindset, you interrupt the process the Lord set in motion.

ILLUSTRATION - A familiar legend reports a conversation between Jesus and the angel Gabriel after the Lord’s ascension back into heaven. They talked about what had happened down here—of Christ’s birth, His life and ministry, His death and resurrection. Then Gabriel asked, “And how will the people of the world get to know about all of it?” Christ’s reply was, “Well, I have a little company of friends there whom I have asked to publish it.” “But what if, for any reason, they let you down and fail to do it?” Gabriel asked. Christ replied, “I have no other plan.”

ILLUSTRATION - Someone has commented that a great writer can take a worthless piece of paper, write a poem on it and instantly make it extremely valuable. A famous artist can take a piece of canvas worth fifty cents and by painting a picture on it make it priceless. A wealthy man can sign his name to a worthless piece of paper and make it worth a million dollars. In an infinitely greater way Jesus Christ can take a worthless, corrupted, and repulsive life and transform it into a righteous child of God and a useful worker in His kingdom.

A church in Strasbourg, France, was severely damaged by bombs during World War II. Although a beloved statue of Christ had survived, a ceiling beam had fallen across the arms and broken them off. A local sculptor offered to restore the statue without charge, but the townspeople decided to leave it as it was. Without hands it would be a continuing reminder to them that God does His work through His people, His earthly hands.

Jesus Christ chooses human hands—and minds and arms and feet—as the instruments of His eternal work of redemption. Those who are not offended by His demands for discipleship and who, like the apostles, give their imperfect and flawed lives to Him as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1), become His means for drawing all men to Himself.

Henry Drummond, the Scottish author and evangelist who wrote the well-known booklet The Greatest Thing in the World, was once invited to speak to an exclusive men's club in London. He began his talk with a provocative analogy that those men easily understood: "Gentlemen, the entrance fee into the kingdom of heaven is nothing; however, the annual subscription is everything."Because Jesus Christ paid the total price for salvation, it costs nothing to become His disciple. But to follow Him as a faithful disciple costs everything we have. We are not only saved by Christ's blood but are bought with it and therefore belong totally to Him (1 Cor. 6:19-20; 7:23).(John MacArthur - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15)

Herbert Lockyer in his excellent book "All the Apostles of the Bible" has some excellent introductory remarks regarding the apostles

"Some time ago, The Readers' Digest carried a most illuminating article by Ernest Hauser on The Miracle of the Twelve, which bore the subtitle, Hand-picked by Jesus, they were the missionaries of a message that changed the world." Who were these men whom Jesus chose, in whose honor cathedrals have been built, around whom legend has spun golden webs, and whose names have been used naming multitudes since? How was it that principally through the evangelistic efforts within three and a half centuries, proud imperial Rome succumbed to the glad tidings of the Redeemer from the East?

A fact we cannot deny is that no body of men, few or many, has ever exercised so vast an influence on the world as the small circle of ordinary men Jesus called, trained, commissioned, and empowered to further His cause. surveyed from the human angle, the twelve had meager equipment for the great tasks before them. They are referred to as being "unlettered and ignorant men," which means they were unprofessional men absolutely outside the current schools of philosophical, political and religious thought.

To all appearances no mission seemed more hopeless than theirs. Were they not facing and enterprise doomed to failure, seeing they had no social status no organization behind them, no wealth of their own or wealthy backers? How could they then expect success in the world wide campaign awaiting them? They became companions of a Man who was born in poverty, spent most of His years in obscurity, never had any position in life, never wrote a book, was gibbeted as a felon between two thieves, and who lived for only 33 years. How could they expect to bring the impact of their witness to bear upon the world as followers of One who was despised and rejected of men? Yet forward they went to summon the world to His feet, and the world came - and is still coming, for in spite of the godlessness of our age, there are millions today in the world who love this Man of Galilee...

...they were men with like passions as ourselves. With all their noble qualities, they had their imperfections and limitations...He called them to follow Him, not because of what they were in themselves when He met them for the first time, but because of what under His tuition, and by His power they would become...

...It is not what we are, in ourselves, when we hear and respond to Christ's call, but what by His grace and power He can make us as we company with Him. When Jesus called those first disciples, He said,"Follow me, and I will make you" - and there are no self-made Christians in His service;...

...those whom the Lord wants and wins are those He is able to fashion into human books to tell the story of His love and grace. As did those He gathered around Him in the days of His flesh, disciples today begin their apprenticeship by following Christ, daily learning of, and from Him (Matt. 11:29). Then as they grow in grace and knowledge, they become more fitted to represent the Savior in a world of sin and need...

...To us, the apostles were not exceptional men, strangers to our weakness, temptations and difficulties. Jesus chose twelve typical representative men...He chose those who were poor and teachable as the clay out of which to fashion spiritual greatness...

...The twelve Christ chose, then, were twelve men, distinguished by marked degrees of difference and varieties of temper and disposition...

...These twelve types were selected as a representation of a narrow circle of the whole human race, in which there is a great variety of types...

...It has been suggested that in the choice of the twelve, Christ was experimenting on the entire human race. If He could bring these twelve under His power and subdue them to His qualities, it would be proof that all men might be made to yield to His sway. It was a prophetic demonstration that His salvation was adapted to all classes with varieties of disposition and qualities. The selection was also proof that Jesus was both willing and able to employ all manner of gifts and all manner of natures in His service. Doubtless if the choice had been ours we should have left several of the twelve out, and chosen others....

The names of the twelve appear on the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem which their devotion and dedication helped to build"...

...Twelve is the number establishing governmental is a clear illustration to the tribes of a new people. It happily expresses that Jesus was the Divine Messianic King.

Luke 6:14  Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew;

KJV Luke 6:14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,

Parallel Passage: Words in bold not in Luke

Mark 3:16+ And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), 17 and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, “Sons of Thunder” [descriptive of their hotheaded and judgmental attitude as in Lk 9:54-note]); 18 and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew....

THOUGHT: It is notable that John is often considered the apostle of love and yet he began as the "apostle of thunder!" What happened? He met Jesus and Jesus transformed his life. Do you know someone who invariably acts like a "son of thunder?" Beloved, pray for them to meet Jesus, Who alone can transform them into a son of love! There is always hope!

Matthew 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew....

The four lists of the twelve disciples/apostles - Mt 10:1-4; Mk 3:13-19; Lk 6:12-16; Acts 1:13.

Note that the names of the disciples are combined in pairs, probably because it was by pairs that they were sent out "by two and two" (Mark 6:7 = "And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.") on their first missionary assignment (Mt 10:1-4, 5).

John Phillips gives us an interesting "summary" of some of the twelve - Most of the Master's men are little more than mere names to us, but the Lord knew them through and through-doubting Thomas, devoted John, diligent Matthew, devious Judas, dependable Andrew, daring Peter, discerning Nathaniel. (Exploring Luke)

Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John - These four experienced the most intimacy with Jesus (as recorded in the NT) and were considered Jesus' "inner circle." As you progress down the next two groups of four there is a decreasing amount of Scriptural information known about each one and also a decreasing degree of intimacy with Jesus (reaching its nadir with Judas Iscariot). Notice that in this first group of four, there are 2 sets of brothers, and all were fishermen. It is interesting that other than our knowledge of Matthew as a tax collector, we know nothing of the the occupations of the other seven apostles.

Simon, whom He also named Peter - Luke uses the name Peter except in Lk 22:31 and Lk 24:34. Peter is mentioned first in all three lists (Mk 3:16, Mt 10:2, cf Acts 1:13) and Judas Iscariot is last in all three (Lk 6:16, Mk 3:16, Mt 10:4).

Peter (4074) (Petros; Latin = Petrus) is a masculine proper noun which means a "stone" and generally a smaller stone than the feminine form petra which refers to a massive rock or a foundation boulder (eg Mt 7:24+). Peter is the Greek equivalent of the Syriac or Aramaic name Cephas (Kephas from Aramaic kay fah) which was assigned to Simon by Jesus. Peter was not always a model of rock-like (petros is a symbol of imperturbability as determined from used in Greek literature) firmness. Note for example his actions in Gethsemane, his denial three times of Christ, his unsuccessful attempt at walking on water and his conduct at Antioch (Gal 2:11-21+) where he is called Cephas. Despite all this Peter was clearly the leader of Jesus’ disciples, the spokesman for the Twelve and one of the three closest to Jesus.

Robertson Simon heads the list (prōtos = first in Mt 10:2 = it does not refer to the order of selection, because Jesus called Andrew, Peter's brother, before He called Peter John 1:40-42. In this context, prōtos (first) indicates foremost in rank) in all four lists including Acts 1:13-14. He came to be first and foremost at the great Pentecost (Acts 2 and Acts 3). The apostles disputed a number of times as to which was greatest."

MacArthur adds - "The apostles were equal in their divine commission, authority, and power; and one day they will sit on equal thrones as they judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28). But in terms of function, Peter was the first, the foremost member of the twelve. Prōtos is used with the same meaning in 1 Timothy 1:15, where Paul speaks of himself as the "foremost of all" sinners. In Revelation 1:17, Christ speaks of Himself as "the first [prōtos] and the last." No group can function properly without a leader, and Peter was the leading member of the twelve from the beginning." 

John MacArthur observes that "The 12 are always listed in a similar order (cf. Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:13-16; Ac 1:13). Peter is always named first.The list contains 3 groups of 4. The 3 subgroups are always listed in the same order, and the first name in each subgroup is always the same (Philip’s is always first in group two, and James the son of Alphaeus’ always heads group three), though there is some variation in the order within the subgroups—but Judas Iscariot is always named last...These groups are arranged in order of decreasing intimacy with Christ. The first group consists of two pairs of brothers: Peter and James, and John and Andrew; the second of Philip, Bartholomew (Nathanael), Matthew, and Thomas; the last of James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot. Those in group one, Peter, James, John, and Andrew, were the first four called by Jesus to be His disciples (John 1:35-42+), the most intimate with Him, and those about whom the most is known. While there is some information about those in group two, very little is known about group three....The temperaments of the apostles about whom we know the most were very much different. Peter, for example, was impulsive, a natural leader, and a man of action. Almost invariably he was the first to react to something that was said or done by saying or doing something himself. John, on the other hand, appears to have become quiet and pensive under Christ's tutelage. In the first twelve chapters of Acts we read of Peter and John working closely together during the early days of the church. It must have been a helpful learning experience for both of them, with Peter anxious to charge ahead and John wanting to think things over first. Peter did all the preaching. Men of equal status and office and even of similar giftedness may have different functions relative to the uniqueness of their gifts. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15).

Mattoon on Peter - God greatly used Peter, especially on the day of Pentecost. He wrote two epistles which are vital for the Christian life and spiritual growth. Peter warned us of Satanic attack and the importance of the Word of God. His ministry was geared toward the Jewish people while Paul focused on the Gentiles.Of the final days of the apostle Peter in Rome, Jowett wrote that Peter was cast into a horrible prison called the Mamertine Prison (picture of one of the dungeons - talk about claustrophobia!) and for nine months, in absolute darkness. He endured monstrous torture manacled to a post. In spite of all the suffering Peter was subjected to, he converted his jailers, Processus, Martinianus, and forty-seven others. Peter met his death at the hand of the Romans in Nero's circus, 67 AD. Others state that he was crucified. Jerome said that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.

Vance Havner - Our Lord had two outstanding apostles, Peter and Paul. Peter He surnamed and Paul He renamed. To Peter He said, "Thou art Simon... thou shalt be called Cephas." A lot had to happen before the handful of sand become a rock. But Jesus saw not merely the man he was but the man he was to be. Not that our Lord went around "seeing the good in everybody," the latent possibilities, calling out "hidden powers." "He knew what was in man." He saw within Simon nothing that Simon could make of himself, but rather what God would make of him. To educate the old Adam is to make him doubly dangerous. To polish him is to render him far more deceptive. To make him more religious is to leave him tenfold more the child of hell. When Jesus saw Simon, he saw Peter, not by reformation but by transformation. "Thou art... thou shalt be." Move out of your name into your surname! Come to Him just as you are, and by His grace be what you may become! What's in a surname? Everything, when it means that! "And Simon he surnamed Peter." 

Andrew his brother - His name is recorded 13x in 12v - Matt. 4:18; Matt. 10:2; Mk. 1:16; Mk. 1:29; Mk. 3:18; Mk. 13:3; Lk. 6:14; Jn. 1:40; Jn. 1:44; Jn. 6:8; Jn. 12:22; Acts 1:13. Matthew records Jesus' first calling of Andrew 

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He said to them, “Follow (deute) Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. (Mt 4:18-20, cf Mk 1:16-18)

MacArthur summarizes Andrew's life - "The brother of Peter, Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist who began following Jesus early in the Lord’s public ministry (cf. John 1:40). The few times Andrew is highlighted in the Gospels, he is often seen bringing people to Jesus—whether it was his brother Peter (John 1:41-42), a boy with five loaves and two fish (John 6:8-10), or a group of Greeks who wanted to see the Lord (John 12:20-22). According to tradition, Andrew died shortly after introducing the wife of a provincial governor to the gospel of Jesus Christ. When she refused to recant her faith, her angry husband had Andrew crucified on an X-shaped cross. He reportedly hung there for two days, preaching the gospel to anyone passing by until he died. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Mark 1-8) (For more detailed analysis see Dr MacArthur's sermon - Luke 6:14 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: Andrew and James)

Mattoon on Andrew, the Brother of Peter - In his later ministry, it is believed that Andrew went to the foothills of the Caucasus mountains (present day Georgia in Russia) and while there he preached to the Scythians as far as the Caspian Sea. He also went to Byzantium which is present day Istanbul in Turkey and from there, to Greece. In fact, he traveled to Thrace and Macedonia, down through the Corinthian Gulf to Patros and it was in Patros that Andrew was martyred. In the church of St. Andrew in Patros, Greece, there is a book written in Greek which sheds light on his martyrdom.The following is written: "Aigeatis who was the governor of Patros became enraged at Andrew for his preaching and ordered him to stand before the tribunal in his attempt to do away with the Christian Faith. When Andrew resisted the tribunal, the governor ordered him crucified. Andrew remained tied to the cross with thick tight ropes for three days and his last words were: "Accept me, O Christ Jesus, whom I saw, whom I love, and in whom I am; accept my spirit in peace in your eternal realm." It's believed that Andrew died on the last day of Nov., 69 A.D.

And James and John - In Mark when Jesus "appointed the twelve" (Mk 3:16+) we read "and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, “Sons of Thunder”)." (Mark 3:17+) Mark alone records their "nickname" "Boanerges which means Sons of Thunder."

  • James and John are mentioned by Matthew  "Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him." (Mt 4:21, 22+, parallel = Mk 1:19, 20+ cf Mt 10:2)
  • James and John witnessed the miraculous catch of fish (Lk 5:9, 10+).
  • James and John were with Jesus on the Transfiguration - "Six days later Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves." (Mt 17:1ff, Parallel passages = Mark 9:2ff, Luke 9:28ff+)
  • James and John offered to call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans who did not receive Jesus (Lk 9:52, 53, 54+)
  • James and John were present when Simon's mother-in-law was healed by Jesus (Mk 1:29-31+). 
  • James and John were present at the resurrection of the young girl (Mk 5:35-36, 37, 40-43+; Parallel = Lk 8:48-50, 51, 52-56+). 
  • James and John asked Jesus if they could sit on either side of Jesus in His glory which made the other 10 disciples indignant or resentful (Mk 10:35-40, 41)
  • James and John (and Peter and Andrew) questioned Jesus as they sat on the Mount of Olives (Mk 13:3-4, Mt 24:3+)
  • James and John (and Peter) went with Jesus into the inner aspects of the Garden of Gethsemane to "keep watch" as Jesus prayed to His Father (Mk 14:32-35, Mt 26:36-37). 

Luke records his fate at the hands of wicked Agrippa I (circa 45 AD) who "he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword."(Acts 12:2). (For more detailed analysis see Dr MacArthur's sermon - Luke 6:14 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: Andrew and James

Mattoon on James the Great - Of the three apostles who comprised the inner circle, Peter, James and John, we know the least about the apostle James. Not much is known of his ministry after the Lord's resurrection, but it is believed that he lived another 14 years before his martyrdom. Within this 14 year period, James visited the Jewish colonist and slaves in Spain to preach the Gospel. We do know that the apostle James was the eldest brother of the apostle John and that their father's name was Zebedee (their mother's name was Salome). John Foxe states that James the son of Zebedee, was John's older brother and a relative of our Lord because his mother Salome, was cousin to the Virgin Mary. James was martyred for his faith in Christ. In fact, he was the first apostle put to death. Clemens Alexandrinus states that as James was led to the place of martyrdom, his accuser was brought to repent of his conduct by the apostle's extraordinary courage, and fell down at his feet to request his pardon, professing himself a Christian, and resolving that James should not receive the crown of martyrdom alone. Hence they were both beheaded at the same time. Thus, did he cheerfully and resolutely receive that cup, which he had told our Savior he was ready to drink (Mt 20:22). These events took place in AD 44 by the order of Herod Agrippa I. (Luke Commentary)

And John - See MacArthur's sermon for more detailed portrait of the apostle John - Luke 6:14 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: John

Mattoon on John, the Brother of James  - The "beloved disciple," was brother to James the Great. The apostle John rose to a position of influence within world-wide Christianity and shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, he moved to Ephesus. He became the pastor of the church in Ephesus and had a special relationship to other churches in the area, as we know from the letters to the Seven Churches in Asia, in the book of Revelation. From Ephesus he was ordered to be sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. Domitian after wards banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled him. Other New Testament books accredited to John are the Gospel of John, along with 1st, 2nd and 3rd John. All of the apostles met a violent death, however, John died peacefully in Ephesus, at an advanced age, around the year 100 AD.

Mt 10:1-4; Mk 3:13-19; Lk 6:12-16; Acts 1:13.

And Philip

MacArthur's summary of Philip Philip was the leader of the second group. According to John 1:44, he was from Bethsaida, the same hometown as Peter and Andrew. Before the feeding of the five thousand, Philip openly wondered where they could buy bread for so many people (John 6:5). In the upper room, it was Philip who said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us” (John 14:8). In response, “Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, “Show us the Father”?’” (Jn 14:9-10). Philip’s thickheadedness on both of those occasions was typical of all the disciples, who only came to fully understand the truth about Jesus after His resurrection. Bartholomew began to follow Jesus through the influence of Philip (John 1:45). (Ibid) (For more detail see Matthew 10:3 The Master's Men, Philip and Bartholomew).

Mattoon on Philip - Most of his latter ministry took place in Galatia (in Turkey) where he was accompanied by Bartholomew. In the company of the apostle Philip, the apostle Bartholomew went to Asia Minor and labored in Hierapolis, near Laodicea and Colosse, in what is modern day Turkey. While in Hierapolis, it is said that the wife of the Roman proconsul was healed by the apostles Philip and Bartholomew, that she became a Christian, and that her husband ordered Philip and Bartholomew to be put to death by crucifixion. Sadly, Philip was crucified at the age of 87 around AD 54.

Philip - 36x in 35v - Matt. 10:3; Matt. 14:3; Matt. 16:13; Mk. 3:18; Mk. 6:17; Mk. 8:27; Lk. 3:1; Lk. 6:14; Jn. 1:43; Jn. 1:44; Jn. 1:45; Jn. 1:46; Jn. 1:48; Jn. 6:5; Jn. 6:7; Jn. 12:21; Jn. 12:22; Jn. 14:8; Jn. 14:9; Acts 1:13; Acts 6:5; Acts 8:5; Acts 8:6; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:13; Acts 8:26; Acts 8:29; Acts 8:30; Acts 8:31; Acts 8:34; Acts 8:35; Acts 8:37; Acts 8:38; Acts 8:39; Acts 8:40; 

and Bartholomew - His name means “son of Tolmai” in Aramaic. Most commentators agree that this almost surely the man named Nathanael ("Given of God") about which Jesus spoke in John's Gospel

Philip found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of Whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip *said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” (John 1:45-50)

Herbert Lockyer - The familiar Latin phrase, Multum in parvo, means "much in little," and all we know from the Bible of Bartholomew's character is derived from seven verses John gives in the opening chapter of his gospel. Outside of these we have no further clue of the kind of man he was. Yet a great view may be seen through a window of seven panes, which is another way of saying that there can be much in little (John 1:45-51).

See John MacArthur's sermon for more detail - Matthew 10:3 The Master's Men, Philip and Bartholomew

Mattoon on Bartholomew or Nathaniel - Bartholomew preached in several countries and is reported to have labored in the area around the south end of the Caspian Sea, in the section that was then called Armenia. The modern name of the district where he died is Azerbaijan and the place of his death, called in New Testament times Albanopolis, is now Derbend, which is on the west coast of the Caspian Sea. Having translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India, he propagated it in that country. He was at length, cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters. The apostle Bartholomew is said to have been martyred in the year 68 AD

Luke 6:15  and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot;

KJV Luke 6:15  Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,

Parallel passages: Words in bold not in Luke.

Mark 3:18 and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot;

Matthew 10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. 

and Matthew -  Jesus had called him in Lk 5:27+ (cf Mt 9:9+) "After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow (present imperative = continually) Me.” Levi's name was changed to Matthew ("the gift of God").

For a more detailed portrait of Matthew and Thomas see sermons from Dr MacArthur - 

Mattoon on Matthew - Matthew was a tax collector, and thus, considered a traitor and renegade by the Jewish people until he quit and followed the Lord. He wrote his gospel in Hebrew, which was afterwards translated into Greek by James the Less. The scene of his labors was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah, AD 60. A halberd consisted of an axe blade that was topped with a spike mounted long shaft. It always had a hook or thorn on the back side of the axe blade for grappling mounted combatants.

and Thomas Thomas is the “doubting Thomas” in the passages below. "Strong tradition from church history indicates that Thomas took the gospel to India, where he was martyred." (MacArthur) Thomas' name occurs 11x in 11v - Matt. 10:3; Mk. 3:18; Lk. 6:15; Jn. 11:16; Jn. 14:5; Jn. 20:24; Jn. 20:26; Jn. 20:27; Jn. 20:28; Jn. 21:2; Acts 1:13. The following verses give some specific aspects of his life.

John 11:16 Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus (means "Twin"), said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.” (Context = Jn 11:13-15)

John 14:5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”

John 20:24  But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26  After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28  Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

John 21:1  After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. 2  Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together.

Acts 1:13  When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.

Mattoon on Thomas - Thomas is also know as Didymus, which means "twin." The apostle Thomas is said to have been a fearless evangelist and a great builder of churches. After the resurrection of the Lord Christ Jesus, Thomas went to Babylon. It is believed that he established the first Christian church there. He is also known to have gone to Persia and from there he went to India and preached the Gospel making many converts. It is also believed that the apostle Thomas evangelized as far as China, and while in India, he suffered martyrdom, being killed with a lance (he was buried in Mylapore, India, which is now a suburb of Madras.)

James the son of Alphaeus - The name Alphaeus (referring to James) occurs 4x in 4v - Matt. 10:3; Mk. 3:18; Lk. 6:15; Acts 1:13. Alphaeus in Mk. 2:14 referst to Matthew "Levi the son of Alphaeus." In Mark 15:40, James the son of Alphaeus was  called James the Less. His mother was named Mary and she also followed Jesus (Mk 16:1; Lk 24:10+).

and Simon who was called the Zealot - (Mt 10:4; Mk 3:18  Acts 1:13) This designation serves to distinguish this Simon from Simon Peter. Matthew and Mark both describe Simon as "Zealot" but they both use a different Greek word, kananaios, which means Cananaean, and in Aramaic means zealot or enthusiast. The ESV is more accurate calling him "Simon the Cananaean." (Mt 10:4ESV, Mk 3:18ESV). Likewise Young's Literal Translation has "Simon the Cananite." For more on Simon the Zealot see Dr MacArthur's sermon Luke 6:15-16 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: James, Simon, and Judas

Zealot (2208)(zelotes same as zelotes from zeo = to boil, be hot or glow) describes one zealous (fervent and enthusiastically devoted) for or eagerly desirous of something. A zelotes is one who is earnestly committed to a side or cause and thus could be described as an enthusiast, an adherent, or a loyalist. In Simon's case his zealousness was associated with the political party which radically opposed Roman rule. (Wikipedia). 

Wiersbe has an interesting note on Simon the Zealot noting that "perhaps the word Zelotes translates from the Hebrew word qanna which means "jealous for God, zealous for God's honor." (It is transliterated in Matt. 10:4 as "Simon the Canaanite" [qanna].) Whether Simon was known for his zeal to honor God, or his membership in a subversive organization, we cannot be sure—possibly both." (Ibid)

It is interesting  that Matthew's background as a Roman collaborator (tax collectors were hired by the Romans) would have ostensibly led to a natural (and presumably extreme) antagonism between he and Simon the Zealot who obviously disliked the Romans (and presumably those who collaborated with them). The fact that Jesus had prayed (so that these two potentially incompatible individuals were in the Father's will) and He was led to chose these two polar opposites who would be able to work together shows not only the power of prayer but the power of Jesus' influence in their life, not to mention the power of the life transforming Gospel that they must have heard many times a day. There is surely a powerful lesson here for all of us in the Body of Christ, where Matthew the tax collector types are frequently juxtaposed to Simon the Zealot types. If they are both believers, transformed by the Gospel, they should be able to coexist as equals for we all stand on the same level at the foot of Jesus' Cross! Do you know some Matthews and Simons who are having difficult working together for the Kingdom? This background on Jesus' disciples would be good for them to study (you probably should lead the study however!)

Darrell Bock writes "One (Matthew) would have collected monies for Rome, while the other (Simon the Zealot) would have fought to overcome Roman sovereignty. Yet in Jesus they became part of the same community, functioning side by side. These are people from diverse strata and perspectives, woven together by Jesus into a newly formed community. Finally there is Judas, who is named with the note that he would betray Jesus. Even the seeds of discord and rejection were present in the inner circle. So it was after a night in prayer." (The IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Luke)

Barclay - Matthew was a tax-collector, and, therefore, a traitor and a renegade. Simon was a Zealot, and the Zealots were fanatical nationalists, who were sworn to assassinate every traitor and every Roman they could. It is one of the miracles of the power of Christ that Matthew the tax-collector and Simon the Zealot could live at peace in the close company of the apostolic band. When men are really Christian the most diverse and divergent types can live at peace together. It was said of Gilbert Chesterton and his brother Cecil, "They always argued, they never quarrelled." It is only in Christ that we can solve the problem of living together; because even the most opposite people may be united in their love for him. If we really love him, we will also love each other. (Daily Study Bible)

NET Note on Zealot - The designation Zealot means that Simon was a political nationalist before coming to follow Jesus. He may not have been technically a member of the particular Jewish nationalistic party known as “Zealots” (since according to some scholars this party had not been organized at that time), but simply someone who was zealous for Jewish independence from Rome, in which case the descriptive term applied to Simon means something like “Simon the patriot” (see L&N  = "one who is deeply committed to something and therefore zealous—‘enthusiast, zealous person.’ ‘being deeply committed to God even as all of you are today’ Ac 22:3.and especially 11.88 = "a member of a Jewish nationalistic group seeking independence from Rome—‘zealot, nationalist.’").

Bock adds an interesting note on Zealot - There is debate about the exact force of the term Zealot. Josephus describes a fourth Jewish party beyond the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes (Jewish Wars 2.8.1 117-18; Antiquities 18.1-2 1-11; 18.1.6 23-25). They were a nationalist political group that opposed Rome, even to the point of violence. This is the group Josephus blames for the nation's war with Rome. What is debated is whether a formal "Zealot" party existed before A.D. 66. It is difficult to be certain whether a formal party existed during the time of Jesus' ministry. It is likely, though, that Zealot-type attitudes did exist at this time. (The IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Luke)

Luke 6:16  Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

KJV Luke 6:16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

Parallel passages: Words in bold not in Luke.

Mark 3:18b  Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him. 

Matthew 10:3b Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. 

Judas the son of James  - He is also called Thaddeus, a surname of the apostle Jude. The KJV has another name "Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus." (Mt 10:3KJV), but Lebbaeus is not included in the other modern translations (see NET Note below). 

NET Note of Thaddeus and Lebbaeus - Witnesses differ on the identification of the last disciple mentioned in v. 3: He is called Lebbaios, "Lebbaeus" in D, Judas Zelotes in it, and not present in sy(s). The Byzantine text, along with a few others (C([)*(],2 )L W Q ¦(1 )33 Û), conflates earlier readings by calling him "Lebbaeus, who was called Thaddaeus," while codex 13 pc conflate by way of transposition ("Thaddaeus, who was called Lebbaeus"). But excellent witnesses of the earliest text types (a B ¦(13 )892 pc lat co) call him merely Thaddaios, "Thaddaeus", a reading which, because of this support, is most likely correct.  

John has this note on Judas the son of James:

Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” (Jn 14:22)

How sad that Judas (not Iscariot) has to be paired with Judas Iscariot! For more on Judas not Iscariot see Dr MacArthur's sermon Luke 6:15-16 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: James, Simon, and Judas

Judas Iscariot Who became a traitor - The KJV "was the traitor" is not as accurate to the Greek text which more literally reads who "became betrayer." (Lk 6:16YLT) As A T Robertson points out "He gave no signs of treachery when chosen." 

For more discussion of the tragic traitor Judas see Dr John MacArthur's two part sermon series and his sermon from Matthew - 

NET Note - There is some debate about what the name Iscariot means. It probably alludes to a region in Judea and thus might make Judas the only non-Galilean in the group. Several explanations for the name Iscariot have been proposed, but it is probably transliterated Hebrew with the meaning “man of Kerioth” (there are at least two villages that had that name). For further discussion see D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 1:546; also D. A. Carson, John, 304.

Darrell Bock on the name Iscariot - The name Iscariot is much discussed. Four meanings are suggested (for three of these views, see Marshall 1978:240): (1) it alludes to a region (Kerioth) in Judea (Josh 15:25; Jer 48:24, 31); (2) it is an Aramaic term meaning "false one"; (3) it comes from the Latin sicarius, which means "dagger man"; (4) it means "dyer" and thus alludes to Judas's occupation. It is not clear what the exact force is, though the genitive references in John 6:71 and John 13:26 suggest a familial reference. This favors the first option (Schürmann 1969:318 n. 51).  (The IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Luke)

MacArthur - From a human standpoint, these twelve men were odd choices, because they were uneducated, untrained, and uninfluential. Yet, from God’s standpoint, they were the perfect choice—weak and imperfect instruments through whom His power would be gloriously displayed (cf. 1 Cor. 1:26-31). Before their lives were over, they had been used to turn the world upside down (cf. Acts 17:6). That our Lord could use such ordinary vessels to accomplish His great purposes underscores the supernatural purpose of His sovereign power. As Mark’s sweeping summary has shown, that power was demonstrated in the miracles Jesus performed. It was also evidenced in the men whom He chose. He took a dozen ordinary men and transformed them into the powerful foundation stones of His church (cf. Eph. 2:20; Rev. 21:14). (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Mark 1-8)

The following is from A B Bruce's classic (recommended book) Training of the Twelve (free online)

Chapter 4 THE TWELVE - Mt. 10:1–4; Mk 3:13–19; Lk 6:12–16; Acts 1:13.

The selection by Jesus of the twelve from the band of disciples who had gradually gathered around His person is an important landmark in the Gospel history. It divides the ministry of our Lord into two portions, nearly equal, probably, as to duration, but unequal as to the extent and importance of the work done in each respectively. In the earlier period Jesus labored single-handed; His miraculous deeds were confined for the most part to a limited area, and His teaching was in the main of an elementary character. But by the time when the twelve were chosen, the work of the kingdom had assumed such dimensions as to require organization and division of labor; and the teaching of Jesus was beginning to be of a deeper and more elaborate nature, and His gracious activities were taking on ever-widening range.

It is probable that the selection of a limited number to be His close and constant companions had become a necessity to Christ, in consequence of His very success in gaining disciples. His followers, we imagine, had grown so numerous as to be an incumbrance and an impediment to his movements, especially in the long journeys which mark the later part of His ministry. It was impossible that all who believed could continue henceforth to follow Him, in the literal sense, whithersoever He might go: the greater number could now only be occasional followers. But it was His wish that certain selected men should be with Him at all times and in all places, — His travelling companions in all His wanderings, witnessing all His work, and ministering to His daily needs. And so, in the quaint words of Mark, “Jesus calleth unto Him whom He would, and they came unto Him, and He made twelve, that they should be with Him.”47

These twelve, however, as we know, were to be something more than travelling companions or menial servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were to be, in the mean time, students of Christian doctrine, and occasional fellow-laborers in the work of the kingdom, and eventually Christ’s chosen trained agents for propagating the faith after He Himself had left the earth. From the time of their being chosen, indeed, the twelve entered on a regular apprenticeship for the great office of apostleship, in the course of which they were to learn, in the privacy of an intimate daily fellowship with their Master, what they should be, do, believe, and teach, as His witnesses and ambassadors to the world. Henceforth the training of these men was to be a constant and prominent part of Christ’s personal work. He was to make it His business to tell them in darkness what they should afterwards speak in the daylight, and to whisper in their ear what in after years they should preach upon the housetops.48

The time when this election was made, though not absolutely determined, is fixed in relation to certain leading events in the Gospel history. John speaks of the twelve as an organized company at the period of the feeding of the five thousand, and of the discourse on the bread of life in the synagogue of Capernaum, delivered shortly after that miracle. From this fact we learn that the twelve were chosen at least one year before the crucifixion; for the miracle of the feeding took place, according to the fourth evangelist, shortly before a Passover season.49 From the words spoken by Jesus to the men whom He had chosen, in justification of His seeming doubt of their fidelity after the multitude had deserted Him, “Did I not choose you the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”50 we conclude that the choice was then not quite a recent event. The twelve had been long enough together to give the false disciple opportunity to show his real character.

Turning now to the synoptical evangelists, we find them fixing the position of the election with reference to two other most important events. Matthew speaks for the first time of the twelve as a distinct body in connection with their mission in Galilee. He does not, however, say that they were chosen immediately before, and with direct reference to, that mission. He speaks rather as if the apostolic fraternity had been previously in existence, his words being, “When He had called unto Him His twelve disciples.” Luke, on the other hand, gives a formal record of the election, as a preface to his account of the Sermon on the Mount, so speaking as to create the impression that the one event immediately preceded the other.51 Finally, Mark’s narrative confirms the view suggested by these observations on Matthew and Luke, viz. that the twelve were called just before the Sermon the Mount was delivered, and some considerable time before they were sent forth on their preaching and healing mission. There we read: “Jesus goeth up into the mountain (τὸ ὄρος),52 and calleth unto Him whom He would” — the ascent referred to evidently being that which Jesus made just before preaching His great discourse. Mark continues: “And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils.” Here allusion is made to an intention on Christ’s part to send forth His disciples on a mission, but the intention is not represented as immediately realized. Nor can it be said that immediate realization is implied, though not expressed; for the evangelist gives an account of the mission as actually carried out several chapters further on in his Gospel, commencing with the words, “And He calleth unto Him the twelve, and began to send them forth.”53

It may be regarded, then, as tolerably certain, that the calling of the twelve was a prelude to the preaching of the great sermon on the kingdom, in the founding of which they were afterwards to take so distinguished a part. At what precise period in the ministry of our Lord the sermon itself is to be placed, we cannot so confidently determine. Our opinion, however, is, that the Sermon on the Mount was delivered towards the close of Christ’s first lengthened ministry in Galilee, during the time which intervened between the two visits to Jerusalem on festive occasions mentioned in the second and fifth chapters of John’s Gospel.54

The number of the apostolic company is significant, and was doubtless a matter of choice, not less than was the composition of the selected band. A larger number of eligible men could easily have been found in a circle of disciples which afterwards supplied not fewer than seventy auxiliaries for evangelistic work;55 and a smaller number might have served all the present or prospective purposes of the apostleship. The number twelve was recommended by obvious symbolic reasons. It happily expressed in figures what Jesus claimed to be, and what He had come to do, and thus furnished a support to the faith and a stimulus to the devotion of His followers. It significantly hinted that Jesus was the divine Messianic King of Israel, come to set up the kingdom whose advent was foretold by prophets in glowing language, suggested by the palmy days of Israel’s history, when the theocratic community existed in its integrity, and all the tribes of the chosen nation were united under the royal house of David. That the number twelve was designed to bear such a mystic meaning, we know from Christ’s own words to the apostles on a later occasion, when, describing to them the rewards awaiting them in the kingdom for past services and sacrifices, He said, “Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”56

It is possible that the apostles were only too well aware of the mystic significance of their number, and found in it an encouragement to the fond delusive hope that the coming kingdom should be not only a spiritual realization of the promises, but a literal restoration of Israel to political integrity and independence. The risk of such misapprehension was one of the drawbacks connected with the particular number twelve, but it was not deemed by Jesus a sufficient reason for fixing on another. His method of procedure in this, as in all things, was to abide by that which in itself was true and right, and then to correct misapprehensions as they arose.

From the number of the apostolic band, we pass to the persons composing it. Seven of the twelve — the first seven in the catalogues of Mark and Luke, assuming the identity of Bartholomew and Nathanael — are persons already known to us. With two of the remaining five — the first and the last — we shall become well acquainted as we proceed in the history. Thomas called Didymus, or the Twin, will come before us as a man of warm heart but melancholy temperament, ready to die with his Lord, but slow to believe in His resurrection. Judas Iscariot is known to all the world as the Traitor. He appears for the first time, in these catalogues of the apostles, with the infamous title branded on his brow, “Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.” The presence of a man capable of treachery among the elect disciples is a mystery which we shall not now attempt to penetrate. We merely make this historical remark about Judas here, that he seems to have been the only one among the twelve who was not a Galilean. He is surnamed, from his native place apparently, the man of Kerioth; and from the Book of Joshua we learn that there was a town of that name in the southern border of the tribe of Judah.57

The three names which remain are exceedingly obscure. On grounds familiar to Bible scholars, it has often been attempted to identify James of Alphæus with James the brother or kinsman of the Lord. The next on the lists of Matthew and Mark has been supposed by many to have been a brother of this James, and therefore another brother of Jesus. This opinion is based on the fact, that in place of the Lebbæus or Thaddæus of the two first Gospels, we find in Luke’s catalogues the name Judas “of James.” The ellipsis in this designation has been filled up with the word brother, and it is assumed that the James alluded to is James the son of Alphæus. However tempting these results may be, we can scarcely regard them as ascertained, and must content ourselves with stating that among the twelve was a second James, besides the brother of John and son of Zebedee, and also a second Judas, who appears again as an interlocutor in the farewell conversation between Jesus and His disciples on the night before His crucifixion, carefully distinguished by the evangelist from the traitor by the parenthetical remark “not Iscariot.”58 This Judas, being the same with Lebbæus Thaddæus, has been called the three-named disciple.59

The disciple whom we have reserved to the last place, like the one who stands at the head of all the lists, was a Simon. This second Simon is as obscure as the first is celebrated, for he is nowhere mentioned in the Gospel history, except in the catalogues; yet, little known as he is, the epithet attached to his name conveys a piece of curious and interesting information. He is called the Kananite (not Canaanite), which is a political, not a geographical designation, as appears from the Greek work substituted in the place of this Hebrew one by Luke, who calls the disciple we now speak of Simon Zelotes; that is, in English, Simon the Zealot. This epithet Zelotes connects Simon unmistakably with the famous party which rose in rebellion under Judas in the days of the taxing,60 some twenty years before Christ’s ministry began, when Judea and Samaria were brought under the direct government of Rome, and the census of the population was taken with a view to subsequent taxation. How singular a phenomenon is this ex-zealot among the disciples of Jesus! No two men could differ more widely in their spirit, ends, and means, than Judas of Galilee and Jesus of Nazareth. The one was a political malcontent; the other would have the conquered bow to the yoke, and give to Cæsar Cæsar’s due. The former aimed at restoring the kingdom to Israel, adopting for his watchword, “We have no Lord or Master but God;.” the latter aimed at founding a kingdom not national, but universal, not “of this world,” but purely spiritual. The means employed by the two actors were as diverse as their ends. One had recourse to the carnal weapons of war, the sword and the dagger; the other relied solely on the gentle but omnipotent force of truth.

What led Simon to leave Judas for Jesus we know not; but he made a happy exchange for himself, as the party he forsook were destined in after years to bring ruin on themselves and on their country by their fanatical, reckless, and unavailing patriotism. Though the insurrection of Judas was crushed, the fire of discontent still smouldered in the breasts of his adherents; and at length it burst out into the blaze of a new rebellion, which brought on a death-struggle with the gigantic power of Rome, and ended in the destruction of the Jewish capital, and the dispersion of the Jewish people.

The choice of this disciple to be an apostle supplies another illustration of Christ’s disregard of prudential wisdom. An ex-zealot was not a safe man to make an apostle of, for he might be the means of rendering Jesus and His followers objects of political suspicion. But the Author of our faith was willing to take the risk. He expected to gain many disciples from the dangerous classes as well as from the despised, and He would have them, too, represented among the twelve.

It gives one a pleasant surprise to think of Simon the zealot and Matthew the publican, men coming from so opposite quarters, meeting together in close fellowship in the little band of twelve. In the persons of these two disciples extremes meet — the tax-gatherer and the tax-hater: the unpatriotic Jew, who degraded himself by becoming a servant of the alien ruler; and the Jewish patriot, who chafed under the foreign yoke, and sighed for emancipation. This union of opposites was not accidental, but was designed by Jesus as a prophecy of the future. He wished the twelve to be the church in miniature or germ; and therefore He chose them so as to intimate that, as among them distinctions of publican and zealot were unknown, so in the church of the future there should be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, bond nor free, but only Christ — all to each, and in each of the all.

These were the names of the twelve as given in the catalogues. As to the order in which they are arranged, on closely inspecting the lists we observe that they contain three groups of four, in each of which the same names are always found, though the order of arrangement varies. The first group includes those best known, the second the next best, and the third those least known of all, or, in the case of the traitor, known only too well. Peter, the most prominent character among the twelve, stands at the head of all the lists, and Judas Iscariot at the foot, carefully designated, as already observed, the traitor. The apostolic roll, taking the order given in Matthew, and borrowing characteristic epithets from the Gospel history at large, is as follows: —

Simon Peter     The man of rock.
Andrew     Peter’s brother.
James and     Sons of Zebedee, and sons of thunder.
Philip     The earnest inquirer.
Bartholomew, or Nathanael     The guileless Israelite.
Thomas     The melancholy.
Matthew (Levi)     The publican (so called) by himself only.
James (the son) of Alphæus     (James the Less?). (Mk 15:40)
Lebbaeus, Thaddaeus, Judas of James,     The "three-named" disciple
Simon     The Zealot
Judas, the man of Kerioth     The Traitor

Such were the men whom Jesus chose to be with Him while He was on this earth, and to carry on His work after He left it. Such were the men whom the church celebrates as the “glorious company of the apostles.” The praise is merited; but the glory of the twelve was not of this world. In a worldly point of view they were a very insignificant company indeed, — a band of poor illiterate Galilean provincials, utterly devoid of social consequence, not likely to be chosen by one having supreme regard to prudential considerations. Why did Jesus choose such men? Was He guided by feelings of antagonism to those possessing social advantages, or of partiality for men of His own class? No; His choice was made in true wisdom. If He chose Galileans mainly, it was not from provincial prejudice against those of the south; if, as some think, He chose two or even four61 of his own kindred, it was not from nepotism; if He chose rude, unlearned, humble men, it was not because He was animated by any petty jealousy of knowledge, culture, or good birth. If any rabbi, rich man, or ruler had been willing to yield himself unreservedly to the service of the kingdom, no objection would have been taken to him on account of his acquirements, possessions, or titles. The case of Saul of Tarsus, the pupil of Gamaliel, proves the truth of this statement. Even Gamaliel himself would not have been objected to, could he have stooped to become a disciple of the unlearned Nazarene. But, alas! neither he nor any of his order would condescend so far, and therefore the despised One did not get an opportunity of showing His willingness to accept as disciples and choose for apostles such as they were.

The truth is, that Jesus was obliged to be content with fishermen, and publicans, and quondam zealots, for apostles. They were the best that could be had. Those who deemed themselves better were too proud to become disciples, and thereby they excluded themselves from what all the world now sees to be the high honor of being the chosen princes of the kingdom. The civil and religious aristocracy boasted of their unbelief.62 The citizens of Jerusalem did feel for a moment interested in the zealous youth who had purged the temple with a whip of small cords; but their faith was superficial, and their attitude patronizing, and therefore Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew what was in them.63 A few of good position were sincere sympathizers, but they were not so decided in their attachment as to be eligible for apostles. Nicodemus was barely able to speak a timid apologetic word in Christ’s behalf, and Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple “secretly,” for fear of the Jews. These were hardly the persons to send forth as missionaries of the cross — men so fettered by social ties and party connections, and so enslaved by the fear of man. The apostles of Christianity must be made of sterner stuff.

And so Jesus was obliged to fall back on the rustic, but simple, sincere, and energetic men of Galilee. And He was quite content with His choice, and devoutly thanked His Father for giving Him even such as they. Learning, rank, wealth, refinement, freely given up to his service, He would not have despised; but He preferred devoted men who had none of these advantages to undevoted men who had them all. And with good reason; for it mattered little, except in the eyes of contemporary prejudice, what the social position or even the previous history of the twelve had been, provided they were spiritually qualified for the work to which they were called. What tells ultimately is, not what is without a man, but what is within. John Bunyan was a man of low birth, low occupation, and, up till his conversion, of low habits; but he was by nature a man of genius, and by grace a man of God, and he would have made — he was, in fact — a most effective apostle.

But it may be objected that all the twelve were by no means gifted like Bunyan; some of them, if one may judge from the obscurity which envelops their names, and the silence of history regarding them, having been undistinguished either by high endowment or by a great career, and in fact, to speak plainly, all but useless. As this objection virtually impugns the wisdom of Christ’s choice, it is necessary to examine how far it is according to truth.64 We submit the following considerations with this view: —

I. That some of the apostles were comparatively obscure, inferior men, cannot be denied; but even the obscurest of them may have been most useful as witnesses for Him with whom they had companied from the beginning. It does not take a greatman to make a good witness, and to be witnesses of Christian facts was the main business of the apostles. That even the humblest of them rendered important service in that capacity we need not doubt, though nothing is said of them in the apostolic annals. It was not to be expected that a history so fragmentary and so brief as that given by Luke should mention any but the principal actors, especially when we reflect how few of the characters that appear on the stage at any particular crisis in human affairs are prominently noticed even in histories which go elaborately into detail. The purpose of history is served by recording the words and deeds of the representative men, and many are allowed to drop into oblivion who did nobly in their day. The less distinguished members of the apostolic band are entitled to the benefit of this reflection.

2. Three eminent men, or even two (Peter and John), out of twelve, is a good proportion; there being few societies in which superior excellence bears such a high ratio to respectable mediocrity. Perhaps the number of “Pillars”65 was as great as was desirable. Far from regretting that all were not Peters and Johns, it is rather a matter to be thankful for, that there were diversities of gifts among the first preachers of the gospel. As a general rule, it is not good when all are leaders. Little men are needed as well as great men; for human nature is one-sided, and little men have their peculiar virtues and gifts, and can do some things better than their more celebrated brethren.

3. We must remember how little we know concerning any of the apostles. It is the fashion of biographers in our day, writing for a morbidly or idly curious public, to enter into the minutest particulars of outward event or personal peculiarity regarding their heroes. Of this fond idolatrous minuteness there is no trace in the evangelic histories. The writers of the Gospels were not afflicted with the biographic mania. Moreover, the apostles were not their theme. Christ was their hero; and their sole desire was to tell what they knew of Him. They gazed steadfastly at the Sun of Righteousness, and in His effulgence they lost sight of the attendant stars. Whether they were stars of the first magnitude, or of the second, or of the third, made little difference. (Training of the Twelve)

Luke 6:17  Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place; and there was a large crowd of His disciples, and a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon,

KJV 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 Judaa and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;


Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place; and there was a large crowd of His disciples - He came down from the mountain where He had prayed (Lk 6:12) and to where He had called His disciples from whom He choose the 12 who would be His apostles (Lk 6:13+).

Did you notice the three groups? them (12 apostles who were beginning their "formal training"), large crowd (disciples - learners - considered Jesus their Teacher but not necessarily genuine believers - most would desert Him - cf Jn 6:66) and a great throng (from south, central and north!)

Stein comments that "One should not read into this a parallel to Moses’ descent from the mountain (Ex 32:1-35), since Luke’s Sermon on the Plain does not possess any allusions or echoes of Moses’ having received the law on a mountain and going down to give it to the people. (New American Commentary – Volume 24: Luke)

Stood on a level place - KJV has "stood in the plain." Some like John MacArthur feel this was a level place on the side of the mountain mentioned in Mt 5:1 and so it was not a separate sermon but a condensed version of the Sermon on the Mount. Luke's sermon version is 30 verses which is much shorter than the sermon in Matthew (107 verses). 

A T Robertson agrees with MacArthur writing "There is little doubt that the discourses given by Matthew and Luke are the same, Matthew locating it on “the mountain,” and Luke “on a level place,” which might easily be a level spot on a mountain. (See note at end of this book, note 9.) Observe that they begin and end alike, and pursue the same general order. Luke omits various matters of special interest to Matthew’s Jewish readers (e.g. Matt. 5:17–42), and other matters that he himself will give elsewhere (e.g. Luke 11:1–4; 12:22–31); while Luke has a few sentences (as ver. Lk 6:24–26, 38–40), which are not given by Matthew. (Harmony of the Gospels)

Level (3977)(pedinos) is an adjective meaning flat, even, as opposed to steep or uneven. 

Gilbrant - Occurring as early as the Fifth Century B.C. (Herodotus), this term generally described low-lying pieces of land (i.e., “plains”) in contrast to steep regions (cf. Moulton-Milligan). In its only New Testament occurrence, at Luke 6:17, it appears along with the word topos (4964), “place.”

Pedinos - 19x in 19v in Septuagint - Deut. 4:43; Deut. 11:11; Jos. 9:1; Jos. 10:40; Jos. 11:16; Jos. 15:33; Jdg. 1:9; 1 Ki. 10:27; 1 Chr. 27:28; 2 Chr. 1:15; 2 Chr. 9:27; 2 Chr. 26:10; 2 Chr. 28:18; Isa. 13:2; Isa. 32:19; Jer. 17:26; Jer. 21:13; Jer. 48:8; Zech. 7:7

NET Note on on a level place - Or “on a plateau.” This could refer to a message given in a flat locale or in a flat locale in the midst of a more mountainous region (Jer 21:13; Isa 13:2). It is quite possible that this sermon is a summary version of the better known Sermon on the Mount from Matt 5–7. 

A large crowd of His disciples - Remember as discussed below that all these disciples were not necessarily believers (cf the action of the "disciples" in Jn 6:66). MacArthur adds that "A consistent pattern of obedience to Christ’s word (John 8:31) distinguishes the wheat (true disciples) from the tares (false disciples), as the Lord’s parable indicates (Matt. 13:24-30). Jesus in His divine omniscience knew who were the real disciples, and who were not (John 2:23-25; 6:64). The genuine were few (cf. Matt. 7:14-note)."

MacArthur comments on the great throng - Huge crowds followed Him wherever He went (cf. Lk 4:42; 5:15); a later crowd would number five thousand men (Lk 9:14). Including the women and children, there were likely more than twenty thousand people present on that occasion. Matthew and Mark record another crowd of similar size (Mt. 15:38; Mk 8:9), while Luke describes another incident where “so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another” (Lk 12:1).

And a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon - Clearly Jesus' fame had spread throughout the region. See location of Tyre on this map.  Here is another map that shows Sidon on the Northwest coast, just north of Tyre. Compare other accounts of Jesus' increasing popularity - (Matt 4:25; 5:1; 12:15; Mark 3:7-8; John 6:2)

Tyre and Sidon - The most important ones in Phoenicia. This combination 10x in the Bible - Jer. 47:4; Zech. 9:2; Matt. 11:21; Matt. 11:22; Matt. 15:21; Mk. 3:8; Lk. 6:17; Lk. 10:13; Lk. 10:14; Acts 12:20. Note especially Luke's other use in Lk 10:13-14-note so these may in fact have been Gentiles in the great throng

NET Note on Tyre and Sidon - These last two locations, Tyre and Sidon, represented an expansion outside of traditional Jewish territory. Jesus’ reputation continued to expand into new regions.

Luke 6:18  who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured.

KJV Luke 6:18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.


Who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases (cf Lk 4:38-39+; Lk 5:15+; Lk 8:43+) -  Note that hear Him is mentioned first for teaching was emphasized over healing. Miracles would save no one (Jn 12:37) but were primarily for corroboration of His claim to be the Son of God and authenticated the truth He taught. Miracles will pass, but the Word will endure forever (Isa 40:8). This is Jesus' second sermon in Luke, the first being in Lk 4:16-30+. His teaching (with authority - cf Mt 7:28,29+) and His miraculous healing (including casting out demons) explain why many came from very long distances in a time when travel was extremely difficult and dangerous. 

MacArthur comments on the importance of Jesus' teaching noting that "Jesus’ words remain equally authoritative today. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Ti 6:3-4). Pastors and teachers merely pass on the truths that He taught." (Luke Commentary)

NET Note on to hear Him and to be healed  - Jesus had a two-level ministry: The word and the wondrous acts of service that showed his message of God’s care were real (cf Luke 4:22-note, Mt 7:28-note = reaction to His Sermon on the Mount, Mt 13:54, Mk 6:1, Jn 7:15, 16). In contrast to the rabbis, who merely cited the opinions of other rabbis, Jesus’ teachings had inherent authority, the authority of God himself (cf. Matt. 5:22-note). His authority is also seen in His repeated victories over the kingdom of darkness populated by the demons (Lk 4:36-note, Lk 4:41-note), and in his healings (Lk 4:39, 40-note).


Healed (cured) (2390) (iaomai) means to cure, to heal, to restore. Iaomai is used literally of deliverance from physical diseases and afflictions and so to make whole, restore to bodily health or heal. Iaomai refers primarily to physical healing in the NT (although clearly there is overlap because some of these instances involved demonic oppression - Lk 9:42), and much less commonly to spiritual healing or healing (saving) from "moral illnesses" and the consequences of sin. 

Those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured - In Luke 4:33+ we read of an unclean demon, leaving little doubt as to the identity of the spirits that were afflicting the people that came to Jesus. Were troubled is in the present tense indicating this is an ongoing affliction by the demons. Those who were “vexed” with unclean spirits came to hear Jesus preach and to be healed. The fact that they were being cured once again demonstrates that Jesus had authority over the kingdom of darkness, the domain of Satan (cf Lk 4:33-35, 41+) Being cured is in the imperfect tense which pictures one cure after another. Quite an amazing scene!  Robertson explains that Unclean spirit "is used as synonymous with demon (daimonion). It is the idea of estrangement from God (Zech 13:2 [ED: Zechariah is describing the future glorious Millennium - no demons! Hallelujah!]). The whole subject of demonology is difficult, but no more so than the problem of the devil."

Troubled (KJV = vexed)(1776)(enochleo from en = in + ochleo = to disturb, trouble, harass with crowds from ochlos = a crowd) means to undergo hardship from continual annoyance, and is often used to describe mental or emotional turmoil. To be afflicted, to suffer, to trouble, to annoy, to molest. The only other NT use is in Hebrews 12:15 where enochleō refers to trouble that is caused by a root of bitterness and causes those affected to be defiled. The point is that if anyone “misses the grace of God” (NIV) or allows bitterness to grow in his heart, he will be troubled and will defile (miainō) many.


Unclean (169)(akathartos from a = without + kathaíro = cleanse from katharos = clean, pure, free from the adhesion of anything that soils, adulterates, corrupts, in an ethical sense, free from corrupt desire, sin, and guilt) (See related word akatharsia) in a moral sense refers to that which is unclean in thought, word, and deed. It can describe a state of moral impurity, especially sexual sin and the word foul is an excellent rendering. The idea is that which morally indecent or filthy. It is not surprising that this word is repeatedly applied to filthy demonic spirits. They were not just "ceremonially unclean" but filthy and foul!  And given that the evil one can shoot fiery missiles at our mind (Eph 6:16+) we need to daily be taking up the shield of faith! Ever have a filthy thought just come out of no where? While our fallen flesh is sufficiently depraved to account for random evil thoughts, unclean spirits could certainly be the contributing culprit on occasion.

Luke uses akathartos 6x (5x modifying spirit and once modifying demon) in 6v all referring to the characteristic trait of demons = unclean! - Lk 4:33, 4:36, 6:18, 8:29, 9:42, 11:24. Here is an example of the effect Jesus' authority over the demons had on the crowds...

 And while he was still approaching, the demon dashed him to the ground, and threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples (Lk 9:42, 43+)

Unclean spirits - This phrase is found 23x in 23v - Zech. 13:2; Matt. 10:1; Matt. 12:43; Mk. 1:23; Mk. 1:26; Mk. 1:27; Mk. 3:11; Mk. 3:30; Mk. 5:2; Mk. 5:8; Mk. 5:13; Mk. 6:7; Mk. 7:25; Mk. 9:25; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 6:18; Lk. 8:29; Lk. 9:42; Lk. 11:24; Acts 5:16; Acts 8:7; Rev. 16:13; Rev. 18:2

Cured(2323)(therapeuo from therapon = an attendant, servant) means primarily to care for, to wait upon, minister to. It has two main senses in the NT, one speaking of rendering service (Acts 17:25). By far the more common use describing medical aspects such as to take care of the sick, to heal, to cure (Matt. 4:24; 12:10; Mark 1:34; Luke 6:7; 10:9),  to recover health, to restore. Therapeúō means to heal miraculously in Matt. 4:23, 24; 10:1, 8; Acts 4:14. 

Robertson - The healings were repeated as often as they came (ED: Which is conveyed by the imperfect tense). Note here both verbs, iaomai and therapeuō, used of the miraculous cures of Jesus. Therapeuō is the verb more commonly employed of regular professional cures, but no such distinction is made here. (Word Pictures)

Luke 6:19  And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.

KJV Luke 6:19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.

And all the people were trying to touch Him - The imperfect tense pictures this crowd surging at Him again and again trying to touch Him, like the lapping of the waves of the sea touching the shoreline. We know that one woman later touched Him with faith in Luke 8... 

And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, 44 came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 45 And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” 47 When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. . 48 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” (Lk 8:43-48, cf Mt 9:20-22, Mk 5:25-34)

Compare other episodes related to touching Jesus...

Mark 5:22-23    One of the synagogue officials named Jairus *came up, and on seeing Him, *fell at His feetand implored Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.”

Luke 18:15 And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them.

Touch (681)(hapto) means to grasp, to lay hold of with the basic meaning of touching for the purpose of manipulating. Hapto conveys the sense handling of an object as to exert a modifying influence upon it or upon oneself. The majority of the 39 uses are in the Gospels and are associated with Jesus touching someone (or someone touching Him) usually with a beneficial effect. In contrast the use in 1Jn 5:18 speaks of touching with the intent of a negative or harmful effect (cp harmful sense in Lxx of Ge 26:11, Ex 19:12). Four uses refer to lighting a lamp (Lk 8:17, 11:33, 15:8) or kindling a fire (Acts 28:2). Paul uses it of touching a woman, apparently a euphemism for sexual contact (2Cor 7:1, cp Abimelech "had not come near" [Lxx = haptomai] Sarah - Ge 20:4,6; see hapto in Pr 6:29). In Ge 32:25 (cp Ge 32:32) Hapto/haptomai is used over 100 times in the Septuagint (Lxx). The first use of hapto in Ge 3:3 is by the woman who misquoted God's command saying "You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’” God touched the socket of Jacob's thigh resulting in dislocation while they wrestled! Hapto/haptomai is used in Leviticus numerous times of touching something with a negative impact (the majority of uses are negative and refer to touching something unclean e.g., Lev 5:2) or positive impact (consecrated - Lev 6:27). In Jdg 6:21 the Angel of the LORD touched Gideon's offering of meat and it was consumed (cp 1Ki 19:7). In Ru 2:9 Boaz instructed the servants not to touch Ruth apparently referring to touching her roughly. (cp Ru 2:9NLT). 1Sa 10:26 refers to God touching hearts of the valiant men. Of the wings of the cherubim touching each other (1Ki 6:27, 2Chr 3:11). Of an angel touching Elijah (1Ki 19:5). In 1Chr 16:22 hapto/haptomai is used in a negative sense - "Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm." In Isa 6:7 (hapto used twice) the angel touched Isaiah's mouth and his iniquity was taken away. Jehovah touched (Lxx - hapto) Jeremiah's mouth, placing His words in his mouth. (Jer 1:9)

For (hoti) is a term of explanation. What's Luke explaining?

Power was coming from Him -  The imperfect tense again pictures this as occurring over and over as the people sought to touch Him. After His temptation in the wilderness "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit" (Lk 4:14-note, cf "with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out” = Lk 4:36-note). In Lk 5:17-note we read "the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing." (cf Lk 8:46-note). Jesus first gave His 12 apostles "power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases," (Lk 9:1-note), and then gave the 72 disciples “power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases" (Lk 10:19-note). When Jesus entered Jerusalem, "the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles (dunamis) which they had seen" (Lk 19:37). When Christ returns every one will see the Son of Man appear “with power and great glory,” (Lk 21:26-27, Mt 24:30-note) and "THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD.”(Lk 22:69).

Peter summarizes Jesus' power filled ministry in Acts - 

you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power (dunamis), and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.(Acts 10:37-38).

Allison A. Trites summarizes the transfer of Jesus' ministry to His apostles -  Jesus’ power was passed on to his apostles, as is evident in Acts. The disciples were promised power from the Holy Spirit that would enable them to bear witness for Christ in ever-widening spheres (Acts 1:8). The apostles continued to perform miracles but claimed no “power” for themselves (Acts 3:12). When they were questioned about the source of their evident power, they attributed it to Jesus (Acts 4:10). They “testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:33). Similarly, Stephen, full of the Spirit (Acts 6:5), exhibited power in performing “amazing miracles and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8), and the same was true of Philip and Paul (Acts 8:13; 19:11). There was a case of fraudulent power presented by Simon the sorcerer, who called himself “the Power of God” (Acts 8:10), but he was sternly rebuked by Peter and told to repent (Acts 8:18-24). (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary – Volume 12: Luke and Acts)

Power (Miracles) (1411)(dunamis from dunamai  = to be able, to have power) power especially achieving power. It refers to intrinsic power or inherent ability, the power or ability to carry out some function, the potential for functioning in some way (power, might, strength, ability, capability), the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.  Dunamis is the implied ability or capacity to perform. It conveys the idea of effective, productive energy, rather than that which is raw and unbridled. Dunamis is the word generally used by Paul of divine energy. Scripture uses dunamis to describe deeds that exhibit the ability to function powerfully (deeds of power, miracles, wonders) (eg, see Mt 11:20, 23, 13:54, 58, etc)

NET Note on power - There was a recognition that there was great power at work through Jesus, the subject of a great debate in Lk 11:14–23. Luke highlights Jesus’ healing ministry (Lk 5:17; 6:18; 7:7; 8:47; 9:11, 42; 14:4; 17:15; 18:42–43; 22:51; Acts 10:38).

Healing (curing) (2390)(iaomai) means to cure, to heal, to restore. Iaomai is used literally of deliverance from physical diseases and afflictions and so to make whole, restore to bodily health or heal. To cause someone to achieve health after having been sick. In the passive it means to be healed or cured. Figuratively, iaomai speaks of deliverance from sin and its evil consequences and thus to restore (to spiritual good health), make whole, renew (Mt 13.15). In the passive, iaomai figuratively means to be restored, to recover or to be healed as in 1Pe 2.24. Iaomai refers primarily to physical healing in the NT (although clearly there is overlap because some of these instances involved demonic oppression - Lk 9:42), and much less commonly to spiritual healing or healing (saving) from "moral illnesses" and the consequences of sin. When used in this sense iaomai has much the same meaning as sozo, to save, make whole, restore to spiritual health. Here are the uses of iaomai used with a spiritual meaning = Mt 13:15, John 12:40, Acts 28:27 - preceding quotes from Isa 6:10, 1Pe 2:24 = quote from Isa 53:5. It is interesting that most of the NT uses in the Gospels refer to physical healing by Jesus (excepting the physical healing that resulted by release from demonic oppression). However in the OT (Lxx) uses iaomai refers primarily to spiritual healing by the Messiah (Isa 53:5, Isa 61:1, et al).

Presumably the fact that Luke was a physician explains why he made frequent use of iaomai (14/26x). Matt. 8:8; Matt. 8:13; Matt. 13:15; Matt. 15:28; Mk. 5:29; Lk. 5:17; Lk. 6:18; Lk. 6:19; Lk. 7:7; Lk. 8:47; Lk. 9:2; Lk. 9:11; Lk. 9:42; Lk. 14:4; Lk. 17:15; Lk. 22:51; Jn. 4:47; Jn. 5:13; Jn. 12:40; Acts 9:34; Acts 10:38; Acts 28:8; Acts 28:27; Heb. 12:13; Jas. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:24

Robertson on healing them all - Was healing all, kept on healing all. The preacher today who is not a vehicle of power from Christ to men may well question why that is true. Undoubtedly the failure to get a blessing is one reason why many people stop going to church. One may turn to Paul's tremendous words in Phil. 4:13-note: "I have strength for all things in him who keeps on pouring power into me". It was at a time of surpassing dynamic spiritual energy when Jesus delivered this greatest of all sermons so far as they are reported to us. The very air was electric with spiritual power. There are such times as all preachers know.

Luke 6:20  And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

KJV  And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

NET   Then he looked up at his disciples and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God belongs to you.

YLT  And he, having lifted up his eyes to his disciples, said: 'Happy the poor -- because yours is the reign of God.


  • Luke 6:20-26 Characteristics of those in His kingdom - Beatitudes and Woes
  • Luke 6:27-45 Practice of those in His kingdom - Commands
  • Luke 6:46-49 Exhortation to those who consider Him - Parables and Illustrations


In Luke 6:20-22 Jesus gives 4 blessings or beatitudes to the poor, hungry, weeping and detested. To the natural mind (1 Cor 2:14) these seem absurd and make absolutely no sense, because a natural man reads them from the world's perspective as referring to literal poverty, hunger, etc. However, to the spiritual mind, in context all 4 conditions clearly refer to spiritual conditions - poor in spirit, hungry for Jesus, mourning over sin, and persecuted for following Jesus.

Jesus knows that it will not be easy being a disciple of His, and so with these four beatitudes He reassures and encourages any potential disciple with the truths that they will experience spiritual blessing in this life and in the life to come, in contrast to those who reject His offer of forgiveness of sins. 

I like the title of Steven Cole's sermon on Luke 6:20-26 - How to Live Happily Ever After! Naturally the world considers this genre of thinking as absurd and sheer lunacy! To the contrary, it is the pinnacle of wisdom!

As Bock says "These blessings are not a works salvation but represent an invitation to let God mold His children into who they ought to be. So God assures those who are needy that he will care for them. Jesus offers promises to the poor, the hungry, those who weep and those who suffer religious persecution. God sees their spiritual commitment, which has cost them in the pocketbook. To people such as these God promises the kingdom now and blessing later, including enough to eat, laughter and heavenly reward. Unlike Matthew, Luke includes woes, not just blessings. Jesus divides humankind into two camps (Luke 3:15-18-note--the purging Spirit of fire). In contrast to the blessed stand the rich, those who are well fed, those who laugh and those who receive praise. Their fate is sorrow, hunger, mourning and a life like those who followed the false prophets. The contrast is stark." (Ref)

Note that the blessings of Luke 6:20-22 directly parallel the woes (warnings) of Luke 6:24-26.

Luke 6:20-22

Luke 6:24-26

Lk 6:20 Poor Lk 6:24 Rich
Lk 6:21 Hunger Lk 6:25 Well-fed
Lk 6:21 Weep Lk 6:25 Laugh
Lk 6:22 Hatred Lk 6:26 Praise

Walter L. Leifeld commenting on Jesus follows the four blessings with four woes observes that "The entire theme of reversal of fortune has already been encountered in the Magnificat (Read Luke 1:51-55-note)." (Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke)

Wiersbe nicely summarizes Jesus' sermon in Luke 6:20-49 - What Jesus did was to focus on attitudes: our attitude toward circumstances (Luke 6:20-26), people (Luke 6:27-38), ourselves (Luke 6:39-45), and God (Luke 6:46-49). He emphasized four essentials for true happiness: faith in God, love toward others, honesty with ourselves, and obedience toward God. (The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1)

Steven Cole gives us an overview of Lk 6:20-49 - The most obvious question is whether or not this sermon in Luke 6 is the same as the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Mt 5-7. The bottom line is, we can’t know for certain. There are solid commentators on both sides of the issue. The sermon in Luke falls into three sections: in Lu 6:20-26, Jesus draws a distinct line between His followers and others and pronounces blessings on the former and woes on the latter; in Lu 6:27-38, Jesus spells out the primary ethic of His kingdom, the practice of love; and, in Lu 6:39-49, He emphasizes the importance of obedience to His teaching. He addresses the sermon primarily to His disciples (Lu 6:20), but obviously there are appeals to outsiders as well. The blessings are aimed at encouraging and strengthening Jesus’ followers in the face of mounting and inevitable opposition and persecution, but they also serve to draw in outsiders with the intriguing promise of future reversal. The woes warn believers of dangers to avoid, but they also confront unbelievers with the future consequences of their current behavior. The entire sermon shows Jesus’ disciples (i.e., all Christians) how we should live. But it also shows unbelievers and hypocrites their need for repentance because of the huge gap between their behavior and Jesus’ teaching.. (Luke 6:20-26 How to Live Happily Ever After - USED ABOVE for the title of this section)

Constable has an interesting analysis - Luke's version of this important address, primarily aimed at Jesus' disciples, is much shorter than Matthew's (Matt. 5:3-7:29). Matthew's account contains 137 verses whereas Luke's has 30. Both accounts begin with beatitudes, contain the same general content, and end with the same parables. However, Luke edited out the teachings that have distinctively Jewish appeal, specifically Jesus' interpretations of the Mosaic Law, the "legal matters." These parts had less significance for an audience of predominantly Gentile Christians....Matthew recorded nine beatitudes, but Luke included only four. Matthew gave no woes, but Luke recorded four. The four beatitudes precede the four woes, and the beatitudes parallel the woes in thought. The beatitudes are positive and the woes correspondingly negative (cf. Ps. 1:1-6-note; Isa. 5:8-23). (Luke 6)

Mattoon's summary of Jesus' sermon - This sermon takes the accepted standards of society and turns them upside down. The people whom Jesus called happy, the world would call wretched, and the people Jesus called wretched, the world would call happy. Just imagine anyone saying, "Happy are the poor and woe to the rich!" This is what the Lord does here in His message.

And turning His gaze toward His disciples - (Literally "lifting up his eyes") Here we see that Jesus was clearly focusing on the training of His recently named apostles. Of course in so teaching His apostles, He is also teaching the other disciples, the large crowd and all believers of all ages. In Matthew's version he begins "And opening His mouth He began to teach them, saying." (Matthew 5:1-note). Vincent adds that both Luke and Matthew "indicate a solemn and impressive opening of a discourse." 

Darrell Bock sums up this section writing that "Luke's "Sermon on the Plain" is the Gospel equivalent of Paul's chapter on love, 1 Corinthians 13. Here Jesus sets forth his ethic for daily life in detail. The sermon begins with a recognition of the disciples' blessing as a result of God's grace. The rest of the sermon gives the ethical response to being such a beneficiary. Disciples are to live and relate to others in a way that stands out from how people relate to one another in the world. They are to love and pray for their enemies. Righteousness requires that they respond wisely to Jesus' words by building their lives around his teaching. In sum, disciples are to live and look different from the rest of the world, even as they reach out compassionately to that world." (Ref)

Barclay introduces this section writing that "Luke's Sermon on the Plain and Matthew's Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapters 5-7) closely correspond. Both start with a series of beatitudes. There are differences between the versions of Matthew and Luke, but this one thing is clear—they are a series of bombshells. It may well be that we have read them so often that we have forgotten how revolutionary they are. They are quite unlike the laws which a philosopher or a typical wise man might lay down. Each one is a challenge. As the scholar Adolf Deissmann said, 'They are spoken in an electric atmosphere. They are not quiet stars but flashes of lightning followed by a thunder of surprise and amazement.' They take the accepted standards and turn them upside down. The people whom Jesus called happy the world would call wretched; and the people Jesus called wretched the world would call happy. Just imagine anyone saying, 'Happy are the poor, and, Woe to the rich!' To talk like that is to put an end to the world's values altogether. (Luke 6) (Bolding added)

MacDonald - Notice that this message of stern discipleship was given to the large crowd of His disciples, and a great throng of people (Lk 6:17) as well as to the twelve. It seems that whenever a great multitude followed Jesus, He tested their sincerity by speaking quite bluntly to them. As someone said, "Christ first woos, then winnows."

MacArthur - the crowd that gathered to hear the Lord preach this sermon consisted of three groups: the apostles, the uncommitted curious crowd, and the disciples. Luke’s note that as He began to preach Jesus turned His gaze toward His disciples indicates that the Sermon on the Mount is directed primarily at them (although the woes were addressed to the crowd in general). The disciples were at various levels of commitment and understanding, but they followed Jesus and considered Him their teacher. Despite the claims of some, the Sermon on the Mount is not a statement of ethics, but a sermon on salvation. Trying to apply the principles in this sermon apart from regeneration is futile. (Luke Commentary)

Disciples ("learners")(3101) (mathetes from manthano = to learn which Vine says is "from a root math, indicating thought accompanied by endeavor". Gives us our English = "mathematics") describes a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal. Discipleship includes the idea of one who intentionally learns by inquiry and observation (cf inductive Bible study) and thus mathetes is more than a mere pupil. A mathetes describes an adherent of a teacher. As discussed below mathetes itself has no spiritual connotation, and it is used of superficial followers of Jesus as well as of genuine believers.

NIDNTT - A man is called a mathētēs when he binds himself to someone else in order to acquire his practical and theoretical knowledge. He may be an apprentice in a trade, a student of medicine, or a member of a philosophical school. One can only be a mathētēs in the company of a didaskalos, a master or teacher, to whom the mathētēs since the days of the Sophists generally had to pay a fee. An obvious exception to this is when mathētēs refers to spiritual dependence on a thinker long since dead. Socrates never wanted to have any mathētēs and never regarded himself as a didaskalos… It is used to indicate total attachment to someone in discipleship (Ed: But see distinction below between a true disciple and a pseudo-disciple of Jesus). The secular Gk. usage of the word in the sense of apprentice, pupil or student is not found… Mathētēs in John is often simply a term for “Christian” (Jn. 8:31; 13:35; 15:8)… mathētēs has the general sense of “Christian”, one who believes in Jesus

Related Word Study: matheteuo - make disciples

Ralph Earle - As followers of Jesus we are to be, first of all, learners. We are to learn from Him by listening to Him, learn the truth that will set us free (John 8:32) and keep us from error. But we are also to learn from Him by looking at Him‑ learn how to live a life of beauty and blessing. (Word Meanings in the New Testament)

Barclay writes that "All his life a Christian should be learning more and more about Jesus. The shut mind is the end of discipleship!" (Matthew 5 Commentary - Daily Study Bible - online)

John MacArthur - "Christ’s concern for the poor and outcasts is one of Luke’s favorite themes. Luke used a personal pronoun (“you”) where Mt 5:3 employed a definite article (“the”); Luke was underscoring the tender, personal sense of Christ’s words. A comparison of the two passages reveals that Christ was dealing with something more significant than mere material poverty and wealth, however. The poverty spoken of here refers primarily to a sense of one’s own spiritual impoverishment....Lk 6:21 "you who hunger" No mere craving for food, but a hunger and thirst for righteousness."


As noted above (see table) Lk 6:20-26 presents a clear juxtaposition of blessings with woes. Ultimately the entire human race falls into one of these categories, believers who will be blessed in this life and forever and unbelievers who will experience woes throughout eternity, this short life being their taste of "heaven!" There is no middle ground. We see a foreshadowing of these two "options" in Deuteronomy 27-30. 

Allison A. Trites - There is an A-B-A pattern to each blessing here, with the promise of blessing followed by the ethical responsibility and then the spelling out of just what the promised blessing would be—great reward in heaven. (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary – Volume 12: Luke and Acts)

Wiersbe - The Lord explained in this sermon that the truly blessed life comes not from getting, or from doing, but from being. The emphasis is on Godlike character.

Blessed are you who are poor - He is not speaking of poverty as in a lack of money (although many were literally poor), but as He says in Mt 5:3-note "poor in spirit." He is speaking of those who have a sense of their bankrupt spiritual state and spiritual impoverishment. The blessing or beatitude is not a condition for entering the Kingdom of God, but the blessing on those who enter it by grace through faith in the Messiah. 

Steven Cole clarifies that Jesus is not excluding financially rich - Later in Luke, some wealthy women are favorably mentioned who helped support Jesus and the apostles (Lu 8:1-3). And, Jesus welcomes the rich tax collector, Zaccheus, into the kingdom (Lu 19:1-10). So Jesus is not issuing a blanket approval on everyone who is financially poor, nor a blanket condemnation on everyone who is financially rich. The same can be said of the other groups. God graciously gives us food to meet our needs, and there is no inherent virtue in going hungry. The Bible commands God’s people to be filled with joy and praise, and Jesus is not contradicting that here. There are many of God’s servants who are commended and thought well of in the Bible. So there is nothing inherently wrong with these categories as such. We would be mistaken to understand Jesus to be teaching that simply by being in these categories a person is somehow blessed or under woes to come....These terms, “poor, hungry, and those who weep,” are not exclusively spiritual, in that those who are destitute of life’s essentials are often much more aware of their spiritual need before God. Those who are rich in this world’s goods often do not sense their desperate need for God. But the terms are primarily spiritual in that Jesus did not come to offer Himself on the cross to deliver men from physical poverty, hunger, and grief. He came to deliver sinners from their spiritual poverty, spiritual hunger, and grief over sin. One writer explains, "The hungry are men who both outwardly and inwardly are painfully deficient in the things essential to life as God meant it to be, and who, since they cannot help themselves, turn to God on the basis of His promise. These men, and these alone, find God’s help in Jesus. They are not an existing social or religious group…. They are believers who seek help from Jesus because of their own helplessness." (L. Goppelt, cited by Darrell Bock, Luke [Baker], 1:575). Leon Morris (p. 127) explains further, "He is not blessing poverty in itself: that can as easily be a curse as a blessing. It is His disciples of whom Jesus is speaking. They are poor and they know that they are without resource. They rely on God and they must rely on Him, for they have nothing of their own on which to rely…. The rich of this world often are self-reliant. Not so the poor." And so when Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are poor,” He is referring to those who have recognized that the greatest need in life is spiritual, not material. Rather than pursuing a life of accumulating the world’s goods, these people have recognized their spiritual poverty before God and have come to Him, often at the expense of worldly success." (Luke 6:20-26 How to Live Happily Ever After)

Blessed (3107)(makarios from root makar, but others say from mak = large or lengthy) means to be happy, but not in the usual sense of happiness based on positive circumstances. From the Biblical perspective Makarios describes the person who is free from daily cares and worries because his every breath and circumstance is in the hands of His Maker Who gives him such an assurance (such a "blessing"). As discussed below makarios was used to describe the kind of happiness that comes from receiving divine favor.

Bock - The term blessed refers to one who is the object of grace and is happy because of it. Those who are blessed do not face an easy life. (Ibid)

A T Robertson - The word accents the actual inner state rather than the outward appearance as another sees it… It is important to note that in the discussion of righteousness which is to follow Jesus assumes the new heart (Ed: Or serves to challenge unbelievers to believe in Jesus and receive a new heart), which alone makes it possible to come up to the lofty ethical standard here set up.

Rob Morgan - Makarios (blessed) means happy, fortunate, blissful. Homer used the word to describe a wealthy man, and Plato used it of one who is successful in business. Both Homer and Hesiod spoke of the Greek gods as being happy (makarios) within themselves, because they were unaffected by the world of men-who were subject to poverty, disease, weakness, misfortune, and death. The fullest meaning of the term, therefore, had to do with an inward contentedness that is not affected by circumstances. That is the kind of happiness God desires for His children, a state of joy and well-being that does not depend on physical, temporary circumstances (cf Php 4:11, 12, 13). (From his sermon entitled "Blessed")

NET Note on Blessed - The term Blessed introduces the first of several beatitudes promising blessing to those whom God cares for. They serve as an invitation to come into the grace God offers.

Makarios in Luke and Acts -  Lk. 1:45; Lk. 6:20; Lk. 6:21; Lk. 6:22; Lk. 7:23; Lk. 10:23; Lk. 11:27; Lk. 11:28; Lk. 12:37; Lk. 12:38; Lk. 12:43; Lk. 14:14; Lk. 14:15; Lk. 23:29;  Acts 20:35; Acts 26:2

In His opening sermon Jesus addressed the poor, clearly speaking of their spiritual neediness to hear the Good News which would make them spiritually rich...


Wiersbe comments on Jesus emphasis on the blessing on the poor instead of the rich and famous - Imagine how surprised they were when they heard Jesus describe happiness in terms just the opposite of what they expected! They discovered that what they needed most was not a change in circumstances but a change in their relationship to God and in their outlook on life. Jesus was not teaching that poverty, hunger, persecution, and tears were blessings in themselves. If that were true, He would never have done all He did to alleviate the sufferings of others. Rather, Jesus was describing the inner attitudes we must have if we are to experience the blessedness of the Christian life. We should certainly do what we can to help others in a material way (James 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18), but we must remember that no amount of "things" can substitute for a personal relationship with God....Jesus was not glorifying material poverty; rather, He was calling for that brokenness of heart that confesses spiritual poverty within (Luke 18:9-14; Phil. 3:4-14). The humble person is the only kind the Lord can save (Isa. 57:15; 66:2; 1 Peter 5:6). If you compare "The Beatitudes" with Isaiah 61:1-3 and Luke 4:18, you will see that our Lord's emphasis was on the condition of the heart and not the outward circumstances. Mary expressed this same insight in her song of praise (Luke 1:46-55). (Ibid)

G. Campbell Morgan on poor - “Men and women who are supremely conscious of their own spiritual poverty; of their own unworthiness; who are mastered by a great humility!”

Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones said, “This one is first because it is obviously the key to all that follows!”

Brian Bell - This one speaks of emptying, while the rest are a manifestation of a fullness. We can’t be filled unless we’re emptied!

Jesus is not speaking of literal poverty but to the "pious poor" whether they are rich or poor in this present world (although most of His followers are literally poor - cf Lk 18:25)

Poor (4434)(ptochos from ptosso = crouch, cringe, cower down or hide oneself for fear, a picture of one crouching and cowering like a beggar with a tin cup to receive the pennies dropped in!) is an adjective which describes one who crouches and cowers and is used as a noun to mean beggar. These poor were unable to meet their basic needs and so were forced to depend on others or on society. Classical Greek used the ptochos to refer to a person reduced to total destitution, who crouched in a corner begging. As he held out one hand for alms he often hid his face with the other hand, because he was ashamed of being recognized.

Ptochos describes not simply honest poverty, and the struggle of the laboring man to make ends meet but also describes abject poverty, which has literally nothing and which is in imminent danger of real starvation. Ptochos focuses on a state of dependence, so that in Mt 5:3 "the poor in spirit" are those who have learned to be completely dependent on God for everything and these are the ones who possess the kingdom of heaven.

Walter L. Leifeld adds that ptochos "in Luke implies those who are utterly dependent on God (Lk 6:20). They are the special recipients of the "good news" Jesus came to preach (Lk 4:18). Often the economically destitute sense their need of God more than others. (The Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke)

Luke's uses of Ptochos -  Lk. 4:18; Lk. 6:20; Lk. 7:22; Lk. 14:13; Lk. 14:21; Lk. 16:20; Lk. 16:22; Lk. 18:22; Lk. 19:8; Lk. 21:3; 

NET Note on poor - You who are poor is a reference to the “pious poor” for whom God especially cares. See Ps 14:6; 22:24; 25:16; 34:6; 40:17; 69:29.

POSB - The opposite of being "poor in spirit" is having a spirit that is full of self. There is a world of difference between these two spirits. There is the difference of thinking one is righteous and acknowledging one has the need for righteousness. There is the difference of having self-righteousness and of having another's righteousness. Man must have another's righteousness. Self-righteousness goes no farther than self, that is, no farther than death. Another's righteousness, that is, Christ's righteousness, lives forever (2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9. Ro 3:21-22;  Galatians 2:15-16 Romans 10:4) The promise to the poor is phenomenal. Note the exact words: "yours is the kingdom of heaven." The promise is not "yours shall be," but "yours is." The poor in spirit receive the Kingdom of Heaven now. (The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Luke)

Steven Cole - The kingdom Jesus speaks of is both a present reality and a future promise. To the poor who have followed Him, Jesus says, “Yours is the kingdom of God.” They presently possess it. In this sense, the kingdom means living decidedly under the lordship of Jesus, obeying His commands, living with the aim of pleasing Him. But, the kingdom is also a future promise, in that Jesus plainly taught that He would return to reign on the throne of David and to rule the nations with a rod of iron. In this sense, Jesus’ followers all mourn at the present reign of darkness under the prince of this world, and we long for the soon-coming day when, according to His promise, there will be a new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells (2Pe 3:13). So, if you want to live happily ever after, you must see that there are two and only two ways to live. You can live for the things and pleasures of this world, which are destined to perish. Or, you can submit yourself to Jesus Christ and live for His present and coming kingdom. Every follower of Jesus, not just the super-dedicated, will be in the second camp. There is no middle ground, sort-of Christian, with one foot in the world and one in Jesus’ kingdom. You must get off the fence and declare yourself to be on Jesus’ side. (Luke 6:20-26 How to Live Happily Ever After)

Yours is the kingdom of God - The verb "IS" is in the present tense meaning it is RIGHT NOW, TODAY, continually (and forever) yours as a believer in Jesus Christ! This is an incredible promise! Notice the dramatic contrast - the poor receive the Kingdom of God, something the richest person in history could not purchase and something which is imperishable, undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you! (1 Peter 1:4-note).

Leifeld adds "There may also be an element of "inaugurated eschatology" in the present tense—i.e., the presence of some aspects of the coming kingdom of God. In this case, the poor can rejoice even in the midst of their destitution because they are already able to partake of some of the kingdom blessings." (Expositor's Bible Commentary - 1984 Edition)

The NET Bible translation is "the kingdom of God belongs to you" and the NET Note says "The present tense (belongs) here is significant. Jesus makes the kingdom and its blessings currently available. This phrase is unlike the others in the list with the possessive pronoun being emphasized. Jesus was saying, in effect, “the kingdom belongs even now to people like you.” (Ed: Why? Because those who have believed experience the reign of the Jesus, the King of that Kingdom!)

As with the Sermon on the Mount (and Luke's version may be a condensation), Jesus is not teaching the Gospel, nor is He teaching that by following or obeying the commands in this sermon one will attain the Kingdom of God. Sinners cannot keep this sermon in their own power but must be born again and then by reliance on the indwelling Holy Spirit, they are enabled to obey Jesus' teachings. 

The Kingdom of God - One must understand that there are two phases to the Kingdom of God. The first phase is the invisible, internal Kingdom of God which Jesus is referring to in this passage and which He later described as "in your midst” (Lk 17:21-note), the Kingdom in which the King reigns in the heart of the person who has accepted Jesus as Messiah. When the King returns on "the day that the Son of Man is revealed," (Lk 17:30-note) the heart of every person will also be revealed as to whether they sought the kingdom of "self" or the kingdom of the Savior! The future phase of the Kingdom of God is known as the Messianic Age or the Millennial Kingdom.

See more detailed explanation of Jesus' meaning of the Kingdom of God in commentary notes on Luke 17:20-21.

Related Resources:

Luke 6:21  "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

KJV  Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

  • you who hunger now Lk 6:25; 1:53; Psalms 42:1,2; 143:6; Isaiah 55:1,2; 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 11:27; 12:10
  • for you shall be satisfied Ps 17:15; 63:1-5; 65:4; 107:9; Isaiah 25:6; 44:3,4; 49:9,10; 65:13; 66:10; Jeremiah 31:14,25; Matthew 5:6; John 4:10; 6:35; 7:37,38; Revelation 7:16
  • you who weep now Lk 6:25; Ps 6:6-8; 42:3; 119:136; 126:5,6; Ecclesiastes 7:2,3; Isaiah 30:19; 57:17; Isaiah 57:18; 61:1-3; Jeremiah 9:1; 13:17; 31:9,13,18-20; Ezekiel 7:16; 9:4; Matthew 5:4; John 11:35; 16:20,21; Romans 9:1-3; 2 Corinthians 1:4-6; 6:10; 7:10,11; James 1:2-4,12; 1 Peter 1:6-8; Revelation 21:3
  • for you shall laugh Genesis 17:17; 21:6; Psalms 28:7; 30:11,12; 126:1,2; Isaiah 12:1,2; 65:14
  • Luke 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • Luke 6:20-26 How to Live Happily Ever After - Steven Cole


Blessed are you who hunger now - Hunger is in the present tense indicating their hungering is continual. I like this thought because after we receive Jesus, we still should be hungering for Him, for He is infinite and infinitely satisfying at the same time. NET Note says"You who hunger are people like the poor Jesus has already mentioned. The term has OT roots both in conjunction with the poor (Isa 32:6–7; Isa 58:6–7, 9–10; Ezek 18:7, 16) or by itself (Ps 37:16–19; 107:9)." Matthew's parallel is more clearly referring to spiritual hunger. Luke's version does not specify literal poverty or spiritual poverty but it is still surely a reference to spiritual hunger  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  (Mt 5:6+)

Steven Cole - When Jesus blesses the hungry and pronounces woe on the well-fed, He is not speaking primarily in physical terms. The main point is spiritual. Those who are physically hungry are truly blessed if they come to God in their eed and learn to rely on Him for all their needs as their caring Father. Those who are physically well-fed are truly to be pitied if they ignore their spiritual starvation and need for God, who sustains us both physically and spiritually. (Luke 6:20-26 How to Live Happily Ever After)

Blessed (3107)(makarios) see preceding note

Hunger (3983)(peinao  from peín = hunger) means to feel the pangs of lack of food. The majority of the NT uses speak of literal hunger. Jesus elevated feeding the hungry to high level in His teaching in Mt 25:35, 37, 42, 44. The figurative use as in Mt 5:6-note signifies to have strong desire to attain some goal with the implication of an existing lack. Other passages that use hunger with this figurative sense are Luke 1:53, 6:21, 25, John 6:35, possibly Rev 7:16 (could refer to literal and/or spiritual hunger). In summary, peinao may refer to hunger for earthly produce (eg. Lazarus hungering for crumbs - Lk 16:19-31) or to an intense desire for spiritual nourishment which is also necessary for the continuance of life. In classic Greek peinao means to hunger and by extension it means to long for something which is necessary for sustenance of life and can range from simple desire for a meal to starvation brought on by poverty or disaster. Figuratively, it could even refer to an intense desire for something other than food, for something that was deemed necessary for one's well-being. In the Septuagint, in the OT, peinao is often used in the context of famine (Ge 41:55, 2Ki 7:12), for famine is more frequently spoken of then simple hunger that is an impulse stimulated by short term absence of food. And for this reason, the Septuagint uses the more intense Greek word limos (3016). Peinao is occasionally used in the context of matters of justice in reference to the hungry or oppressed (1Sa 2:5, Ps 146:7).

Uses of peinao in Luke - Lk. 1:53; Lk. 4:2; Lk. 6:3; Lk. 6:21; Lk. 6:25.

You shall be satisfied - "Jesus turned human need into human contentment." (Trent Butler) The passive voice here is the "divine passive" for the satisfaction referred to is an inner soul satisfaction that only God Himself can fill. NET Note adds that Jesus' "promise you will be satisfied is the first of several “reversals” noted in these promises. The beatitudes and the reversals that accompany them serve in the sermon as an invitation to enter into God’s care, because one can know God cares for those who turn to Him."

THOUGHT - Have you turned to Him? Where do you do for true, lasting satisfaction? Don't be like Mick Jagger and be forced to sing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction!" Yes you can, but you have to come to Jesus for He declared “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst." (Jn 6:35). Jesus is the fountain of living water for as Jesus promised "whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (Jn 4:14+) Don't rely on your own "broken cisterns that can hold no water." (Jer 2:13). 

Blaise Pascal alludes to man's desperate desire and need for divine filling in his book Pensées - chapter VII writing “What is it, then, that this desire and this inability proclaim to us, but that there was once in man a true happiness of which there now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present? But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself. He only is our true good, and since we have forsaken Him, it is a strange thing that there is nothing in nature which has not been serviceable in taking His place; the stars, the heavens, earth, the elements, plants, cabbages, leeks, animals, insects, calves, serpents, fever, pestilence, war, famine, vices, adultery, incest. And since man has lost the true good, everything can appear equally good to him, even his own destruction, though so opposed to God, to reason, and to the whole course of nature."

IVP Background Commentary - Being “filled” (sustained) was a hoped-for blessing of the messianic era. Hunger struck poor families in times of famine (the situation in rural Palestine was better than that of rural Egypt but worse than that of Corinth or Italy).

Shall be satisfied (5526)(chortazo from chortos = fodder or grass or herbage of the field in general) means to feed with herbs, grass or hay and then to eat one's fill resulting in a state of being satisfied. Chortazo was used of the feeding of animals until they wanted nothing more. The picture is of animals who stayed at the feed trough until they wanted nothing more to eat. In short chortazo means to feed to the point of satisfaction. For example Matthew records that "they all ate (multitudes fed miraculously by Jesus with only 5 loaves and 2 fish), and were satisfied (SATIATED). And they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets." (Matthew 14:20) All uses of satisfied in Luke - Lk. 6:21; Lk. 9:17; Lk. 16:21.


Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh - This beatitude is unique to the Gospel of Luke and is not found in the Sermon on the Mount (one of the reasons some see these as similar but distinct sermons). 

Matthew has a similar but not identical beatitude

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  (Mt 5:4-note)

Steven Cole - When Jesus blesses those who weep now, He is referring to His followers who suffer in this wicked world because of their identification with Him. They will get the last laugh because God will welcome them to His sumptuous banquet table. Those who laugh now are like the rich man in Jesus’ parable, who say to themselves, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” (Lu 12:19, Lu 12:20). (Luke 6:20-26 How to Live Happily Ever After)

Brian Bell quips that “If you want to know someone’s character, find out what makes him laugh & what makes him weep!” What we laugh at & what we weep over indicates our values of life & values are a part of maturity.

Weeping was a sign of mourning or repentance. We see this is one of the largest conversions in the Bible (if not the largest) in the pagan nation of Nineveh in the 8th cent. BC. In Jonah we read that in response to Jonah's message “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”  (Jonah 3:4b - notice Jonah did not even tell them to "Repent!" and yet they did). Jonah goes on to record the king's words stating that "both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth (the Septuagint adds "and cried earnestly to God"); and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands (REPENTANCE). “Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”  (Jonah 3:8,9)

MacArthur on weep - This is the emotional breakdown that follows recognition of spiritual bankruptcy and lack of righteousness. These mourners view themselves as the poor, prisoners, blind, and oppressed (cf. Lk 4:18), and are burdened, disappointed, fearful, and hurting. Theirs is the sorrow of repentance, (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10).

Weep (2799)(klaio) means to mourn, to weep, to lament or to wail with emphasis upon noise accompanying weeping. It expresses one’s immediate and outward reaction to suffering. The picture is of one lamenting with sobs or wailing aloud and was used to describe the wailing that took place when someone died. Weeping thus was a sign of the pain and grief for the entity or person being wept over. Klaio implies not only the shedding of tears, but also external expression of grief. It was a term frequently used to describe the actions of professional mourners.

Klaio is in the present tense indicating weeping was a continual practice.

NIDNTT writes that in classical Greek klaio is "found from Homer onwards (and ) means intransitively to cry aloud, weep; transitively to bewail. In secular Greek. klaio does not express remorse or sorrow, but physical or mental pain which is outwardly visible. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)

Klaio in Luke and Acts - Lk. 6:21; Lk. 6:25; Lk. 7:13; Lk. 7:32; Lk. 7:38; Lk. 8:52; Lk. 19:41; Lk. 22:62; Lk. 23:28;  Acts 9:39; Acts 21:13

Klaio is used by James who describes divine exaltation following a genuine godly sorrow and repentance over one's sins (cf 2 Cor 7:9,10)... 

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James  4:8-10)

NET Note on you shall laugh -  You will laugh alludes to the joy that comes to God’s people in the salvation to come.

Future laughter in place of present weeping recalls several OT passages...

Ps 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. 

Ps 30:11  Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; Thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness;

Jer 31:13  “Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together, For I will turn their mourning into joy And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.  

Comment: This prophetic promise (and that below in Isaiah 61:2-4) applies directly to the Jews who will be saved when the Lord Jesus returns and who will enter into His glorious Millennial Kingdom. 

Isaiah 61:2-4; To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,  3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. 4 Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations, And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.

Rod Mattoon gives an illustration

Dr. R. A. Torrey was one of the great Bible teachers of a past generation and founder of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA University). He and Mrs. Torrey went through a time of great heartache when their twelve-year-old daughter was accidentally killed. The funeral was held on a gloomy, miserable, rainy day. They stood around the grave and watched as the body of their little girl was put away. As they turned away, Mrs. Torrey said, "I'm so glad that Elisabeth is with the Lord, and not in that box."

But, even knowing this to be true, their hearts were broken. Dr. Torrey said that the next day, as he was walking down the street, the whole thing broke anew—the loneliness of the years ahead without her presence, the heartbreak of an empty house, and all the other implications of her death. He was so burdened by this that he looked to the Lord for help.

He said, "And just then, this fountain, the Holy Spirit that I had in my heart, broke forth with such power as I think I had never experienced before, and it was the most joyful moment I had ever known in my life! Oh, how wonderful is the joy of the Holy Spirit! It is an unspeakable glorious thing to have your joy not in things about you, not even in your most dearly loved friends, but to have within you a fountain ever springing up, springing up, springing up, always springing up three hundred and sixty-five days in every year, springing up under all circumstances unto everlasting life." (Treasures from Luke, Volume 1)

Luke 6:22  "Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.

KJV  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.


Matthew has a parallel passage

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (i.e., THEY ARE BELIEVERS).  11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you (AND HERE IS THE CRITICAL QUALIFYING PHRASE) because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, (WHY?) for (A STRATEGIC term of explanation) your reward in heaven is great (THIS LIFE IS A BAD AS IT WILL EVER GET!); for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (YOU ARE IN GOOD COMPANY, cf 1 Peter 5:9-10-note). (Mt 5:10-12-note)

Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil - This is the most paradoxical of Jesus' 4 beatitudes in this section. From the world's perspective hatred, ostracism, insults and scorn are hardly a good recipe for blessing. But this passage is not referring to the unbelieving world's perspective but to God's perspective. Why? Jesus says the fact that they are detested is  because of the Son of Man. So clearly those who are hated, etc, are true Christ followers and they are rejected by the world because the world rejected Him. 

Steven Cole - When Jesus blesses those who are hated, ostracized, insulted, and spurned for His sake, He compares their treatment to that of the godly prophets. The reason for their ill treatment is that they have stood for God’s truth and righteousness, which sinners, especially religious hypocrites, hate. Jesus’ disciples who are so mistreated should rejoice and leap for joy, because they have great reward in heaven. But Jesus compares those who are well-spoken of to the false prophets. It’s never hard to gain a following: Just flatter people and tell them how wonderful they are. They will flock to hear you and buy your books. You will be famous and successful on earth, but rejected in heaven. One reason Jesus paints with these broad strokes of black and white, with no gray, is to draw the line and make us examine ourselves. Which side are you on? I immediately want to say, “Lord, how about someone who isn’t poor or rich? I’m just kind of middle class! How about someone who isn’t starving, but I’m not a glutton? I’m not going around weeping, but neither am I a comedian. People aren’t throwing rotten eggs at me, but neither am I Mr. Popular. Isn’t there room for a guy like me in the middle?” Jesus replies, “No, you’re either decidedly for Me or you are decidedly against Me. There’s no middle ground.” He forces us to get off the fence and decide: Are we living for this life and its temporary pleasures or are we living for Jesus and His eternal kingdom? (Luke 6:20-26 How to Live Happily Ever After)

MacArthur explains that "The underlying reason for sinners’ hatred, ostracism, insults, and scornful denunciation of the name (Christian) that believers bear as evil is because of their association with the Son of Man. The Lord elaborated on that truth in His charge to the Twelve before sending them out to preach (Mt 10:16-33). In Mt 10:16 Jesus likened the opponents they would face to vicious wolves (cf. Mt. 7:15; Acts 20:29). He further cautioned the apostles that they would be severely punished in the courts and synagogues (cf. 2 Cor. 11:24), including being put out of the synagogue (Jn 9:22, 34; 16:2), and by rulers (Mt 10:17-18). Families will be divided when some members identify with Christ (Mt 10:21; cf. Luke 12:51-53). All of this hatred will be directed at believers because they name the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mt 10:22, 24-25), whom the unbelieving world hates (John 15:18-19; 16:33)."

Blessed (3107)(makarios) see note

Hate (3404)(miseo from misos = hatred) means to dislike strongly, to have a strong aversion to or to detest, all of these representing expressions of hostility of one person (or group) toward another. Other uses in Luke - Lk. 1:71; Lk. 6:22; Lk. 6:27; Lk. 14:26; Lk. 16:13; Lk. 19:14; Lk. 21:17. 

Scorn (1544)(ekbállō) literally means to cast out and thus speaks of ejection by force (like one would a demon in Lk 11:20 or Jesus did to the money changers in Mt 9:34, 21:12)! In this context ekballo means to reject. Scorn is a mean-spirited word for it reflects not only lack of respect but also a feeling of intense dislike. 

NET Note on scorn your name as evil - Or “disdain you”; Greek literally means to “cast out your name as evil.” The word “name” is used here as a figure of speech to refer to the person as a whole. The phrase when they exclude you and insult you and reject you as evil alludes to a person being ostracized and socially isolated because of association with the Son of Man, Jesus.

Bock notes that "In Jewish circles the choice to be a disciple would have meant ostracism. The goal of such ostracism was to punish and shame the "defector," or perhaps to persuade the defector to return. Social isolation would bring economic consequences." (Ref)

Of course, in most of the 10-40 Window (See map) where many souls have never even heard the Name of "Jesus," to convert from their family's religion (be it Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc), is not only almost guarantee ostracism from one's own family, but is also associated with a very real risk of being martyred for the sake of the Son of Man! The 10-40 Window gives new meaning to Jesus' words "count the cost!"

Ostracize ("excommunicate")(873)(aphorizo from apó = off from, apart + horizo = mark out the limit) means to mark off the boundaries, to appoint, set one apart for some purpose. It is used of the final separation of the righteous from the wicked (Mt 13:49; 25:32); of the separation of the disciples from the world (Lk 6:22); and of the setting apart of apostles to special functions (Acts 13:2). The central idea is “to limit by setting apart from the rest,” hence, to distinguish from others in some specific way.

Gotquestions uses the unusual term "Christianophobia" to refer "to the state of being hateful or spiteful to Christians. A Christianophobe hates or despises Christians and/or what they stand for."  (See What is Christianophobia?).

Related resources

Brian Bell - American Christians are persecuted daily! Christianity is attacked everywhere! {In politics; often w/church building projects(not ours); public Preaching & outreach; in our Schools(discrimination) - in every subject, w/evolution, w/morals(or the lack of them), their hero’s(sport figures, & rock stars); the attack on the family structure). How do we gain happiness from this?

  1. Realize that is a privilege to be persecuted for Jesus sake (cf Php 1:29-note).
  2. Realize this is evidence that we’re living like Him. (cf Jn 15:18-20)
  3. Realize that the fellowship of his sufferings (Phil.3:10-note) is the closest fellowship possible w/God! When we are in the furnace, the Son of God is there with us (cf Da 3:24-26-note)!
  4. Realize when the stones are flying we have opportunity to be His best witness! (Stephen with Saul - Look at the results! Acts 7:57-60, 8:1)
  5. Realize persecution gives us the opportunity to grow! “It has a way of driving us to God!” (cf 1 Peter 1:6-7)

Spurgeon wrote that “Persecution of the tongue is more common, but not less cruel than that of the hand!”

For the sake of the Son of Man - (on account of the Son of Man = ESV; because you follow the Son of Man =  NLT) Analogous to the slogan during the Christmas holidays that "Jesus is the reason for the season", here Jesus is the reason for the hatred of his followers. And it is always "open season" when it comes to shooting down (figuratively and sometimes literally) the followers of Jesus. Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you for your testing as if some strange thing were happening to you! When we suffer for the sake of the Son of Man, understand that He suffers with us in one sense (not in the sense of adding to His finished atoning work on the Cross), because He is in covenant with us and because of that unbreakable, eternal bond, when we suffer, He suffers. We see this clearly in Acts 9 where the risen, glorified Jesus ask Saul who was ravaging the Church 

“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do. (Acts 9:4-6)

So persecution of those who belong to Jesus is tantamount to persecuting Jesus Himself! And He is our covenant defender (see study of this great Biblical truth)!

Jesus issued the word of warning regarding coming persecution on numerous occasions, even to Saul after his conversion in Acts

"you will be hated by all because of My name." (Luke 21:17)

You will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. (Mt 10:18)

“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. (Mt 10:22)

“He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. (Mt 10:39)

"I (JESUS) will show him (Saul of Tarsus) how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (Acts 9:16)

Paul warned the saints at Philippi...

For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Php 1:29)

Peter and the apostles gives us the pattern to imitate when we suffer for His Name's sake...

So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. (Acts 5:41)

THOUGHT - Do we in America really understand what a privilege and honor we have to be able to represent the King of kings and Lord of lords and to suffer for the sake of the Son of Man? Beloved, it is a high and holy privilege! Read about many saints of the past who counted themselves worthy to suffer for Jesus in Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Many (most) of them paid with their lives!

Rod Mattoon Illustrates a Disciple's Rejection - G.Campbell Morgan was one of 150 young men who sought entrance to the Wesleyan ministry in 1888 at the age of 25. He passed the doctrinal examinations, but then faced the trial sermon. In a cavernous auditorium that could seat more than 1,000 people sat three ministers and 75 others who came to listen. When Morgan stepped into the pulpit that day, the vast room and the searching, critical eyes caught him off guard even though he had been preaching since he was 13. Two weeks later Morgan's name appeared among the 105 REJECTED applicants for the ministry that year.

Jill Morgan, his daughter-in-law, wrote in her book, A Man of the Word, "He wired to his father the one word, 'Rejected,' and sat down to write in his diary: 'Very dark everything seems. Still, He knoweth best.' Quickly came the reply: 'Rejected on earth. Accepted in Heaven. Dad.'"

In later years, Morgan said: "God said to me, in the weeks of loneliness and darkness that followed, 'I want you to cease making plans for yourself, and let Me plan your life.'" Rejection is rarely permanent, as Morgan went on to prove.

Even though Morgan had no formal training for the ministry, his devotion to studying of the Bible made him one of the leading Bible teachers in his day. His reputation as preacher and Bible expositor grew throughout England and spread to the United States.

In 1896, D. L. Moody invited him to lecture to the students at the Moody Bible Institute. This was the first of his 54 crossings of the Atlantic to preach and teach. After the death of Moody in 1899, Morgan assumed the position of director of the Northfield Bible Conference. After five successful years in this capacity, he returned to England (in 1904) and became pastor of Westminster Chapel of London. His preaching and weekly Friday night Bible classes were attended by thousands of people to hear the preaching of the Word of God. So much for a guy who supposedly could not preach. God used him greatly. He was faithful in preaching the Word of God until his death in 1945 at the age of 81. He was rejected by men, but approved by God.

Let me ask, "Do you find yourself rejecting Christ? Christian, do you find yourself rejecting His leading and will? Have you put your faith in the Lord or do you persist to say 'No' to His offer of salvation?" Realize that He is your true hope for the hassles you face in this life. He can meet your needs when you are facing the stress from sickness, scarcity, strain on your finances, sorrow, scorn, slander, and spurning. Our Lord is the "Great Satisfier" of mankind that provides hope for us in our hassles.(Treasures from Luke, Volume 1)

Luke 6:23  "Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.

KJV 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.

  • Be glad in that day - Acts 5:41; Romans 5:3; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Colossians 1:24; James 1:2
  • leap -  Lk 1:41,44; 2 Samuel 6:16; 6:16; Isaiah 35:6; Acts 3:8; 14:10
  • for behold your reward is great in heaven Lk 6:35; Mt 5:12; 6:1,2; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7; 2 Timothy 2:12; 4:7,8; Hebrews 11:6,26; 1 Peter 4:13; Revelation 2:7,10,11,17,26; 3:5,12; 21:7
  • For in the same way their fathers  1 Ki 18:4; 19:2,10,14; 21:20; 22:8,27; 2 Kings 6:31; 2 Chronicles 36:16; Nehemiah 9:26; Jeremiah 2:30; Matthew 21:35,36; 23:31-37; Acts 7:51,52; 1 Thessalonians 2:14,15; Heb 11:32-39
  • Luke 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • Luke 6:20-23 The Character of a True Christian-1 - John MacArthur
  • Luke 6:23-26 The Character of a True Christian- 2 - John MacArthur
  • Luke 6:20-26 How to Live Happily Ever After - Steven Cole


Parallel passage in Mt 5:12-note -  

Rejoice and be glad (agalliao - both these verbs are present imperative), for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Be glad in that day and leap for joy, - Jesus gives two commands Be glad and leap both in aorist imperative, a command that can only be obeyed by saints filled with the Spirit, Who will give the desire and the power to be glad in circumstances that the world would not consider conducive to being glad! See discussion of the Need for the Holy Spirit to obey NT commands or "How to Keep All 1642 Commandments in the New Testament!" (See also Filled with His Spirit/Richly Indwelt with His Word). 

Be glad (rejoice) (5463)(chairo) means to be "cheer" full, calmly happy or well-off. Chairo implies and imparts joy. Chairo is used in a whole range of situations in which the emotion of joy is evoked. To be in a state of happiness and well being (often independent of what is happening when the Source is the Spirit!). Chairo means to enjoy a state of gladness, to be delighted.

Leap (for joy)(4640)(skirtao) means "exuberant springing motion, leap, spring about as a sign of joy. Of sheep gaily skipping about." (BDAG)   Twice (Lk 1:41, 44-note) this verb describes the baby John leaping in Elizabeth's womb.  Leaping was used especially of animals (Septuagint - "skip about like calves" - Mal 4:2-note = those who fear God, who are saved will one day "skip" about). Leaping is often associated with joy and is an expression of it. 

This truth recalls similar passages in the epistles which also are linked with other truth that should greatly encourage us in our trials and afflictions...

(James 1:2-4+) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

(1 Peter 1:6-7+) . 6In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

(2 Cor 4:16-18+) Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

For behold - This is also actually a command and in the present context conveys the idea that we are to look not at the present uncomfortable circumstances but (enabled by the Spirit) are to look at the future great reward, one that endures eternally! What we are looking for (future reward) will determine what we are living for (in the present). This concept is frequently emphasized in the Bible. For example, one of every 20-25 verses in the New Testament refers (directly or indirectly) to the Second Coming of our Savior and King Who will rescue us once and for all time from this present evil age! Now that's something worth living for, hoping for and waiting for! 

Behold (2400)(idou) is the second person singular aorist middle imperative of eidon which means to see, perceive, look at. In the NT idou is used as a demonstrative particle that draws attention to what follows. Idou in the middle voice means "you yourself look, see, perceive!" The aorist imperative is a command emphasizing "Do it now! Don't delay!" Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"

Related Resource:

  • See discussion of what I like to call "Vertical Vision" ("eternal eyesight" as opposed to horizontal vision where our eyes are focused on the things of this present temporary world).

Your reward is great in heaven - Not great on earth, not great now, but great in the future, in heaven. This present world is temporary and is passing away and also its lusts (1 John 2:17+), but heaven's rewards will last forever! The Christian road is first the cross, and then the crown. Don't give up! It is too soon to quit. Peter says we will each receive "an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you." (1 Pe 1:4+). This is a blessed hope indeed (where Biblical hope is not "hope so" but "hope sure!")

Reward (wage) (3408)(misthos) literally refers to pay which is due for labor performed or dues paid for work. Misthos is used in two general senses in the NT, either to refer to wages or to reward, recognition or recompense. In this latter figurative usage, misthos refers to rewards which God bestows for the moral quality of an action, such rewards most often to be bestowed in eternity future. Luke uses misthos in Lk 6:23, 35, 10:7. 

For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets - For (gar) is a term of explanation. What is Jesus explaining? Clearly why we should rejoice and jump in present trials for His sake. Jesus encourages His disciples by reminding them that they have joined a "select" group of faithful men and woman who went before them. This truth that a genuine disciple of Jesus stands in line with such illustrious names as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, etc should encourage all faithful disciples throughout the centuries that lead up to the Lord's return. Treat is  poieo in the imperfect tense describing how this maltreatment occurred again and again to the prophets

The treatment of OT prophets is summarized in Second Chronicles

The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy. (2 Chronicles 36:15-16)

The NT also summarizes the treatment of OT prophets

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings (2 Ki 2:23, Jer 20:7-8) and scourgings (Jer 20:2, 37:15), yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned (2 Chr 24:20-21), they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword (1 Ki 18:4); they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins (2 Ki 1:8), being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11:32-38-note)

Prophets (4396)(prophetes from próphemi = literally to tell beforehand in turn from pró = before, in front of, forth, on behalf of + phemí = speak, tell) is primarily a forth-teller or one who speaks out God’s message, primarily to their own generation, usually always calling the people to God's truth for them at that moment, often using the phrase "Thus saith the Lord." The prophet is one who speaks before in the sense of proclaim, or the one who speaks for, i.e., in the Name of (God). "As distinct from the sacral figures of pagan antiquity the biblical prophet is not a magician. He does not force God. On the contrary, he is under divine constraint. It is God Who invites, summons, and impels him--e.g., Jer 20:7" (Lamorte and Hawthorne)

NET Note  - Mistreatment of the prophets is something Luke often notes (Luke 11:47–51; Acts 7:51–52).

IVP Background Commentary - The Old Testament tradition that most true prophets suffered rejection was amplified further in Judaism, so Jesus’ hearers would have caught his point. The separation or ostracism here might allude to being officially put out of the synagogue (cf. Jn 9:22) but is probably meant more generally.

Luke 6:24  "But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.

KJV Luke 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.


But in this context is a very strategic term of contrast. What is Jesus contrasting? Clearly the previous section described the blessings, but now Jesus declares four woes on all who reject His gracious offer. As shown in the table above Luke 6:24-26 is a "point-by-point negative counterpart of Lk 6:20-22." (NIV Study Bible) Wiersbe observes that "The four "woes" all share a common truth: you take what you want from life and you pay for it. If you want immediate wealth, fullness, laughter, and popularity, you can get it; but there is a price to pay: that is all you will get. Jesus did not say that these things were wrong. He said that being satisfied with them is its own judgment. H.H. Farmer wrote that "to Jesus the terrible thing about having wrong values in life and pursuing wrong things is not that you are doomed to bitter disappointment, but that you are not; not that you do not achieve what you want, but that you do" (Things Not Seen, Nishbet [London], p. 96). When people are satisfied with the lesser things of life, the good instead of the best, then their successes add up only as failures. These people are spiritually bankrupt and do not realize it."  (The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1) 

Woe to you who are rich - Literally "But woe to you -- the rich" (no verb "are" in the Greek). God's Word Translation bluntly says "But how horrible it will be for those who are rich. They have had their comfort." The NLT has "What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now." 'Jesus promises condemnation (woe) to those who are callous of others, looking only to their own comforts. On Luke and the rich see Luke 1:53; 12:16; 14:12; 16:1, 21–22; 18:23; 19:2; 21:1. These woes are unique to Luke.' (NET) As Bock notes "One of the dangers of wealth is that it can lead one to believe a life of independence is possible--a view that Jesus teaches is arrogant and misguided (Luke 12:13-21). The world's values are not God's values. The reversal portrayed in the beatitudes and woes reflects the idea that "the one with the most toys" often loses. God's blessing can be found in surprising places. It rests on those who rest in him." (Luke 6:17-49 Jesus' Teaching)

Steven Cole  adds that "When Jesus says, “Woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full,” He is referring to those who are living as if this world is all there is. They are not rich toward God by laying up treasures in heaven (Lu 12:21). They are living for selfish pleasures and comforts and they are relying on themselves to gain these things. In light of eternity, it’s a foolish way to live. (Luke 6:20-26 How to Live Happily Ever After)

In this and the following two verses Jesus speaks "Woes" upon those who are rich (Lk 6:24), well-fed (Lk 6:25), laugh (Lk 6:25) and when all men speak well of you (popular)(Lk 6:26). The implication is that He is addressing some in the crowd about whom these attributes are true. In a sense we know for certain, there was ONE! His name was Judas Iscariot, and it would have been better for him not to have even been born (Mt 26:24). 

NLT Study Bible. - Promises of blessing for the poor and oppressed are balanced in Luke with predictions of sorrow for the rich and powerful. Those who trust in themselves will be humbled, while those who depend on God will be blessed. The OT prophets often pronounced woes against nations and rulers who oppressed God's people and rejected his sovereignty (e.g., Isa 3:11; 5:8; Jer 50:27; Zech 11:17).

Mattoon on woe - It doesn't mean "Woe Nellie," which was an expression to tell a horse to stop. This word "Woe" means "pain, grief, horror, lamentation, a state of intense hardship and distress." In other words, you could bluntly say that your circumstances will be, "Not Good. Not Good." In this part of His message to these people, Jesus identifies what I call "pillars" that people tend to use to build or prop up their lives. They seek or lean upon these pillars, thinking they will bring them serenity and stability in their life when this is not the case at all. They are pillars with flimsy footings. What are they?There are four we will examine and give you the reasons why they are built upon flimsy footings.

  • The Pillar of Prosperity or Possessions
  • The Pillar of being Packed with Plenty
  • The Pillar of a Party Mentality
  • The Pillar of Popularity or the Praise of Men

Woe (alas) (3750)(ouai)  (click and select "Phonetics" to hear "ouai" pronounced) (ouai pronounced "oo-ah'ee," an eerie, ominous foreboding sound some say is like the cry of an eagle) is an onomatopoeic word (an imitation of the sound) which serves as an interjection expressing a cry of intense distress, displeasure or horror. It may convey a warning of impending disaster to the hearers.  pronounced "oo-ah'ee," an eerie, ominous foreboding sound some say is like the cry of an eagle) is an onomatopoeic word (an imitation of the sound) which serves as an interjection expressing a cry of intense distress, displeasure or horror. It may convey a warning of impending disaster to the hearers. Most NT uses of ouai are in the context of warning about inevitable, impending judgment, often intermingled with a feeling of pity (Mt 11:21-22, Lk 22:22 = Judas' betrayal). Rev 8:13-note has woe in triplicate which seems to provide the greatest possible emphasis on God's coming judgment on the world, much as the cry of "holy" in triplicate emphasizes His holiness. Indeed, His perfect holiness demands His perfect judgment! In the Lxx a double woe is addressed to unfaithful Jerusalem because of her idolatry and immorality (Ezek 16:23). Ouai does not depict sorrow on the part of those who have sinned (as some have mistakenly taught).

Luke uses ouai in these passages - Lk. 6:24; Lk. 6:25; Lk. 6:26; Lk. 10:13; Lk. 11:42; Lk. 11:43; Lk. 11:44; Lk. 11:46; Lk. 11:47; Lk. 11:52; Lk. 17:1; Lk. 21:23; Lk. 22:22

Rich (rich man) (4145)(plousios from ploutos = wealth, abundance, riches) is an adjective which defines that which exists in a large amount with implication of its being valuable. Literally plousios refers to having an abundance of earthly possessions that exceeds normal experience. This word is used of the Rich Young Ruler in Luke 18 

But when he had heard these things (Jesus' call to discipleship in Luke 18:22), he became very sad (DEEPLY GRIEVED), for he was extremely rich (plousios). 24 And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! 25 “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich (plousios) man to enter the kingdom of God.”(Luke 18:23-25+)

Plousios is used again to present a striking contrast in Luke 19

He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich (plousios) . 3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner (JEWS DETESTED JEWISH TAX COLLECTORS).” 8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a (SPIRITUAL, NOT JUST PHYSICAL) son of Abraham. 10“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:1-10+)

James the half brother of Jesus gives a sobering warning (at least it should be sobering!) to all those who are rich in this world but poor toward heaven...

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you. (James 5:1-6+) (Ed: If you still have envy for the rich, take a moment and read the words of Asaph in Ps 73:1-28 and notice the "turning point" in his attitude toward the rich!)

Rod Mattoon - What is this all about? Does this mean it is wrong to be rich? Is Jesus condemning wealth? No, that can't be true because some of the godliest men and women of the Bible were wealthy including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, David, Job and Lydia. There are many godly, wealthy people today, whom God has used in a powerful way because they followed the Lord's leadership about their finances. They viewed their prosperity as a tool of blessing to be used to glorify God and help others. They put into practice Ephesians 4:28. Jesus does not decry riches themselves but their effect on people. Riches cause people to feel self-sufficient and to feel that they have found the happiness for which they were seeking. Those who try to find fulfillment through wealth and not the Lord, will find that wealth is the only reward they will ever get and that it does not last. (Treasures from Luke, Volume 1) (Ed: Regarding the snare of wealth, I would add it's not how much we have, but how much has us, so to speak!)

Forterm of explanation. What's Jesus explaining?

You are receiving your comfort in full - NLT says "you have your only happiness now." Isaiah 22:13 says "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die."  A beer commercial in the 1960's said ""You only go around once in life: Go for all the gusto you can." If you are destined to spend eternity in hell, that is not an unreasonable philosophy! Why? Because for unbelievers, this life is as good as it gets! On the other hand, for believers, this life is as bad as it gets! In the story of the poor man Lazarus (see below) and the rich man, Jesus declared to the rich man in torment in Hades "during your life you received your good things." "Ironically the language of reward shows that what the rich have received is all they will get. This result looks at a current situation, just as the start of the beatitudes did. The rest of the conclusions to the woes look to the future at the time of judgment." (NET)

The idea of receiving is that they are PAID IN FULL. This life is all they get! They forfeit everything with their last heart beat. The wealthy too often live for NOW (used in Lk 6:25), not THEN, for TIME, not ETERNITY! Is this true of all wealthy people? Of course not, because many wealthy Christians have laid up their treasures in Heaven. This is where their hearts are focused and where they have transferred their funds. The Bible speaks more about money (~2350 verses) than even faith and prayer combined. Jesus had more to say more about money than about both heaven and hell combined and so we do well to hear and heed His wise advice to the wealthy (and the poor):

But store up (present imperative = command to make this your life long activity!) for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; FOR (a "strategic" term of explanation) where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:20-21-note)

Jesus gives us the greatest insider tip in the history of the world, for one day all economies and currencies of the world will totally fail. You can't take it with you, but you can send it ahead and earn eternal dividends! Do you really believe Jesus? Does your "check book" back up your profession that you believe Him?

Martin Luther said this way - I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.

Jim Elliot said - He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

Randy Alcorn comments on Elliot's oft quoted passage - We miss something in missionary martyr Jim Elliot’s famous words...We focus on his willingness to sacrifice and serve, but we neglect his passion for personal gain. Reread his words and you’ll see that Jim Elliot was a profit seeker! What separated him from the common Christian wasn’t that he didn’t want treasure, but that he wanted true and lasting treasure. He wasn’t satisfied with treasure that would be lost, only treasure that would last.

Randy Alcorn asks "What is our treasure? A. W. Tozer suggested we may discover the answer by responding to four basic questions:    What do we value most? What would we most hate to lose? What do our thoughts turn to most frequently when we are free to think of what we will? And finally, what affords us the greatest pleasure?" (Ed: You may want to read those again prayerfully pondering your answer.)

John Wesley - “I value all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.”

David Livingstone -  “I place no value on anything I possess, except in relation to the kingdom of God.”

Alcorn explains "God’s kingdom was the reference point for these men. They saw all else in light of that kingdom. They were compelled to live as they did, not because they treasured no things, but because they treasured the right things.

Richard Halverson said "Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money."

Randy Alcorn in his modern day classic (which I highly recommend) Money, Possessions, and Eternity has a section aptly entitled "The Stupidity of Materialism." Take a moment and read his analysis (and pithy illustrations) regarding materialism (notice the word is not wealth but the "-ism" of wealth so to speak! The distinction is that "Materialism is money-centered and thing-centered rather than God-centered." One dictionary says materialism is "a desire for wealth and material possessions with little interest in ethical or spiritual matters.").

We must understand that materialism is not simply wrong. It is stupid. As Jesus once asked his profit-conscious audience, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
The parable of the rich fool portrays a man who thought of himself as a successful businessman (Luke 12:16-21). The essence of foolishness is that we either don’t recognize the truth or we choose to ignore it. The rich fool of the parable thought he was captain of his fate. He made his plans without taking into account God’s plans. He failed to come to grips with three fundamental facts—the mortality of his present life, the eternality of his future life, and the reality that today’s choices were forging his future life. The rich fool was a materialist. He acted irrationally, as if he could escape death or delay it indefinitely. He neglected to number his days and therefore failed to gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).

Scripture describes our lives as “like grass” and our achievements as “the flowers of the field.” The grass withers and the flowers fall—in the eyes of eternity this earthly life comes and goes in the blink of an eye (Isaiah 40:6-8). “But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:12). “Man is a mere phantom (Ed: here today, gone tomorrow. They have no lasting substance and are comparable to mere images or ghosts) as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it” (Psalm 39:6).

A Greek philosopher said, “All men think it is only the other man who is mortal.” The way we scurry about accumulating things is testimony to our unspoken doctrine that we are exceptions to the law of death. The events of September 11, 2001, were a shocking reminder to millions of Americans of something we should have already understood—our mortality.

The rich fool was “not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21); that is, he did not handle money in a God-centered way. He was self-centered, hoarding and stockpiling money and possessions rather than releasing them to serve God and meet the needs of others. He was too self-sufficient and independent to ask God’s counsel on how much to keep and how much to give, too preoccupied with the business of “success” to open his heart in love to meet the needs of those around him.

The Talmud says, “Man is born with his fist clenched but dies with his hands wide open.” (Ed: Woe!) The Scriptures say, “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand” (Ecclesiastes 5:15). But the rich fool was too busy being “successful” to care.

When one of the wealthiest men in history, John D. Rockefeller, died, his accountant was asked, “How much did John D. leave?” The accountant’s reply was classic: “He left ALL of it.”

You can’t take it with you. Or as someone put it, “You’ll never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul.”

Perhaps we need to read the obituaries to remind ourselves how short our time on earth is.

Perhaps we need to visit a junkyard to remind ourselves where all the things we work for and chase after will one day end up.

The wise man thinks ahead.

The foolish man acts as if there is no eternal tomorrow....

The principle is timeless: There is a powerful relationship between our true spiritual condition and our attitude and actions concerning money and possessions....If John the Baptist (or a first-century Christian) were to visit us today and gauge our spiritual condition by our attitudes and actions regarding money and possessions, what conclusions would he come to? When you look around our Christian communities today, what do you see in our handling of money and possessions that can only be explained by the supernatural work of God?

Are receiving (present tense = continually receiving)(568)(apechomai or apecho from apó = away from - conveys the idea of putting some distance between; serves as a marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association + écho = have) in the active voice (as in this verse) means to receive a sum in full and give a receipt for it. Apecho was used as a commercial technical term meaning "to receive a sum in full and give a receipt for it". (Mt 6:2, 6:5, 6:16-note). In the papyri apecho is used repeatedly in the sense of “I have received” as a technical expression in drawing up a receipt. And so it can refer to a commercial receipt which gives way to the NT meaning to receive in full payment, to have in full or to have received what one had a right to except (e.g., referring to Paul's financial support from the church at Philippi - Phil 4:18-note). A similar meaning is to receive back a person (Philemon 1:15).

Comfort (3874)(paraklesis from parakaléo = call to one's side <> pará = side of + kaléo = call) refers to calling to one's side or one's aid which can be for the purpose of providing solace, comfort, consolation, exhortation, encouragement. Of course we derive our word parakletos, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit from this same word family. Comfort is from Latin com = with + fortis = strong, and means to invigorate, to enliven, to cheer, to strengthen one's mind when depressed, to give new vigor to one's spirits, to give strength or hope to another, to ease their grief or trouble.

IVP Background Commentary - “Comfort” was a blessing of the messianic era (e.g., Is 40:1; cf. Lk 16:25). Most of Jesus’ hearers were poor, but Luke’s urban, Greco-Roman readership was probably better off (1:3–4); Luke pulls no punches for his own audience (cf. 1 Enoch 96:4–5). Laughter was often associated with scorn.

Jesus gives a striking illustration of the blessings on believers versus woes on non-believers in His story about the poor man Lazarus and the rich man...

Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. 20 “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, 21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. 22 “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham (SUPPORTING THE FACT THAT HE WAS JEWISH), have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ 25“But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. (Luke 16:19-25)

Related Resources:

In the book of the Revelation John gives another description of the rich when God's wrath is finally and fully poured out on this evil generation...

And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her (BABYLON), will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’  (Revelation 18:9-10-note)

Rod Mattoon -  Beloved, if you are satisfied with putting things above or ahead of the Lord, your reward is now, but it will not be God's best for you. In essence, being satisfied with mediocrity instead of God's best, is a form of judgment. The loss of tenacity in desiring God's best, and contentment with the mediocrity of carnal values, are elements of stupidity and absurdity, which will lead to anxiety, calamity, scarcity, perplexity, and futility because of foolish choices and goals, and the loss of future blessings in eternity. If you are a Christian and neglect the Lord because of money, you will lose blessings and reward. If you reject Christ because of money, you will spend eternity in Hell. A man named H.H. Farmer put it another way, "To Jesus, the terrible thing about having wrong values in life and pursuing wrong things is not that you are doomed to bitter disappointment, but that you are not. Not that you fail to achieve what you want, but that you do." When people are satisfied with the lesser things of this life, the good instead of the best, then their successes actually add up to be failures. People that are building their lives upon the pillar of prosperity, that neglects, ignores, or forgets God, are spiritually bankrupt and do not realize it. They won't receive God's best for themselves. That's sad and is the reason why they are spiritual failures! God warns us about the grip that money can take in our lives. Its grasp is especially strong when times are lean, when your retirement fund has lost a chunk, when unemployment is rising, or when you have little now. God warns us about having the proper view of our finances, because if we don't, then our prosperity can pull us away from the One who gave it to us. When this happens, we become ungrateful for God's blessings and we mistakenly focus our attention on the gifts instead of the Giver, the Lord Himself.   When our view of our finances becomes distorted, we mistakenly conclude that money is going to make us happy. That is not true because money cannot buy the most priceless things in the world. You cannot buy peace, joy, love, and a right relationship with Jesus Christ. You won't find these things on sale at Wal Mart. You cannot buy eternal life because it's free! Money cannot save you from disasters, diseases, or death. Don't make the mistake of being fooled by financial prosperity and forget the Lord in your life like many people do. You need God whether you are rich or poor. God repeatedly warns us about the "pillar of wealth," its impact on our lives, and its flimsy footing. (Read 1 Ti 6:7, 9, Dt 8:13-14, Ps 49:10, 62:10, Pr 23:5, 28:20, Jer 17:11).(Treasures from Luke, Volume 1)

ILLUSTRATION - Malcolm Forbes - Christopher Winans, in his book, Malcolm Forbes: The Man Who Had Everything, tells of a motorcycle tour that Forbes took through Egypt in 1984 with his Capitalist Tool motorcycle team. After viewing the staggering burial tomb of King Tut, Forbes seemed to be in a reflective mood. As they were returning to the hotel in a shuttle bus, Forbes turned to one of his associates and asked with all sincerity: “Do you think I’ll be remembered after I die?” Forbes is remembered. He is remembered as the man who coined the phrase, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” That was the wisdom of Malcolm Forbes. In fact, that was his ambition. That’s why he collected scores of motorcycles. That’s why he would pay over a million dollars for a Faberge egg. That’s why he owned castles, hot air balloons and countless other toys that he can no longer access. The Lord Jesus Christ gave us words of superior wisdom when he said, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). It is a fatally deficient wisdom that declares “He who dies with the most toys wins.”

Luke 6:25  "Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

KJV Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.


Woe to you who are well-fed now - This word of warning is given in a sense as a prophecy to these disciples who had given up everything in order to follow Jesus. Those who are well-fed speaks of those who refused to give up anything to follow Jesus, like the Rich Young Ruler in Luke 18:18-30. 

Woe (alas) (3750)see discussion above on this word of warning ouai.  

Reformation Study Bible - The term "woe" often introduces a prophetic oracle of doom...Those who do not realize their spiritual poverty but rely on their own achievement will reap disaster in the end.

Well fed (empiplemi) describes those who were satisfied (as with food, clothing, etc) and had enough to meet their needs. 

Forterm of explanation. What's Jesus explaining?

You shall be hungry - Jesus prophesies that the end of the satisfied ones would be very "unsatisfactory" for they would be hungry. Jesus is speaking ultimately in the inversion of their fate from fortunate in this world (now) to unfortunate in the world to come. 

We see a parallel prophecy of contrasting fates for the righteous and the unrighteous in Isaiah 65

Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, My servants will eat, but you will be hungry. Behold, My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. Behold, My servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. 14  "Behold, My servants shall shout joyfully with a glad heart, But you shall cry out with a heavy heart, And you shall wail with a broken spirit.(Isa 65:13-14)

Notice Jesus' repetition of the time sensitive word NOW in this warning passage and the previous prophetic blessing Luke 6:21-note which as we have noted reverses the words in Lk 6:25. (see table)

Blessed are you who hunger NOW, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep NOW, for you shall laugh.

Woe to you who are well-fed NOW, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh NOW, for you shall mourn and weep.

A T Robertson -  Here (NOW IS) twice as in Luke 6:21 in contrast with future punishment. The joys and sorrows in these two verses are turned round, measure for measure reversed. The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) illustrate these contrasts in the present and the future.

Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep - This woe is similar in that it is directed at those who enjoy merriment in this life, for they will mourn and weep in the life to come. 

Mattoon - The context of the passage indicates Jesus is referring to those who laugh because they have a careless and unconcerned attitude toward God, their sin, and their soul. They have a party mentality that says, "Live it up now! Do your own thing! I can live any way I want and I don't care what you say! I don't care about God!" Those who lean upon the pillar of party mentality have no sense about sin and its destructiveness. They have no shame, sorrow, or regret over their sin and are unconcerned about its consequences or judgment. Brokenness over the cross of Calvary does not enter their mind. (cf the "woe" of Php 3:18-19).

Will mourn (3996)(pentheo) means that these who once were full on earth will experience great sadness as the result of their future adverse conditions and circumstances! This same verb pentheo is used in the opposite (good, beneficial) sense in Mt 5:4-note where Jesus promises "Blessed are those who mourn (pentheo), for they shall be comforted." 

King James Bible Commentary on Lk 6:25-30 - Here Jesus is seeking to inculcate a godly spirit, which is exactly the opposite of how we normally react to situations around us. The point is that a man must be a Christian before he can exhibit Christian behavior.

Rod Mattoon has an illustration on Lk 6:25 - A duck was flying with his flock in the springtime northward across Europe. During the flight he came down in a Danish barnyard where there were tame ducks. He enjoyed some of their corn. He stayed, for an hour, then for a day, then for a week, then for a month, and finally, because he relished the good fare and the safety of the barnyard, he stayed all summer. But one autumn day, when the flocks of wild ducks were winging their way southward again, they passed over the barnyard, and their mate heard their cries. He was stirred with a strange thrill of joy and delight, and with a great flapping of wings he rose into the air to join his old comrades in their flight. He found, however, that all his goodies had made him so soft and heavy that he could rise no higher than the eaves of the barn. So he dropped back again to the barnyard, and said to himself, "Oh well, my life is safe here and the food is good." Every spring and autumn when he heard the wild ducks calling, his eyes would gleam for a moment and he would begin to flap his wings. Finally, the day came when the wild ducks flew over him and uttered their cry, but he paid not the slightest attention to them. His contentment with his laziness caused him to embrace a life of mediocrity. Beloved, may we never become so packed with plenty, may we never be so satisfied with the things of this life, that we no longer hunger for the "things above." This is the issue that I believe Jesus is addressing here. Paul put it this way in Colossians 3:1-2, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. [2] Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Jesus warned that terrible problems and pain were coming for those who were full of temporal delicacies. You will hunger. This is a little different than the first "woe" addressed to the rich. The difference is you may not be rich, but you can still be "full" and lack nothing. Does this mean it's wrong to be full? No, of course it's not wrong. I believe this is a reference to people who are "sinfully or carnally full" and "spiritually empty." They are so full of themselves, their own desires and will, or the earthly delicacies that are offered by society, that they have no hunger or thirst for righteousness or the Lord Jesus Christ. These folks are filled or content with that which may be good, that which may be wrong or spiritually unhealthy, that they have no desire to pursue that which is good and will strengthen them spiritually. A desire for dedication has been replaced with a determination to do one's own will instead of God's will. The craving for Christ has been conquered by carnality and the desire for convenience. The passion for purity and the Prince of Peace has been pulverized by perverse attitudes and behavior.....Rejecting Christ, and replacing Him with temporal things or attitudes, will eventually leave you weak and empty (Treasures from Luke, Volume 1) (Ed: Not just in this life but worse in the life to come!). 

The Higher-Priced Brand by Mart DeHaan - Luke 6:27 - Imagine you are in your local supermarket and you walk up to a display that features a new kind of shoe polish. A salesperson grabs your attention and says, “This miracle of modern science will bring a rich luster to dull leather. It’s so good that everyone will notice the difference and want to know what you’re using. Sure, it costs more, but you really can’t afford not to buy it.” Up to this point you’ve been patient. But then you notice something that causes you to say, “I’m sure you believe in your fancy wax. But from what I can see, your shoe polish doesn’t work any better than the brand I usually buy. If what you’re selling is so great, why don’t your shoes shine brighter than mine?”

Our efforts to interest people in the gospel are sometimes just as unconvincing. All too often we ask them to trust Christ as their Savior and be willing to pay the high price of following Him, but we fail to give them visible evidence that Christ makes a difference in our lives. How do we establish a credible witness? One way is to love our enemies and not just our friends. We can also show kindness when it’s not expected or deserved. By the Holy Spirit’s power, we can demonstrate that following Christ is well worth the higher price.   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

May the mind of Christ my Savior
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say. —Wilkinson

Live so that when people get to know you they will get to know Christ.

Luke 6:26  "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.

KJV Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.



Woe (alas) (3750)see previous discussion of ouai

Woe to you when all men speak well of you - This brings out a clear contrast with Lk 6:23 - The persecuted are “blessed” but  the patronized receive “woe”! Jesus is 

In His upper room discourse with the disciples Jesus reminds them of why they are not to expect man's accolades...

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. (John 15:19)

Not only does the world hate Jesus' disciples but it detests their Gospel message that faith in Jesus Christ is the only Way to eternal life (Acts 4:12, Jn 14:6). They see that doctrine as narrow and exclusive and thus they do not approve of it. A corollary thought is that if a disciple is continually receiving "glowing reviews" from the world, then he needs to seriously consider the content of his message! Is it tickling ears or transforming hearts? Paul gave a similar warning (and command) to his young disciple Timothy charging him to...

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate (PILE THEM UP) for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away (ACTIVE VOICE = CHOICE OF THEIR WILL) their ears from the truth and will turn aside (PASSIVE VOICE = THEY WILL BE TURNED ASIDE!) to myths. (2 Ti 4:2-4-note) (All verbs in bold red are commands in the aorist imperative = Do this now! Don't delay! It is urgent!)

Rod Mattoon on the "Woe" to those who love the popularity and praise of others  - They treasure the opinions of men instead of the commandments and directions laid out by God in His Word. God's opinions or directions are irrelevant to them. They do not matter at all because they are seeking the popularity of people. Folks that live to be praised by others live a very frustrating life. They find that pleasing one person or group may anger another person or group. When you cater to be popular with people, then those people in essence become your masters. Their opinions shape your decisions. If you are not careful, your neighbors, your friends at work or school, even your family, can become your master. Pleasing one family member may irritate another. Pleasing one friend at school may make another friend jealous. Ironically, millions of people live this way every single stressful day. For some, life is a nightmare. Endeavoring to please everyone is where the frustration begins because you can't have two, three, four or more masters. Life becomes one balancing act after another. Like a man on a tightrope, you go through life wobbling, unstable, and unsteady trying to make everybody happy. It ain't gonna happen! Jesus says, "Woe unto you!" James described the person who leans upon the pillar of popularity. James 1:8- A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. One group in the Old Testament that was praised by everyone, from the king to the common people, was the false prophets. The ancestors of these Israelites listening to Jesus had spoken well of the false prophets. They were praised by kings and crowds because their predictions of personal prosperity, and victory in war were exactly what the people wanted to hear. Unfortunately, their words were shown to be lies as the nations of Israel, and later Judah, lost their freedom and their homeland when they were taken into Assyrian and Babylonian captivity. Popularity is no guarantee of a person's truthfulness, and human flattery does not bring God's approval. Sadness lies ahead for those who chase after the crowd's praise rather than God's truth. (Treasures from Luke, Volume 1)

Forterm of explanation. What's Jesus explaining?

Their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way - We see an excellent illustration of people pleasing prophets in the OT record in First Kings...

Then the (UNGODLY) king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” 7 But Jehoshaphat (GODLY KING OF JUDAH) said, “Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here (HE DISCERNED THEY WERE FALSE PROPHETS) that we may inquire of him?” 8 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, (WHY?) because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil (IN OTHER WORDS, HE PROPHESIES TRUTH). He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so."

13 Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah spoke to him saying, “Behold now, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king. Please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.”(14) But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I shall speak (THIS IS IN ESSENCE WHAT JESUS IS TELLING HIS DISCIPLES TO DO).”...

24 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “How did the Spirit of the LORD pass from me to speak to you?” 25 Micaiah said, “Behold, you shall see on that day when you enter an inner room to hide yourself.” 26 Then the king of Israel said, “Take Micaiah and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son; 27 and say, ‘Thus says the king, “Put this man in prison and feed him sparingly with bread and water until I return safely.”’” 28 Micaiah said, “If you indeed return safely the LORD has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Listen, all you people.” (1 Kings 22:6-8, 13,14,24-28)

We see this same genre of false prophets in Jeremiah's day...

Jeremiah 6:14;“They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. 

Jeremiah 8:11 "And they heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace.

Jeremiah 14:14  Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. 15  "Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them-- yet they keep saying, 'There shall be no sword or famine in this land'-- by sword and famine those prophets shall meet their end!

False prophets (5578) (pseudoprophetes from pseudes = false, untrue + prophetes = prophet) who teach any other way than that our Lord has clearly marked out in this passage. These men (1) claim to be a prophet from God and (2) utter falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies.

IVP Background Commentary - Greek philosophers, who often scoffed at the opinions of the masses, sometimes complained if the multitudes spoke well of them. But Jesus’ comparison with the prophets is even more appropriate; the burden of proof was always on prophets who told people what they wanted to hear (Jer 6:14; 28:8–9). Although the hearers often suspected some truth in the genuine prophets’ claims (Jer 21:1–2; 37:3; 42:2; cf. 1 Kings 22:27), false prophets were usually more popular (1 Kings 22:12–13; Jer 5:31; 23:13–14). 

Steven Cole sums up Lk 6:20-26 - Jesus’ teaching here presupposes and demands an eternal perspective. Without that, His words are nonsense. Why be poor, hungry, sorrowful, and hated in this life if that’s all there is? Critics of Christianity will often scoff, “You believe in pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die.” The proper response is, “Absolutely! And you’re a fool not to believe it!” The Bible is abundantly clear that the hope of the believer is with God in eternity, not in this short life on earth (see 1Co 15:19, 1Co 15:32; Heb 11:13-16, Heb 11:35-40). As Charles Simeon put it, “He alone is happy, who is happy for eternity” (Expository Outlines on the Whole Bible [Zondervan], 12:345).

Jesus here boldly asserts that there will be some startling reversals in eternity. He often taught this with the aphorism, “The last shall be first, and the first last” (see Mt 19:30; Mt 20:16; Lu 13:30). The world, the flesh, and the devil deceive us by offering us instant gratification through the pleasures of sin. We look around at other sinners who seem to be having a good time in life and we wrongly conclude that we’re missing out. The psalmist was there when he looked on the easy life of the wicked and concluded that he had turned from sin to God in vain. What got the psalmist back in focus? “When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction” (Ps 73:16-18).

D. L. Moody observed, “This life is all the heaven the worldling has, and all the hell the saint ever sees.”

The believer knows that there is a God who will judge the world, and so he adopts a pilgrim mindset. We desperately need to recover this eternal perspective in our day. While I realize that the Four Spiritual Laws booklet has been greatly used to lead many to faith in Christ, in my judgment it focuses too much on the abundant life here and now and not enough on the hope of heaven and the fear of hell. But the emphasis of the Bible is clearly on the latter. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mk 8:36). You can’t straddle the line. Followers of Jesus focus on the life to come, not on the fleeting pleasures of this present world. That’s the only way to true happiness.

To live happily ever after, you must adopt God’s values while rejecting the world’s values.

Leon Morris (p. 126) observes, “Together with the following woes, these beatitudes make a mockery of the world’s values. They exalt what the world despises and reject what the world admires.” Clearly Jesus is saying that the values of His followers are radically different than the values of the world. There should be clear line between the believer and the person of this world in terms of how we think, what we do, what we seek after, and how we use money.

Yet, sadly, all too often there is no discernible difference between professing Christians and their worldly neighbors, except that the Christians go to church services. The worldly guy is living for personal peace and increasing affluence; so is the Christian. The worldly guy seeks pleasure vicariously by watching immoral, profane TV shows and videos; so does the Christian. The worldly guy spends his money to increase his own comfort and pleasure; so does the Christian, except for the two or three percent average that he gives. The worldly guy thinks that all good people who do the best they can will get to heaven; shockingly, so do vast numbers of those professing to be Christian.

A recent Barna Report asked, “Can a good person earn his way to heaven?” Those responding “agree strongly” or “somewhat agree” included 22% of Assembly of God, 30% of nondenominational, 38% of Baptists, 54% of Lutherans, 58% of Episcopalians, 59% of Methodists, and 82% of Catholics (reported in “Viewpoint,” Reformation & Revival Ministries May/June, 1998).

Christians must think biblically.

To live happily ever after, you must live in dependence on God.

These poor, hungry, sorrowful, and rejected people Jesus refers to have abandoned the world’s support system and have cast themselves totally on God for their daily bread, for their personal and emotional needs, and for their eternal well-being. The world’s rich, well-fed, happy men of acclaim are trusting in themselves and their own accomplishments. But, as Darrell Bock writes, “An attitude of independence from God is the road to destruction” (Luke [Baker], 1:582). The follower of Jesus trusts in Him totally for sustenance, joy, approval, and salvation. We live to hear from Him some day, “Well done, good and faithful slave;... enter into the joy of your master” (Mt 25:21).

Conclusion - A question I often ask people who come to me for counsel is, “Do you want God’s blessing in your life?” Of course, we all instinctively want to answer, “Yes, of course I do!” But before you answer so quickly, stop and think about it. How you answer that question will make a huge difference in how you live. The person living for God’s blessing has deliberately decided to reject the world’s values and to live under the lordship of Jesus as King. Turning his back on this fleeting world and its pleasures, he is living in light of eternity. Letting go of self-sufficiency and self-confidence, he has cast himself on Jesus both for salvation from God’s judgment and for sustenance in this life. So, ask yourself, “Do I want God’s blessing on my life?” It’s the only way to live happily ever after. Jesus tells you how to have it: Live decisively for God’s kingdom and reject the world’s values.  (Luke 6:20-26 How to Live Happily Ever After)

Luke 6:27  "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

KJV   But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

The instruction of the disciples  (Luke 6:17-49) (from John Hannah)

  1. The setting  (Luke 6:17-19)
  2. The content  (Luke 6:20-49)
    1. Characteristics of those in His kingdom  (Luke 6:20-26)
    2. Practice of those in His kingdom  (Luke 6:27-45)
    3. Exhortation to those who consider Him  (Luke 6:46-49)


But - term of contrast - What is Jesus contrasting? 

Wiersbe introduces Luke 6:27-38 - Jesus assumed that anybody who lived for eternal values would get into trouble with the world's crowd. Christians are the "salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" (Matt. 5:13-16), and sometimes the salt stings and the light exposes sin (Ed: See Jn 3:19, 20). Sinners show their hatred by avoiding us or rejecting us (Luke 6:22), insulting us (Luke 6:28), physically abusing us (Luke 6:29), and suing us (Luke 6:30). This is something we must expect (Php 1:29; 2 Ti 3:12). (BEC)

J C Ryle on  Luke 6:27-38 - THE teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, in these verses, is confined to one great subject. That subject is Christian love and charity. Charity, which is the grand characteristic of the Gospel,—charity, which is the bond of perfectness,—charity, without which a man is nothing in God’s sight,—charity is here fully expounded and strongly enforced. Well would it have been for the Church of Christ, if its Master’s precept in this passage had been more carefully studied and more diligently observed!...They were to give up much, and endure emuch, for the sake of showing kindness and avoiding strife. They were to forego even their rights, and submit to wrong, rather than awaken angry passions and create quarrels. In this they were to be like their Master, long-suffering, meek, and lowly of heart.

Bock - The call to love unconditionally in Lk 6:27-36 is a hard one to follow if we cannot trust that God will one day exercise justice. The premise of the sacrificial spiritual life is the promise of God's faithful justice. (Ref)

I say to you who hear - To you who hear not just the sound of Jesus' words, but who really receive and process the meaning of His words. The NLT has "to you who are willing to listen."  NET has "I say to you who are listening," which speaks of understanding and can include a willingness to obey what is heard. 

Love your enemies - Ryle says to His disciples "Their love was to be like His own towards sinners—unselfish, disinterested, and uninfluenced by any hope of return. What was to be the manner of this love? the disciples might ask. It was to be self-sacrificing and self-denying."  Love is present imperative which is a command we can keep only by continually relying on the supernatural enablement of the Holy Spirit. Loving your enemy is simply not our fleshly, natural response! Because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Ro 5:5+), we have His love with which we can love those who are our enemies. This is not our natural but can only be a supernaturally enabled resonse! "We love (present tense - supernaturally, as our lifestyle) because He first loved us." (1 Jn 4:19+See discussion of our desperate Need for the Holy Spirit to obey NT commands such as loving one's enemies.  

In Acts we see an incredible illustration of obedience to Jesus' command in Stephen who was full of faith and of the Spirit  (Acts 6:5+, Acts 7:55+, cf Acts 6:8+) and was being stoned to death (just imagine praying the following prayer while stones are hitting you in the head!) and yet who was supernaturally enabled even to intercede with his dying words for those who were murdering him! Luke records...

Then falling on his knees, he (Stephen) cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:60+)

NET Note observes that "Love your enemies is the first of four short exhortations that call for an unusual response to those who are persecuting disciples. Disciples are to relate to hostility in a completely unprecedented manner! " This is crazy, radical, inexplicable love, a quality of love available to all believers for we have the same Spirit indwelling us as did Stephen, and it is the Spirit Who produces this supernatural love (Gal 5:22+). The Old Testament specifically commanded love of neighbor (Lev 19:18+), but no one commanded love of enemies! This is "Crazy Love!" 

Bock observes "Whether in attitude, action, word or intercession, the enemy is to be loved. Too often many in the church have a "Jimmy Cagney theology" where the message is to those who do not know God: "You dirty rat, you should not have done that." Jesus wants more than condemnation of the outside world. Jesus' call to disciples focuses not on our words to others, though Lk 11:37-54+ does issue a stinging challenge regarding our words. Rather, Jesus zeroes in on our actions and attitudes toward others. He offers no platitudes about how outsiders should be viewed. There is no abstract call to divide one's thought by "hating the sin, but loving the sinner." True as this saying is, Jesus is concerned that we follow through on it and show our love in concrete service for the sinner. Our model is God himself: "God so loved the world that he gave . . ." (see also Lk 6:36). So Jesus calls for the performance of love--in action, thought and petition. How often do we pray for those who hate the church? The very question shows how radically different Jesus' love is from the culture's view of love. This is "tough love" because it is tough on the believer who loves. It is "radical love" because it calls for denying oneself and being continually exposed to abuse. It is a love not of power, manipulation or arrangement but of service and meekness. (Ibid)

Love (25) (agapao) essentially calls us to love our enemies just as God loves His enemies, "For God so loved (agapao) the world (Who hates Him - Ro 5:10+, Jn 15:18) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16+)! MacArthur writes that agapao "expresses the purest, noblest form of love, which is volitionally driven (Ed: Php 2:13NLT+ = the Spirit provides the desire and power, but we still must work it out - Php 2:12+), not motivated by superficial appearance, emotional attraction, or sentimental relationship. (1 & 2 Thessalonians. Moody PressWuest - Agapao speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it (Ed: I would propose this "awakening" involves the word of the Holy Spirit on our heart!). It springs from an apprehension of the preciousness of an object. It is a love of esteem and approbation. The quality of this love is determined by the character of the one who loves, and that of the object loved. (Ed: And the supernatural Source from which it flows - Gal 5:22+).

Mattoon - One of the worst cases of hatred on record is found in a will written in the 1930's, by a Mr. Donohoe. It says, "Unto my two daughters, Frances Marie and Denise Victoria, by reason of their unfilial attitude toward a doting father,... I leave the sum of $1.00 to each, and a father's curse. May their lives be fraught with misery, unhappiness, and poignant sorrow. May their deaths be soon and of a lingering malignant and torturous nature." The last line of the will is really vicious. It reads, "May their souls rest in Hell and suffer the torments of the condemned for eternity." (Ed: Woe!)  God wants us to be interested in our enemies and be genuinely concerned about them. Why should we do this? First of all, our response may change the heart of our enemy. Love like this is unbeatable. The world can usually conquer the man who fights back. It is used to jungle warfare and to the principle of retaliation, but it does not know how to deal with the person who repays every wrong with a kindness. It is utterly confused and disorganized by such other-worldly behavior. Secondly, responding the right way will help US to not become hateful and bitter. It will help US to not become the enemy and treat others with disdain. Ann Landers said, "Hate is like acid. It can damage the vessel in which it is stored as well as destroy the object on which it is poured." H. E. Fosdick said, "A man who hates to be slapped on the back, packs his coat with TNT, and waits for the man who always slaps his back. His idea is when he hits me I will get him, I'll blow him up. Hate kills both the person who you hate, but also yourself as well. Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat." (Treasures from Luke, Volume 1)

Do (4160)(poieo) means to bring to carry out, to bring about, to accomplish and again Jesus uses the  present imperative which emphasizes our need to depend wholly on the Holy Spirit to carry out this paradoxical practice! Notice that even though the Spirit is not mentioned directly in several of these passages, He clearly is implied because Jesus knows that no natural man could possibly carry out the "unnatural" commands He is giving! 

Good (2570)(kalos)  describes that which is inherently excellent or intrinsically good, providing some special or superior benefit. Kalos is good with emphasis on that which is beautiful, handsome, excellent, surpassing, precious, commendable, admirable. 

Mattoon adds that kalos "means we are to treat them "excellently, honorably, and in such a way that they cannot blame us for doing them wrong." This word also means "to speak well of someone."

Beloved, to return good for good is natural
but to return good for evil is supernatural.

ILLUSTRATION - In The Grace of Giving, Stephen Olford tells of a Baptist pastor during the American Revolution, Peter Miller, who lived in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and enjoyed the friendship of George Washington. In Ephrata also, lived Michael Wittman, an evil-minded man who did all he could to oppose and humiliate this dear pastor. One day Michael Wittman was arrested for treason and sentenced to die. Pastor Peter Miller traveled seventy miles on foot to Philadelphia to plead for the life of the traitor. "No, Peter," General Washington said. "I cannot grant you the life of your friend." "My friend!" exclaimed the old preacher. "He's the bitterest enemy I have." "What?" cried Washington. "You've walked seventy miles to save the life of an enemy? That puts the matter in different light. I'll grant your pardon." Washington granted the pardon and Peter Miller took Michael Wittman back home to Ephrata--no longer an enemy but a friend. His love for his enemy changed his enemy.  (Mattoon's Treasures  from Luke, Volume 1)

Be A Revolutionary —Luke 6:27

People who can love their enemies are revolutionaries. A graduate student named Jack became such a revolutionary, in spite of himself.

One summer he asked God for a ministry. He contacted several organizations but found no openings. Finally he had to take any job available. He ended up driving a public transportation bus in Chicago. A street gang rode his bus every day without paying and made threats against him. One day they dragged him off the bus and beat him unconscious. In the hospital, Jack was bitter toward them and God. “Lord,” he complained, “I prayed for a ministry and all You gave me was this lousy job and a beating!”

Jack pressed charges, and the gang members were arrested, brought to trial, and found guilty. But during the trial, God began replacing Jack’s bitterness with compassion and love. When the judge pronounced the sentence, Jack asked for permission to serve their combined jail time. Stunned, the judge said, “There’s no precedent for this!” “Yes, there is,” Jack replied, explaining that Jesus died on the cross for a guilty world. Jack’s request was denied, but he began visiting the young men in jail and saw most of them come to know Christ.

When we love others in that way, it’s revolutionary!  

Doing good to those who hate us,
Lord, is difficult to do;
Help us by Your grace to love them,
Praying they will turn to You. 

To love a friend is natural, to love an enemy is Christlike.

By Joanie Yoder  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Doing Good : Luke 6:27-36 

Jesus of Nazareth . . . went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. —Acts 10:38+

Someone once said, “The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.” I like that; it’s a great reminder. In the book of Acts, Luke summarized Jesus’ earthly ministry by saying that He “went about doing good” (10:38).

What does the Bible mean when it tells us to “do good”? Jesus did good by teaching, healing, feeding, and comforting people. Using Jesus as the perfect example, His followers are called to meet the needs of others, including those who hate them: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you” (Matt. 5:44; see also Luke 6:27-35). They are to serve their enemies without expecting anything in return.

Moreover, as opportunity arises, His followers are to do good especially to fellow believers (Gal. 6:10). They are not to let persecution, selfishness, and busyness cause them to forget to do good and to share what they have with others (Heb. 13:16).

To be like our Savior and His early followers, we should ask ourselves each day: “What good thing can I do today in Jesus’ name?” When we do good, we will be offering a sacrifice that pleases God (Heb. 13:16) and that draws people to Him (Matt. 5:16).

From the example of Jesus, Who went about doing good, We are to honor our Savior By helping wherever He would. —Hess

Imitate Jesus—
go about doing good.

By Marvin Williams  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The Higher-Priced Brand —Luke 6:27

Imagine you are in your local supermarket and you walk up to a display that features a new kind of shoe polish. A salesperson grabs your attention and says, “This miracle of modern science will bring a rich luster to dull leather. It’s so good that everyone will notice the difference and want to know what you’re using. Sure, it costs more, but you really can’t afford not to buy it.”

Up to this point you’ve been patient. But then you notice something that causes you to say, “I’m sure you believe in your fancy wax. But from what I can see, your shoe polish doesn’t work any better than the brand I usually buy. If what you’re selling is so great, why don’t your shoes shine brighter than mine?”

Our efforts to interest people in the gospel are sometimes just as unconvincing. All too often we ask them to trust Christ as their Savior and be willing to pay the high price of following Him, but we fail to give them visible evidence that Christ makes a difference in our lives.

How do we establish a credible witness? One way is to love our enemies and not just our friends. We can also show kindness when it’s not expected or deserved. By the Holy Spirit’s power, we can demonstrate that following Christ is well worth the higher price.

May the mind of Christ my Savior
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

Live so that when people get to know you they will get to know Christ.

By Mart DeHaan  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Upside Down - You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies. —Matthew 5:43-44

If you were to ask me who I am, I’d tell you that I’m a follower of Jesus. But I have to admit, at times following Him is a real challenge. He tells me to do things like rejoice when I’m persecuted (Matt. 5:11-12); to turn the other cheek (vv.38-39); to give to someone who wants to take from me (vv.40-42); to love my enemies, bless those who curse me, and do good to those who hate me (vv.43-44). This kind of lifestyle seems very upside down to me. But I’ve come to realize that He’s not upside down—I am. We have all been born fallen and broken. Being twisted by sin, our first instincts are often wrong, which inevitably leaves a big mess. We’re like toast slathered with jelly that has fallen upside down on the kitchen floor. Left to ourselves, we can make a pretty big mess of things. Then Jesus comes along, like a divine spatula, scrapes us off the floor of our sinful ways, and turns us right side up. And as we follow His right-side-up ways, we discover that turning the other cheek keeps us from getting caught in a brawl, that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and that dying to self is life at its best. After all, His ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8), and I’ve come to realize that His ways are always best! By Joe Stowell    (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When we’re transformed and made brand-new
We see things differently;
What once seemed right we now abhor,
And wrong we clearly see.

What may seem upside down to us is right side up to God.

Luke 6:28  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

KJV Luke 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.


Bless those who curse you - Can you imagine the reaction of the hearers when Jesus spoke these words which are the antithesis of the "world's way" of interacting?

Paul gave a similar exhortation (with 3 staccato-like commands!) to those who had received God's great mercy and had presented themselves to Him as living sacrifices (Ro 12:1-note), including the sacrifice of their right of retaliation!

Bless (present imperative) those who persecute you (present imperative). Bless  and do not curse (present imperative with a negative). (Ro 12:14-note)

Bless  (2127)(eulogeo from eu = good + lógos = word; see cognates eulogetos and eulogia) means speak good or well. When eulogeo is used by men toward men it means to speak well of with praise and thanksgiving (English "Eulogy" = an address in praise for one deceased ). To say good or positive things. Eulogeo can be from men to God, from men to men, and from God to men. When God blesses men He grants them favor and confers happiness upon them.

Bless is present imperative which calls for this to be our habitual practice, which is only possible as we continually rely on the supernatural enablement of the Holy Spirit. Blessing cursers is not our natural response!

Eulogeo in Luke - 

Lk. 1:42; Lk. 1:64; Lk. 2:28; Lk. 2:34; Lk. 6:28; Lk. 9:16; Lk. 13:35; Lk. 19:38; Lk. 24:30; Lk. 24:50; Lk. 24:51; Lk. 24:53; Jn. 12:13; Acts 3:26;

IVP Background Commentary - Although Jesus (Lk 23:34) and his followers (Acts 7:60+) practiced this rule of blessing and praying for enemies, prayers for vindication by vengeance were common in the Old Testament (2 Chron 24:22; Ps 137:7–9; Jer 15:15; cf. Rev 6:10) and in ancient execration (magical curse) texts. 

Pray for those who mistreat you - In context of the first command, Jesus is saying we are to pray for God to bless the person, to make them happy and/or cause them to prosper. In other words we are not to pray imprecations (calling down curses). (See What is imprecatory prayer?) We can become bitter toward those who continually mistreat us, but it is difficult to be bitter toward someone for whom you are daily praying! God has so constructed our minds that we can have but one thought at a time. Prayerful thoughts are a great antidote for sinful thoughts!

Pray (4336)(proseuchomai from pros = toward, facing, before [emphasizing the direct approach of the one who prays in seeking God’s face] + euchomai = originally to speak out, utter aloud, express a wish, then to pray or to vow. Greek technical term for invoking a deity) in the NT is always used of prayer addressed to God (to Him as the object of faith and the One who will answer one’s prayer) and means to speak consciously (with or without vocalization) to Him, with a definite aim (See study of noun proseuche).Proseuchomai encompasses all the aspects of prayer -- submission, confession, petition, supplication (may concern one's own need), intercession (concerned with the needs of others), praise, and thanksgiving.

Once again Jesus uses the present imperative which calls for disciples to continual respond with prayer to their persecutors! The only way that this can be accomplished is not by relying on our natural power but by wholly relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.

In short the only ones who can keep any of Jesus' commands in Lk 6:27-31 are genuine believers who alone possess the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

Proseuchomai in Luke and Acts - 

Lk. 1:10; Lk. 3:21; Lk. 5:16; Lk. 6:12; Lk. 6:28; Lk. 9:18; Lk. 9:28; Lk. 9:29; Lk. 11:1; Lk. 11:2; Lk. 18:1; Lk. 18:10; Lk. 18:11; Lk. 20:47; Lk. 22:40; Lk. 22:41; Lk. 22:44; Lk. 22:46; Acts 1:24; Acts 6:6; Acts 8:15; Acts 9:11; Acts 9:40; Acts 10:9; Acts 10:30; Acts 11:5; Acts 12:12; Acts 13:3; Acts 14:23; Acts 16:25; Acts 20:36; Acts 21:5; Acts 22:17; Acts 28:8

Mistreat (revile, abuse, hurt) (1908) (epereazo from epi  = against, upon + epéreia = threat, insult) means to threaten, spitefully abuse, insult, treat abusively, treat spitefully, accuse falsely (as in 1 Peter 3:16-note), treat in a despicable manner. Moulton-Milligan cites an example from the papyri where the parents of a wasteful youth “are taking precautions lest he should deal despitefully with us.” This is the genre of hurt that involves emotional, and mental anguish or pain. The only way to fight offer the natural reaction to fight back is by submitting to the supernatural action of the Spirit. In fact you can know whether the Spirit is in control of your heart by how you respond when you are mistreated. If you pray for them, that is the supernatural response Jesus called for from His disciples, for this is exactly what He did when they crucified Him (Lk 23:33+) saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." (Lk 23:34). Luke records a similar response of Stephen the first martyred disciple who "falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" And having said this, he fell asleep." (Acts 7:60+

Sadly, we may (probably will) experience mistreatment not just by unbelievers but by those in the church who claim to be Christians. If genuine believers behave this way something is very wrong. At the least they are acting fleshy, but at the worst they are not true believers, but chaff who will reap the fruit of their wicked deeds (Ps 1:4-6-note).

ILLUSTRATION - Praying for those who hurt you was amply illustrated in the life of Desmond Doss from Lynchburg, Va. When Desmond was 24, he experienced his first day of boot camp in the Army during WW II. That was quite a day for him. Moments after arriving at his barracks he did what he normally does at the end of a long day. With his Bible in hand, he got on his knees beside his bed and began to pray.

The other recruits, upon seeing him on his knees, began to mock and shout obscenities at him. Several laughed as they threw their heavy boots across the room at him. The young men were angry with Desmond Doss because he refused to carry a gun, and because he told his superiors that because of his religious beliefs he would not take a human life, even to save his own. The young soldiers thought Desmond Doss was a coward. They wanted him out of their barracks. Day after day the insults and mocking continued, despite several of the older soldiers telling the younger ones to leave Doss alone. Yet, Desmond did not fight back. He did not respond. Doss was finally shipped to a camp for "conscientious objectors," but this upset him, and he told his superiors that he should not be there because he considered himself a "conscientious cooperator."

Desmond convinced the military to make him a medic so that he could serve his country without betraying his religious convictions. Desmond Doss soon discovered the great challenges and heartbreaks which medics face on the battlefield. The date: May 5, 1945. The place: Okinawa, Japan. The scene: A 400-foot steep cliff known as Hacksaw ridge. A battle raged which was so intense that the odds of survival were 1 in 10. Army medic, Desmond Doss, knew that his short life could end at any moment in that violent place. Doss and the men with him were being overwhelmed by enemy fire and they were trapped at the cliff's edge of Hacksaw ridge. Many of the young soldiers were wounded, many were terrified, but all were determined to survive. Keeping a cool head amidst this awful situation was medic, Desmond Doss. Amidst the storm of battle, he got an idea. He rigged a rope to the cliff, attached a stretcher to it, and with soldiers dying all around him, and under constant enemy fire for several hours, he carefully lowered soldiers to safety down this steep cliff. During these trying hours, as Doss treated the wounded, and one by one lowered the men down the cliff, he prayed over and over to the Lord: "Lord, help me get one more. Just one more... one more"

In all, during that battle, 75 men lived to see another day due to the courage and determination of Desmond Doss and God's care and protection. One of the last men to go down the rope was a man with tears in his eyes, not due to his wounds, but because of the man risking his life to lower him to safety. This wounded man had once thrown his boot at and cursed Desmond Doss. In fact, several of the young men Doss saved that day had once mocked and turned their backs on him. It's a good thing Doss was not bitter toward them, isn't it? As this tearful man on the stretcher was lowered down the cliff on the rope anchored by Private Doss, all he could see in his mind was the image of Doss, humbly on his knees in the barracks, praying to his God.

This act of bravery was not the only one Private Doss displayed during his time of service. In fact, he served in the Army, with such distinction that he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman, who during the ceremony said: "I would rather have that medal than be President." The name, Desmond Doss, became a symbol throughout the 77th infantry Division for outstanding gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. The prayers of Desmond enabled him to remain patient and compassionate toward those who insulted and reviled him. They also enabled him to face severe trials and danger with great courage. He was a man that was submitted to the will of God in his life and is a good example for us of a man who prayed for those who despitefully used him. (Rod Mattoon's – Treasures from Luke, Volume 1)

Cornered —Luke 6:28

One Sunday morning, D. L. Moody entered a house in Chicago to escort some children to Sunday school. During his visit, three men backed him into a corner and threatened him. “Look here,” Moody said. “Give a fellow a chance to say his prayers, won’t you?” The men actually allowed him to call out to God, and Moody prayed for them so earnestly that they left the room.

Had I been in Moody’s situation, I might have called for help or looked for the back door. I’m not sure I would have acted on Jesus’ command to His followers: “Pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28 NIV).

Praying for the people who treat us with contempt is one way to “do good to those who hate [us]” (v.27). Jesus explained that Christians get no credit for swapping acts of kindness with other “nice” people. He said, “Even sinners do the same” (v.33). However, blessing our persecutors (Rom. 12:14) sets us apart from them and aligns us with the Most High, because God is kind even to wicked people (Luke 6:35).

Today, if you feel “cornered” by someone, seek safety if the situation calls for it, and follow Jesus’ teaching: Pray for that person (Luke 23:34). Prayer is your best defense.

We want to know Your heart, Lord, and have Your
wisdom to know how to handle opposition.
Give us patience to show kindness.
Guide us, we pray.

Returning good for good is human; returning good for evil is divine.

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Alternatives To Revenge

Read: Deuteronomy 19:16-21 Matthew 5:38-45 

You shall not take vengeance . . . , but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. —Leviticus 19:18

One Sunday while preaching, a pastor was accosted and punched by a man. He continued preaching, and the man was arrested. The pastor prayed for him and even visited him in jail a few days later. What an example of the way to respond to insult and injury!

While there is a place for self-defense, personal revenge was forbidden in the Old Testament: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18; see also Deut. 32:35). It was also forbidden by Jesus and the apostles (Matt. 5:38-45; Rom. 12:17; 1 Peter 3:9).

The Old Testament law exacted like for like (Ex. 21:23-25; Deut. 19:21), which ensured that judicial punishment was not unjust or malicious. But there was a larger principle looming when it came to personal revenge: Justice must be done, but it must be left in the hands of God or the authorities ordained by God.

Instead of returning injury and insult, may we live by Christ-honoring and Spirit-empowered alternatives: Live at peace with everyone (Rom. 12:18), submit to a spiritual mediator (1 Cor. 6:1-6), and leave it in the hands of authorities and, most of all, in God’s hands.

  Lord, when I’m troubled by the insult of another, help me to let go of my desire for revenge. May I seek justice but also realize that it will happen in Your time. I want to learn to overcome evil with good. Amen.  By Marvin Williams   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

  Leave final justice in the hands of a just God.  

Luke 6:29  "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.

KJV  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.

  • Whoever Matthew 5:39
  • hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also Lk 22:64; 2 Chronicles 18:23; Isaiah 50:6; Lamentations 3:30; Micah 5:1; Matthew 26:67; John 18:22; Acts 23:2; 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 11:20
  • whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either  2 Samuel 19:30; Mt 5:40,41; 1 Corinthians 6:7; Hebrews 10:34
  • Luke 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • Luke 6:29-30 The Actions of Kingdom Love - John MacArthur
  • Luke 6:27-35 Radical Love - Steven Cole
  • Luke 6:17-49 Jesus' Teaching - Darrell Bock

The instruction of the disciples  (Luke 6:17-49)

  1. The setting  (Luke 6:17-19)
  2. The content  (Luke 6:20-49)
    1. Characteristics of those in His kingdom  (Luke 6:20-26)
    2. Practice of those in His kingdom  (Luke 6:27-45)
    3. Exhortation to those who consider Him  (Luke 6:46-49)


Parallel Passage -

Mt 5:39-note - But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also - So after instructing disciples on how to deal with people who hate, harp, heckle and hurt you, Jesus now gives instructions on how to deal with those who hit you! To not pay back "tit for tat" (English slogan for equivalent retaliation), this clearly "unnatural" response can only be accomplished by a disciple who is wholly dependent on the supernatural empowerment of the Holy Spirit. This exhortation should not be misinterpreted to mean that we should never defend ourselves. That is not what Jesus is saying!

MacArthur adds that "Jesus demonstrated the proper response to being unjustly humiliated during His trial before the high priest. When one of the officers struck Him (John 18:22), He did not turn His head and ask to be struck again. But neither did He lash out in anger and revenge at His mistreatment. Instead, He calmly pointed out the injustice of the act (John 18:23). To turn the other cheek is, like Jesus did, to accept hostility and ill treatment without hatred or retaliation, but to show love in return. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10)

The supreme example of this loving response is of course our Messiah of whom Isaiah wrote these prophetic words

I gave My back to those who strike Me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.  (Isaiah 50:6)

The Gospels record of the fulfillment of this prophecy in the treatment of Jesus

They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. (Matthew 27:30)

They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him. (Mark 15:19)

This in turn recalls Peter's exhoration

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN (OF THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO US BUT JESUS' RESPONSES DO APPLY), NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. (1 Pe 2:21-23-note)

Paul gave a similar exhortation

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Ro 12:17-21-note)

Rod Mattoon has an interesting comment - In Matthew 5:39, Jesus mentions the strike of the right cheek which tells us He is describing a backhanded slap. Since most people are right-handed, this is surely what Jesus had in mind. In Jesus' time, if you wanted to really insult someone, you would slap them with the back of your hand. According to rabbinic law, to hit someone with the back of the hand was twice as insulting as hitting him with the flat of the hand. The back of the hand meant calculated contempt or withering disdain for a person. It meant that you were insulted, vilified, and scorned as a nobody. You were considered worthless or as nothing. Understanding this custom is essential in understanding what this passage is talking about. It will not happen very often, if at all, that anyone will slap us on the face, but time and time again, life brings to us insults, either great or small. Jesus is saying here that the true Christian has learned to not resent and seek retaliation for insults and abuses....When Jesus spoke of being slapped on the cheek, He was describing especially an insult that comes because of one's faith. It was an insult for which a Jew could seek legal satisfaction according to the law of Lex Talionis. That is, the person could seek damages, but Jesus says, "Do not do it!"  In short, Jesus was saying that though you could take your opponent to the cleaners, do not do it! Lovingly absorb the insult, hurt, pain, rejection, and abuse. Turning the cheek is more of an illustration of a principle to live by than of a literal action. It is more of an attitude of your heart than a physical posture. It shows an attitude opposite of retaliation. Anything more than that will interpret this action wrongly. Turning the cheek is a principle that says I will not fight back and retaliate when insulted, but will leave the execution of judgment to the Lord. Jesus calls us to swallow our pride and give up our "rights" to reparation and fairness. Our Lord is saying we should not attempt personal vengeance. Rather than avenging yourself, we are to be ready to suffer patiently a repetition of the same injury. We are to endure repeated insults. These exhortations belong to those principally who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Ibid)

Hits (5180)(tupto/typto from root "tup--" = a blow, cf tupos = a figure or print and English "type") means literally to smite, strike, beat or otherwise inflict a blow as when Paul was beaten in Acts (Acts 21:32+, Acts 23:2+). In Lk 18:13 the tax collected was beating his chest mourning over his sinful state, in stark contrast to the self-righteous Pharisee (Lk 18:10-12). Figuratively of wounding one's conscience (1 Cor 8:12).

Zodhiates on tupto - To strike, smite with the hand, stick, or other instrument repeatedly. 

(I) Particularly and generally.

(A) To smite in enmity with a stick, club, or the fist, with the acc. of person (Matt. 24:49; Luke 12:45; Acts 18:17; 21:32; 23:3; Sept.: Ex. 2:11, 13; 21:15); on the cheek (Luke 6:29); on the head (Matt. 27:30; Mark 15:19); the face (Luke 22:64); the mouth (Acts 23:2).

(B) Of those who beat upon their chests in strong emotion (Luke 18:13; 23:48).

(C) Figuratively, to smite meaning to punish, inflict evil, afflict with disease, calamity, and spoken only as being done by God, with the acc. (Acts 23:3; Sept.: 2 Sam. 24:17; Ezek. 7:9).

(II) Figuratively, to strike against, meaning to offend, to wound the conscience of someone (1 Cor. 8:12; Sept.: 1 Sam. 1:8). (Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament - excellent resource for your Greek word studies) 

Vine says tupto means to strike but "usually not with the idea of giving a thrashing as with derō. It frequently signifies a "blow" of violence, and, when used in a continuous tense, indicates a series of "blows." In Mt. 27:30 the imperfect tense signifies that the soldiers kept on striking Christ on the head. So Mark 15:19. The most authentic mss. omit it in Luke 22:64. In that verse the word paiō, "to smite," is used of the treatment given to Christ (derō in the preceding verse). The imperfect tense of the verb is again used in Acts 18:17, of the beating given (Ed: over and over they were beating him) to Sosthenes. Cp. Acts 21:32, which has the present participle (Ed: Continually beating). It is used in the metaphorical sense of "wounding," in 1 Cor. 8:12. See SMITE, STRIKE, WOUND. (Vine's Expository Dictionary)

Gilbrant on tupto - This verb can be found in classical Greek writings as far back as Homer (Eighth Century B.C.). It is used commonly of striking someone on the face, on the cheek, or on the mouth. Although it normally signifies a violent blow, it also is used as a sign of sincere sorrow or even of wounding someone’s conscience (Liddell-Scott). We see it in the Septuagint of God’s warning to smite Egypt with a plague of frogs (Ex 8:2), of the angel of the Lord smiting the people of Israel (2 Sa 24:17), and of God striking Israel because of their adoption of heathen ways (Ezek 7:9). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary) 

Tupto - 13x in 12v - beat(3), beating(5), hits(1), strike(2), struck(1), wounding(1).

Matthew 24:49  and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards;

Matthew 27:30  They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.

Mark 15:19  They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him.

Luke 6:29  "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.

Luke 12:45  "But if that slave says in his heart, 'My master will be a long time in coming,' and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk;

Luke 18:13  "But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'

Luke 23:48  And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts.

Acts 18:17  And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio was not concerned about any of these things.

Acts 21:32  At once he took along some soldiers and centurions and ran down to them; and when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.

Acts 23:2  The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth.

Acts 23:3  Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?"

1 Corinthians 8:12  And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.

Tupto - 32x in 32v in the Septuagint - 

Ex 2:11; Ex 2:13; Exod. 7:17; Exod. 8:2; Exod. 21:15; Num. 22:27; Deut. 25:11; Deut. 27:24; 1 Sam. 1:8; 1 Sam. 11:11; 1 Sam. 17:36; 1 Sam. 27:9; 1 Sam. 31:2; 2 Sam. 1:1; 2 Sam. 2:23; 2 Sam. 4:7; 2 Sam. 5:8; 2 Sam. 24:17; 1 Ki. 18:4; 2 Ki. 3:24; 2 Ki. 6:22; 2 Ki. 14:10; 1 Chr. 11:6; 2 Chr. 28:23; Pr 10:13; Prov. 23:35; Prov. 25:4; Prov. 26:22; Isa. 41:7; Isa. 58:4; Ezek. 7:9; Dan. 11:20

Ex 2:11  Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.

2 Sa 24:17 Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking down the people, and said, “Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let Your hand be against me and against my father’s house.”

Offer is present imperative emphasizing the necessity for the subject to depend wholly on the Holy Spirit to carry out this action!

Darrell Bock on living out love for your enemies (Lk 6:27) is shown "if someone strikes you on the cheek, then offer him the other. Probably, given the context of religious persecution, the slap refers to exclusion from the synagogue (1 Esdras 4:30; Didache 1:4; Stahlin 1972:263 nn. 23-24; for conceptual examples of such violent actions, Acts 18:17+; Acts 21:27, 28, 31,32; 23:2). Such a slap would be delivered by the back of the hand, though the context here suggests any action that communicates rejection. Jesus' point is that even in the midst of such rejection, we continue to minister to others and expose ourselves to the threat of rejection. The ministry of Paul among the Jews in Acts is a clear example of such love. Love is available and vulnerable, subject to repeated abuse." (Ed: Woe! Just try to live out that type of love in your own strength! Impossible! Only "Him"-possible, the Spirit of Jesus living in us and loving through us to a world that does not love us!)

IVP Background Commentary - The blow on the right cheek was the most grievous insult in the ancient Near East. The clothing in the verse refers to the outer and inner cloak, respectively; the poorest of people (like the average peasant in Egypt) might have only one of each; thus here Jesus refers, perhaps in hyperbolic images, to absolute nonresistance on one’s own behalf.

Lord, help me not retaliate
When someone wants to pick a fight;
Instead, give me the strength and faith
To show Your love and do what’s right. 

NET Note on hits you on the cheek - The phrase strikes you on the cheek probably pictures public rejection, like the act that indicated expulsion from the synagogue.

NET Note on  offer him the other also - This command to offer the other cheek as well is often misunderstood. It means that there is risk involved in reaching out to people with God’s hope. But if one is struck down in rejection, the disciple is to continue reaching out.

F B Meyer - What as to the left cheek? That the right should have been struck is an incident which has happened to you altogether apart from your choice. It does not reveal your character in one way or the other, but your behaviour with respect to the left cheek will show immediately what you are.


Whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either - Another manifestation of "crazy love" about which the world knows nothing but desperately needs to see practiced by Christ followers, the only ones who can possibly exemplify this quality of love!

Matthew has a parallel passage

Matthew 5:40-note “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt (chiton), let him have your coat (himation) also.

So one could take away another's coat by either theft or suing (one sometimes wonders if the latter is too often not just a euphemism for the former? Just a thought to ponder in our sue-happy society!)

John MacArthur explains "Many people owned only one coat, or cloak, which also served as a blanket when they slept. Because of that, the Mosaic law required that any coat taken as a pledge had to be returned before sunset (Ex. 22:26; Deut. 24:13). To keep a person’s cloak would constitute serious abuse. But when that happens, Christ’s disciples are not to retaliate, but rather to continue to lovingly minister to those who persecute them—even if that results in losing their shirt (inner garment) as well. (Ibid)

NET Note on do not withhold your shirt - The command do not withhold your tunic either is again an image of continually being totally at risk as one tries to keep contact with those who are hostile to what Jesus and his disciples offer.

Darrell Bock - Jesus gives the example of someone stealing one's outer garment. He advises letting them have the undershirt too! The point is that one should not seek revenge but remain exposed and be willing to take even more risks. Luke may well be thinking of the danger of missionary travel in the first century or the risk of violence against those who professed Christ. The situation of Sosthenes in Acts 18:17 comes to mind, as does Paul's risk when he was left for dead in Acts 14:19. Despite such danger, he continued to preach to those who rejected him (1 Cor 4:9-13; 2 Cor 11:21--12:10). As the parable of the good Samaritan shows, travel in Jesus' and Luke's day could be dangerous. In the face of such hostility, the call is to keep loving the enemy.....The sheer difficulty of these commands has led to discussion of how literal they are. Marshall (1978:261) points out correctly that the illustrations are somewhat figurative, since to follow Luke 6:29 literally would lead to nudism! Yet Jesus' life makes it clear that he took these standards seriously. When his opponents took his life, he did not seek retribution but prayed for their forgiveness. He was more interested in giving something that would build than in retrieving what had been taken.  (Ibid)

Coat (garment, cloak) (2440)(himation) refers to a  garment especially an outer garment, a cloak or robe of outer clothing.

Shirt (tunic worn next to the body) (picture of an ancient tunic) (5509)(chiton) refers to a close–fitting inner vest, an inner garment, an undergarment or in some contexts to any garment. At times two tunics seem to have been worn, probably of different materials for ornament or luxury (Mt 10:10; Mk 6:9; Lu 3:11; 9:3). 

NET Note adds the Greek word for shirt refers to "a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin. The name for this garment (chitōn) presents some difficulty in translation. Most modern readers would not understand what a tunic was any more than they would be familiar with a ‘chiton.’ On the other hand, attempts to find a modern equivalent are also a problem: “Shirt” conveys the idea of a much shorter garment that covers only the upper body, and “undergarment” (given the styles of modern underwear) is more misleading still.

ILLUSTRATION - Sometimes we think we are turning the other cheek, when in essence we are not. An old Chinese proverb says, "If thine enemy wrong thee, buy each of his children a drum." If you are an American, buy the children of your enemy a whistle. If you have any kids, you will know that these gifts are not a blessing to the parent. I have shared this before, but I really like the story about a truck driver who dropped in at an all-night restaurant in Broken Bow, Nebraska. The waitress had just served him when three swaggering, leather-jacketed motorcyclists -- of the Hell's Angels type -- entered and rushed up to him, apparently spoiling for a fight. One grabbed the hamburger off his plate; another took a handful of his French fries; and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it. The trucker did not respond as one might expect. Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the cash register and stood, watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night. When she returned, one of the cyclists said to her, "Well, he's not much of a man, is he?" She replied, "I can't answer as to that, but he's not much of a truck driver. He just ran over three motorcycles out in the parking lot." In essence, the truck driver did not really turn the other cheek, did he?

To turn the cheek and forgive someone involves three things.

1. First, it means to forego the right of striking back. One rejects the urge to repay gossip with gossip and a bad turn with a worse turn.

2. Second, it means replacing the feeling of resentment and anger with good will, a love which seeks the other's welfare, not harm.

3. Third, it means the forgiving person takes concrete steps to restore good relations. Going the second mile when we are attacked and abused is not easy, going the first mile is not easy, but it can be done, by yielding our rights to the Lord and letting Him take care of our problems. We belong to Him (1 Cor 6:19-20-note). (Mattoon's Treasures from Luke, Volume 1)

Robert Morgan - Down to His Underwear - How literally to interpret this verse from Luke 6:30 is a matter of opinion, but one man determined to obey it to the letter. He was Henry Richards, missionary to Africa with the Livingstone Inland Mission. He decided to begin his ministry in the village of Banza Mateke by translating the Gospel of Luke into the local tribal language. He would translate a handful of verses each day, and regularly preach to the tribe from the verses he had translated. It all went well until he came to Luke 6:30. How could he read this verse to the people, he wondered, and how could he possibly explain it? The village was full of beggars; and, in fact, it was commonplace for the curious villagers to ask him for everything he possessed. He feared that if he actually gave his sparse missionary possessions to everyone who asked for them, he would be soon reduced to his underwear. Richards went back to chapter one and started preaching through Luke again, to reinforce the Gospel message—and to give himself more time to ponder the problem posed by Luke 6:30. In time, he grew convinced that it meant exactly what it said, so when he came to it, he read it plainly.
Immediately the villagers in Banza Mateke began asking him for his belongings. He began distributing his goods as requested, and was soon reduced to near-underwear status. But to Richards’ surprise, the people suddenly began returning his things, and before long every single item was back in its place. “What did it mean?” wondered the missionary. As the villagers had talked among themselves, they concluded that such an unselfish man must indeed be God’s man, and that his message must be God’s message, for God “so loved that He gave. …” Now the people of Banza Mateke were ready to listen to Henry Richards, and a period of widespread revival and awakening transformed the village. (Read Richards' own account)

F B Meyer - What as to your cloak? Apparently your creditor can claim your tunic, and there is no merit in giving this up, any must have done as much; but when that is gone, what will you do about your cloak? This is the test of what you really are. 

But does our Lord mean that we should do literally as He says? Are we really to go the second mile, and turn the left cheek, and let our cloak go in the wake of our coat? These questions have been asked all along the ages, and answered as we answer them still. Each questioner must be fully persuaded in his own mind; and according to your faith, so it will be done unto you.

Many saintly souls have yielded a literal obedience to these precepts. It is recorded of the eccentric but devoted Billy Bray that in going down into the pit, shortly after his remarkable conversion, an old companion gave him a stinging blow on the cheek. "Take that," he said, "for turning Methodist." In former times such an insult would never have been attempted, for the whole country knew that Billy Bray was an inveterate pugilist. All the answer that he gave, however, was, "The Lord forgive thee, lad, as I do, and bring thee to a better mind; I'll pray for thee." Three or four days after his assailant came to him under the deepest conviction of sin and asked his forgiveness.

The head of the constabulary in a great district in India told me that when he became a Christian he found it necessary to withdraw from the Gymkana (which is the European club and society rendezvous in most Indian cities), and his action in this matter aroused very strong feeling against him amongst his former associates. One day, as he was driving on the highroad, a well-known society man, driving past him in the other direction, rose up in his dog-cart and cut at him a tremendous blow with his whip, saying as he swore, "Take that, you." My friend, who is a very powerful man and of commanding presence, took it quietly, waited his opportunity of doing this man a kindness, and I believe it was the means of his conversion also.

In connection with a missionary society working among the tribes on the Congo, in which I am deeply interested, one of the missionaries resolved that he would teach a literal obedience to these words of our Lord, lest any evasion of them might lessen their authority over the hearts and lives of His people. His hearers were greatly interested and excited, and were not slow in putting the missionary to the test. On one memorable day they gathered around his house, and began asking for the articles which excited their cupidity, and which he had brought at such cost from home. In an hour or two his house was literally stripped, and his wife and he betook themselves to prayer, for, of course, it is impossible for Europeans to live in that climate without many accessories which are needless for the natives. But, in the evening, under the shadow of the night, one after another stole back bringing the articles which he had taken away, and confessing that it was impossible to retain it in his possession, because of the burden which had come upon his heart.

Many such instances are probably occurring every day, and compel us to believe that there is a range of laws which should govern our dealings with our fellows, and which are only unfolded to those who live not by sight, but by faith in the Son of God. Faith has been called the sixth sense, and lays its hands on a third key-board of the great organ of existence.

Far be it from us, therefore, to judge any who feel it to be their duty to obey these words of the Master in all literality.

But even if to be taken literally there must be some reserves. For instance, when our Lord says, Resist not evil, it is impossible to apply His words universally. Suppose, for instance, as we pass along a road, we encounter a brutal man grossly maltreating a woman or a little child, or a gang of roughs assaulting a fellow traveller, it cannot be that we are forbidden to resist the wrongdoer to utmost of our power. The whole machinery of the eternal and invisible world is continually being called into requisition to succour us against" foul fiends," as Spencer puts it, and surely we may do much in these scenes of human existence. Clearly our Lord only forbids us to strike for purposes of private retaliation and revenge; we are not to be avengers in our personal quarrels, we are to guard against taking the law into our own hands lest our passion should drift us outside the warm zone of the love of God.

It is the personal element in the resistance of wrong that our Lord forbids; but He would surely never arrest the soldier, policeman, or even the private citizen, from stopping, so far as possible, deeds of wrong and acts of criminal assault. If thieves break into your home, or wicked men should try to injure wife or child; or you should come on some poor Jew who is set on by robbers which strip him of his property, and beat him almost to death, you are bound to interfere with a prayer to God that He would succour you.

And when the wrong has been done, as the Lord teaches us by His own behaviour, we may reprimand and remonstrate and appeal to the conscience and heart. When one of the officers of the court struck Jesus with his hand, Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou Me?" But there we must stop. We must not say in our heart, "I will be even with thee, and give thee as much as thou hast given me."

It is equally our duty, as it seems to me, to take measures to arrest and punish the wrongdoer. Supposing that a man has wronged you, and that you have good reason to believe that he is systematically wronging others; if you have an opportunity of having him punished, you are absolutely obliged; as it seems to me, to take such action against him as will make it impossible for him to pursue his career of depredation. If your lot should be cast in a mining-camp in the Far West, which was dominated by some swaggering ruffian, and he assaulted you, I do not think that you would be contravening the law of Christ if you were to give him so strong a handling that his power for evil would be arrested from that hour. It being clearly understood that you put out of your heart all private revenge, all personal malice, and are living in a land where it is impossible to bring the wrongdoer before judge or jury, you may be compelled to act in a judicial capacity, doing for society what society could not do through its legalized officers and methods. Expostulation, argument, appeals to reason, might be employed first; but if these failed there would be necessity to use the only other argument that might be available.

It is clear, also, that we cannot literally obey the Lord's injunction to give to everyone that asks. Else the world would become full of sturdy beggars, who lived on the hard-earned wages of the thrifty. And this would result in the undoing of society, and of the beggars themselves. Does God give to all who ask Him? Does He not often turn aside from the borrower? He knows what will hurt or help us; knows that to many an entreaty His kindest answer is a rebuff; knows that if He were to give us all we ask we should repent of having asked so soon as we awoke in the light of eternity. So when the drunkard or the drone asks me for money I steadfastly refuse. It is even our duty not to give money indiscriminately, and without full acquaintance with the applicant and his circumstances, for we may be giving him the means of forging more tightly the fetters by which he is bound to his sins. A piece of bread is the most we may bestow upon the mendicant until we have some knowledge of his character, his mode of life, and his real intentions. If only Christian people would resist the impulse to give money to beggars of all kinds, and reserve themselves for the more modest poor who suffer without making appeals, how much of the evil and sorrow of our time would be remedied!


(1) Do not take the law into your own hands. In the old Mosaic legislation it was enacted that as a man had done, so it should be done to him. "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth ", " hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, strife for strife" (Exod. 21:24-25). But in the time of our Lord this had been interpreted as conferring on a man the right to retaliation and revenge. The Jews conveniently ignored Lev. 19:17-18, which expressly forbade the private infliction of punishment.

When we are wronged we must refer the wrong to the great organized society of which we are part. Society will lay its hand on the wrongdoer. The judge who sits on the bench is not an individual, but the embodiment of society, the representative of law and order; and if he condemns a fellow-creature to penal servitude for life there is no kind of malice or vindictive feeling in his breast.

(2) Turn Retaliation into Redemption. When struck on the cheek the instant impulse of the natural man is to strike back on the cheek of the smiter. There should be a second blow. But the Master says if there be a second blow, let it fall on your other cheek. Instead of inflicting it, suffer it. Instead of avenging yourself on the wrongdoer, compel yourself to suffer a second blow, in the hope that when you oppose your uncomplaining patience to his brutality you may effect his redemption. The first blow was of his malice, the second blow will be of your love, and this will set new looms at work within his heart, weaving the fabric of a new life. Thus the wrongs that men have done to God led Him to present the other cheek to them, when He sent them His only begotten Son, who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him' that judgeth righteously. The patient sufferings of our Lord have melted the hearts of men; and, as in His case, so in a lesser extent it will be in ours.

(3) Be large-hearted. "Freely ye have received, freely give." Do not be stingy and niggard in your behaviour towards men. You are obliged to yield the coat, give the cloak; you are compelled to go for one mile at least, now, out of sincere desire to serve the purposes of the commonwealth, go another. The law compels you to give your cabman a shilling for two miles; but give him an extra sixpence if you go to the extreme margin of that distance. The law compels you to pay your debts; but if you have incurred them, and they are rightfully due, pay them without haggling. There are certain duties in the home which fall to our lot to be performed: do them with a smile; that is the second mile. The husband must give the needed money to his wife for household expenditure; let him do it without grudging; that is his second mile. The employe must render certain services to his employer. If he renders these with a grudging spirit, doing only what he is paid to do, not entering into the spirit of his work, or doing it to the utmost of his power, he is like an impressed labourer, carrying the messages against his will; but as soon as he does his duty with alacrity and eagerness, even staying overtime to finish a piece of necessary service, that is his second mile.

(4) The Master insists that we should cultivate an ungrudging, unstinting, and generous spirit. "God loveth a cheerful giver." Think of God in His incessant giving. Giving His sun and His rain; giving to the Church and the miser, the thankless and heartless, equally as to the loving and prayerful. That is to be our great model. We are to be stars, ever pouring our light on the vault of night; flowers, shedding fragrance, though on the desert air; fountains, though we rise in the lonely places of the world, where only the wild things of nature come to drink. Always giving love and help to this thankless and needy world, because so sure that as we give, we shall get; as we break our barley loaves and small fishes, our hands will be filled, and filled again, out of the storehouses of God. Freely ye have received, freely give; and in what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

I want to add my testimony to the literal truth of these words. In my life I have found repeatedly that in proportion as I have given I have gotten, and that men have given into my bosom, according to heaven's own measure, pressed down, heaped up, and running over.

For all this we need to have a new Baptism of Love. The love of God must be poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given unto us. We must learn to unite ourselves with our Father's redemptive purpose, looking at the wrong done to us, not so much from our standpoint, but from that of the wrongdoer, with an infinite pity for all the poisonous passion which is filling his heart, and an infinite desire to deliver and save him. One thought for his welfare will thus overmaster all desire for our personal revenge, and we shall heap on his head the hot coals of our love, to melt his heart and save him from himself. (F. B. Meyer. The Directory of the Devout Life: Meditations on the Sermon on the Mount - This link is to an interesting vocal recording of this book - Chapter 11 is the preceding transcript; Written format)

Hard Sayings —Luke 6:29

Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy tells a story of an old cobbler named Martin. After the death of his wife and child, he cried out in despair to a godly old friend, “What now is a man to live for?” His friend replied, “For God, Martin. For God.” “And how must one live for God?” Martin asked. “Christ has shown us the way,” said the believer. “Buy the Gospels and read. There you’ll find out how to live for God. There everything is explained,” he said.

So that same day Martin bought a New Testament and began to read. The more he read, the more clearly he understood what God wanted of him and what it meant to live for God. And his heart grew lighter and lighter.

Then one day Martin read Luke 6:27-35, and it suddenly hit him that Jesus’ words were hard sayings. He pondered the command in verse 29, “To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also.” As he began to see how his life didn’t measure up to Jesus’ words, he cried out, “O Lord, help me!”

We also may feel that obedience to Jesus’ words is too difficult for us. His hard sayings seem impossible to obey. Like Martin, we must cry out, “O Lord, help me!” Without Him we can do nothing. By David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Obeying Christ can seem too hard,
But we must come to see
That all He asks is for our good
To make life full and free.
—D. De Haan

The cost of obedience is nothing compared with the cost of disobedience. (Ed: Woe!)

'It's Only Candy'

Read: Matthew 5:38-45

If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. —Matthew 5:40

At first the man was annoyed. But he became angry as groups of teenagers without costumes kept coming to his door shouting, “Trick or treat!” “I’m not going to put up with this!” he announced to his wife. “If any more older kids without costumes show up tonight, they’re not getting anything from me. And if they don’t move on, I’ll call the police.” As he talked, his face became red and his breathing rapid. His wife looked at him with a curious gaze and said, “George, it’s only candy.” I’ve often pondered those three words: “It’s only candy.” That put the issue in perspective. How easily we become agitated over our rights, our property, and our preferences, only to be reminded that we have allowed something inconsequential to consume us. The words of Jesus sound so strange to us: “If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two” (Mt. 5:40-41). The Lord wants us to respond to our circumstances in ways that reflect our trust in Him and our commitment to heaven’s values. So much of our anger could be avoided if we would only pause and say, “You’re right, Lord. It’s only candy.” By David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thinking It Over - Am I ever tempted to take justice into my own hands? What do these verses from Proverbs say about anger? Proverbs 15:1; 16:32; 19:11; 29:22. 

Always keep a cool head and a warm heart.

Oswald Chambers - The Account With Persecution

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."  Matthew 5:39

These verses reveal the humiliation of being a Christian. Naturally, if a man does not hit back, it is because he is a coward; but spiritually if a man does not hit back, it is a manifestation of the Son of God in him. When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but make it an occasion to exhibit the Son of God. You cannot imitate the disposition of Jesus; it is either there or it is not. To the saint personal insult becomes the occasion of revealing the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus.

The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not - Do your duty, but - Do what is not your duty. It is not your duty to go the second mile, to turn the other cheek, but Jesus says if we are His disciples we shall always do these things. There will be no spirit of - "Oh, well, I cannot do any more, I have been so misrepresented and misunderstood." Every time I insist upon my rights, I hurt the Son of God; whereas I can prevent Jesus from being hurt if I take the blow myself. That is the meaning of filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. The disciple realizes that it is his Lord's honour that is at stake in his life, not his own honour.

Never look for right in the other man, but never cease to be right yourself. We are always looking for justice; the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is - Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.

Let The Healing Begin: Luke 6:27-36 

Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. —Matthew 5:44

What goes through the minds of people whose lives are torn apart by a tragedy like murder? What keeps them going when a cherished loved one has been gunned down?

For Mae Allen, the answer is prayer. Her husband Jimmy, a small-town Virginia jeweler, had a loyal clientele and a reputation for fair treatment of his customers. He was shot to death in his store 15 years ago, and his murderer is still unknown.

On that cold winter afternoon, Jimmy Allen’s grandchildren were deprived forever of their loving Grandpa. Jimmy and Mae Allen’s 38-year marriage was cut short. And their daughter Vickie Fuquay, the mother of two of their grandchildren, had to depend on her mother’s comforting words to help her face the future without bitterness.

Mae Allen told Vickie, “Before you go to bed tonight, pray for the man who shot your daddy. The fact that he did this shows he doesn’t know Jesus.” Pray for a killer? It’s not the natural response to such a tragedy, but it was the best way to let the healing begin.

Anytime someone wrongs us, let’s search for the godly response. Praying for that person is perhaps the best medicine for a wounded heart.By Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When the trials of this life make you weary
And your troubles seem too much to bear,
There's a wonderful solace and comfort
In the silent communion of prayer.

To see beyond earth's shadows, look to Christ the light.

A Misunderstood Command - Geoffrey, a dedicated believer, took seriously our Lord's command about turning the other cheek, yet he misunderstood the meaning of what Christ taught. When a man struck him, for example, he turned the other side of his face to his assailant and allowed him to hit it again. He said, "I have now fulfilled the Lord's command." Then he proceeded to pound his foe into submission. That's quite obviously not what Jesus had in mind.

The Russian writer Leo Tolstoy also misinterpreted this command. He said that we should be completely nonresistant when people steal from us or hurt us. His theory was that the wicked would soon be so ashamed that they would correct their ways. But his logic was wrong. Society doesn't operate that way. Without the restraining force of the police, the wicked would completely overpower decent, law-abiding citizens.

What then did Jesus mean when He told us that we should turn the other cheek? He was saying we should not let the desire to get even dominate our lives. Instead, we should be governed by the principles of giving and forgiving. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us, we can do exactly what Jesus commanded. --H V Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Let me turn the other cheek
As You so often did;
Let me feel the joy of love
When saying, "I forgive." --Monroe

The best way to get even is to forgive as you have been forgiven.


Read: Matthew 5:38-42

You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I tell you not to resist an evil person. —Matthew 5:38-39

When Nobel Chairman Gunnar John delivered his presentation speech for Martin Luther King’s 1964 Peace Prize, he quoted Jesus: “Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt. 5:39). As Mr. John noted: “It was not because he led a racial minority in their struggle for equality that Martin Luther King achieved fame. . . . [His] name will endure for the way in which he has waged his struggle.”

In 1955, King had led a year-long, peaceful boycott to protest segregation on buses. He paid a high price. His home was bombed, and he was assaulted and arrested. He never retaliated. Eventually he was murdered.

How contrary Dr. King’s peaceful example stands to my fleshly nature! I want justice now. I want retribution. I want others to pay for their wrongdoing, especially when it’s directed at me. What I do not want is to turn the other cheek and invite them to take another swing.

Haddon Robinson comments on the lofty standards Jesus set forth in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7), calling them “goals . . . not impossible ideals. [Jesus] wants His disciples to strive toward these goals to master a new kind of life.”By Tim Gustafson  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Amid the injustices of life, may we have the courage, faith, and strength to turn the other cheek.

It takes true strength to refuse to retaliate. 
(Ed: It takes supernatural strength from the Spirit!)

Ending Escalation

I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. —Matthew 5:39

The pastor of an inner-city church told his congregation: “Some people believe in ‘an eye for an eye.’ But in this neighborhood, it’s two eyes for an eye. You can never even the score; you can only raise the stakes.” The people nodded in solemn understanding of the reality they faced each day.

We’ve seen it happen on a school playground or in our own homes—a child bumps into another during a game. The one who was bumped pushes back, and the shoving quickly grows into a fight. It’s the process of retaliation and escalation in which each act of revenge exceeds the one that provoked it.

In Matthew 5, Jesus tackled a number of key relational issues by raising the standard to the one that pleases God: “You have heard that it was said . . . . But I tell you . . .” (vv.38-39). His words about turning the other cheek, going the second mile, and giving to those who ask may sound as radical and unrealistic to us as they did to those who first heard them (vv.38-42). Are we willing to ponder and pray about His teaching? Are we ready to apply it when we are wronged at home, at work, or at school?  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The cycle of escalation can be broken when a courageous, faith-filled person refuses to strike back.By David C. McCasland

Lord, help me not retaliate
When someone wants to pick a fight;
Instead, give me the strength and faith
To show Your love and do what’s right. 

Luke 6:30  "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back

KJV Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

  • Give to everyone who asks of you Lk 6:38; 11:41; 12:33; 18:22; Deuteronomy 15:7-10; Psalms 41:1; 112:9; Proverbs 3:27,28; Proverbs 11:24,25; 19:17; 21:26; 22:9; Ezekiel 11:1,2; Isaiah 58:7-10; Ecclesiastes 8:16; Matthew 5:42-48; Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 9:6-14; Ephesians 4:28
  • and Exodus 22:26,27; Nehemiah 5:1-19; Matthew 6:12; 18:27-30,35
  • Luke 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • Luke 6:29-30 The Actions of Kingdom Love - John MacArthur
  • Luke 6:27-35 Radical Love - Steven Cole
  • Luke 6:17-49 Jesus' Teaching - Darrell Bock


Give to everyone who asks of you - See story of a missionary couple who literally did this in Africa! 

Spurgeon exhorts us to "Be generous. A miser is no follower of Jesus. Discretion is to be used in our giving, lest we encourage idleness and beggary; but the general rule is, “Give to him that asketh thee.” Sometimes a loan may be more useful than a gift, do not refuse it to those who will make right use of it. These precepts are not meant for fools, they are set before us as our general rule; but each rule is balanced by other Scriptural commands, and there is the teaching of a philanthropic common-sense to guide us. Our spirit is to be one of readiness to help the needy by gift or loan, and we are not exceedingly likely to err by excess in this direction; hence the boldness of the command."

John MacArthur makes an interesting comment - being willing to give to everyone who asks of you, takes place in the context of borrowing and lending (cf. Lk 6:34; Mt. 5:42). The assumption is that the person asking has a legitimate need, since Scripture condemns laziness and indolence (cf. Pr 6:6-12; 20:4; 24:30-34; 2 Th. 3:10). That a person may take advantage of a Christian’s generosity and not repay the loan should not keep the believer from graciously, lovingly meeting the need.

Wiersbe - How should we treat our enemies? We must love them, do them good, and pray for them. Hatred only breeds more hatred, "for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (James 1:20, NIV). This cannot be done in our own strength, but it can be done through the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5; Gal. 5:22-23). We must not look at these admonitions as a series of rules to be obeyed. They describe an attitude of heart (Ed: A heart controlled by the love of the Holy Spirit) that expresses itself positively when others are negative, and generously when others are selfish, all to the glory of God. It is an inner disposition, not a legal duty. We must have wisdom to know when to turn the other cheek and when to claim our rights (John 18:22-23; Acts 16:35-40). Even Christian love must exercise discernment (Phil. 1:9-11). (Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1)

Mattoon - This verse does not mean we should give whatever anyone asks of us. We are not required to respond to every foolish, selfish request made of us. Sometimes to give a person what he wants, but does not need, is a detriment to that person, doing him more harm than good. Giving must never be such as to encourage a person in laziness and in shiftlessness, for such giving can only hurt that person. It is seldom, perhaps, never good to give to a man that is able to work, but will not work. The unlimited government policies which give money to those who are too lazy or unwilling to work or blow their earnings on gambling and drink has, in fact, destroyed their character. Unlimited giving is never a good thing, for the poor or for your kids, and it is certainly not the theme of this section of Scripture. Teach your kids the value of work and to earn some of the things they want.

Bock - Resources are not to be hoarded, but generously dispensed. Paul reflects a similar attitude in 1 Timothy 6:8-18. In the case of theft, there is to be no pursuit of retribution. Such self-denial is the essence of love. The consummate example is the cross. Jesus gave to those who had taken.

Give is present imperative emphasizing the necessity for the subject to depend wholly on the Holy Spirit to carry out this action!

Jesus gives a similar exhortation regarding giving

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.  (Luke 6:38-note)

IVP Background Commentary - Here Jesus may allude to beggars, quite common in the ancient East, and poorer people seeking loans. In Jewish Palestine beggars were usually only those in genuine need, and most were unable to work; farmers generally sought loans to plant crops. Jewish society emphasized both charity and responsibility.

Matthew Henry - "Give to every man that asketh of thee, to every one that is a proper object of charity, that wants necessaries, which thou hast wherewithal to supply out of thy superfluities. Give to those that are not able to help themselves, to those that have not relations in a capacity to help them." Christ would have His disciples ready to distribute, and willing to communicate, to their power in ordinary cases, and beyond their power in extraordinary."

NET Note - Jesus advocates a generosity and a desire to meet those in dire need with the command give to everyone who asks you. This may allude to begging; giving alms was viewed highly in the ancient world (Mt 6:1–4; Dt 15:7–11).

Whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back - Do not demand is present imperative with a negative which means either stop demanding it back or don't begin demanding it back.  

Lenski quips that  “The disciple loses less by letting his things be taken wrongfully then he would by with a selfish heart clamoring to have them returned."

NET Note on do not demand it back - Do not ask for your possessions back … is an example of showing forgiveness. Paul’s remarks in 1 Cor 6:7 may reflect this principle.

Demand it back (523)(apaiteo from apó = again + aitéō = to ask) means generally to demand or desire. More specifically apaiteo refers to property (stolen or borrowed) and is a demand to get it back, to ask again or to require (Lk 6:30). Apaiteo is used of stewards in 1 Cor 4:2 who are required to be faithful.  Figuratively apaiteo conveys the sense of one's life as if it were a loan from Who demands it back (Lk 12:20-note).  To recall, demand back, legal exaction of a demand or legitimate claim (Deut. 15:2, 3).

ILLUSTRATION - The truth of this verse was amply illustrated in the life of Pastor Uwe Holmer. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, no person in all of East Germany was more despised than the former Communist dictator, Erich Honecher. He had been stripped of all his offices. Even the Communist Party rejected him. Kicked out of his villa, the new government refused him and his wife new housing. The Honechers were homeless and destitute. Pastor Uwe Holmer, director of a Christian help center north of Berlin was made aware of the Honechers' very difficult situation. Pastor Holmer felt it would be wrong to give them a room meant for even needier people. So the pastor and his family decided to take the former dictator into their own home!

Erich Honecher's wife, Margot, had ruled the East German educational system for twenty-six years. Eight of Pastor Holmer's ten children had been turned down for higher education due to Mrs. Honecher's policies, which discriminated against Christians. When the pastor took them into their home, they in essence cared for their personal enemy and the most hated man in Germany.

By the grace of God, the Holmers loved their enemies, did them good, blessed them, and prayed for them. They turned the other cheek and in a way, they gave their enemies their coat (shelter in their own home). (Mattoon's Treasures from Luke, Volume 1)

Luke 6:31  "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you

KJV And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

Parallel passage - Mt 7:12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. See commentary on Mt 7:12.


Treat others the same way you want them to treat you - Notice that this does not say to treat others as they treat you, but as you would like them to treat you. Treat is the verb poieo meaning "Do" and is in the present imperative which calls for a lifestyle of doing to others what you want them to do to you. This command is impossible to obey in our natural strength and emphasizes our continual need to depend wholly on the Holy Spirit to carry out this unnatural action! Guzik points out that "The negative way of stating this command was known long before Jesus. It had long been said, “You should not do to your neighbor what you would not want him to do to you.” But it was a significant advance for Jesus to put it in the positive, to say that we should do unto others what we want them to do unto us." (Enduring Word - Luke) In phrasing it positively, Jesus expands the rule. Guzik explains that "It is the difference between not breaking traffic laws and in doing something positive like helping a stranded motorist. Under the negative form of the rule, the goats of Matthew 25:31–46 could be found “not guilty.” Yet under the positive form of the Golden Rule—Jesus’ form—they are indeed found guilty." (Ibid)

Spurgeon wrote "“Oh, that all men acted on it, and there would be no slavery, no war, no swearing, no striking, no lying, no robbing; but all would be justice and love! What a kingdom is this which has such a law!”

J C Ryle - our Lord lays down a golden principle for the settlement of doubtful cases. He knew well that there will always be occasions when the line of duty towards our neighbor is not clearly defined. He knew how much self-interest and private feelings will sometimes dim our perceptions of right and wrong. He supplies us with a precept for our guidance in all such cases, of infinite wisdom; a precept which even infidels have been compelled to admire.—“As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” To do to others as they do to us, and return evil for evil, is the standard of the heathen. To behave to others as we should like others to behave to us, whatever their actual behavior may be,—this should be the mark at which the Christian should aim. This is to walk in the steps of our blessed Saviour (See Walking Like Jesus Walked!). If He had dealt with the world as the world dealt with Him, we should all have been ruined forever in hell.

Hendriksen says "In order that a person may know at any moment how to conduct himself toward someone else, whether that other individual be man or woman, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, etc., Jesus now lays down a principle which, as it consists of measuring one’s duty by one’s self-love, is like a pocketknife or carpenter’s rule, always immediately at hand, ready to be used....In its negative form this principle is expressed in Tob. 4:15, “What you yourself hate do not do to anyone else.” The great Jewish teacher Hillel stated similarly, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.” In one form or another the rule also appears in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Isocrates, Seneca, etc." (BENTC-Luke)

D A Carson adds that "The Golden Rule was not invented by Jesus; it is found in many forms in highly diverse settings. About A.D. 20, Rabbi Hillel, challenged by a Gentile to summarize the law in the short time the Gentile could stand on one leg, reportedly responded, ‘What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else. This is the whole law; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.’ (b. Shabbath 31a). Apparently only Jesus phrased the rule positively.” (EBC)

Henry Morris - This is the so-called Golden Rule of conduct. It is not meant to be a prerequisite for salvation, for no person ever obeys this rule perfectly, any more than he keeps the Ten Commandments perfectly, which it summarizes and applies. It was only spoken to believers, already presumed to be saved by faith and given as a standard by which they should seek to order their personal lives. Love for God and love for one's neighbor also summarize all "the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:8-10).

Bock - So Jesus offers what became known in the sixteenth century as the "golden rule": Do to others as you would have them do to you. The verse has Old Testament roots (Lev 19:18). In addition, numerous such ethical statements existed in ancient Jewish and Greek culture. Jesus' formulation of the rule, however, is the least self-focused. Jesus is not saying, "Do good deeds for others so they will return the favor." Instead he is calling for actions of love regardless of how the other responds. Nor is he saying, "Think of what you like, then do that for others." Rather, we are to be sensitive to the needs, feelings and concerns of others and seek to meet them. Sensitivity in love means listening and serving. This does not mean ignoring moral limits, as Jesus' own ministry makes clear, but it does mean caring enough to be concerned about how others feel. The old adage "walk a mile in my shoes" may fit here: look at things from another's perspective and then act with concern. In the modern world, this would mean not just protesting against abortion but being prepared to care for the child that is born to a mother who has chosen not to abort. More than this, we are called to continue to love those who go ahead with their intention to abort. It means not just talking about ethnic oneness in the church but acting out oneness in community, like Paul's crossing ethnic lines to raise funds for believers in need. Even more, this passage calls us to show tangible concern for unbelievers in need, so when someone tells them that God loves them, they will have seen evidence of such love.(Ref)

W A Criswell - This verse, commonly called "the Golden Rule" or the principle of reciprocity, sums up all the moral and ethical requirements of men who live in society as kingdom citizens. The law of Jesus demands a standard of conduct that surpasses what is normally expected, because it is addressed to those who possess a fullness of life, which is the gift of God's Spirit.

IVP Background Commentary - In its negative form (“Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you”), this was a common ethical saying in the ancient world. 


The Life We’d Like To See—Luke 6:31

The annual Texas Book Festival in Austin draws thousands of people who enjoy browsing for books, attending discussions led by acclaimed authors, and gleaning advice from professional writers. At one such festival, an author of young adult fiction told aspiring writers, “Write the book that you want to find on the shelf.” That’s a powerful recommendation for writing and for living. What if we decided to live the way we want everyone else to live?

In Luke 6:27-36, Jesus urged His followers to pursue a lifestyle that demonstrates God’s mercy to all: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (vv.27-28). He also said that generosity and a lack of retaliation should characterize our reaction to unreasonable treatment (vv.29-30). Jesus concluded, “Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (v.31).

Impossible? Yes, if we rely on our own strength and resolve. The strength comes from the Spirit. And the resolve comes from remembering how God has treated us: “He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (vv.35-36). That’s a life we all long to see.By David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

All the way my Savior leads me—
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?

Christianity is not just Christ in you, but Christ living His life through you.

Luke 6:32  "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.

KJV For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.


J C Ryle notes that "our Lord points out to His disciples the necessity of their having a higher standard of duty to their neighbor than the children of this world. He reminds them that to love those who love them, and do good to those who do good to them, and lend to those of whom they hope to receive, is to act no better than “the sinner” who knows nothing of the Gospel. The Christian must be altogether another style of man. His feelings of love, and his deeds of kindness, must be like his Master’s,—free and gratuitous. He must let men see that he loves others from higher principles than the ungodly do, and that his charity is not confined to those from whom he hopes to get something in return. Anybody can show kindness and charity, when he hopes to gain something by it But such charity should never content a Christian. The man who is content with it, ought to remember that his practice does not rise an inch above the level of an old Roman or Greek idolater."

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them - If introduces a first class condition (assumes it is fulfilled - we usually love those who love us and what's supernatural about this kind of love because this is the love sinners naturally give), but the next two conditional clauses (Lk 6:33, 34) are third class conditions. "Jesus’ point in the statement even sinners love those who love them is that disciples are to go farther than sinners do. The examples replay  Lk 6:29–30." (NET)

Peter has a similar statement regarding what credit we should expect when we do what natural, unsaved men do "For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. (1 Peter 2:19,20+)

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gave a similar "caveat" regarding who would be "given credit" (rewarded in this case) by God: "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors (cf SINNERS) do the same? “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others (cf SINNERS)? Do not even the Gentiles do the same (YES OF COURSE)?" (Mt 5:46,47+)

Love (25) (agapao) essentially calls us to love like God loves, unselfish, sacrificial, supernatural, and this is fruit that only the Spirit can bear in surrendered saints (Gal 5:22+, cf Ro 5:5+)! It therefore behooves us to continually be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18+), so that we may be enabled to continually walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:16+)

Credit (5485)(charis) is usually translated grace but in this section is translated three times as "credit" (Lk 6:32, 33, 34). Mt 5:46 Jesus used "reward" (misthos) instead of credit.

Sinners (268)(hamartolos from hamartáno = deviate, miss the mark which some lexicons say is from a = negative + meiromai = attain -- not to attain, not to arrive at the goal) is an adjective (e.g., "that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful" - see Ro 7:13 -note) that is often used as a noun (as in this verse and Ro 5:19 [note]) to describe those who are continually erring from the way, constantly missing God's mark, living in opposition to His good and acceptable and perfect will. NET Note on sinners - Here the term sinners may refer to people who had no concern for observing the details of the Mosaic law; these were often treated as social outcasts. (a person who customarily sins—‘sinner, outcast.’)  (ED: And comparison with Jesus' use of "tax collector" in place of sinners in Mt 5:46,47+ would support this premise)

IVP Background Commentary - Ideas like loving enemies and lending without hoping to receive again were unheard of, although many Pharisees advocated peace with the Roman state (at least, tolerating enemies in some sense). 

Enemy Love -  Luke 6:32

When war broke out in 1950, fifteen-year-old Kim Chin-Kyung joined the South Korean army to defend his homeland. He soon found, however, that he wasn’t ready for the horrors of combat. As young friends died around him, he begged God for his life and promised that, if allowed to live, he would learn to love his enemies.

Sixty-five years later, Dr. Kim reflected on that answered prayer. Through decades of caring for orphans and assisting in the education of North Korean and Chinese young people, he has won many friends among those he once regarded as enemies. Today he shuns political labels. Instead he calls himself a loveist as an expression of his faith in Jesus.

God, please give us the grace to be more like Jesus.

The prophet Jonah left a different kind of legacy. Even a dramatic rescue from the belly of a big fish didn’t transform his heart. Although he eventually obeyed God, Jonah said he’d rather die than watch the Lord show mercy to his enemies (Jonah 4:1–2, 8).

We can only guess as to whether Jonah ever learned to care for the people of Nineveh. Instead we are left to wonder about ourselves. Will we settle for his attitude toward those we fear and hate? Or will we ask God for the ability to love our enemies as He has shown mercy to us?

Father in heaven, like Your reluctant prophet, we are inclined to love only those who love us. Yet You loved us even when we cared only for ourselves. Please give us the grace to be more like Jesus than Jonah.

Love conquers all.

By Mart DeHaan  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 6:33  "If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.


If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you - IF is a third class conditional statement points to a future eventuality and indicates a degree of probability. This is self-explanatory. The upshot is that there is nothing supernatural about this kind of doing good because natural unsaved men can do this. Jesus' point in all 3 examples in Lk 6:32-34 is that we are not to live like sinners nor love like sinners! If we do there is no distinction between believers and unbelievers. Believers have a supernatural power, the indwelling Spirit, and a new mind, the mind of Christ, and our doing and loving should be distinctly, dramatically different from that of the lost world! See Mt 5:46,47+

THOUGHT - Is your doing and loving different? Or is it like that of the sinful men and women of this fallen world? This section is very convicting! 

Bock - When we give, it should not be with strings attached. When we serve, it should be to meet needs, not to give tit for tat. True service involves a giving that does not demand a giving back.

Do good (15)(agathopoieo from  agathos + poieo = do) means to do good to another person or behave or act in a proper manner. Occurs 10x in 9v - do what is right(2), do good(4), do right(1), does good(1), doing what is right(1), doing right(1). - Lk. 6:9; Lk. 6:33; Lk. 6:35; 1 Pet. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:20; 1 Pet. 3:6; 1 Pet. 3:17; 3 Jn. 1:11. Three times in the Septuagint - Num. 10:32; Jdg. 17:13; Zeph. 1:12; 

Credit (favor)(5485)(charis) is usually translated grace but in this section is translated three times as "credit" (Lk 6:32, 33, 34). 

Sinners (268)(hamartolos - see note

Pay It Backward —Luke 6:33

Would you pay the bill for the people in the car behind you at a fast-food drive-thru—even if you didn’t know them?

That was the challenge given by a local Christian radio station to change their community. It was called “The Drive-Thru Difference.” The goal was to do a Christlike act of kindness for people who didn’t expect it and to leave a note saying you did it because of your love for Christ.

Why do this? Why spend money for someone else’s food—especially someone we don’t know and who may be hostile to the faith? Why give without any hope of return? It sounds countercultural, but the idea has strong biblical basis.

Notice what Jesus said as He addressed a large crowd: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32-33). Clearly, Jesus wants us to do good to people who can in no way pay us back.

Whether we’re paying someone’s bill at Taco Bell or dropping change into the Salvation Army kettle, our concern should be selfless giving—whether we get credit for it or not. In Jesus’ name, who can you bless today?

Be a servant of the Lord
And do not look for a reward;
Not for glory or for fame,
Just give freely in His name.  —Roworth

The motive of giving reveals the character of the giver more than the gift itself.

By Dave Branon  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 6:34  "If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.

KJV  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.


If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? - IF is another third class conditional statement which points to a future eventuality and indicates a degree of probability. Answer? no credit! Jesus then explains why it is no credit.

Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount - NLT has "And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return."

Expect (1679)(elpizo) in the sense of counting on something, with implication of confidence for it coming to pass. 

Credit (5485)(charis) is usually translated grace but in this section is translated three times as "credit" (Lk 6:32, 33, 34). 

Sinners (268)(hamartolos - see note

Receive back (618)(apolambano from apo = from + lambáno = to receive, take) means to receive fully, receive in full what is one’s due, get back, recover fully what is promised or even to receive by way of retribution. "In context the repayment of the amount lent is implied. Jesus was noting that utilitarian motives are the way of the world." (NET)

IVP Background Commentary - In the Roman world, interest rates sometimes ran as high as 48 percent, but the Old Testament forbade usury, or charging interest. Because many Jewish creditors feared that they would lose their investment if they lent too near the seventh year (when the law required cancellation of all debts), they stopped lending then, hurting the small farmers who needed to borrow for planting. Jewish teachers thus found a way to circumvent this law so the poor could borrow so long as they repaid. Jesus argues that this practice should not be necessary; those with resources should help those without, whether or not they would lose money by doing so. Biblical laws about lending to the poor before the year of release (Deut 15:9; every seventh year debts were forgiven; cf. Lev 25) support Jesus’ principle here, but Jesus goes even farther in emphasizing unselfish giving. Although the law limited selfishness, Jesus looks to the heart of the law and advocates sacrifice for one’s neighbor. A good man’s “sons” were expected to exemplify their father’s character; thus God’s children should act like him.

Luke 6:35  "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

KJV 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.


But - Here is another strategic term of contrast. Jesus is contrasting the doing and loving like unsaved sinners would do with what is expected of those who have been born again and who have continual access to the power Source (the Holy Spirit Who gives us both the desire and the power! Php 2:13NLT) to exhibit this genre of supernatural, radical love. 

God’s children should bear the indelible stamp of His moral character ("partakers of the divine nature" = 2 Pe 1:4+). Since He is loving, gracious, and generous—even to those who are His enemies—we should be like Him. And when we are bearing fruit that is clearly supernatural we fulfill the words of Jesus for His disciples -  “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples." Not only do we prove we are His disciples when we bear fruit, when we “Let our light shine before men in such a way that they may see our good (SUPERNATURAL) works" we "glorify (GIVE A PROPER OPINION) our Father Who is in heaven." (Mt 5:16+)

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend - Notice that all three verbs (love, do good, lend) are not suggestions but commands in the present imperative, which means these actions are to be a disciple's lifestyle. The present tense (habitual, lifestyle), imperative mood (a command not a suggestion!) calls for these to be the habit of one's life. The active voice means that we (the subject) must initiate this action as a choice of our will, but the problem is that our Old Man does not want to make this choice! It is only by relying on the continual energization of God in us, the indwelling Spirit, that we will have the supernatural desire and power to obey and please God (" at work [ = energeo in present tense ~ continually "energizing] in you" Php 2:13NLT+). To reiterate, there is only ONE WAY to keep the commands of God and that is not by relying on self but by continually relying wholly on the Holy Spirit's power to enable us to do supernaturally what we simply cannot accomplish naturally! If you have experienced frustration and repeated failure in keeping God's commands (there are over 1600 in the NT!), then this truth is for you! It is the Spirit Who sets you free to obey God's Word. (See discussion of the Need for the Holy Spirit to obey NT commands)

THOUGHT- This section begs several questions: Are you continually being filled with the Spirit? Eph 5:18+) Are you walking by the Spirit? (Gal 5:16+) Have you grieved the Spirit (Eph 4:30+) or quenched the Spirit (1 Th 5:19+) by harboring unconfessed sins (thought, word or deed) and thereby in effect "cutting off" the Spirit's power or "quenching" His flame? If so, then confess your specific sins by name (1 John 1:9+) and then walk in the light (1 John 1:7+), filled with and empowered by the Spirit of Christ! This is the way to abundant life and victory over the sin that so easily entangles you (and me!) (Heb 12:1+)! 

When wronged by those who wish us harm,
Lord, teach us what to say;
Help us respond with Christlike love—
With good their deeds repay. 
—Henry Bosch

In a parallel passage Jesus speaks of sons ("like Father, like son")

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that (TERM OF PURPOSE - PURPOSE OF  OBEYING THE PRECEDING COMMANDS) you may be sons of your Father Who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Cf He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men).  (Mt 5:44-45+)

Comment - Note love and pray are both in the present imperative,  commands (rather than suggestions) calling for supernatural love and an attitude of prayer as one's lifestyle or continual practice. Clearly this command can only be obeyed by grace through faith in the fact that the Spirit of Christ Who indwells will manifest His love through us. It is impossible but is Him-possible! (See discussion of the Need for the Holy Spirit to obey NT commands) The point of God causing the sun to rise on the evil and the good is that God in His kindness gives sinners what they do not deserve (we are all sinners) (cf Ps 145:15-17).

Expecting nothing in return - This is more literally "not despairing at all."  ASV has "without despairing." The verb "expecting" is found only here and is apelpizo which is a combination of apo = from and elpizo = to hope, and literally means to cease from hope, to give up, and then to describe the despair of individuals who are without hope (as with an incurable illness, imminent death, poverty, or broken relationships Isaiah 29:19; Sirach 22:21; 27:21; 2 Maccabees 9:18; Shepherd of Hermas Vision 3:12:2)! Zodhiates has the following note on apelpizo...

This word occurs only in Luke 6:35 in the phrase mēdén apelpízontes, “hoping for nothing again.” The phrase indicates that reward should be expected only from God. Jesus has already indicated that men are likely to do good to someone who might do good to them in return. Likewise, it is easy to lend to those who will repay and to love those who love us. The height of Christian virtue, however, is to love those that despise us most or those whom we despise most, i.e., our enemy. To be like Him, we must be “kind unto the unthankful and the evil” (Lk 6:35b)....Some would render apelpizo “to despair.” While this is philologically admissible, it does not agree with the context. It requires one to add an unfounded idea of causation to the meaning of the word, as “causing no one to despair” (a.t.). (Word Study Dictionary - NT) (Ed - the NKJV has "hoping for nothing in return," the NRSV has "despairing of no one.")

Apelpizo is found in used in the Septuagint in the sense of “to despair” or “to be despaired” (Isa. 29:19). It was also used as a medical term for a terrible disease (as causing despair).

Spurgeon -  “What does God say to us when he acts thus? I believe that He says this: ‘This is the day of free grace; this is the time of mercy.’ The hour for judgment is not yet, when he will separate between the good and the bad; when he will mount the judgment seat and award different portions to the righteous and to the wicked.” 

And your reward will be great - In this context Jesus holds forth a great motivation of great reward for obeying the preceding commands (by the Spirit).  The Greek word misthos (below) refers to the believer's divine recompense. BDAG says believers will receive "recognition (mostly by God) for the moral quality of an action." Rewards (misthos) are repeatedly mentioned by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, most of the uses in passages warning us to be careful about  why and how we do what we do (Read Matt. 5:12+; Matt. 5:46+; Matt. 6:1+; Matt. 6:2+; Matt. 6:5+; Matt. 6:16+). In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul writes "If any man’s work (primarily teachers, but principle applies to all believers) which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward." (1 Co. 3:14) Jesus uses misthos in the last chapter of the Bible declaring "“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward (misthos) is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done." (Rev 22:12+, cf Mt 16:27, Jer 17:7-11). In Revelation 22:12 the emphasis is on individual judgment, either for rewards (for Christ followers) or punishment (for Christ rejecters).

Reward (wage) (3408)(misthos) literally refers to pay which is due for labor performed or dues paid for work. Misthos is used in two general senses in the NT, either to refer to wages or to reward, recognition or recompense. In this latter figurative usage, misthos refers to rewards which God bestows for the moral quality of an action, such rewards most often to be bestowed in eternity future. All uses - Matt. 5:12; Matt. 5:46; Matt. 6:1; Matt. 6:2; Matt. 6:5; Matt. 6:16; Matt. 10:41; Matt. 10:42; Matt. 20:8; Mk. 9:41; Lk. 6:23; Lk. 6:35; Lk. 10:7; Jn. 4:36; Acts 1:18; Rom. 4:4; 1 Co. 3:8; 1 Co. 3:14; 1 Co. 9:17; 1 Co. 9:18; 1 Tim. 5:18; Jas. 5:4; 2 Pet. 2:13; 2 Pet. 2:15; 2 Jn. 1:8; Jude 1:11; Rev. 11:18; Rev. 22:12

You will be sons of the Most High (see El Elyon) - You will not "earn" sonship, but your supernatural actions reflect the fact that you have a supernatural Source of power (the indwelling Spirit) Who enables you to conduct yourself as a son of God (Jn 1:12+, 1 Jn 3:1+). NET Note says a disciple's actions are like sons of God because they reflect "the grace and kindness of God, bearing witness to a “line of descent” or relationship of the individual to God (sons of the Most High). There is to be a unique kind of ethic at work with disciples. Jesus refers specifically to sons here because in the ancient world sons had special privileges which were rarely accorded to daughters. However, Jesus is most likely addressing both men and women in this context, so women too would receive these same privileges." 

Meyer says "“We are made sons by regeneration, through faith in the Son; but we are called to make our calling and election sure (2 Pe 1:10,11+)—to approve and vindicate our right to that sacred name. We can only do this by showing in word and act that the divine life (ED: Indwelling Spirit) and principles animate us.”

When offended, don't respond in kind;
respond with kindness.

For He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men - "For" is a term of explanation. Jesus is explaining why we are considered as sons -- it is because this is the way the Father treats ungrateful and evil men. Unlike natural men thankfully there is no "tit-for-tat" with God. There is no self-centered "me first" reaction with God, even toward ungrateful and evil men! We are to imitate Him. He is our example. We are to learn from Him to be merciful to those who do not deserve mercy, even as He is merciful (and was merciful to us who did not deserve it!) The word kind is chrestos (from chráomai = furnish what is needed) means to be useful toward others, hence good-natured, mild, pleasant, not harsh or stern and in this case describing God's demeanor toward those who are ungrateful (this recalls God's kindness [chrestotes from chrestos] in Ro 2:4+), those who show Him no gratitude and do not express thankfulness or appreciation (even for their every breath or heartbeat!), which Paul tells us will characterize unregenerate men in the last days when "difficult times will come" (2 Ti 3:1+) "for men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful (same word Jesus uses here - acharistos), unholy." (2 Ti 3:2+)!  In light of this context of men so flagrantly rebelling against God, God's kindness is absolutely amazing! And it sets a "high bar" for His children, which necessitates continual reliance on His Spirit's enabling power! We find a parallel teaching (and commandments) in Paul's letter to the Ephesians...

Be (present imperative) kind (chrestos) to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be (present imperative - be continually becoming) imitators of God, as beloved children (cf SONS OF THE MOST HIGH); and walk (present imperative) in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.  (Eph 4:32+, Eph 5:1-2+)

Ungrateful (884)(acharistos from a = without + charizomai = to show favor or kindness - from charis- grace -- so this word in essence describes those "without grace") refers to men who are utterly destitute of any gratitude toward God or others (only 2 uses - here and 2 Ti 3:2+). These unregenerate men (and women) refuse to recognize the debt they owe to God. The strange characteristic of ingratitude is that it is the most hurting of all sins because it is the blindest. Lear's words remain true: "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!" God is amazing for "He Himself is (still) kind to ungrateful and evil men"! And that is what He calls His children to be like! Try that in your own power! Holy Spirit, we need You! All the time! Amen! 

Evil (wicked, bad) (4190)(poneros from poneo = work or toil, cf poneria from poneros) means especially of a malignant and pernicious character and which is morally and/or socially worthless, wicked, base, and degenerate. Poneros denotes determined, aggressive, and fervent evil that actively opposes what is good. In other word poneros is not just bad in character (like kakos), but bad in effect (injurious)! Given this definition, it is not surprising that John uses poneros as a name for Satan writing "We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." (1 Jn 5:19+). Luke's uses of poneros - Lk. 3:19; Lk. 6:22; Lk. 6:35; Lk. 6:45; Lk. 7:21; Lk. 8:2; Lk. 11:13; Lk. 11:26; Lk. 11:29; Lk. 11:34; Lk. 19:22; Jn. 3:19; Jn. 7:7; Jn. 17:15; Acts 17:5; Acts 18:14; Acts 19:12; Acts 19:13; Acts 19:15; Acts 19:16; Acts 25:18; Acts 28:21

Principle of "Common Grace" - This teaches that God’s love extends even to His enemies. This universal love of God is manifest in blessings which God bestows on all indiscriminately. Theologians refer to this as common grace. This must be distinguished from the everlasting love God has for the elect (Jer 31:3), but it is a sincere goodwill nonetheless (cf. Ps 145:9). Common grace is evidence of the attribute of God's character known as His "GOODNESS". "Common grace"  is a term theologians have propounded to refer to the general blessings God gives to men regardless of their spiritual state. Many blessings come from God without discrimination. Here Jesus tells us that God is kind to the righteous and the unrighteous. The earth flies through space, the seasons change, the rivers flow, the fields give forth their produce -- all for the general benefit of the human race. The worst sinner may get the best suntan or may run barefoot through the falling rain. Although they do not know it or appreciate it, that are a recipient of common grace and have just experienced a snippet of God's great goodness to undeserving mankind. Let us all bow in humble adoration and praise Him for His goodness which we speak of so glibly and so quickly take for granted. Forgive us O Lord. Amen. 

Don’t Laugh It Off. —Luke 6:35

Driving a huge truck over the icy roads of northern Alaska would seem to be a task that requires a sense of humor. But when one driver heard another driver named Alex laugh often and rather loudly over the truck-to-truck communication system, he grew irritated. So he made some disparaging remarks about Alex and his good-natured guffaws.

Not long after that, the critical driver lost control of his big rig and ended up in a ditch—up to his axles in snow. And guess who came along the isolated road and saw his predicament? That’s right. Alex.

So, what would you do? Keep on trucking right past with a hearty laugh at the other guy’s trouble? That’s not what Alex did. He stopped and spent several hours helping dig his critic out. When he was done, he simply said, “Any opportunity I can have to make amends, I’m happy to do it.” And then, of course, he laughed.

What a lesson for all of us. Isn’t that what Christ commanded us to do in Luke 6—to help out even those who seem to be our enemies? The next time someone says something about you that you don’t like, think of Alex—and don’t just laugh it off. Do something positive for that person, and in so doing, you may make a friend.

Doing good to those who hate us, Lord, is difficult to do; Help us by Your grace to love them, Praying they will turn to You. —Sper

A good example is the best sermon.

By Dave Branon   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Who Killed The Dead Sea? Lk. 6:30-38

There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. —Proverbs 11:24

The Dead Sea died of stinginess. Year after year it has received and not given. It has an inlet but no outlet. Likewise, the person who takes in what others offer spiritually but never gives anything out will become lifeless.

A student went to a professor and complained that he wasn’t making progress in his studies. He then asked if he should find a tutor. “Get a tutor?” responded the wise professor. “What you need is a pupil!”

The author of the letter to the Hebrews scolded the readers because instead of being teachers they were like babies, still drinking spiritual milk (Heb. 5:12). Jesus, however, taught that we are to be generous in giving service to others (Lk. 6:30-38).

A man once said to me, “I never could get much out of the Bible until I began teaching a Sunday school class. Then I gave out the Word instead of just taking it in.” There is no better way to learn than by teaching others. How much do you give out after taking in? Study the Word, not only for personal blessing and profit but for sharing.

Why is the Dead Sea dead? It —M. R. De Haan, M.D. (founder of RBC Ministries)   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Is your life a channel of blessing?
Is the love of God flowing through you?
Are you telling the lost of the Savior?
Are you ready His service to do? —Smyth

When you give help to another, you get a blessing in return.

Luke 6:36  "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

KJV  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.


Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful - Jesus continues to describe actions of sons of the Most High. In the previous passage He describes sons are to be kind (to give to meet a need) and here to be merciful meaning to to withhold judgment that others deserve even as God withholds judgment that sinners deserve. In other words mercy is God not giving us what we deserve. How can we as benefactors of His great mercy, not show mercy to others. When we do so, enabled by His Spirit, we give a proper opinion of Who God is to the saved and the lost (Mt 5:16+). 

We are to be an audiovisual of Him.
-Darrell Bock

Be merciful - present imperative calls for continual exhibition of mercy (especially to those who do not deserve it) which is turn is possible only by continually being filled with and dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit to pour into our heart this great grace of mercy! "Merciful is a characteristic of God often noted in the OT: Ex 34:6; Dt 4:31; Joel 2:13-note; Jonah 4:2; 2 Sa 24:14. This remark also echoes the more common OT statements like Lev 19:2-note or Dt 18:13: “you must be holy as I am holy.” (NET)

"Moral likeness proves parentage."
- Plummer

Mercy is not simply feeling compassion but exists when something is done to alleviate distress. This is nicely illustrated in the Old Testament by the "mercy seat" in the holy of holies. This was the place where the Lord God accepted the propitiatory (satisfactory) sacrifice to atone for the nation’s sins, once each year on the "Day of Atonement" (see Lev 16:2,13, 14, 15-note). Here at the mercy seat God was moved with pity and compassion for the sinful people, and took action to reconcile them to himself through accepting the blood of a goat in their stead. (See also notes on God's Attribute of Mercy).

Merciful (3629)(oiktirmon from te verb oikteiro in turn from oiktos = compassion, pity = compassion or pity which in turn is said to be derived from the interjection oi = "Oh!"; see also study of cognate - oiktirmos) is an adjective which describes one who is concerned about another's unfortunate state or misery" (BDAG), one who has  pity, one who is compassionate being moved or motivated by sympathy. The Lord is the Source of mercy. When we demonstrate mercy, we are like the Father because this is one of His great attributes. Oiktirmon is used more often in the Septuagint (15x) almost always describing the compassion of Yahweh (Ex 34:6; Dt. 4:31; Neh 9:17; Neh. 9:31;Ps 78:38, 86:15, 103:8, 111:4, 112:4, 145:8, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2) The only other NT use is James 5:11+ where we read "We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion (polusplagchnos) and is merciful (oiktirmon)." Oiktirmon - 15x in 15v in the Septuagint - Ex 34:6; Dt. 4:31; Jdg 5:30; 2 Chr. 30:9; Neh 9:17; Neh. 9:31; Ps. 78:38; Ps. 86:15; Ps. 103:8; Ps. 109:12; Ps. 111:4; Ps. 112:4; Ps. 145:8; Lam. 4:10; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2

Just as your Father - Obviously we can't show perfect mercy like our Father, but we are to strive to imitate Him as we learn to rely on His Spirit and walk by the self-same Spirit (Gal 5:16+) Who continually "energizes" us spiritually, giving us supernatural desire and  power (Php 2:13NLT+) to show ("work out" - Php 2:12+) God-like mercy.

Paul gave the Ephesians a similar command to "Be (present imperative = as your habitual practice, enabled by the Spirit) kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Eph 4:32+)

Darrell Bock - Children of God, Jesus says, are called to imitate their heavenly Father. We are to be an audiovisual of him. For God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. The call of the disciple to radical love is "like father, like child." As Plummer (1922:189) notes, "Moral likeness proves parentage." Jesus' ethical call to love is nothing more than a call to imitate the Father. And to love is to have mercy.

Warren Wiersbe writes that "Two principles stand out: we must treat others as we would want to be treated (Luke 6:31), which assumes we want the very best spiritually for ourselves; and we must imitate our Father in heaven and be merciful (Luke 6:36). The important thing is not that we are vindicated before our enemies but that we become more like God in our character (Luke 6:35). This is the greatest reward anyone can receive; far greater than riches, food, laughter, or popularity (Luke 6:24-26). Those things will one day vanish, but character will last for eternity. We must believe Matthew 6:33+ and practice it in the power of the Spirit." (Ibid)

IVP Background Commentary - That human mercy should reflect God’s mercy became a common Jewish saying (e.g., the Letter of Aristeas see entry 208 = "For if you understood everything you would be filled with pity, for God also is pitiful.") (ED: This is fascinating because most Jews lacked the "power Source" the Holy Spirit, and yet they still understood to a degree God's great attribute of mercy.)

ILLUSTRATION General Oglethorpe once said to John Wesley, “I never forgive and I never forget.” Wesley replied, “Then, sir, I hope you never sin.” If we are sinners who need mercy, we must show God’s mercy to those who have wronged us. Jesus goes on to show us that rather than judging others, our focus should be on judging ourselves. (Luke 6:36-45 Judging Others, Judging Self

Changing Hearts - Luke 6:36

On the last day of the US Civil War, officer Joshua Chamberlain was in command of the Union army. His soldiers lined up on both sides of the road that the Confederate army had to march down in surrender. One wrong word or one belligerent act and the longed-for peace could be turned to slaughter. In an act as brilliant as it was moving, Chamberlain ordered his troops to salute their foe! No taunting here, no vicious words—only guns in salute and swords raised to honor.

When Jesus offered His words about forgiveness in Luke 6, He was helping us understand the difference between people of grace and people without grace. Those who know His forgiveness are to be strikingly unlike everyone else. We must do what others think impossible: Forgive and love our enemies. Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (v. 36).

Grant us the courage to end our conflicts by Your grace.

Imagine the impact in our workplaces and on our families if we were to embrace this principle. If a salute can make armies whole again, what power there must be in Christ’s grace reflected through us! Scripture gives evidence of this in Esau’s embrace of his deceitful brother (Gen. 33:4), in Zacchaeus’s joyful penance (Luke 19:1–10), and in the picture of a father racing to greet his prodigal son (Luke 15).

With the grace of Christ, may we let this be the final day of bitterness and dispute between our enemies and us.

Lord, we know how the gentle power of forgiveness can bring healing in relationships. Grant us the courage to end our conflicts by Your grace.

Anger almost always vanishes in the face of grace.

By Randy Kilgore  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Where Is My Focus? —Luke 6:36

My mother, who was a single parent in Singapore, employed a nanny to take care of us children while she was at work. Only many years later did I realize how profoundly my nanny had influenced my thinking and behavior. She used to tell us, “If people treat you well, treat them better than they have treated you; but if they treat you badly, treat them worse than they have treated you!”

For a long time, I did not even realize that I had been living according to this “tit for tat” philosophy. It made me calculating in my response to kindness, and vengeful in my response to unkindness.

So when I became a Christian, I found it difficult to obey Bible passages that tell us how to treat others. I didn’t like the command to “be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36) because I had the wrong focus. I was always looking at what others had done or were likely to do to me, instead of what God had done and continues to do for me. My real problem was forgetting how merciful God was to me—and it showed in the way I responded to people.

We all need to remember that we don’t deserve God’s mercy. Then we can be merciful to others—no matter how they treat us.  —AL

When wronged by those who wish us harm,
Lord, teach us what to say;
Help us respond with Christlike love—
With good their deeds repay. 

When offended, don't respond in kind; respond with kindness.

By Albert Lee   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 6:37  "Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.

KJV Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:


Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned - Do not not condemn - Both are in the present imperatives with a negative = Stop doing this or don't begin doing this is the idea. Both uses of "will not" are two successive negatives in Greek (ou me) signifying that this will absolutely not happen! Condemn is like an extension of judge, for when one condemns he sets himself as the "executioner" so to speak. This passage is often quoted by those who does not want to hear or abide by the authority of God's Word. (My children would frequently throw this in my face when I was "judgmental" of some bad behavior in which they were involved! "Don't Judge, dad. That's what the Bible says, isn't it?" Yes, but...) Jesus does not mean that we are never, in any sense or to any extent, to judge another. Notice Mt 7:1+ is also in the context of Mt 7:5+ which indicates that when one's own life is pure (not hypocritical) he or she should seek to take the speck out of their brother's eye (cf Gal 6:1-2), but doing so without being censorious. And we need to be especially careful when judging someone's motives from just observing their actions. Sadly my experience has been that Christians are often a very judgmental group (and I include myself). We tend to be critical of each other. We tend to pick apart sermons or various aspects of a worship service, that are not exactly to our liking! 

If you are looking for faults to correct,
try looking in a mirror.

So the problem Jesus is addressing is not the act of judging as much as our motives for judging. In John Jesus commands us to continually "judge (present imperative) with righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Note the qualifier "righteous!" Jesus forbids hypocrisy and a condemning spirit rising from self-righteousness. (cf the judgmental attitude of the self-righteous Pharisee in Lk 18:9-14+ - especially verse 11 "The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.").

David Guzik - Just a little later in this same sermon (Luke 6:43–45), Jesus commanded us to know ourselves and others by the fruit of their life, and some sort of assessment is necessary for that. The Christian is called to show unconditional love, but the Christian is not called to unconditional approval. We really can love people who do things that should not be approved of. (Enduring Word)

MacArthur - The first command, do not judge, and you will not be judged, does not preclude assessing a person’s spiritual condition and confronting their sin (cf. Lk 6:42–45; 17:3; Matt. 7:6; 1 Cor. 5:5, 11–13; 1 Tim. 5:20; 2 Tim. 4:2; James 5:20; 2 John 10). In fact, Christians are commanded to be discerning, to be “shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16; cf. Col. 4:5)....What this command does forbid is harsh, critical, compassionless, vengeful condemnation of one’s enemies as if one was vested with final judgment power. (Luke Commentary)

Henry Morris describes proper judging - "We should be able to recognize false teachers and "from such turn away" (2 Ti 3:5; see also Mt 7:15-20). Also, we should discern and rebuke these false brethren who are encouraging others to sin (Eph 5:7,11). In other words, we should be able to judge that which is wrong, in either doctrine or practice, and avoid (or correct) those who are involved, but we must not condemn them--God will do that." (Defender's Study Bible)

W A Criswell says "This verse does not disallow the right of making moral and spiritual judgments (cf. Mt 7:6; 1 Cor. 2:15; 5:9; 2 Cor. 11:4; Phil. 3:2; 1 John 4:1) but forbids a bitter, hostile, and unkind spirit which delights in finding fault with others. Hypocritical self-righteousness has no place in the life of a Christian. The verse is particularly applicable to the area of motives. No one of us can know the heart of another, and thus to draw conclusions as to the "why" of people's actions, especially when those actions are indifferent or even good, is to invite God's judgment upon one's life." (Believer's Study Bible)

NET Note - As the Gospel makes clear, with the statement do not judge Jesus had in mind making a judgment that caused one to cut oneself off from someone so that they ceased to be reached out to (Lk 5:27–32; 15:1–32). Jesus himself did make judgments about where people stand (Lk 11:37–54), but not in such a way that he ceased to continue to offer them God’s grace. The point of the statement do not judge, and you will not be judged is that the standards one applies to others God applies back. The passive verbs (be pardoned) in this verse look to God’s action.

Don't be too hard on the person who sins,
For the yardstick you lay on another
May someday be used as a measure for you;
Oh, be gracious and judge not, my brother! 
—Henry Bosch

Paul warns against a judgmental spirit in Romans 2 (most think he is addressing this chapter to those who considered themselves to be religious, especially those who were observant Jews) writing "Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things (i.e., YOU ARE HYPOCRITES!). 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. (Ro 2:1,2+)

Judge (2919)(krino is a root of English critic, critical [kritikos] = a decisive point at which judgment is made) primarily signifies to distinguish, to decide between (in the sense of considering two or more things and reaching a decision), to make up one's mind, to separate, to discriminate. to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, without necessarily passing an adverse sentence, although that is often what is usually involved. Bob Utley adds that "The Greek word “judge” is the etymological source for our English word “critic.” It seems to imply a critical, judgmental, self-righteous spirit which judges others more severely than it does itself. It emphasizes one set of sins over another set of sins. It excuses one’s own faults, but will not excuse the faults of others (cf. 2 Sam. 12:1–9)."

Condemn (2613)(katadikazo from kata = + against + dikázō = to judge, pronounce sentence from díkē = judgment) means to give judgment against a person, recognize the evidence against him, pass sentence, condemn. According to Vine it fundamentally means “to exercise right or law against” someone, or “to pronounce judgment against." Gilbrant adds that katadikazo describes "unjust judgment against someone, especially the innocent (e.g., James 5:6), hence “to deprive a man of justice” (Lamentations 3:36NIV]). In Luke 6:37 katadikazō is used in an absolute sense and could be translated “stop condemning”; such action is simply not tolerable for a disciple of Christ, because it is injurious to another. Instead, to be forgiving is to be Christlike. (Ibid)

Katadikazo - 5x in 4v - condemn(1), condemned(4).

Matthew 12:7  "But if you had known what this means, 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,' you would not have condemned the innocent.

Matthew 12:37  "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

James 5:6+  You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.

Katadikazo - 5x in 5v in the Septuagint - Job 34:29; Ps. 37:33; Ps. 94:21; Ps. 109:7; Lam. 3:36;

IVP Background Commentary - “Judge,” “condemn” and “pardon” are all the language of the day of judgment, prefigured in God’s current reckonings with his people (e.g., on the Day of Atonement).

Pardon, and you will be pardoned -  NET Bible = "forgive, and you will be forgiven." This is the antithesis of judging and condemning. The first two commands were negative, but this is positive, indicating something believers are to put into practice routinely! Pardon is in the present imperative which is a command to make this our habitual response! Now just try to obey this one in your own (old self) strength! We cannot! The only way to obey this command is jettison reliance of self and rely wholly on the Holy Spirit's supernatural enabling power. In other words, the only ones who can obey this command habitually (not perfectly) are genuine believers. But even believers still need to make the daily choice to die to self and selfishness and to rely on the Spirit's enabling power. How are you doing dearly beloved in Christ? Are you beginning to learn how to rely on the Spirit, daily seeking and trusting God for the Spirit's filling (Eph 5:18+) so that you might then be able to obey the command to walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:16+)? We need to be aware that in this command would be prohibitions against holding grudges or being bitter, both simply permutations of an unforgiving spirit. This topic of forgiveness/unforgiveness is so important because it can be so destructive in marriages, relationships and churches and it will quench the power of the Holy Spirit in a person's life as fast as any sin I know of! For that reason there are a number of resources below that go into great depth on this crucial issue.

Pardon (release, send away) (630)(apoluo from apó = marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association, separation + luo = to loose) is used of sending a person or a group away from someone (Mt 14:15, 22, 23, 32, etc). Apoluo was used in secular Greco-Roman writings of discharge from the military, of release from jail or of setting a debtor free. Apoluo in the NAS is most often rendered as release (29x) so the picture is that believers are commanded to "release" the one who sins against them. The offender's sin is pictured as a "debt" that they owe us. As Christ followers we are called (commanded and enabled by the Spirit) to release them from or to "send away" the "sin debt" they "owe" us.  Luke 11:4+ is similar but there the verb is aphiemi (send away from)

Uses of apoluo by Luke in the Gospel and Acts -Lk. 2:29; Lk. 6:37; Lk. 8:38; Lk. 9:12; Lk. 13:12; Lk. 14:4; Lk. 16:18; Lk. 23:16; Lk. 23:17; Lk. 23:18; Lk. 23:20; Lk. 23:22; Lk. 23:25;  Acts 3:13; Acts 4:21; Acts 4:23; Acts 5:40; Acts 13:3; Acts 15:30; Acts 15:33; Acts 16:35; Acts 16:36; Acts 17:9; Acts 19:41; Acts 23:22; Acts 26:32; Acts 28:18; Acts 28:25

Darrell Bock has an excellent word on Jesus' commands in this section writing "being merciful (Lk 6:36) means being quick to encourage people toward restoration after they fall. Mercy does not gloat over sin or take pleasure in pointing it out; it roots for the sinner to find a way home to spiritual health. Often after someone falls we are anxious simply to cut him or her off to keep the church body from being leavened or to show that we will not associate with deeds of darkness. The church is to be concerned about moral purity. But we also should be quick to help set up opportunities for repentance and restoration. We should be discerning about the presence of sin but not judgmental in dealing with it. To be judgmental is to rejoice in pointing out sin and to refuse to reach out to the sinner to restore him or her to spiritual health. Rather than leaving the sinner to wallow in sin and the pain of moral failure, we should encourage the sinner to find the right path. Perhaps no picture of this commitment is clearer than the career of Hosea. He called sin by its name but always stood ready to receive the sinner back, even after gross sin. It is no accident that Jesus' words against judgmentalism come right after the call to be merciful as God is. An unwillingness to be judgmental is almost a requirement for those who face persecution. Without it, lines of battle would become hardened and the ability to love the enemy would be destroyed. God is interested not in polemics but in offering the hope of restored relationship to the lost. This exhortation needs to be set in the framework of Jesus' entire teaching. Jesus does not mean that we should close our eyes to sin and wrongdoing. Jesus' rebuke of his opponents in Lk 11:37-54 shows that being merciful does not mean suspending moral judgment and responsibility. But we are not to hold judgment against the person in such a way that ministry and reconciliation become impossible. Disciples are to bear good news, not hold grudges. (Ref)

Related Resources:

David Guzik has some practical application of Do not judge

So while this does not prohibit examining the lives of others, it certainly prohibits doing in the spirit it is often done. An example of unjust judgment was the disciples’ condemnation of the woman who came to anoint the feet of Jesus with oil (Matthew 26:6–13). They thought she wasted something; Jesus said she had done a good work that would always be remembered. They had a rash, harsh, unjust judgment.

  • We break this command when we think the worst of others.
  • We break this command when we only speak to others of their faults.
  • We break this command when we judge an entire life only by its worst moments.
  • We break this command when we judge the hidden motives of others.
  • We break this command when we judge others without considering ourselves in their same circumstances.
  • We break this command when we judge others without being mindful that we ourselves will be judged.


This issue must be dealt with in two ways. First believers are admonished not to judge one another (cf. Matt. 7:1–5; Luke 6:37, 42; Rom. 2:1–11; James 4:11–12). However, believers are admonished to evaluate leaders (cf. Matt. 7:6, 15–16; 1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 Tim. 3:1–13; and 1 John 4:1–6). Some criteria for proper evaluation may be helpful

  1. evaluation should be for the purpose of affirmation (cf. 1 John 4:1 - “test” with a view toward approval)
  2. evaluation should be done in humility and gentleness (cf. Gal. 6:1)
  3. evaluation must not focus on issues of personal preference (cf. Rom. 14:1–23; 1 Cor. 8:1–13; 10:23–33)
  4. evaluation should identify those leaders who have “no handle for criticism” from within the church or the community (cf. 1 Tim. 3:1-10).

Terms Of Service—Luke 6:37

If you’re like me, you seldom read the full text of contracts for online services before you agree to them. They go on for pages, and most of the legal jargon makes no sense to ordinary people like me.

I was quite surprised, therefore, when a friend from Africa made me aware of this one-of-a-kind service agreement for online software. Instead of a wordy license telling people how not to use it, the developer offers a simple blessing urging people to use it for good:

May you do good and not evil. May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others. May you share freely, never taking more than you give.

At first I thought, Wow. Imagine if more terms of service agreements were written as blessings instead of legal documents. Then I thought, The agreement Jesus makes with us is like that. He offers us forgiveness of sin, peace with God, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. In return, all He asks is that we do good (Gal. 6:10), forgive as we’ve been forgiven (Luke 6:37), and love others as He loves us (John 13:34).

The beauty of Jesus’ agreement with us is that even though we fail to live up to the terms, we still receive the blessing.

Bestowed with benefits daily,
Sent from the Father above;
Mercies and blessings abounding,
Gifts of His marvelous love.

As we have opportunity, let us do good to all. —Galatians 6:10

By Julie Ackerman Link    (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I’m Right; You Must Be Wrong —Luke 6:37

My friend Ria admires the great blue heron’s amazing 6-foot spread of wings and marvels at his majestic appearance. She welcomes the sight of him gliding in for a landing on a small island in the middle of the pond near her home.

Now, I can appreciate that the heron is a marvelous and unique creature. But I don’t ever want to spot him in my backyard! That’s because I know he won’t be there just to admire the garden. No, this not-so-fine-feathered version of persona non grata (someone not welcome) will be checking out our pond for a take-out fish dinner!

So, am I right? Or is Ria? Why can’t we agree? Different personalities, history, or knowledge can color people’s views. It doesn’t mean that one person is right and the other wrong, yet sometimes we can be unkind, rigid, and judgmental if there is not agreement. I’m not talking about sin—but just a difference in opinion or perspective. We need to take care in judging others’ thinking, motives, and actions because we too desire that kind of benefit of the doubt (Luke 6:37).

Can we learn from someone who sees things with a different perspective? Do we need to practice a little patience and love? I’m so grateful that God is abundantly patient and loving with me.

You’ve been so patient with us, Lord, Though we are slow to hear; Give us the grace to show such love To those we hold so dear. —K. De Haan

A little love can make a big difference.

By Cindy Hess Kasper  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

'Can You Hear Me?' —Luke 6:37

Judge not, and you shall not be judged.

A man was having some difficulty communicating with his wife, and he concluded that she was becoming hard of hearing. So he decided to conduct a test without her knowing about it.

One evening he sat in a chair on the far side of the room. Her back was to him and she could not see him. Very quietly he whispered, “Can you hear me?” There was no response.

Moving a little closer, he asked again, “Can you hear me now?” Still no reply. Quietly he edged closer and whispered the same words, but still no answer. Finally he moved right behind her and said, “Can you hear me now?” To his surprise and chagrin she responded with irritation in her voice, “For the fourth time, yes!”

What a warning to us about judging!

Most of us criticize others to cover up for the same faults in our own lives. We also tend to find fault with someone when in fact we are the ones in the wrong, not the other person.

Jesus knew human nature well. That’s why He said, “Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged” (Luke 6:36-37).  

Don't be too hard on the person who sins,
For the yardstick you lay on another
May someday be used as a measure for you;
Oh, be gracious and judge not, my brother! 

If you are looking for faults to correct, try looking in a mirror.

By Richard DeHaan   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 6:38  "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."

KJV 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.

  • Give, and it will be given to you it Lk 6:30; Dt 15:10; Ezra 7:27,28; Job 31:16-20; 42:11; Pr 3:9,10; 10:22; Pr 19:17; 22:9; Eccl 11:1,2; Mt 10:42; 2 Cor 8:14,15; 9:6-8; Php 4:17-19
  • They will pour into your lap a good measure Ps 79:12
  • For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return - Dt 19:16-21; Jdg 1:7; Esther 7:10; 9:25; Ps 18:25,26; 41:1,2; Mt 7:2; Mk 4:24; James 2:13; Rev 16:5,6
  • Luke 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • Luke 6:31-38 The Content of Kingdom Love - John MacArthur
  • Luke 6:36-45 Judging Others, Judging Self  - Steven Cole
  • Luke 6:17-49 Jesus' Teaching - Darrell Bock


Sumptuous means rich and superior in quality, extremely costly, rich, luxurious, or magnificent. 

Give, and it will be given to you Give is present imperative a command to make this one's lifestyle. Jesus had just discussed giving in Lk 6:30. This is a command with a promised blessing. Jesus gives this principle not simply as an isolated verse to encourage generous giving, but in the context of judging, condemning and pardoning (forgiving), indicating that God will mete out to us what we give out to others (and to God). Is this not a strong motivate to squelch my critical spirit, my tendency to condemn others, my tendency to hold a grudge or remain bitter to others? Woe! 

David Guzik -  When our judgment in regard to others is wrong, it is often not because we judge according to a standard but because we are hypocritical in the application of that standard—we ignore the standard in our own life. It is common to judge others by one standard and ourselves by another standard—being far more generous to ourselves than others.. According to the teaching of some rabbis in Jesus’ time, God had two measures that He used to judge people. One was a measure of justice and the other was a measure of mercy. Which ever measure you want God to use with you, you should use that same measure with others. We should only judge another’s behavior when we are mindful of the fact that we ourselves will be judged, and we should consider how we would want to be judged. (Enduring Word)

They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over - Who is they? Keener writes that " Because Jewish people sometimes used “they” as a way of avoiding God’s name, here “they will pour” (NASB) may mean that God will do it; or the idea may be that God will repay a person through others. The Old Testament often speaks of God judging people according to their ways (e.g., Is 65:7)." (IVP Background Commentary)

The image Jesus alludes to is the buying of grain in the marketplace where a grain merchant would fill a basket and if he was generous, would shake it (saleuo from salos = wave means to cause to move to and fro) press it down and shake it to make more room, and then pour until the grain overflowed into the buyer's lap!  Jesus is saying this is a wonderful picture of a generous person who is like a basket filled with grain and the grain is running over the sides depicting their overflowing generosity. This promise reminds one of the beautiful love story in the OT in which Boaz the kinsman redeemer poured out barley for Ruth to take home to Naomi...

Again he said, “Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it.” So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley (exactly how much this weighed is not known but there is no question it was "a good measure" given the context --and note that Ruth who had taken care of Naomi was now being blessed by Boaz, who is a wonderful OT picture of Jesus Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer) and laid it on her. Then she went into the city.’” (Ru 3:15+)

Darrell Bock has the following quote from Jeremias on the picture of grain shaken, etc - "The measuring of the corn is a process which is carried out according to an established pattern. The seller crouches on the ground with the measure between his legs. First of all he fills the measure three-quarters full and gives it a good shake with a rotatory motion to make the grains settle down. Then he fills the measure to the top and gives it another shake. Next he presses the corn together strongly with both hands. Finally he heaps it into a cone, tapping it carefully to press the grains together; from time to time he bores a hole in the cone and pours a few more grains into it, until there is literally no more room for a single grain. In this way, the purchaser is guaranteed an absolutely full measure; it cannot hold more." (BECNT - Luke)

Lap (2859)(kolpos) refers to the front of the body between the arms and so the bosom,  breast, or chest (Jn 13:23 = a place of honor and close fellowship at a meal. cf Lk 16:22-23+  =  a place of honor among the righteous dead and Jn 1:18+ = close beside the Father). Lk 6:38 uses kolpos in a second sense to refer to the fold of a garment, formed as it falls from the chest over the girdle, allowing it to be used as a pocket. A third NT nuance is found in Acts 27:39+ where kolpos refers to an inward extension of a sea and this an inlet, a bay or a gulf of the sea. The fold of a garment, formed as it falls from the chest over the girdle, used as a pocket. It was a fold of the robe pulled out above the girdle to form a pocket. The fold of the wide upper garment bound by the girdle made a pocket in common use (Ex. 4:6; Pr. 6:27; Ps 79:12; Isa. 65:6,7.; Jer. 32:18). Here are all 6 uses in the NT - bay(1), bosom(4), lap(1). - Lk. 6:38; Lk. 16:22; Lk. 16:23; Jn. 1:18; Jn. 13:23; Acts 27:39  Kolpos has many more uses 39x in 33v -  Ge 16:5; Ex 4:6-7; Nu 11:12; Dt. 13:6; 28:54,56; Ruth 4:16; 2 Sa 12:3,8; 1 Ki. 3:20; 17:19; 22:35; Job 19:27; 23:12; 31:34; Ps. 35:13; 74:11; 79:12; 89:50; 129:7; Pr. 6:27; 16:33; 17:23; 19:24; 26:15; 30:4; Eccl. 7:9; Isa. 49:22; 65:6-7; Jer. 32:18; Lam. 2:12; Hos. 8:1

Barclay - “The Jew wore a long loose robe down to the feet, and round the waist a girdle. The robe could be pulled up so that the bosom of the robe above the girdle formed a kind of outsize pocket in which things could be carried. So the modern equivalent of the phrase would be, ‘People will fill your pocket.’

(An example of negative payback!) Ps 79:12 And return to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom The reproach with which they have reproached You, O Lord. 

Jeremiah 32:18  (God) Who shows lovingkindness to thousands, but repays the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them (FATHERS! YOU MAY WANT TO READ THIS VERSE AGAIN! WHO REAPS YOUR CORRUPTION? cf Gal 6:8), O great and mighty God. The LORD of hosts is His name;


Good (2570)(kalos) describes that which is inherently excellent or intrinsically good, providing some special or superior benefit. Kalos is good with emphasis on that which is beautiful, handsome, excellent, surpassing, precious, commendable, admirable. 

Standard (3358)(metron) is that by which anything is measured. A unit of measurement, either length or volume.  (1) as an instrument for measuring measure, measure of capacity (Mt 7.2, Mk 4:24, Lk 6:38) or linear measure (Rev 21:15); (2) as the result of measuring = quantity, number, measure; figuratively limit, extent ("a measure of faith" = Ro 12.3, "according to the measure of Christ's gift" = Eph 4:7; "Spirit without measure" = Jn 3:34)

Gilbrant Metron occurs very frequently in classical Greek. The broad meaning includes the standard by which something is measured whether of content, space, length, or weight. The word may refer either to the standard of measure, i.e., the vessel, weight, or rule which is used as the tool for measuring. It may refer to the object which has been gauged—as a “measure” (metron) of barley. Metron may also be used to refer to abstract quantities as a “measure” of wisdom or of time. Men who were responsible for inspecting and maintaining the standards of measure were called metronomoi—a compound composed of metron and nomos, “law.” Metron is used over 50 times in the Septuagint. In Genesis 18:6 Abraham referred to “three measures of fine meal.” The Levites were charged with many responsibilities in the tabernacle, including measuring quantities of items involved in the worship ceremony (1 Chronicles 23:29). Moulton-Milligan documents several occurrences of metron in the papyri literature. Metron refers to a “measure” of wheat, to a royal standard of “measure,” and even to a “measure” of the pulse rate or heartbeat. New Testament. The word refers to the instrument used for measuring, whether a vessel measuring volume or a rod measuring length (cf. Matthew 7:2; Luke 6:38). In John 3:34 we are told that when God gives the Holy Spirit, He is not limited by some sort of “measure” (metron). It is also implied (Ephesians 4:7) that when God’s grace is given according to the “measure of...Christ,” there is an abundant and generous “measure.” Most of the occurrences of metron in the New Testament refer to some figurative type of “measure” as in Romans 12:3 (“measure of faith”), and Ephesians 4:13 (“measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”). (Complete Biblical Library)

Metron is used 13x in 12v - measure(8), measurements(1), proper(1), standard(4). Mt. 7:2 = "by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you"; Mt. 23:32 = “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers.; Mk. 4:24 = "Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides."; Lk. 6:38; Jn. 3:34 = "He gives the Spirit without measure."; Ro 12:3 = "God has allotted to each a measure of faith."; 2 Co. 10:13 = "we will not boast beyond our measure"; Eph. 4:7 = "grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift."; Eph. 4:13 = "the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ."; Eph. 4:16 = "according to the proper working of each individual" (NET = "as each one does his part" YLT = "to the working in the measure of each single part"); Rev. 21:17 = "human mearsurements"

Metron is used frequently in the Septuagint - Gen. 18:6; Exod. 16:36; Exod. 26:2; Exod. 26:8; Lev. 19:35; Deut. 2:6; Deut. 25:14; Deut. 25:15; 1 Ki. 6:25; 1 Ki. 7:11; 1 Ki. 7:37; 2 Ki. 7:1; 2 Ki. 7:16; 2 Ki. 7:18; 2 Ki. 21:13; 1 Chr. 23:29; 2 Chr. 2:10; Neh. 3:19; Neh. 3:20; Neh. 3:21; Neh. 3:24; Neh. 3:27; Neh. 3:30; Job 11:9; Job 28:25; Job 38:5; Ps. 80:5; Prov. 20:10; Isa. 5:10; Isa. 44:13; Lam. 2:8; Ezek. 4:11; Ezek. 4:16; Ezek. 40:3; Ezek. 40:5; Ezek. 40:10; Ezek. 40:21; Ezek. 40:24; Ezek. 40:28; Ezek. 40:29; Ezek. 40:32; Ezek. 40:33; Ezek. 40:35; Ezek. 42:11; Ezek. 42:16; Ezek. 42:17; Ezek. 42:18; Ezek. 42:19; Ezek. 43:13; Ezek. 45:10; Ezek. 45:11; Ezek. 45:13; Ezek. 46:14; Ezek. 46:22; Ezek. 47:3; Ezek. 48:16; Ezek. 48:30; Ezek. 48:33; Ezek. 48:34; Amos 8:5; Zech. 1:16; Zech. 5:6; Zech. 5:7; Zech. 5:8; Zech. 5:9; Zech. 5:10;

Measure (3354)(metreo) means (1). take the dimensions of, measure literally (Rev 11:1f; Rev 21:15–17) or figuratively (2 Cor 10:12) and (2) give out, deal out, apportion (Mt 7:2; Mk 4:24; Lk 6:38) English = metric. Used 11x in 9v - measure(7), measured(3), it will be measured(1). - Matt. 7:2; Mk. 4:24; Lk. 6:38; 2 Co. 10:12; Rev. 11:1; Rev. 11:2; Rev. 21:15; Rev. 21:16; Rev. 21:17. In the Septuagint in Exod. 16:18; Num. 35:5; Ruth 3:15; Isa. 40:12; Dan. 5:26 (Ru 3:15 - "Again he said, “Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it.” So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. Then she went into the city.")

Measured in return (488)(antimetreo) is used only here and means  measure in (re)turn, give back a (corresponding) measure, repay. 

He that gives of himself or his possessions
in the name of Christ is not giving, but sowing.
- Henry Morris

For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return - Measured in return is in the passive voice which in this context is the so-called divine passive describing God's promise to reward His children in the future. Bock adds that "The person’s activity sets the standard of God’s reaction, which does not so much involve the eschatological judgment of one’s salvation before God as it involves God’s evaluation of the character of one’s life and the pleasure he expresses at the way one has lived....In sum, the standard one uses in relation to others is the standard that God will apply." (BECNT-Luke)

THOUGHT - The question the truth in this passage begs is simple - What kind of eternal reward would we like to receive from God Who gives good gifts (James 1:17+), gifts that will "remain" for eternity (read Jn 15:16, cf Lk 18:29,30+)? The implication is that if we desire an eternal reward that is running over, our current character and liberality should be "running over." As someone once told me, you can get a good "barometer" of an individual's spiritual walk from their use of a hymnbook and their withdrawals in their checkbook! How would you judge your spiritual maturity if you looked at your checkbook for the last six months? One is reminded of Jesus' words (a command) to "seek (present imperative - not self effort but Spirit enabled!) first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Mt 6:33+) Beloved, we have one short life on earth to prepare well for one "long" life in Heaven!

He who gives to the poor will never want,
But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses. 
-- Proverbs 28:27

Wiersbe comments that in Luke 6:37-38 Jesus is teaching "that we reap what we sow and in the amount that we sow (cf Gal 6:7-10+). If we judge others, we will ourselves be judged. If we forgive, we shall be forgiven, but if we condemn, we shall be condemned (see Mt. 18:21-35). He was not talking about eternal judgment but the way we are treated in this life. If we live to give, God will see to it that we receive; but if we live only to get, God will see to it that we lose. This principle applies not only to our giving of money, but also to the giving of ourselves in ministry to others. (BEC)

Steven Cole explains that what Jesus is saying is

If we are generous, we will be treated generously. Does our Lord mean that people will treat us that way? Or, does He mean that God will treat us that way? I take it to mean both. On the human plane, the statements are proverbial in the sense that they are generally true, not absolutely true in every case. It is generally true that if you are a merciful person, not condemning others for their faults, others will be gracious toward you. If you are quick to forgive, others will be prone to forgive you. If you are generous, others will be generous toward you. On the other hand, if you condemn people, if you refuse to forgive, if you are stingy, it will come back to you. This is illustrated by an incident in the childhood of Louis Mayer, the founder of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio. He had a fight with another boy and lost. While his mother was bathing his black eye, he told her how the fight was entirely the other boy’s fault. His mother said nothing, but after dressing his eye, she took Louis to the back door of their home. Nearby were several hills that created a fine echo. She told him to call those hills all the bad names he could think of. He did so and the bad names all came back to him. “Now,” she said, “call out, ‘God bless you.’” He did so and back came “God bless you.” Mayer said he never forgot that lesson. How you treat others comes back to you. But Jesus’ words also apply to God’s treatment of us, both now (through other people, as just mentioned) and in the future judgment when we stand before Him. If we truly are in Christ through faith in His shed blood, there is no eternal condemnation (Ro 8:1-note). But our deeds will be judged and those that are wood, hay, and stubble will be burned and we will suffer loss. We will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Co 3:15; 2 Co 5:10-note). The Bible says that God is opposed to the proud, but He gives grace to the humble (1Pe 5:5-note). As we’ve seen, a judgmental person who refuses to forgive others is self-righteous and proud. We put ourselves in opposition to God if we condemn and refuse to forgive those who have wronged us. If we persist in our stubborn refusal to obey the merciful Father, it may reveal that He is not our Father, in which case we are under His judgment and wrath. General Oglethorpe once said to John Wesley, “I never forgive and I never forget.” Wesley replied, “Then, sir, I hope you never sin.” If we are sinners who need mercy, we must show God’s mercy to those who have wronged us. Jesus goes on to show us that rather than judging others, our focus should be on judging ourselves. (Luke 6:36-45 Judging Others, Judging Self) (Bolding added)

The OT frequently spoke of the blessings upon the generous:

Deuteronomy 15:10  “You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.

Proverbs 19:17 One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed. 

Proverbs  22:9 He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food to the poor. 

Proverbs  28:8 He who increases his wealth by interest and usury Gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor.  

Luke 6:39  And He also spoke a parable to them: "A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?

KJV Luke 6:39  And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?


And He also spoke a parable to them: Who is them? The crowd? More likely His disciples. Remember that Jesus is speaking primarily to His apostles in this section and warning them about who they follow (but see below for other thoughts on the interpretation of this "parable.") It may be connected to the preceding topic of judging others, in that before judging others we must judge ourselves or we will be like blind leaders of the blind

Parable (symbol) (3850)(parabole from para = beside, near + ballo = throw, cast; English "parable") is literally a throwing beside or placing of one thing by the side of another (juxtaposition as of ships in battle in classic Greek). The metaphorical meaning is to place or lay something besides something else for the purpose of comparison. (Mt 24:32, Mk 13:28, Mk 3:23, Lk 14:7). An illustration (Mt 13:3). 

MacArthur parabole (parable) can refer to an extended analogy (cf. Luke 12:16; 15:3; 18:9; 19:11), but also to a simple proverb (cf. Luke 4:23; 5:36), as it does here. This parable reflects a problem that was all too familiar to the people of Jesus’ day. Blindness was common in the ancient world, as it still is today in various parts of the world. Dangers were everywhere for the blind, including unfenced quarries, crevices and precipices, and dry wells that had not been covered or filled in with dirt. The truth that a blind man cannot guide a blind man is self-evident; since a blind man cannot see where he himself is going he cannot safely or reliably lead another blind person. The likely result is that they will both fall into a pit and be severely injured or killed. Blindness is used metaphorically in both the Old and New Testaments to describe being void of truth and lacking spiritual insight (e.g., Isa. 42:7; 43:8; 44:18; Jer. 5:21; Ps. 82:5; Acts 26:18; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 2:11; Rev. 3:17). The spiritual principle is obvious: those who follow leaders who do not know the way to God’s kingdom will never get there. Instead, they will all fall into the pit of hell. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10).

A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? - Lenski quips that "The questions are of such simplicity and their interrogative form so childlike that a touch of humor plays into them." Jesus begins with a clearly rhetorical question about a blind guide. Can he is preceded by the Greek word meti in an interrogative (question) particle which anticipates a negative reply. Of course a blind man cannot lead a blind man. Jesus is not referring to physical blindness, but the inability to see spiritual truth. Only one who is born again and has the eyes of their heart opened by the Spirit can discern spiritual truth. And so a "blind" man cannot lead others and help them find their way. NET Note says "The picture of a blind man leading a blind man is a warning to watch who one follows: Won’t they both fall into a pit? The sermon has been about religious choices and reacting graciously to those who oppose the followers of Jesus. Here Jesus’ point was to be careful who you follow and where they are taking you." This picture is similar to Jesus' warning against the Pharisees “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Mt 15:14)

Guide (3594)(hodegeo) means to lead, guide literally (Mt 15:14; Lk 6:39; Rev 7:17) or figuratively to guide, teach or instruct (in learning) (Jn 16:13 = " the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you"; Ac 8:31). Used 5x - Matt. 15:14; Lk. 6:39; Jn. 16:13; Acts 8:31+ = "“Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?”; Rev. 7:17

Will they not both fall into a pit? Here the question is prefaced with ouchi which is an interrogative word in a question which expects an affirmative reply. The clear teaching is that a blind leader will lead those who follow them to disaster and death and ultimately to eternal doom! One cannot help but think of the tragedy of the cult leader Jim Jones which led to mass suicide and murder in the jungle (talk about a "pit"!)! While there is controversy in how to interpret this passage, one application is crystal clear to all of us - be careful who you follow!  The question that is debated in the commentaries is to whom does the blind guide refer? Choices are (1) false teachers in general (cf Mt 15:14) or (2) the disciples themselves who need to be aware that only Jesus can guide them.

Nelson's NKJV Study Bible - It is debated whether Jesus was describing the Pharisees here or simply warning His disciples about dangerous attitudes. The focus on the disciples' attitudes suggests the latter, though the remark would also have applied to the teachers with whom Jesus was in conflict.

John MacArthur - The spiritual principle is obvious: those who follow leaders who do not know the way to God’s kingdom will never get there. Instead, they will all fall into the pit of hell. Jesus was referring in particular to Israel’s blind religious guides, the scribes and Pharisees. On another occasion, He used this same parable of the blind leading the blind to refer specifically to them (Matt. 15:14), while in His diatribe against the Pharisees Jesus repeatedly excoriated them for their spiritual blindness (Matt. 23:16, 17, 19, 24, 26). The inevitable outcome was that they led their followers to the same hell to which they were headed (Matt. 23:15). (MNTC-Luke)

Wiersbe seems to apply Jesus' warning to both disciples and Pharisees (false teachers) -  To begin with, as His disciples, we must be sure that we see clearly enough to guide others in their spiritual walk. While there are blind people who have a keen sense of direction, it is not likely any of them will be hired as airplane pilots or wilderness guides. Jesus was referring primarily to the Pharisees who were leading the people astray (Matt. 15:14; 23:16). If we see ourselves as excellent guides, but do not realize our blindness, we will only lead people into the ditch (see Rom. 2:17-22).

Constable feels that in this passage Jesus "compared the disciples to them (Pharisees). The disciples could be blind guides if they did not follow Jesus' instructions about loving (Lk 6:27-38)."

D A Carson - Though the Pharisees and teachers of the law had scrolls and interpreted them in the synagogues, this does not mean that they really understood them … The Pharisees did not follow Jesus; so they did not understand and follow the Scriptures.” (EBC)

R C H Lenski - Nothing is worse than when men think that they see when they are in reality blind, and when in their delusion they make bold to act as leaders and guides for others whom they think blind and who, indeed, are blind in fact. This was the fatal delusion of the scribes and Pharisees, whose was a self-willed, deliberate blindness, a fixed opposition to the light and to sight, who obdurately chose darkness rather than light (John 3:19) and proudly called their blindness sight (John 10:40, 41), who loved to be called οἱ βλέποντες as so many today love to be called “scientists,” men who know. So they set themselves up as guides for others—with fatal results....The ground is so rocky in Palestine that stone is dug out along the roads for surfacing them, and dug out in other places for other purposes, leaving many dangerous pits. The author saw them when travelling and was reminded of the sheep falling into the pit on a Sabbath and of these blind men. Their delusion is comical in a way, but it is deadly in the end. When Jesus said “pit” he may well have had in mind the pit of hell, for he is speaking of the fatal results of spiritual blindness. (ISLG)

Heinrich Meyer - The meaning of the parable: He to whom on his part the knowledge of the divine truth is wanting cannot lead others who have it not to the Messianic salvation; they will both fall into the Gehenna of moral error and confusion on the way. (CEC-Luke)

UBS Handbook - The clause marks the beginning of a new section (vv. 39f.) which is but loosely connected with what precedes, and contains implicit or explicit injunctions for the disciples (cp. v 40). The chain of thought appears to be as follows: the disciples who have to give leadership may not be blind. If they are blind as are those whom they are to lead they will fail. But how can they be able to give leadership? Only when they are fully trained and have become like their teacher. For parabolē cp. on 4:23 and 5:36. Here the meaning is “parable-like proverb” (Grundmann). autois refers to the disciples (cp. v. 20).

Robert Stein - How this parable relates to what has preceded is unclear. This might be a polemic addressed against false teachers, but Luke implied in the next verse (cf. also 6:20) that the disciples were the main audience to whom these teachings were addressed. Or the parable might describe the kind of inward character that causes one to keep the commands of 6:37–38, but this is far from evident. More probably, in light of the subject of 6:37–38, 41–42 (judging others), Luke understood the parable as referring to the danger of being blind to one’s own faults and at the same time judging others. If a disciple has not learned enough to see his or her own faults and yet judges others, how can such a person truly teach or correct others? Both teacher and pupil will be blind and fall into a pit. For a similar parallel in Paul, cf. Rom 2:19. (NAC-Luke)

Hendriksen - Jesus makes a transition to a new subject. At first there may seem to be no connection at all with the preceding. Nevertheless there may well be one. The Master has been saying, “Blessed are you poor.… Woe to you who are rich.… Love your enemies … lend without expecting to get anything back.” All this was strange, startling, yet also thought-provoking. It was nourishing food for the soul. It contrasted sharply with the sickly, warmed-up stew that was being constantly ladled to them by their scribes. See Matt. 7:28; Mark 1:22. The people could not help noticing the difference. So Jesus now explains this contrast: these scribes are blind. They cannot shed light because, to a considerable extent, they do not honor the light. They resemble a blind guide who is trying to lead a blind man, with the result that both fall into a pit....The implication is that people should not follow those blind guides. (Baker NTC-Luke)

Alfred Plummer - The connexion with what precedes perhaps is, that, before judging others, we must judge ourselves; otherwise we shall be blind leaders of the blind. (ICC - Luke)

Joseph Fitzmyer - The disciples are to be leaders of people, but they cannot be blinded guides; they must see the way first (AYBC-Luke)

J C Ryle - WE learn, in the first place, from these verses, the great danger of listening to false teachers in religion. Our Lord compares such teachers and their hearers to the blind leading the blind, and asks the reasonable question, “Shall they not both fall into the ditch?” He goes on to confirm the importance of His warning by declaring, that “the disciple is not above his master,” and the scholar cannot be expected to know more than his teacher. If a man will hear unsound instruction, we cannot expect him to become otherwise than unsound in the faith himself. The subject which our Lord brings before us here deserves far more attention than it generally receives. The amount of evil which unsound religious teaching has brought on the Church in every age is incalculable. The loss of souls which it has occasioned is fearful to contemplate. A teacher who does not know the way to heaven himself, is not likely to lead his hearers to heaven. The man who hears such a teacher runs a fearful risk himself of being lost eternally. “If the blind lead the blind both must fall into the ditch.” If we would escape the danger against which our Lord warns us, we must not neglect to prove the teaching that we hear by the holy Scriptures. We must not believe things merely because ministers say them. We must not suppose, as a matter of course, that ministers can make no mistakes. We must call to mind our Lord’s words on another occasion, “Beware of false prophets.” (Matt. 7:15.) We must remember the advice of St. Paul and St. John: “Prove all things.” “Try the spirits whether they are of God.” (1 Thess. 5:21; 1 John 4:1.) With the Bible in our hands, and the promise of guidance from the Holy Ghost to all who seek it, we shall be without excuse if our souls are led astray. The blindness of ministers is no excuse for the darkness of the people. The man who from indolence, or superstition, or affected humility, refuses to distrust the teaching of the minister whom he finds set over him, however unsound it may be, will at length share his minister’s portion. If people will trust blind guides, they must not be surprised if they are led to the pit. (Expository Thoughts on Luke)

John Nolland - There can be little doubt that v 39 is addressed to those being led rather than to leaders (cf. the Matthean setting of the tradition [Matt 15:14]), and that the directive is: “Do not be led by blind leaders.” It seems foolish to attempt to specify more closely who such blind leaders might be. Since the remainder of the sermon (see below) is directed toward underlining the fundamental importance of the sermon’s teaching on love of enemies and not judging, a blind leader must be anybody who does not recognize the fundamental importance of these directives. The idea of the blind leading the blind is proverbial. (WBC-Luke)

John Phillips suggests that "the Lord had the Pharisees in mind here (cf Mt 15:14). They thought that they had a monopoly on divine truth, whereas they were, in fact, blind. They had mean little souls and could not lift their disciples into a victorious living of which they themselves were ignorant. By contrast, those who followed Him would avoid the peril of the ditch because He taught truth with authority from on high. He was a Master worth following. One wonders how the Lord's new apostles responded to all of these teachings. They had never heard teaching like this!" (Exploring the Gospel of Luke: An Expository Commentary)

Walter Liefeld - Some have found vv. 39–40 difficult to relate to the context. If Jesus still has the Pharisees in mind, it is not necessary to assume that he is directly accusing them. Rather his thought in addressing the disciples runs like this: The disciple of a rabbi dedicates himself to his master’s teachings and way of life. Thus he cannot be expected to be different from, or better than, his master (v. 40). If the rabbi lacks a proper view of life, his student will be also misled (v. 39). The criticism and hostility already apparent in the Pharisees may unfortunately crop up in their disciples, but it must never find a place among Jesus’ disciples. This interpretation assumes that v. 40 carries on the thought of v. 39, in which both teacher and follower are blind—not a description of Jesus and his disciples. If, however, v. 40 introduces a new comparison, it might mean that Jesus’ disciples ought not to go beyond what they have learned from him—viz., a merciful uncensorious spirit. In that instance v. 39 could refer to the Pharisees or others. (EBC)

Steven Cole - Some commentators struggle with the flow of thought here, but I think there is a logical flow. Jesus was speaking primarily to His disciples, whom He was training to be leaders. Rather than judging others (Lu 6:36-38), they must judge themselves or they will be like blind guides of the blind, whose followers would be just like them (Lu 6:39-40). Thus they must take the log out of their own eye before they try to help others with the speck in their eye (Lu 6:41-42). As they examine themselves, they should look at their fruit (Lu 6:43-45). If their words are judgmental, bitter, and evil, it indicates that their hearts are evil. But if they are merciful, forgiving, and generous, it indicates that God has truly done a work of grace in their hearts. That is the flow of thought here. (Judging Others, Judging Self Luke 6:36-45) (Bolding added)

Pit (999)(bothunos which could be related to bothros, a hole, trench, or pit dug in the ground. Vine thinks is connected to bathos = deep) means literally a hole in the ground and thus a pit or cistern. Jesus clearly uses this word to symbolize destruction (Mt 15:14, Lk 6:39). Hendriksen adds that "Palestine’s rugged terrain was full of pits, holes into which people might fall and meet with very serious accidents. Note the many references to such pits in Scripture; Ps. 40:2; 57:6; Prov. 23:27; 26:27; 28:10; Eccles. 10:8; Matt. 12:11; Luke 14:5, etc. It is clear from these references that the term pit is frequently used in a figurative sense." (Ibid)

Bothunos - 3x in the NT Matthew 12:11  Matthew 15:14 Luke 6:39 

Bothunos - 12x in 9v in the Septuagint - 2 Sa 18:17 (refers to a grave for Absalom); 2 Ki. 3:16; Isa. 24:17-18 (refers to an animal trap); Isa 47:11; 51:1 ("rock" and "quarry" refer here to Abraham and Sarah, the progenitors of the nation); Jer. 48:28,43-44

MacArthur summarizes Lk 6:39-45 - Four characteristics of false teachers mark them as dangerous and unreliable spiritual guides:

  1. they are blind (Lk 6:39),
  2. earthly (Lk 6:40),
  3. hypocrites (Lk 6:41-42),
  4. evil (Lk 6:43-45). (Ibid)

Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible summarizes Luke 6:39-45 - There are four rules, four warnings that must be watched if we are to live life to the fullest and be assured of eternal life.

  1. Watch blindness: one's leaders and how one leads (Lk 6:39).
  2. Watch the Master (the Lord Himself) (Lk 6:40).
  3. Watch hypocrisy and the criticism of others (Lk 6:41-42).
  4. Watch the fruit that a man brings forth (Lk 6:43-45).

Bruce Barton - BLINDNESS
Be careful whom you follow. Some people, because of their age, experience, and track record, are wonderful guides and mentors. They can lead the way because they have been there themselves, and they know the right paths to take. They have learned from both their successes and their failures. Other people merely repeat their mistakes over and over. These people are “blind,” as Jesus said (Lk 6:39), and they lead others down the wrong road with them. Do you have a mentor, someone who willingly shares his or her insights and experience with you? The right role model or mentor can bring tremendous benefits to your life. The wrong one can bring grief and sorrow. Be careful whom you follow. (LAC) 

THOUGHT Howard Hendricks used to say something like everyone needs a Paul to lead and a Timothy they can lead (disciple). How are you doing in this regard? Even pastors who yes are discipling the flock, should also have a Timothy! Jesus taught the crowds but He had His Timothy's! Are you obeying Jesus' last command to MAKE DISCIPLES? If you are an older saint and you are simply sitting and "soaking", sadly you are sinning! (Read Ps 92:12-15, Ps 103:5) Are you still bearing fruit in your old age? If not you are disobeying Jesus' command (the only actual command in the so-called "Great Commission!" = "Go therefore and make disciples (matheteuo in the aorist imperative = "Nike commercial command!" "Just do it!" But only possible to obey as you depend on the Holy Spirit) of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always (WHO? YES JESUS, BUT THE ONE HE SENT - THE SPIRIT OF JESUS!), even to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:19, 20+)

Luke 6:40  "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

NET  Luke 6:40 A disciple is not greater than his teacher, but everyone when fully trained will be like his teacher.

GNT  Luke 6:40 οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον· κατηρτισμένος δὲ πᾶς ἔσται ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ.

NLT  Luke 6:40 Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.

KJV  Luke 6:40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

ESV  Luke 6:40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

NIV  Luke 6:40 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

ASV  Luke 6:40 The disciple is not above his teacher: but every one when he is perfected shall be as his teacher.

CSB  Luke 6:40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

NKJ  Luke 6:40 "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.

NRS  Luke 6:40 A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher.

YLT  Luke 6:40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one perfected shall be as his teacher.

NAB  Luke 6:40 No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.

NJB  Luke 6:40 Disciple is not superior to teacher; but fully trained disciple will be like teacher.

GWN  Luke 6:40 A student is no better than his teacher. But everyone who is well-trained will be like his teacher.

BBE  Luke 6:40 The disciple is not greater than his master, but everyone whose learning is complete will be like his master.


Jesus made similar statements in Matthew and John

Matthew 10:24  “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.

John 13:16;“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.

John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

A pupil is not above his teacher - A better translation than pupil is disciple. Keep in mind that Jesus' disciples had little education and were judged by the Jewish intelligentsia to be "uneducated and untrained men." (Acts 4:13+). "In the ancient world, the teacher-pupil relationship was a personal one, since one learned by oral instruction rather than by books, which were not readily available. One virtually lived alongside the teacher. In addition, these teachers were followed, because they were regarded as authorities." (Bock) Jesus is reminding His men of their status as disciples and the importance of the teacher. If the teacher teaches error most likely his pupils will also teach error. The pupil is inevitably limited by the limitations of their teacher. In the OT Hosea 4:9 says it proverbially like this "Like people, like priest." And of course the priest were rebellious and so were the people of Israel. This is a immutable principle. 

THOUGHT This begs a practical question - Who is discipling you? Are they your peer? Or are they an older (hopefully wiser with age and the Word) person? Are you attending studies taught by someone who has not been a believer for very long (THIS IS NOT ADVISABLE!)? Who are you following? This reminds one of Paul's last letter to Timothy in which he says "Now you (TIMOTHY) followed my teaching (DOCTRINE), conduct (BEHAVIOR), purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!" (2 Ti 3:10-11+) And in 2 Ti 2:2+ Paul said "The things which you have heard from me (THE TEACHER) in the presence of many witnesses, (YOU THE PUPIL, LEARNER, DISCIPLE) entrust these to faithful men (OTHER DISCIPLES) who will be able to teach (DISCIPLE) others also."

Wiersbe notes that Jesus "reminds us that we cannot lead others where we have not been ourselves, nor can we be all that our Master is. In fact, the more we strive to be like Him, the more we realize how far short we fall. This is a warning against pride, for nothing blinds a person like pride." (Ibid)

The best example to follow (even if you don't have an older person in real life to follow) is the life and conduct of JESUS. If we spend time with Him in His Word, especially the Gospels, we will become like Him as His Spirit produces Christlikeness in our lives. That is why daily being in the Word is so critical, so the Word will get into us and the Spirit can use it to change us. No intake of Word = no growth in salvation (no progressive sanctification)! Read (memorize) 1 Pe 2:2b+, 2 Cor 3:18+, 2 Pe 3:18+

Teacher (1320)(didaskalos from didasko = teach to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught) is one who provides instruction or systematically imparts truth. The teacher teaches in such a way as to shape will of the disciple by content of what is taught. A good teacher uses the Word of Truth in such a way that the Holy Spirit uses it to renew and transform the mind of the disciple into thinking like God thinks (as much as that is humanly possible with our finite minds).

Pupil (disciple, learner)(3101)(mathetes) is one who accepts instruction and makes it their rule of conduct. He or she learns from another by instruction. Lenski writes "A mathetes is one who has imbibed the spirit of his teacher. But as being one who is a disciple he remains under his teacher, for the thing that makes him what he is he has received and will always have received from his teacher." (Ibid)

But everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher - Everyone in context refers to every disciple. The goal is to be fully trained, not like those described in Hebrews 5:12-13+ "though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant." The idea of fully trained (katartizo) is "rendered fit" or  "complete" and the perfect tense speaks of his training as having reached a state of completion (a state at which the disciple has arrived), a state which lasts or endures. One classical use of katartizo described "a fully built ship, now equipped with sails and rigging, ready to sail." This is a great picture of a disciple who is now "ready to sail" on his own. This verb katartizo is also used in Hebrews 11:3+ of the universe which was "prepared (katartizo) by the Word of God (cf Jesus "the Word" in Jn 1:1, 3+)." Creation of the universe by the Word is a great picture for us to ponder, for what is better for assuring a disciple is fully trained then the Word of God? Answer? Nothing is better and nothing replaces the pure milk of the Word (1 Pe 2:2b+)!

Fully trained (2675)(katartizo from katá = with + artízō = to adjust, fit, finish, in turn from ártios = fit, complete) means to fit or join together and so to mend or repair. The KJV rendering of "perfect" is a bit misleading. The idea of this verb is that the pupil is thoroughly prepared and equipped, to be  fully qualified or made fully adequate. Katartízō conveys the fundamental idea of putting something into its appropriate condition so it will function well. It conveys the idea of making whole by fitting together, to order and arrange properly. When applied to that which is weak and defective, it denotes setting right what has gone wrong, to restore to a former condition, whether mending broken nets or setting broken bones. Katartizo was used in secular Greek of baby chicks, old enough to be sold in the market as fryers. It was used to describe broken bones which were mended so that a limb was fit to be used again (Are we all not "broken" by sin in need of "mending" by Jesus and His Word?). Robertson says "it is a long process to get the pupil patched up to the plane of his teacher." It was used in Mt 4:21+ of torn fishing nets which were repaired and capable of fulfilling their purpose of catching fish (cf Mk 1:19+). Is this not a great metaphor of a disciple who after being rendered fit and complete are to fulfill their purpose of "catching fish," as "fishers of men!" All uses of katartizo - Matt. 4:21; Matt. 21:16; Mk. 1:19; Lk. 6:40; Rom. 9:22; 1 Co. 1:10; 2 Co. 13:11; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 3:10; Heb. 10:5; Heb. 11:3; Heb. 13:21; 1 Pet. 5:10

Teacher (1320)(didaskalos from didasko = teach to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught <> cp didaskalía) is one who provides instruction or systematically imparts truth. The teacher teaches in such a way as to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught. Teachers build followers who go the same direction they do.

Jesus' words remind us of Paul's words to Timothy "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, EQUIPPED (exartizo [synonym of katartizo] was used of a rescue boat which was completely outfitted) for every good work." (2 Ti 3:16-17+).

Lenski on will be like his teacher - After having fully imbibed his teacher’s spirit and principles. How is he then? Only “as his teacher.” As a son always remains a son, no matter how great he becomes, so a disciple always remains a disciple, no matter how great he grows. This is true of every disciple who is more than a pupil, who absorbs more from his teacher than mere learning. And it is most eminently true of a disciple of Jesus. In the case of fine earthly teachers it may be possible that a disciple absorbs all of his teacher’s spirit and, as Jesus says, then will be “as his teacher.” But in the case of our teacher Jesus none can rise that high in his discipleship. Oh, that we could be “as our Teacher”! Compare Phil 2:5+; Mt. 11:29+; Jn 13:15; 1 Pe 2:21+; 1 Jn 2:6+.....There is one danger: not to see at all and thus to become a joke and a calamity. A second danger is: to try to be above the teacher and not to be as the teacher. (Ibid)

Henry Morris - A disciple is to learn from his teacher, so that when his training is complete, he will be just like his master. Our standard of excellence is the perfection of Christ Himself, and we should study and practice diligently in striving to attain that standard, knowing that we are predestined "to be conformed to the image" of our Master (Romans 8:29-note) when we finally see Him as He is (1 John 3:2+). (Ed: In the meantime we are "works in process" and hopefully in "progress!") (Ibid)

MacArthur - Since false teachers neither come from God nor know the way to God, they cannot bring people to Him. In ancient days students often followed their teachers regularly, and received instruction in the context of daily life experiences. That allowed teachers to reproduce themselves in their students in practical, not just theoretical ways, but even those fully trained in that manner could at best only be like their teacher. If he did not understand the truth of God, neither would they. (Ibid)

Leon Morris - The student’s progress is limited by the teaching he gets: he cannot know more than his teacher. We must not understand this in terms of our own situation, where libraries and other facilities put endless possibilities before the student. Jesus is speaking of a time when the disciple had only his rabbi as his source of information. To claim that he was above his teacher was the height of presumption. (TNTC-Luke)

Fitzmyer - One should not accept inadequate teachers because as a disciple one is constrained by the limitations of one’s teacher. A teacher who does not call for love of enemies and not judging leaves his disciples in their blindness.... the teacher does not merely impart a body of information but rather teaches the disciple to be as a person what the teacher already is. (AYBC-Luke)

Barclay - Jesus warned that teachers cannot lead pupils beyond their own level of achievement. That is a double warning to us. In our learning we must seek only the best teacher for only the most knowledgeable can lead us farthest on; in our teaching we must remember that we cannot teach what we do not know.

Bock favors this application -Do not go beyond Jesus’ teaching, as the false teachers do. Contextually, Lk 6:40 is a bridge between the danger of following the blind leader and the warning about judging. The connection between those two sections is the danger of attributing too great an authority to oneself. The error of spiritual blindness is often that it thinks it sees. Blind people may think they know where they are going but do not, while those who judge the specks in others are too busy examining others to see their own faults correctly. In both cases the danger is a lack of self-examination and a sense of overconfidence. The solution is to not go beyond the teacher, who will clearly emerge as Jesus in Lk 6:46–49. This sense needs one qualification: even though the Pharisees linger in the background of Jesus’ saying, in Luke’s day the application would be to anyone who shared their error of arrogance. Luke’s point is this: do not err, pick the right teacher (i.e., Jesus or one who truly follows him). The warning is proverbial and fits the setting of Jesus’ ministry, though its application is timeless.(Ibid)

Luke 6:41  "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

KJV 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?


Parallel passage -

Matthew 7:3-5+ Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye - Another rhetorical question. How ludicrous would it be for a man with a beam in his eye to even be able to see a fleck of dust in another's eye and propose to remove it! "Eye doctors" who themselves cannot see to perform the delicate maneuvers necessary to perform eye surgery! Speck is a small piece of wood (like a piece of sawdust), chaff, or straw and is used figuratively of faults (defects of secondary importance, slight imperfections, minor personal faults, small moral faults) we detect and pick on in others. "Speck was used by Classical Greek writers for the material that made up a bird's nest. Therefore, we are talking about bits of plant material and similar insignificant small items." (Utley) Brother's in this context could refer either to other Jews (cf. Lk 14:12; Acts 2:29 cf. Lk 6:22, Acts 2:37; 3:17; 7:2) or other believers (cf. Lk 17:3; Lk 22:32; Acts 1:15; Acts 6:3)

But do not notice (katanoeo in present tense - continually consider carefully or be concerned about) the log that is in your own eye - This is a dramatic hyperbole, for a log (or beam) refers to a huge plank, like the main beam on a building, a marked contrast with the small speck. 

Steven Cole - We must judge our own sins, or we are like the blind leading the blind (Lk 6:39-40). Jesus is pushing His disciples to examine themselves. If they are blind to their own sins, how can they help others deal with their sins? Although Luke does not mention it here, the backdrop for Jesus’ illustration was the Pharisees, whom He called blind guides of the blind (Mt 15:14; Mt 23:16, Mat 23:24). These men were marked by spiritual pride. They did not confront their own sins and acknowledge their constant need of God’s grace. If the disciples followed them, they would become like them, falling into the pit of self-righteousness. But if they will follow the merciful Lord Jesus, they will become like Him. It’s a warning to be careful to follow spiritual leaders who confront their own sins and to avoid leaders who are self-righteous. (Judging Others, Judging Self)

Wiersbe makes an excellent point that "The emphasis here is on being honest with ourselves and not becoming hypocrites. It is easy to try to help a brother with his faults just so we can cover up our own sins! People who are constantly criticizing others are usually guilty of something worse in their own lives." (BEC)

Do not notice the log that is in your own eye - Clearly Jesus is exaggerating for no one could literally have a huge piece of lumber in their eye. Jesus often used hyperbole or exaggeration as a means of teaching spiritual truth (Mt. 5:29-30; Mt 19:24; Mt 23:24). His point is that you cannot see clearly what is in another's eye because you have a major personal problem that first needs to be corrected.

Lenski - He who is devoid of all spiritual insight pretends to aid another who is lacking in that insight to a small degree. The very idea is farcical—yet men act thus. (Ibid)

Liefeld observes that "The humorous illustration (Lk 6:41) of the “speck” (karphos) and the “plank” (dokon) hits the mark with force when the person who casually calls the person he is criticizing “brother” (Lk 6:42) suddenly hears himself called “hypocrite” by the Lord. (EBC)

W A Criswell - The illustration is dramatically exaggerated and is typical of the humorous reproof that Jesus frequently uses (Lk 18:25; Matt. 23:24). Jesus was able to see humor in life, while simultaneously addressing serious subjects. Jesus requires honest self-evaluation and self-improvement as the prerequisite to helping one's fellow. Failure to do so is tantamount to hypocrisy.

MacArthur - In addition to being spiritually blind and ignorant of divine truth, false teachers also lack integrity; they are hypocrites. They presume to be able to provide others with the answers to their spiritual questions, but are void of the truth, even for themselves. (Ibid)

Wiersbe - Continuing the image of "the eye," Jesus taught that we must be able to see clearly enough to help our brother see better. It certainly is not wrong to help a brother get a painful speck of dirt out of his eye, provided we can see what we are doing. The emphasis here is on being honest with ourselves and not becoming hypocrites. It is easy to try to help a brother with his faults just so we can cover up our own sins! People who are constantly criticizing others are usually guilty of something worse in their own lives. (Ibid)

Mattoon - Beloved, if I am walking on a frozen lake in the winter time and suddenly, I hear the ice starting to crack, I am not going to continue my same direction, I am going to turn around immediately and not go any further. The same principle holds true in your Christian life. If your path is about to destroy you, you should stop immediately what you are doing and turn around into the right direction. It will be difficult for you to have a ministry with others when your own life is not what it ought to be before God. You have to look at yourself in the mirror day after day. The person in the mirror knows you better than anyone else. Is he pointing the finger at you to get the garbage out of your life or do you have confidence because your life is right with the Lord? You have to live with yourself? The question is, "Can you live in peace or is your heart full of guilt and remorse?"

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to a mirror and look at yourself,
And see what THAT man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or wife
Who judgment upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people may think you a straight-shootin' chum
And call you a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the man in the glass.

Author Unknown

J C Ryle - We learn, secondly, from these verses, that those who reprove the sins of others should strive to be of blameless life. Our Lord teaches us this lesson by a practical saying. He shows the unreasonableness of a man finding fault with “a mote,” or trifling thing in a brother’s eye, while he himself has “a beam,” or some large and formidable object sticking in his own eye. The lesson must doubtless be received with suitable and scriptural qualifications. If no man is to teach or preach to others, until he himself is faultless, there could be no teaching or preaching in the world. The erring would never be corrected, and the wicked would never be reproved. To put such a sense as this on our Lord’s words, brings them into collision with other plain passages of Scripture. The main object of our Lord Jesus appears to be to impress on ministers and teachers the importance of consistency of life. The passage is a solemn warning not to contradict by our lives what we have said with our lips. The office of the preacher will never command attention unless he practices what he preaches. Episcopal ordination, university degrees, high-sounding titles, a loud profession of doctrinal purity, will never procure respect for a minister’s sermon, if his congregation sees him cleaving to ungodly habits. But there is much here which we shall all do well to remember. The lesson is one which many besides ministers should seriously consider. All heads of families and masters of households, all parents, all teachers of schools, all tutors, all managers of young people,—should often think of the “mote” and the “beam.” All such should see in our Lord’s words the mighty lesson, that nothing influences others so much as consistency. Let the lesson be treasured up and not forgotten.

Steven Cole - We must judge our own sins as the prerequisite to helping others with their sins (Luke 6:41-42). Note that Jesus does not say that we should not help a brother with the speck in his eye, but rather, we should first take the log out of our own eye so that we can see clearly to help him with his speck. The word for “log” refers to the main supporting beam of a house. Your fellow worker has a speck of sawdust in his eye that he needs help removing. But how ridiculous for you to try to help when you have a beam in your own eye! Jesus is humorously pointing out how prone we all are to focus on and exaggerate the faults of others but to minimize or even ignore our own glaring faults. We’re quick to blame others, but we’re slow to blame ourselves. If someone else is late for an appointment with me, I think, “How inconsiderate! Doesn’t he know that I’m busy?” But if I’m late for an appointment, I think, “He’ll just have to realize that I’m a busy man. I couldn’t help being late.” If I’m in a hurry, I ride the tail of the guy in front of me, muttering, “Step on it! I don’t have all day!” But if a guy is riding my tail, I say, “Back off! What’s the big rush, man?” I see this often when I counsel couples with marriage problems. I ask her what their main problem is and she says, “I have my faults, but I could be a good wife if my husband wasn’t so inconsiderate and selfish!” And off she goes! Then I ask him what the problem is and he says, “I’m not perfect, but that woman is impossible to please!” Off he goes listing all of her faults. But you won’t begin to love the other person as you should and you won’t grow spiritually until you begin to confront your own sins with God’s Word. The Word is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, exposing us before God’s holy standards (Heb 4:12-13). Have you ever been working outside until dark? You thought you were not very dirty. Then you went into the bathroom, flipped on the light, and looked in the mirror. The light and the mirror showed you that you were filthy! God’s Word is like that. You think you’re a pretty loving person until you read Lu 6:27-38 or 1Co 13! Then you realize that you’ve got a lot of growing to do. If you want to please God by loving others as you should, you must be in God’s Word, applying it to your heart, not to the heart of the person that you’re having difficulty with. Once God’s Word helps you get the log out of your eye, you will be much more compassionate in helping a brother with his speck. You’ll say, “Brother, I sympathize with you, because I used to have far more than a speck in my eye. Let me share how God can help you get your speck out.” Rather than being proud, you will be humble. Rather than being judgmental, you will be merciful. Rather than being insensitive, you’ll be understanding. (Judging Others, Judging Self)

The Speck —Luke 6:41

It was just a speck, a tiny foreign object flying through the air on a windy day while I was cutting the grass. Somehow that speck made its way into my left eye.

For the next few hours that little speck caused quite a bit of irritation. I tried washing it out. My wife, Sue, a nurse, tried everything she could think of. Finally, we went to a Med Center, where the medical personnel on duty couldn’t get it out either. Only after applying some ointment and waiting several more annoying hours did I get relief from the speck.

This tiny, nagging irritant made me think anew about Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7 about criticizing others. My first thought was to be impressed with the practicality of Jesus’ illustration. Using the effective literary tool of hyperbole, or exaggeration, He explained for His listeners how foolish it is for a person to criticize someone without seeing that he or she is also guilty of error. If you can find someone else’s little speck while ignoring the hunk of wood in your own eye, something’s wrong. It should be unthinkable to ignore our own faults while pointing out someone else’s.

An attitude of self-righteousness has no place in the Christian life. That should be plain to see.

A Prayer: Lord, help me not to get caught up in pointing out the “little” sins in others’ lives, while ignoring my own glaring sin. I’m thankful that with repentance comes forgiveness. Amen.

Inspect your own life before you look for specks in others.

By Dave Branon  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 6:42  "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.

KJV  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.


Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? - The practical teaching of this section is we are in no position to judge or criticize others until we have "looked in the mirror" (of God's Word - cf James 1:23-24) and washed ourselves of the dirt (shortcomings) on our own face! Bock writes that "Foolish arrogance insists on carefully examining others, while not paying any attention to obvious faults in oneself." (Ibid) As someone has said "Be patient with the faults of others; they have to be patient with yours."

Lenski on you say (how canst thou say  - KJV) - The present infinitive how canst thou “be saying” sounds as if the man who has the beam in his eye is by repetition urging the other as if he were reluctant about submitting to the operation. A grand eye specialist this man would be! By even only approaching him he might knock out both of the other man’s eyes. (Ibid)

MacArthur - Blinded by the massive sin of self-righteousness, false teachers are in no position to deal with the lesser sins of others. They cannot overcome their own sin, since false religion cannot restrain the flesh. Yet they still presumptuously view themselves as “a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, [and] a teacher of the immature” (Ro 2:19–20+)." (Ibid)

Stein makes an excellent point that "The judgment of others always exposes the reality that the “judger” is imperfect. At times the one judging may be blatantly imperfect and unaware of this. One who is unable to see his or her own imperfections while seeing so vividly the imperfections of others is clearly a hypocrite." (NAC-Luke)

The better we know ourselves,
the less we'll criticize others.

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye - For an excellent example of a hypocrite see Luke 11:42+. You hypocrite, you who are pretending to be something other than what you really are! You are pretending to be so pained by the presence of the small sin in your brother that you feel compelled you must remove. You pretentious "play actor!" You pious pretender! You counterfeit, who is acting pretentiously speaking from a feigned character. It speaks of his insincerity, for he is not first dealing with his "issues!" As Plummer says his "hypocrisy consists in his pretending to be so pained by the presence of trifling evil that he is constrained to endeavour to remove it (cf Lk 13:15+)." (Ibid) It is notable that in Judaism, hypokrites was used to refer to a godless or deceitful person! 

Bock on first take the log out - To correct “obscured vision,” be self-critical and then take appropriate action. Through those lessons one is better placed to aid others. Thus, after humble self-examining to remove the beam, one can see to help someone else. (Ibid)

MacArthur - The Lord repeatedly denounced the Jewish religious leaders as hypocrites, who “outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly… are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Mt. 23:28; cf. Mt 23:13-15, 23, 25, 27, 29; Mt 6:2, 5, 16; Mt 15:7; Mt 22:18; Lk 12:1, 56; Lk 13:15). Only by confessing and repenting of their own sin of self-righteousness would they be able to see clearly the sins of others.(Ibid)

Hypocrite (5273)(hupokrites from from hupó = under, indicating secrecy + krino = to judge) describes one who acts pretentiously, a counterfeit, a man who assumes and speaks or acts under a feigned character. Souter says a hypocrite is “one who outwardly plays the part of a religious man to perfection, but is inwardly alien to the spirit of true religion” One pretends that sin offends while ignoring one’s own sin, a person acting in one way, but being another (Luke 18:9+). In a nutshell, a hypocrite is someone who pretends to be someone else! Hypokrites comes from the theatrical world describing an actor performing behind a mask Will Durant on hypocrite - "The actor – who is always a male – is not disdained as in Rome, but is much honored; he is exempt from military service, and is allowed safe passage through the lines in time of war. He is called hypocrites, but this word means answerer – i.e., to the chorus; only later will the actor’s role as an impersonator lead to the use of the word as meaning hypocrite." (The Story of Civilization II, The Life of Greece, by Will Durant, page 380) All uses- Matt. 6:2; Matt. 6:5; Matt. 6:16; Matt. 7:5; Matt. 15:7; Matt. 22:18; Matt. 23:13; Matt. 23:14; Matt. 23:15; Matt. 23:23; Matt. 23:25; Matt. 23:27; Matt. 23:29; Matt. 24:51; Mk. 7:6; Lk. 6:42; Lk. 12:56; Lk. 13:15

Cornerstone Biblical Commentary – Jesus recognized the natural tendency of people to be blind to their own faults while having a great awareness of the sins and shortcomings of others. This is the point of his challenge regarding blindness: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch?” (Lk 6:39). The illustration makes it crystal clear that one must seriously examine oneself before attempting to correct what might be really only a minor fault in someone else. The yardstick of divine judgment must never be forgotten: “The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged” (Matt 7:2).

David Guzik makes a good point that "Our hypocrisy in these matters is almost always more evident to others than to ourselves. We may find a way to ignore the plank in our own eye, but others notice it immediately. A good example of this kind of hypocrisy was David’s reaction to Nathan’s story about a man who unjustly stole and killed another man’s lamb. David quickly condemned the man, but was blind to his own sin, which was much greater (2 Samuel 12:1-9)." (Enduring Word)

Be quick to judge yourself
and slow to judge others.

And then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye - When is then? After you cleaned up your own eye (or the eyes of your heart)! Then and NOT until then! See Ps 139:23-24 and 1 John 1:9 which are good passages to begin the log removal from your own eye! And notice that Jesus is not forbidding the "speck removal" ministry, but is simply emphasizing the necessity of first performing "log" surgery on our own eye (and heart). Then one can sincerely, lovingly hold the other person accountable, but NOT BEFORE self-examination, for otherwise we really won't be able to see clearly enough to truly address the brother's "speck" of sin! Aren't we all to one degree or another convicted by Jesus' words in this passage!

It takes much grace to judge ourselves,
For pride remains so strong;
But God will bless the soul who cries,
"O Lord, forgive! I'm wrong!"

One is reminded of Paul's exhortation in Galatians "Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual (aka, YOU WHO HAVE REMOVED THE BEAMS FROM YOUR EYES!), restore (same verb katartizo in Lk 6:40 and in the present imperative necessitating one's wholehearted dependence on the Holy Spirit to carry out this delicate spiritual "eye surgery," so to speak) such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself (MAKING SURE BEAMS ARE REMOVED), so that you too will not be tempted." (Galatians 6:1+). 

See clearly (1227)(diablepo from dia = through or intensifier + blepo = to see, look) means literally to look through, to see clearly or fully, see in an easily perceivable manner, view attentively. BDAG has "to stare w. eyes wide open, look intently, or open one’s eyes (wide)." Three NT uses - looked intently(1), see(1), see clearly(2). - Matt. 7:5; Mk. 8:25; Lk. 6:42. No uses in the Septuagint. 

Mattoon - Several years ago, Millard Fuller of Habitat for Humanity addressed the National Press Club on public radio, and he recalled a workshop at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with 200 pastors in attendance. The assembled pastors quickly pointed toward greed and selfishness as the reason the church never had enough money to assist others creatively. Millard then asked this seemingly innocent question: "Is it possible for a person to build a house so large that it's sinful in the eyes of God? Raise your hand if you think so." All 200 pastors raised their hands. "Okay," said Millard, "then can you tell me at exactly what size, the precise square footage, a certain house becomes sinful to occupy?" There was absolute silence from the pastors. You could have heard a pin drop. Finally, a small, quiet voice spoke up from the back of the room: "When the house is bigger than mine."...An Old Testament example of the mote and beam is found when King David was at the lowest point morally in his life. David took Uriah's wife and committed adultery with her. When Bathsheba revealed to David that she was pregnant, David schemed to have Uriah murdered. Nathan the prophet found out what David did and told him a story about a rich man with huge flocks of sheep who lived next door to a poor man. The poor man had only one little ewe lamb that he loved like a daughter, but the rich man, not wanting to take a lamb out of his own herds to feed some guests, took that little lamb and slaughtered it. David was furious. His response was basically, "That man deserves to die. He must repay everything fourfold." Nathan, pointing a prophetic finger at the king, pronounced, "You are that man." David had a serious problem with a beam in his own eye that needed to be pulled out. Our flesh finds it so easy to turn a microscope on another person's sin while we look at ours through the wrong end of a telescope! We use strong terms for someone else's sin, but mild alternative names for our own faults. Furthermore, we especially hate our own faults when we see them in others. Wrath toward the splinter we see in someone else's life may come from the suppressed guilt and conviction from the Lord over the same massive sin in our own lives. (Ibid)

Thomas Watson - "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you  hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which  look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are  full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to  people as righteous but on the inside you are full  of hypocrisy and wickedness." Matthew 23:27-28 

Here is a sharp rebuke to such as are "glittering dross"  Christians, who only make a show of godliness. These  our Savior calls whitewashed tombs. Their beauty is all paint! Many are painted over with a religious profession, whose seeming luster dazzles the eyes of beholders; but  within there is nothing but putrefaction! 

Hypocrites are like the swan, which has white feathers—but black skin; or like that flower, which has a lovely  appearance—but a foul scent.

The hypocrite deceives others while he lives—but deceives himself when he dies! (See deceitfulness of sin) What good will it do a man when he is in hell—that others think he has gone to heaven? Oh, beware of this! 

Counterfeit piety is double iniquity. What is this but to abuse God to His face, and to serve the devil in Christ's livery

To have only a pretense of godliness will yield no comfort after death. Will painted gold enrich a man? Will painted wine refresh him who is thirsty? He who has only a painted holiness shall have only a painted happiness! Let us take heed of this pious pageantry and devout stage-play!

Changing The World —Luke 6:42

It’s a full-time job trying to get people to change. Oh, what a perfect world it would be—if only other people would do what we want!

A plaque in our family room may hold the key to the secret of change. It’s in Dutch, but translated it reads:

Change the World—
Begin With Yourself

Not what most of us want to hear!

Jesus told a parable about the problem of not seeing our own faults. He said, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye” (Luke 6:42).

Being able to see other people’s faults easily without ever noticing my own is not just an indication of hypocrisy. It can be a wake-up call that the problem in a struggling relationship may be me. Perhaps it’s my attitude that needs to change. Or I’m the one who needs to apologize. Maybe I’m the person who needs a humble spirit.

It’s a lesson some of us have to learn over and over. We can’t change others, but with God’s help we can change our own behavior. And when our attitude changes, it may seem as if others have changed as well.

To change can be a wonderful prospect,
Though often it’s met with resistance;
The transformation begins within us
And will take a lot of persistence.

When God works a change in us He can change others through us.

By Cindy Hess Kasper  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I Was Wrong! —Luke 6:42

Some of us are quick to find fault with our fellow believers. In the name of “encouraging” or “exhorting,” we point out the sins and shortcomings of our brothers and sisters in Christ without seeing our own failures or guilt (Lk. 6:37-42).

I was reminded of that when I heard what happened to Denise McKinney. She was driving through the streets of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, late one evening when an oncoming car turned left in front of her. She honked her horn to let the person know he had nearly caused an accident by his carelessness.

When she parked her car a few minutes later, the same car pulled up beside her and the driver got out. “The next time you honk your horn at someone,” he said, “maybe you should make sure your headlights are on.” Sure enough, in her haste she had forgotten to turn on her lights. She had been so convinced he was in the wrong that she never saw her own error. She was the one who had almost caused an accident.

We often act in a similar way. We’re quick to judge the behavior of others and point out their error. Jesus prefers that we examine our own lives and be quick to say, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.”

It takes much grace to judge ourselves,
For pride remains so strong;
But God will bless the soul who cries,
"O Lord, forgive! I'm wrong!"

Be quick to judge yourself and slow to judge others.

By David C. Egner  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Pointers And Beaners —Luke 6:42

Some people make judging others their specialty. According to some century-old church records, a congregation in a small midwestern town in the United States appointed two officers in the church and gave them the titles of “Pointer” and “Beaner.” They each had a special responsibility during the Sunday sermons.

The duty of Pointer was to call out the names of those in the congregation who needed to take particular note of the sermon. Beaner’s task was to sit in the choir loft with a bean shooter (no doubt the envy of young boys) and awaken drowsy attenders with a well-aimed bean. Who would want to attend that church?

Jesus warned about the danger of pointing out the faults of others. He said people with planks in their eyes should not attempt to remove specks out of other people’s eyes. He challenged His hearers to choose humility rather than hypocrisy by always applying the truth to themselves before noting the faults in others.

What would people find in our churches today? Those who specialize in speck removal or plank removal? If it’s the latter, they’ll likely hear someone say, “I’m glad I heard today’s sermon—I really needed it!” And they may want to return next Sunday.

By grace one day I came to see
That it would wiser be
To cease my criticizing "them"
And right what's wrong with me.

Be patient with the faults of others; they have to be patient with yours.

By Joanie Yoder   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Of Specks And Planks —Luke 6:42

In The Blunder Book, M. Hirsh Goldberg tells of a new clerk in the Illinois House of Representatives who sent out a memo to his colleagues. In it he appealed for accuracy in their written communications. But when the memo was distributed, it had nine errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. When the memo fell into the hands of the press, the embarrassed clerk said he couldn’t have made a worse blunder if he had tried.

Similar embarrassment is bound to occur whenever Christians expect others to measure up to the high standards of Christ without first examining themselves (Luke 6:42). If our attitude is mixed with pride and self-righteousness, our words will come back to haunt us. What we say may be true, but the way we say it must always be with humility and a sense of our own shortcomings.

We should encourage others to do right. Christians should stir up one another to loving attitudes and actions. But we are all growing in Christ, so we must be neither judgmental nor patronizing. Instead, we should lovingly build up one another. Any other attitude reveals a self-righteous heart.

Lord, may our expectations of others be tempered by an awareness of our own weakness.  —MRD II

The faults I see in others' lives
Are often true of me;
So help me, Lord, to recognize
My own hypocrisy. —Sper

The better we know ourselves, the less we'll criticize others.

By Mart DeHaan   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 6:43  "For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.

KJV For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.


For - term of explanation - "the point of the passage is that one should be self-corrective and be careful who one follows (Lk 6:41–42), because such choices also reflect what the nature of the tree is and its product." (NET Note)

Bock says "Jesus now explains why being self-critical and self-correcting is important. The fruit that a teacher produces reflects what is at the core of his or her being, either good ( kalon) or bad (sapron)." (Ibid) In other words "remove the beam from your own eye, because it is a serious defect showing that you are not bearing good fruit. It explains why self-correction is important." (Blight) 

Hendriksen explains the for this way - "“For” makes excellent sense. The connection is close. Jesus is, as it were, saying, “Remove that beam of self-righteousness, for it is a very serious defect, showing that you are a spiritually sick person. You are not bearing good fruit.” Good fruit shows that the tree from which it came is healthy; bad fruit indicates that the tree from which it fell is sickly. Every tree—the term tree as here used includes what we call a “shrub”—is known by its fruit." (Ibid)

Bruce Barton - With a couple of proverbs derived from the agricultural setting of ancient Israel, Jesus showed his audience why hypocritically judging others (Lk 6:41–42) is foolish. (LAC)

Lk 6:43-44 is another agricultural allusion by Jesus, one which He knew everyone could understand. And He will apply this agricultural metaphor to human character and conduct (Lk 6:45)

Walter Liefeld points out that "The thought of Lk 6:40 continues—like teacher, like student; like tree, like fruit. The parallel passage in Matthew 7:15–20+ refers to false prophets—a fact that supports a link between this verse (Lk 6:43) and Lk 6:39 about a blind leader. Throughout the preceding section and this one, the idea is that of consistency between source and product (cf. the teaching of John the Baptist (Lk 3:7–9). (Ibid)

Lenski points out that "Every statement is axiomatic, clear as crystal, so obvious that a child can understand—and yet how important and precious every word! Every statement also applies to all men who belong in either the one class or in the other. In Matthew the false prophets and in Luke the blind leaders, etc., are specimens. All are judged by the axioms that are here pronounced as is also every good man and every teacher." (ISLG)

There is no good tree which produces bad fruit, Nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. - The fruit produced by a tree gives clear evidence of the health of the tree. Wiersbe observes that "The illustration of the tree reminds us that fruit is always true to character. An apple tree produces apples, not oranges; and a good person produces good fruit, not evil. Believers do sin, but the witness of their words and works is consistently good to the glory of God. In terms of ministry, servants of God who are faithful will reproduce themselves in people who are in turn true to the Lord (2 Tim. 2:2)." (Ibid)

MacArthur - In this parable, the bad trees are false teachers, as Matthew’s parallel account makes clear. In Matthew 7:15 the Lord warned, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Then in verse 16 He used the same illustration recorded by Luke: “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” thus connecting it to the false teachers of verse 15. Similarly, in Matthew 12:33 Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” Then in the next verse He applied that statement to them: “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Mt 12:34). (Ibid)

Good (2570)(kalos) describes that which is inherently excellent or intrinsically good, providing some special or superior benefit. 

Bad (unwholesome) (4550)(sapros from sepo = cause to decay, to putrefy, to rot away, be corrupted) describes that which is rotten, putrefying, corrupt, disgusting, perishing, rank, foul, putrid, worthless (e.g., in Mt 7:17,18 = fruit, in Mt 13:48 = fish). In secular writings sapros was used to describe spoiled fish, rotten grapes on the ground, crumbling stones. The basic meaning relates to the process of decay. Sapros is used of things unusable, unfit, bad. It describes that which is harmful due to the fact that it is corrupt and corrupting or defiling.

Fruit (2590)(karpos) is used of literal fruit but is intended to convey a figurative sense describing the consequence of physical, mental, or spiritual action. In the NT the figurative (metaphorical) uses predominate and this is particularly true in the Gospels, where human actions and words are viewed as fruit growing out of a person's essential being or character. "Fruit is a picture of the product in one’s life (Luke 3:8–9; Hos. 10:13; Isa. 3:10; Jer. 17:10." (Bock)

Steven Cole - Jesus gives another illustration to show that we must examine the fruit that comes from our lives. Such fruit reveals our hearts, because we produce according to what we are. Our words reveal what fills our hearts. We must judge our own sins down to the heart level (Lk 6:43-45). Jesus’ point is obvious: A tree produces after its nature. The fruit primarily refers to our words which reveal that which fills our hearts (Lu 6:45). What is inside comes out of our mouths. If you are often spewing out angry, bitter words that tear down others, that blame them for all your problems, then your heart is not right before God. Jesus is not teaching here that some people are inherently good, while others are not. The only way you can get a good heart is to be born again through the power of God’s Spirit. Once you are born again, it is not automatic to live by the new man or heart. There will be a struggle between the old and the new. But those who truly have tasted the Father’s mercy will strive to put off the old man and put on the new. They will seek to please God, beginning on the thought level. As those who have received mercy, they will focus on showing God’s mercy toward others. Note that the good man has a good treasure or storehouse in his heart (Lu 6:45). Where does this come from? It comes from meditating often on God’s great mercy in Christ toward you. As Paul said, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Ga 2:20). Let God’s great mercy fill your thoughts and you will have a storehouse of mercy to serve to others. 

Conclusion - Ask yourself these questions: Am I marked more by a merciful spirit or by a critical, judgmental spirit? Am I blaming God or others for my problems, or am I working on removing the log in my own eye? Am I frequently judging my own life, down to the thought level, by God’s Word? Am I truly born again? Is pleasing Christ the focus of my life? To love others, especially those who have wronged us, as Jesus commands, we must focus on showing mercy to others, but on judging our own sins.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the difference between being judgmental and being discerning? Why is this distinction important?
  2. How can we know when to show mercy to someone who has wronged us and when to confront? Are these in opposition?
  3. How can a bitter person who was terribly mistreated overcome his or her feelings? What counsel would you give?
  4. How can we forgive when we don’t feel forgiving? What does biblical forgiveness mean? (Luke 6:36-45 Judging Others, Judging Self )

Honey Or Vinegar? —Luke 6:43

Bible teacher Robert J. Little wrote about two jars whose contents looked the same but were actually quite different. When the first jar was turned on its side, vinegar ran out. Then the other jar was tipped over and honey came out of it. The two jars appeared to be similar, but when they were upset their true contents were revealed.

An excellent test of character is the way a person reacts under the pressure of a difficult situation. Under normal conditions, most people behave in a socially acceptable manner. They give the impression that everything is under control. When they are caught off guard or are unexpectedly upset, however, they reveal their true disposition.

What is deep down inside of us will spill out when we are tested. Our reactions to pressure can reveal what we are. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Lk. 6:45).

What comes out of your heart—honey or vinegar? When someone does something you don’t like, how do you react? By maintaining your fellowship with God and relying on His Holy Spirit’s guidance, what spills out of you will be pure and good.

When irritated and upset,
Do you explode and gripe and fret?
Or is your life controlled inside
Because in Jesus you confide?

Our true character is revealed in the unguarded moment.

By Richard DeHaan  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 6:44  "For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.

KJV  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.


For each tree is known by its own fruit. Jesus' point is that fruit is always a true reflection of one's character. "The fruit of each tree reveals its actual character. It is the final test." (Robertson) Being determines doing (on in context "one's being determines one's speaking"). In other words the quality of the character of a person determines the quality of the fruit of that person. Just as one knows the character of a fruit tree by its fruit, so too one can know the character of a man (or more precisely his heart - Lk 6:45) by his words. The principle is clear "That which cannot produce fruit, does not produce fruit." (NET)  And to reiterate as shown in the next verse the fruit stands not for what one does but for what one says. 

One produces what one is.
- NET Note

For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush - For (gar) is a term of explanation and simply illustrates with these two agricultural examples that one will produce what they are and not something different. Figs and grapes are good fruit and do come from thorns and briar bushes respectively. 

Lenski - This emphasis on the fruit is essential. We recognize every tree as to its excellence or its worthlessness only by its fruit; there is no other way to tell the quality and the nature of the tree. In order to make this obvious truth still more obvious Jesus illustrates by referring to figs and a ripe grape cluster (σταφυλή, the ripe grapes that make a cluster; βότρυς, the cluster itself). Are these found growing on any kind of tree or bush? For instance, do we see anybody going out to gather figs “from thornbushes”; or to harvest a fine cluster of ripe grapes “from a bramblebush” (like the one Moses saw burning, βάτος)? The idea is not only comical, it is ridiculous—and Jesus wants his hearers to catch the humor. Why do people (the subjects of the plural verbs are indefinite) do nothing like this? Because they have learned to judge every tree, bush, etc., by its fruits. Brambles and thornbushes bear no figs and grapes. So it is in the case of men.

Trent Butler has an excellent comment - Use another image to get the picture. Go to the orchards. Look at the fruit trees—old trees, limbs just barely hanging on, leaves dried and withered, infested with bugs. What kind of fruit do you expect from trees like these? Then look at the strong tree—limbs rising to the sky, loaded with beautiful green leaves, no bugs in sight. What kind of fruit will you look for on these trees? Now look in the mirror again. What kind of fruit do you expect from what you see there? Do you have a spiritual mirror to look at yourself? Does God’s Word reflect back at you the kind of person you are and the kind of fruit you are bearing? You must fit some category. Fig tree or thornbush, grapevine or brier? (HNTC-Luke)

Henry Morris - Here is an incidental confirmation of the ten-times-repeated "after his kind" of Genesis 1. In each kind of plant and animal is a genetic system that assures "his own fruit" and nothing else.

IVP Background Commentary - Figs and grapes were often cultivated together and were two of the most common agricultural products in Palestine, often linked in Old Testament texts. Thorns and thistles were always troublesome to farmers (cf., e.g., Ge 3:18; also Isa 5:2, 4 LXX).

Luke 6:45  "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

KJV 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.

  • The good man out of the good treasure of his heart Ps 37:30,31; 40:8-10; 71:15-18; Pr 10:20,21; 12:18; 15:23; 22:17,18; Matthew 12:35; John 7:38; Eph 4:29; 5:3,4,19; Col 4:6
  • treasure 2 Corinthians 4:6,7; Ephesians 3:8; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 8:10
  • the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil Ps 12:2-4; 41:6,7; 52:2-4; 59:7,12; 64:3-8; 140:5; Jeremiah 9:2-5; Acts 5:3; Acts 8:19-23; Romans 3:13,14; James 3:5-8; Jude 1:15
  • for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Matthew 12:34-37
  • Luke 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • Luke 6:39-45 The Danger of Following the Wrong Spiritual Teacher - John MacArthur
  • Luke 6:36-45 Judging Others, Judging Self  - Steven Cole
  • Luke 6:17-49 Jesus' Teaching - Darrell Bock


The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil- Two types of people are dramatically contrasted. The heart of the issue is the state of the heart which determines what issues from the mouth, either good or evil. Jesus' half brother James alluded to this when he asks the rhetorical question "Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?”  (James 3:11+). The obvious answer is of course not! An evil heart cannot produce genuinely righteous words, but ultimately brings forth what is evil. 

THOUGHT - For those of us who have a new heart (see below), we have been made righteous by Jesus Christ, and so we ought to live righteously and speak righteously, according to His will and by the power of His Holy Spirit. How are you doing? How is your speech today? This past week? Perhaps you need to pray "Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips." (Ps 141:3). God will answer affirmatively for godly speech is in His will (1 Jn 5:14-15+) and He is glorified. 

Notice the repetition of good. Only the last "good" can be seen by others, but it provides insight into the man's heart which is filled with good which allows one to classify him as a good man. In context Jesus has been talking about trees and here the good which this man brings is the fruit that is in keeping with the man's good nature, specifically out of a new heart produced by the regenerating activity of the Holy Spirit when a man enters the New Covenant by grace through faith. 

Jeremiah 31:33+ “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Ezekiel 36:25-27+ “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

Titus 3:5+ He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit

While in the present passage Jesus deals with speech as the "fruit" that allows one to assess the character of the "tree," in Mark, He expanded His teaching that fruit was not just words but thoughts, words and deeds...

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”  (Mark 7:21-23)

John MacArthur - Just as trees produce fruit in keeping with their nature, so also do people. The hearts of the righteous, having been transformed by the regenerating work of salvation (John 3:5), hold good treasure; the hearts of the unregenerate hold evil treasure. Just as what the fruit trees bear reveals their nature, so also what people say reveals the nature of their heart, since the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart (cf. Prov. 10:32; Matt. 15:18). How people speak most clearly reveals what is in their heart. Those who follow false spiritual teachers will manifest the same corruption that they do. Only those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ can produce the fruit of repentance (Luke 3:8) that marks a transformed life (2 Cor. 5:17). (Ibid)

John Phillips - We do what we do because we are what we are. The Lord, while expounding these obvious contrasts, put an unerring finger on the crux of the matter. It is usually easy to tell what a person is like by listening to what he says. He will always, sooner or later, irrevocably betray himself. He will declare himself to be regenerate or unregenerate, spiritual or carnal, godly or worldly, clever or ignorant, wise or foolish, or good or bad. (Exploring Luke)

Good (18) (agathos) means intrinsically good, inherently good in quality but with the idea of good which is also profitable, useful, benefiting others, benevolent (marked by or disposed to doing good). Agathos is one whose goodness and works of goodness are transferred to others. Good and doing good is the idea. Agathos describes that which is beneficial in addition to being good. Agathos is that which is good in its character, beneficial in its effects and/or useful in its action. Agathos is used in the New Testament primarily of spiritual and moral excellence. 

Evil (wicked, bad) (4190)(poneros from poneo = work or toil, Robertson says the idea is that labor is an annoyance, bad, evil; Noun poneria derived from poneros) means evil including evil, malignant character, pernicious (see Webster 1828 definition below), that which is morally or socially worthless, wicked, base, bad, degenerate. Poneros denotes determined, aggressive, and fervent evil that actively opposes what is good. Poneros is not just bad in character (like kakos - see below), but bad in effect (injurious)!

Treasure (2344)(thesauros from títhemi = put, set; English thesaurus = a treasury of words - interesting thought in the present context!) refers to the place where goods and precious things are stored for safekeeping and thus a repository (place, room, or container where something is deposited or stored), a treasure chest, a storehouse, a treasury. Figuratively in this passage thesauros refers to the heart, as the repository of thoughts, feelings, purposes, etc. It is the reservoir from which the mouth draws its expressions. (see Mt 12:34-35) As MacArthur says "A person’s heart is the treasury of his thoughts, ambitions, desires, loves, attitudes, and loyalties. It is the reservoir from which the mouth draws its expressions."

Heart (2588)(kardia)  does not refer to the physical organ but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will. The heart represents the character of a person, and therefore to say that words reveal what the heart is like is to say they reveal what the person is like. When it speaks, the mouth simply reproduces verbally what is in the heart. No outward obedience is of the slightest value unless the heart turns to God. NET Note on heart - "Mention of the heart shows that Jesus is not interested in what is done, but why. Motives are more important than actions for him."

What you say flows from what is in your heart
-- Allison Trites

For his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart - Jesus makes a similar statement in Matthew declaring to the Pharisees "You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills (same noun  perisseuma) the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil." (Mt 12:34-35) So from Matthew we see that our heart can bring forth good or evil depending on what is in our heart. 

Lenski - What do we find? Why this that it is only the good man who out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth the good in word, deed, and influence. Would you expect such a thing of the wicked man? It is the wicked (man) who out of the wicked (treasure of his heart) brings forth the wicked. Would you expect him to bring forth the good? Note the triple repetition, first of ἀγαθός, “good,” then of πονηρός, “wicked,” active wickedness, not merely “evil.” As is the man, in particular his heart, so is the product of his life. Take the mouth for instance—what comes out of it in the way of utterance (λαλεῖν)? Why, the overflow of the heart! When the heart gets too full it spills over through the mouth in speech. And you can at once tell whether the heart is treasuring what is good or what is wicked, whether the man is good or whether he is wicked.... So the fact is hammered in that the heart must be changed, the spiritual nature of the very man himself, before God can accept the fruits of his words and his deeds.(Ibid)

Fills (4051)(perisseuma from perisseuo = to abound) refers to that which exists in abundance or surplus. In 2 Cor 8:14 "their abundance" refers to the gifts supplied by the saints. In Mk 8:8 it refers to "seven large baskets full" of pieces of bread. In Lk 6:45 and Mt 12:34 "the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart." Perisseuma "carries the idea of excess, which, in the terms of Jesus’ figure, spills over from the heart and out of the mouth in the form of words. What the heart is full of, will overflow from the mouth. The person who harbors ill will against someone will eventually express those feelings. The person who is filled with lustful thoughts will eventually express those thoughts in crude or suggestive remarks. The person who is persistently angry and hateful will sooner or later put those feelings into words. In the same way, the person who is genuinely loving, kind, and" (MacArthur) Four NT uses - Matt. 12:34; Mk. 8:8; Lk. 6:45; 2 Co. 8:14. 

THOUGHT - The idea inherent in perisseuma is anything that is left over because its container has reached its capacity. Wow! In the context of Luke 6:35 the container is our heart! What fills my heart? Don't do a gut check but a "speech check!" Of course if only carnal conversation comes forth it is a strong indicator one is not converted. But even believers can lapse into "potty mouth," "salacious speech," or carnal conversation, especially if our heart is not "filled with" and thus controlled by the Holy Spirit, Who then enables holy words and holy speech to spew forth! And I personally believe a believer's speech is a strong "barometer" (so to speak) of whether he or she is filled with the Spirit. Why do I say that? In Ephesians 5:18+ Paul commands believers "do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit." Then the very next word in the Greek sentence (Eph 5:19+) is laleo (λαλοῦντες) in the present tense, "speaking continually to one another (ἑαυτοῖς)" and then Paul goes on add "in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." The point is that in this context the first "member" of our body to be controlled by the Spirit is our tongue! It stands to reason then that what we say and how we say it (inflection, tone, etc, are you listening husbands and wives?) is a strong indicator of whether or not we are controlled by the Holy Spirit. 

THOUGHT - And one more thought to tie this together. In Ephesians 4:29+ we read a command to "Let no unwholesome (sapros - same word used in Lk 6:43 of bad fruit!) word proceed (present imperative with a negative only possible to obey as we are filled with/controlled by the Holy Spirit!) from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." The very next word in the Greek text (in Eph 4:30+) is "kai" which means "and" (and sadly is not always translated), which is important as it clearly couples v29 and v30. Here is the point - notice the link between unwholesome (rotten) speech in v29 and the quenching of the Holy Spirit in v30. Not only does the Holy Spirit enable good speech, evil speech can in fact grieve the Spirit and blunt His power in our life! That is how important our speech is to God. And just for context you will encounter many opportunities to test your speech for "It has been estimated that from the first “Good morning” to the last “Good night,” the average person engages in thirty conversations a day. Each day, his words could make a book of 50–60 pages—the equivalent of more than one hundred books a year of 200 pages each." (MacArthur) O how we need the Holy Spirit to set a guard over our mouth and keep watch over the door of our lips! (Ps 141:3).

MacArthur comments that "A common expression in the computer world is GIGO, which stands for "Garbage in, garbage out." In other words, the quality of data entered determines the quality of the results produced from that data. In exactly the same way, the quality of what is in a person's heart determines the quality of speech his mouth produces." (MNTC-Matthew)

Wiersbe - The last image, the treasury, teaches us that what comes out of the lips depends on what is inside the heart. The human heart is like a treasury, and what we speak reveals what is there. A man who apologized for swearing by saying, "It really wasn't in me!" heard a friend say, "It had to be in you or it couldn't have come out of you!"We must be honest with ourselves and admit the blind spots in our lives, the obstacles that blur our vision, and the areas within that must be corrected. Then we can be used of the Lord to minister to others and not lead them astray. (Ibid)

Trent Butler has an excellent application of Jesus' teaching regarding the words that come from our mouth  -  Listen carefully to fellow believers. Study God’s Word diligently. Find out what category you are in. Get the real picture of the real you. Want to know what kind of person you are? Listen to yourself. God has a spiritual rule. You are what your heart is. An evil heart produces evil results. A good heart produces good results. How do you know what the heart is producing? Listen to the mouth. Your daily conversation issues from your heart. (HNTC-Luke)

Barclay has an interesting thought - Jesus offers a reminder that the words of our lips are in the last analysis the product of our hearts. We cannot speak of God with our mouths unless God's Spirit is in our hearts. Nothing shows the state of our hearts so well as words spoken without careful consideration, when talking freely and saying, as we put it, the first thing which comes into our heads. If you ask directions to a certain place, one person may tell you it is near such and such a church; another, that it is near such and such a cinema; another, that it is near such and such a football ground; another, that it is near such and such a bar. The very words of the answer to a chance question often show where our thoughts most naturally turn and where the interests of our hearts lie. Always our speech betrays us. (DSB-Luke)

J C Ryle has his usual pithy comments - Let it be a settled principle again in our religion, that when a man’s general conversation is ungodly, his heart is graceless and unconverted. Let us not give way to the vulgar notion, that no one can know anything of the state of another’s heart, and that although men are living wickedly, they have got good hearts at the bottom. Such notions are flatly contradictory to our Lord’s teaching. Is the general tone of a man’s communication carnal, worldly, irreligious, godless, or profane? Then let us understand that this is the state of his heart. When a man’s tongue is generally wrong, it is absurd, no less than unscriptural, to say that his heart is right. Let us close this passage with solemn self-inquiry, and use it for the trial of our own state before God. What fruits are we bringing forth in our lives? Are they, or are they not, fruits of the Spirit? What kind of evidence do our words supply as to the state of our hearts? Do we talk like men whose hearts are “right in the sight of God?”—There is no evading the doctrine laid down by our Lord in this passage. Conduct is the grand test of character. Words are one great symptom of the condition of the heart. (Ibid)

Mattoon - Jesus compares the tree to us. Our fruit or our actions, our attitudes, our character, or our conduct reflect what is going on in our heart. We are going to be known, not by what we claim, but by what we do. What is really going on inside will surface on the outside through our lips in our speech. Cursing, filthy jokes and stories, and hate come from a bitter, bad heart. Like a volcano that spues forth lava, whatever fills your heart, whatever is abundant in it, is going to spue forth from your mouth. "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" was the rebuking cry of the Wizard of Oz. Everyone who has seen The Wizard of Oz remembers that scene near the end of the movie. The great, fire-breathing, stern talking, terrifying "wizard" was nothing more than a normal, little man, standing behind a curtain, working a machine that created smoke, fire, a scary face, and voice. In spite of all his attempts to fool people, the truth came out. The wizard was exposed. It's the same with people's words and actions. They can put up a good show for a while, but sooner or later, the real "person behind the curtain" shows through. What do your language and your behavior reveal about the real you? As you look at what you are doing and what you are saying, what is it revealing about your heart? This is what Jesus is trying to get across to us. If you find that your words and actions are disproportionately angry, depressed, and hopeless, then take them to the Lord and ask him to transform them, from the inside out. Ask the Lord to change your heart.

ILLUSTRATION - If God leads you to help someone, then do it with wisdom and discernment and He will bless. Many years ago two young men were working their way through Stanford University. At one point their money was almost gone, so they decided to engage the great pianist Paderewski for a concert and use the profits for board and tuition. Paderewski's manager asked for a guarantee of $2,000. The students worked hard to promote the concert, but they came up $400 short. After the performance, they went to the musician, gave him all the money they had raised, and promised to pay the $400 as soon as they could. It appeared that their college days were over. "No, boys, that won't do," said the pianist. "take out of this $1,600 all your expenses, and keep for each of you 10 percent of the balance for your work. Let me have the rest." Years passed and Paderewski became the Premier of Poland following World War I. Thousands of his countrymen were starving. Only one man could help, the head of the U.S. Food and Relief Bureau. Paderewski's appeal to him brought thousands of tons of food. Later, he met the American statesman to thank him. "That's all right," replied Herbert Hoover. "Besides, you don't remember, but you helped me once years ago when I was a student in college." Beloved, we reap what we sow when we are generous with others and treat them the way we would want to be treated. (Mattoon's Treasures  from Luke, Volume 1)

Empty Me—Luke 6:45

“What a rotten design,” I grumbled, as I emptied our paper shredder. I was following good advice about shredding personal documents, but I could not empty the container without spilling strips of confetti all over the carpet! One day as I was gathering trash, I debated whether I’d even bother since it was only half-full. But when I slipped a small plastic bag over the top and flipped it upside down, I was pleased to see that not a bit of paper had fallen on the floor.

The error had been mine. I had been waiting until the container was filled to the brim before emptying it!

When we allow sin to fill up our hearts, it too will overflow into our life. Luke 6:45 says that “an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.” It is “out of the abundance of the heart” that we speak.

What if we were to empty our hearts of the rubbish of sin before it started spilling into our interactions with others? To dispose of our bitterness, stubborn pride, seething anger? (Eph. 4:26-32). First John 1:9 reminds us that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

A paper shredder is designed to be a rubbish receptacle. You and I are not!

Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.

Own up to your sin—you can’t hide it from God anyway!  

By Cindy Hess Kasper   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

From Rob Morgan's Sermon - Verses That Have Helped Me In Preaching Nehemiah 8:8; 1 Samuel 17:38-39; Matthew 13:34; 1 John 2:20; Luke 6:45

Luke 6:45 
Finally, I’ve recently taken Luke 6:45 as my golden rule of preaching: Out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. In other words, preaching is overflow. I shouldn’t go to the Bible looking for sermons; I go for my own refreshment, enjoyment, and benefit. I drink from on rivers of God as recorded in His revelation, and the congregation gets the overflow. This is Psalm 23 preaching, when our cup overfloweth. 
The other day during my quiet time, I found two verses I’d never before connected. In John 4:14 Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “…whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water, welling up to eternal life.” 
Sometime later, Jesus added to His metaphor: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:38). The water of life wells up within us, then spills over and becomes rivers of living water, irrigating and refreshing a drought-stricken world. That is preaching! 
Paul loved this concept of the overflowing life: 

  • For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!—Romans 5:15 
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit—Romans 15:13 
  • For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows…—2 Corinthians 1:5 
  • All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God—2 Corinthians 4:15 
  • so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me—Philippians 1:26 
  • overflowing with thankfulness—Colossians 2:6 
  • May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you—1 Thessalonians 3:12 

As it relates to preaching, this is beautifully expressed in Francis Ridley Havergal’s 1872 hymn, the prayer of all who wish to be expositional, natural, illustrative, anointed, and overflowing bearers of the Word: 

Lord, speak to me that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone;
As Thou has sought, so let me seek
Thine erring children lost and lone. 
O lead me, Lord, that I may lead
The wandering and the wavering feet;
O feed me, Lord, that I may feed
Thy hungering ones with manna sweet. 
O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart;
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart. 
O fill me with Thy fullness, Lord,
Until my very heart overflow
In kindling thought and glowing word,
Thy love to tell, Thy praise to show. 
O use me, Lord, use even me,
Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where,
Until Thy blessèd face I see,
Thy rest, Thy joy, Thy glory share.

Luke 6:46  "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say

KJV Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

The instruction of the disciples  (Luke 6:17-49) (from John Hannah)

  1. The setting  (Luke 6:17-19)
  2. The content  (Luke 6:20-49)
    1. Characteristics of those in His kingdom  (Luke 6:20-26)
    2. Practice of those in His kingdom  (Luke 6:27-45)
    3. Exhortation to those who consider Him  (Luke 6:46-49)


Much like the end of the Sermon on the Mount, what some call the "Sermon on the Plain," also ended with a call to "prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." (James 1:22+). How tragic for so many to hear but not heed, not only then but today! Pondering Jesus' profundity is not a replacement for practicing it post haste! Jesus' authoritative, incisive words are not for academic exercise but for actual experience! In the context of words spoken as described in Lk 6:45, the validity/sincerity of those words is verified by adding DOING to the SPEAKING. 

As Lenski says "Only when we do what Jesus says, of course by his grace and help, is he really our Lord, and are we truly his disciples, good trees bearing good fruit. Mere prodigality in calling Jesus “Lord” is no ticket of admission to heaven." (Ibid)

Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord And do not do what I say - Here Jesus gives what amounts to a warning in the form of a question. Jesus' point is that if one truly hears and heeds His words, they will experience a change in their hearts and in their attitudes and actions. He has just described bad "fruit" of those who are not genuine followers. And so His question implies they made professions of His lordship, but there is no fruit in keeping with repentance, in keeping with accepting Him as Lord. Professors who are not "doers" deceive themselves! And they are not "doers" because they lack the supernatural power (the Spirit) to obey Jesus' words. In Luke 8 we read "And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.” But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who HEAR (present tense)  the word of God and DO (present tense) it.” (Lk 8:20,21+) So here we see Jesus made habitually hearing and doing the WORD more important than all human relationships!

THOUGHT - As an aside I hear Christians argue over the Lordship of Jesus and some saying they have believed but have not yet made Him Lord! Jesus is Lord. Period! We do not make Him Lord! To profess to believe and fail to obey is a false profession that will take a soul to hell. When we receive Jesus as Savior, we receive the "full package," so to speak, Jesus Christ the Lord. Paul could not have been clearer in Romans 10:9-10+if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

He gave a more direct warning in Matthew 7 where He links the warning with the dire consequences of profession (of Jesus as Lord) without possession (not regenerate)...

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven (THIS IS "SHORTHAND" FOR THEY WILL NOT BE SAVED), but he who does (present tense = HABITUALLY = DOES NOT SPEAK OF PERFECTION BUT "GENERAL DIRECTION" OF ONE'S LIFESTYLE) the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many (THIS IS A FRIGHTENING ADJECTIVE!) will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ (NOTICE JESUS DOES NOT DISPUTE THEIR CLAIMS, SUGGESTING THEY IN FACT DID DO THESE THINGS! ANOTHER FRIGHTENING THOUGHT!) 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never (ABSOLUTELY NEVER) knew (TO KNOW JESUS IS TO BE IN THE NEW COVENANT WITH HIM) you; DEPART (A COMMAND) FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE (present tense = HABITUALLY WHICH INDICATES THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN BORN AGAIN - THEY HAVE NO INTERNAL POWER OF THE SPIRIT TO KEEP FROM PRACTICING LAWLESSNESS! DO NOT BE DECEIVED! READ PAUL'S CLEAR WARNING - 1 Cor 6:9-10 AND CONTRAST WITH WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SPIRIT INDWELLS A FORMER FORNICATOR, ETC - 1 Cor 6:11!) LAWLESSNESS (SYNONYMOUS WITH  Luke's phrase here "DO NOT DO WHAT I SAY").’ (Matthew 7:21-23 - see notes Mt 7:212223)

After all is said and done,
there is far more said than done.

Obedience always trumps outward expression!

Call (2564)(kaleo) means to call and in this context signifies that they are continually (kaleo is in present tense) addressing or designating Jesus as their Lord, but not living like He is their Lord. This is one of the frightening rotten fruits of "easy believism" (just pray a prayer to believe in Jesus and you are saved regardless of how you life the remainder of your life) and sadly is even taught by some so-called "evangelical" teachers (cf Zane Hodges or see a Biblical response to Hodges' teachings). 

Ye call me the "Way" and walk me not,
Ye call me the "Life" and live me not,
Ye call me "Master" and obey me not,
If I condemn thee, blame me not.

Ye call me "Bread" and eat me not,
Ye call me "Truth" and believe me not,
Ye call me "Lord" and serve me not,
If I condemn thee, blame me not.
Geoffrey O'Hara

Lord, Lord - The repetition is normally used in situations of emphasis, but Jesus' point is that even such an emphatic confession without action means nothing. The truth is their persistent profession belied their absent actions. As James writes the one who hears the Word of Truth and does not do it actually "deludes" (see paralogizomai which is in the present tense = HABITUALLY) himself (James 1:22+). 

Comment on delude = paralogizomai: The idea of paralogizomai is that of incorrect reckoning or reasoning, often including the idea of deliberate false reasoning for the purpose of deceiving. In mathematics, the meaning is that of miscalculation. Professing Christians who hear the Word without obeying it (cf "and do not do what I say") make a serious "spiritual miscalculation", which causes them to delude themselves. Such a man does not delude anyone but himself! In short they are self-deceived. An old Scottish expression speaks of such false Christians as “sermon tasters who never tasted the grace of God.” Beloved, you can mark it down as an immutable axion = Any response to the Gospel that does not include obedience is self-deception. See discussion of the relationship of faith and obedience. If a profession of faith in Christ does not result in a changed life that hungers and thirsts for God’s Word and God's righteousness and desires to obey that Word, the profession is only that—a mere profession. Satan, of course, loves such professions, because they give church members the damning notion that they are saved when they are not! He is still their spiritual father.

Utley - The rabbis said that the doubling of a name shows affection (cf. Gen. 22:11).

King James Bible Commentary - If one calls Christ Lord, then he had better not say what Peter said in Acts 10:14, “Not so, Lord.” For he who acknowledges Christ as Lord, the only correct response is as Paul humbly said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me do?” (Acts 9:6). Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15). Nothing less will do.

Constable - His interest was primarily Jesus’ warning to disciples to apply His teaching to their lives. Profession of discipleship is one thing, but what identifies a true disciple of Jesus is really doing God’s will (cf. James 1:22–25). A disciple cannot legitimately refer to Jesus as his or her LORD and ignore what He teaches. 

Dave Guzik on Lord, Lord -  We must use the language of “Lord, Lord” – we cannot be rescued if we do not. Though hypocrites may say it, we should not be ashamed to say it. Yet it alone is not enough. This warning of Jesus applies to people who speak or say things to Jesus or about Jesus, but don’t really mean it. It isn’t that they believe Jesus is a devil; they simply say the words very superficially. Their mind is elsewhere, but they believe there is value in the bare words and fulfilling some kind of religious duty with no heart, no soul, not spirit – only bare words and passing thoughts.. This warning of Jesus applies to people who say “Lord, Lord” and yet their spiritual life has nothing to do with their daily life. They go to church, perhaps fulfill some daily religious duties, yet sin against God and man just as any other might. “There are that speak like angels, live like devils; that have Jacob’s smooth tongue, but Esau’s rough hands.” (Trapp) Jesus put this in the form of a question: Why? “If we are disobedient, why continue the profession of obedience?… Each soul guilty of the wrong referred to must face this ‘Why?’ alone. All that need be said is, that to do so will inevitably be to discover the unworthiness of the reason.” (Morgan)

G Campbell Morgan - “Carefully note the three-fold condition. 1. ‘Every one that cometh to Me,’ surrender. 2. ‘And heareth My words,’ discipleship. 3. ‘And doeth them,’ obedience.” 

Wiersbe - Our Lord's emphasis here is on obedience. It is not enough merely to hear His Word and call Him "Lord." We must also obey what He commands us to do. (Ibid)

Liefeld - If Jesus’ audience was relaxing in the assumption that the preceding teachings were directed only at the Pharisees and their followers, they could not dodge the direct force of this challenge. It is specifically directed to those who profess to follow Jesus (v. 46). (Ibid)

NET Note on Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do what I say -  Respect is not a matter of mere words, but is reflected in obedient action. This short saying, which is much simpler than its more developed conceptual parallel in Matt 7:21–23, serves in this form to simply warn and issue a call to hear and obey, as the last parable also does in Lk 6:47–49.

Lord (master, owner)(2962) (kurios) is a title which signifies Jesus is sovereign in power and has absolute authority. In a word they are saying Jesus is their absolute owner! But they either lie (overtly) or are self-deceived, because their actions (lifestyle) demonstrate that they are "lord" of their life, not Jesus. Lordship demands Obedience!

IVP Background Commentary - Jesus again uses the image of the day of judgment. The idea of ultimately being judged for hearing but not obeying was familiar (see passage below). But no Jewish teacher apart from Jesus claimed so much authority for his own words; such authority was reserved for the law itself.

“"And they come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people, and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain. Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them.So when it comes to pass–as surely it will–then they will know that a prophet has been in their midst.” (Ezek 33:31–33, cf Jer 6:16,17, 43:1-7,  44:16)

J C Ryle - Let us mark, in these verses, what an old and common sin is profession without practice. It is written that our Lord said, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” The Son of God Himself had many followers, who pretended to honor Him by calling Him Lord, but yielded no obedience to His commandments.
The evil which our Lord exposes here, has always existed in the Church of God. It was found six hundred years before our Lord’s time, in the days of Ezekiel: “They come unto thee,” we read, “as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them, for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.” (Ezek. 33:31.) It was found in the primitive Church of Christ, in the days of St. James. “Be ye doers of the word,” he says, “and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22.) It is a disease which has never ceased to prevail all over Christendom. It is a soul-ruining plague, which is continually sweeping away crowds of Gospel-hearers down the broad way to destruction. Open sin, and avowed unbelief, no doubt slay their thousands. But profession without practice slays its tens of thousands.
Let us settle it in our minds, that no sin is so foolish and unreasonable as the sin which Jesus here denounces, Common sense alone might tell us that the name and form of Christianity can profit us nothing, so long as we cleave to sin in our hearts, and live unchristian lives. Let it be a fixed principle in our religion, that obedience is the only sound evidence of saving faith, and that the talk of the lips is worse than useless, if it is not accompanied by sanctification of the life. The man in whose heart the Holy Ghost really dwells, will never be content to sit still, and do nothing to show his love to Christ.
Let us mark, secondly, in these verses, what a striking picture our Lord draws of the religion of the man who not only hears Christ’s sayings, but does Christ’s will. He compares him to one who “built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock.”
Such a man’s religion may cost him much. Like the house built on a rock, it may entail on him pains, labor, and self-denial. To lay aside pride and self-righteousness, to crucify the rebellious flesh, to put on the mind of Christ, to take up the cross daily, to count all things but loss for Christ’s sake,—all this may be hard work. But, like the house built on the rock, such religion will stand. The streams of affliction may beat violently upon it, and the floods of persecution dash fiercely against it, but it will not give way. The Christianity which combines good profession and good practice, is a building that will not fall.
Let us mark, lastly, in these verses, what a mournful picture our Lord draws of the religion of the man who hears Christ’s sayings, but does not obey them. He compares him to one who, “without a foundation, built an house upon the earth.”
Such a man’s religion may look well for a season. An ignorant eye may detect no difference between the possessor of such a religion, and a true Christian. Both may worship in the same Church. Both may use the same ordinances. Both may profess the same faith. The outward appearance of the house built on the rock, and the house without any solid foundation, may be much the same. But the day of trial and affliction is the test which the religion of the mere outward professor cannot stand. When storm and tempest beat on the house which has no foundation, the walls which looked well in sunshine and fair weather, are sure to come to the ground. The Christianity which consists of merely hearing religion taught, without doing anything, is a building which must finally fall. Great indeed will be the ruin! There is no loss like the loss of a soul.
This passage of Scripture is one which ought to call up in our minds peculiarly solemn feelings. The pictures it presents, are pictures of things which are daily going on around us. On every side we shall see thousands building for eternity, on a mere outward profession of Christianity—striving to shelter their souls under false refuges—contenting themselves with a name to live, while they are dead, and with a form of godliness without the power. Few indeed are the builders upon rocks, and great is the ridicule and persecution which they have to endure! Many are the builders upon sand, and mighty are the disappointments and failures which are the only result of their work! Surely, if ever there was a proof that man is fallen and blind in spiritual things, it may be seen in the fact that the majority of every generation of baptized people, persist in building on sand.
What is the foundation on which we ourselves are building? This, after all, is the question that concerns our souls.—Are we upon the rock, or are we upon the sand?—We love perhaps to hear the Gospel. We approve of all its leading doctrines. We assent to all its statements of truth about Christ and the Holy Ghost, about justification and sanctification, about repentance and faith, about conversion and holiness, about the Bible and prayer. But what are we doing? What is the daily practical history of our lives, in public and private, in the family and in the world? Can it be said of us, that we not only hear Christ’s sayings, but that we also do them?
The hour cometh, and will soon be here, when questions like these must be asked and answered, whether we like them or not. The day of sorrow and bereavement, of sickness and death, will make it plain whether we are on the rock, or on the sand. Let us remember this betimes, and not trifle with our souls. Let us strive so to believe and so to live, so to hear Christ’s voice and so to follow Him, that when the flood arises, and the streams beat over us, our house may stand and not fall.

Mattoon - The fourth area for self scrutiny is the area of excavation. The Lord wants us to examine the foundation of our life. The foundation is what gives a building strength and stability. If it is weak, cracked, shallow, or if there is none at all, then the building will be unstable and eventually fall or deteriorate.

Over the last decade, it looked like the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy was going to fall. Every year, scientists traveled to Italy to measure the building's slow descent. The 179-foot tower was moving l/20th of an inch each year where it finally got to a point where it was 17 feet out of plumb. If it wasn't restored, the 810 year-old tower, would finally collapse in 2007.

It is interesting to note that the word "pisa" means "marshy land," which gives us a clue why the tower began to lean before it was even finished. The key problem in the tower is its foundation which is only ten feet deep and is not adequate enough to support it.

According to BBC news, May 28, 2008, the tower has stopped moving for the first time in eight centuries. Engineers have worked to finally stabilize the tower. After spending 40 million dollars, the tower should be stable for the next 200 years. It took the reconstruction team ten years to complete this project. The work involved extracting some 70 tons of earth from the northern side to encourage the tower to right itself. The tower continued to move towards a more upright position when the work finished. Now, though eight years later and 19 inches straighter, hi-tech monitors embedded in the soil beneath its foundations and in the tower itself show that it has stopped moving completely. This tower illustrates the importance of having a proper foundation.

A good foundation gives the building stability and strength. The Lord wants us to examine the foundation of our life and what we are resting upon or building our life upon day by day. Is Christ the foundation of our life? 

Steven Cole - A widespread false teaching in the evangelical church today is that you can accept Jesus as your Savior, but that obeying Him as Lord of your life is optional. Those who promote this teaching mistakenly think that they are preserving the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith, apart from human works. They do not deny the importance of submitting to Christ as Lord, but they do insist that it has nothing to do with saving faith. And so they teach that it is possible for a person truly to believe in Christ as Savior even though he never submits to Him as Lord.

I believe that this teaching rests on a mistaken notion of the nature of saving faith and that it gives false assurance to many who think they are Christians, but are not truly saved. Scripture is clear that without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14). Genuine saving faith always results in a life of progressive godliness. If a person claims to be saved, but has no hunger for God’s Word, no growing hatred of sin, and no growth in godly living, he needs to examine whether he is truly in the faith (2Co 13:5).

As Jesus comes to the end of a sermon in which He has said some difficult things, He drives home the necessity of obeying what He has taught. He asks pointedly, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Then He concludes with His familiar parable of two men building separate houses. The first lays a foundation on the rock, so that his house stands firm when the flood bursts against it. The second foolishly builds his house without the proper foundation, so that it is destroyed by the flood. In the parable, the foundation is obedience to Christ’s teaching. The man who did not build on the foundation heard Jesus’ teaching. He agreed with it superficially, as seen by the fact that he calls Jesus “Lord.” But he did not obey Jesus’ teaching, resulting in tragic loss. Thus Jesus is showing us that …

Obedience to Christ is not optional
because it is at the very foundation of the Christian life.

Some may say, “Now, wait a minute! I thought that faith, not obedience, is the foundation of the Christian life.” After all, we are saved by grace through faith apart from works (Eph 2:8, Eph 2:9). The one who believes in Jesus has eternal life (Jn 3:16). So how can you say that obedience is foundational?

The answer centers on the nature of saving faith. Saving faith inevitably and necessarily results in a life of holiness and good deeds. Many who quote Eph 2:8-9, that we are saved by grace through faith, not as a result of works, fail to go on to quote verse Eph 2:10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Those who quote Jn 3:16 fail to go on to Jn 3:36, which states, “He who believes the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Many other New Testament verses virtually equate saving faith with obedience and unbelief with disobedience, because the connection is inseparable (see Ac 5:32; Ac 6:7; Ro 1:5; Ro 2:4-10; Ro 6:16; Ro 10:16, Ro 10:21; Ro 15:18; Ro 16:19, Ro 16:26; 2Th 1:8; Heb 3:18, Heb 3:19; Heb 5:9; Heb 11:8, Heb 11:31; 1Pe 1:2, 1Pe 1:22; 1Pe 2:8; 1Pe 4:17). As we saw in our last study, the nature of the tree determines the type of fruit. If a person has received a new nature through faith in Christ, that new nature will bear good fruit. We are saved by grace through faith apart from works, but the faith that saves always results in good works.

Also, at the outset we must be clear that Jesus was not teaching that His followers can be sinlessly perfect in this life. If the requirement of getting into heaven is perfectly obeying all that Jesus taught, no one will be in heaven. Not even the most devoted Christian loves God all the time with every fiber of his being. No one perfectly loves his neighbor as himself. The apostle John tells us, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1Jn 1:8). Thus Jesus is not teaching that we must achieve sinless perfection in order to enter His kingdom. Rather, He is teaching what James later underscored in his epistle, that faith without works is dead (Jam 2:17, Ja 2:26). Genuine faith is not simply intellectual assent. Genuine faith submits to the lordship of Jesus, resulting in a life of progressive holiness.

Jesus here shows three reasons why obedience to Him as Lord is not optional: first, because it is the true test of professing Christ (Lu 6:46); second, because it is the foundation that will withstand the tests of time and eternity (Lu 6:47-48); and, third, because those who do not obey Christ face sudden and final destruction (Lu 6:49).

1. Obedience is not optional because it is the true test of professing Christ (Luke 6:46).

If we call Him our Lord, we prove it by doing what He tells us to do in His Word. Note that Jesus unequivocally asserts His rightful position as Lord. He does not say, “Don’t call me Lord. Only God is Lord.” Rather, He assumes that He has the rightful authority to be Lord. His lordship governs all of life, down to our very thoughts. Thus obedience to Jesus as Lord is not just an option for some who want to be more committed. It is part and parcel of the Christian life. Those who do not submit to the lordship of Jesus have good cause to question whether they are truly Christians.

Implicit in Jesus’ words is the fact that there is the real danger of a false profession of allegiance to Christ. In the parallel in Mt 7:21, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.” He goes on to cite examples of those who even have done impressive things in His name, but who will be rejected at the gate of heaven because they also practiced lawlessness. Outwardly these men would have seemed to others to be righteous, but God tests the hearts. God knew their selfish motives, their lustful thoughts, and their greedy desires. So even though they had prophesied, performed miracles, and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, they were turned away from heaven. Outward obedience is not enough; God demands that we judge our evil thoughts and attitudes, bringing every thought into submission to Christ. If we name Jesus as Lord, we must enthrone Him as Lord of all our lives, even down to the thought level.

We will miss the thrust of Jesus’ words here if we do not recognize that He is giving us a strong warning. His warning implies the danger of deception. This is a matter where we could be faked out. These men who did all these things in His name are shocked when Jesus tells them that He never knew them and commands them to depart from His presence. Further, He is addressing His warning to those who call Him “Lord,” not to those who do not. If you asked these folks, “Are you a Christian, a follower of Jesus?” they would have responded, “Oh, yes! Amen! Jesus is Lord!” But, they were sadly deceived. Not only did these folks call Jesus “Lord,” they called Him Lord with feeling and with emphasis. That is the implication of the double vocative, “Lord, Lord.” They didn’t lower their voices and mumble when they said it. They would have strongly asserted that Jesus was their Lord. And yet, as Jesus’ parable goes on to show, they were heading for major destruction because their profession was superficial and false.

Thus Jesus’ warning is addressed to most of us. Most of us here would say, “Yes, I’m a Christian. Jesus is my Lord and Savior.” But Jesus is saying, “Examine your heart! Do you really seek to obey Me, beginning on the thought level? Do you judge your sin in the light of My Word? Or, could you be fooling yourself? Are you excusing your disobedience by claiming to be under grace? Are you justifying yourself by thinking, ‘Everyone does this’?” Obedience to Jesus on the heart level is not optional, just for the super-committed. It is the true test of whether your faith in Christ is genuine or counterfeit.

Jesus goes on to show by His parable of the two house-builders further reasons why obedience is not optional. First He shows us the necessity of obedience by a positive example, and then by a negative one. He ends His sermon abruptly with the negative example, leaving us to think about the tragic scene of a house destroyed by the flood. (Luke 6:46-49 Why Obedience is Not Optional )

Much Talk, No Work - Why do you call Me "Lord, Lord," and not do the things which I say? —Luke 6:46

An elderly man visited a church during a business meeting. After a number of reports were presented, the chairman of the evangelism committee stood and solemnly stated that there were 200 homes in their county without a Bible.

There was a moment of silence, and then the elderly visitor rose and asked, “How did you obtain the information about these 200 families?” The chairman proudly reported that the committee had canvassed the area, filled out forms, and compiled all the data.

The old man then replied, “There are at least 200 people in this meeting. Each one could take a Bible to one family in less time than you are spending here listening to statistics and reports. You are only playing at religion. It’s all talk, only talk!”

Too many churches have become just religious clubs with committees, boards, and programs, but are producing nothing. If half the energy spent in talking about the program of the church could be channeled into spreading the gospel, countless thousands could be won for Christ. Pious talk and lengthy resolutions cannot take the place of proclaiming the precious message of the grace of God.

Let’s have less talk and more work!

To the work! To the work! We are servants of God,
Let us follow the path that our Master has trod;
With the balm of His counsel our strength to renew,
Let us do with our might what our hands find to do.

After all is said and done, there is far more said than done.

By M.R. DeHaan   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Value Test —Luke 6:46

Robert Ginnett, a researcher at the Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs, has found that the values we claim to have are not as closely linked to our actual behavior as we might like to believe. One business executive, who said his 5-year-old daughter was the most important part of his life, realized that he usually went to work before she got up in the morning and often returned home after she was in bed at night. So to spend time with her, he took her to work with him one Saturday. After looking around his office, she asked, “Daddy, is this where you live?” He may have acknowledged that his daughter was important, but his behavior revealed what he truly valued.

In our relationship with Christ, He asks for our obedience, not a warm feeling or a statement of belief. He asked those following Him, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Jesus illustrated His point with the parable of the wise and foolish builders (Lk 6:47-49). The rock-solid foundation of the wise builder’s house illustrates the result of our obedience to God. This honors Christ and enables us to withstand the storms of life.

What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most.

Fill up each hour with what will last;
Buy up the moments as they go;
The life above, when this is past,
Is the ripe fruit of life below.

To show that you value eternity, make good use of your time.

By David C. McCasland   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lessons Of Obedience

This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. —1 John 5:3

When young Kofi came home after Sunday school, his mother asked him what he had learned that morning. His quick reply spoke volumes: “Obedience . . . again!”

Although I’m many years older than Kofi, I agree that obedience toGod is a lesson that we must, sometimes reluctantly, learn over and over again.

Oswald Chambers wrote: “The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says . . . . If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself.”

When we are obedient, we show God that we love Him and have more faith in Him than we do in ourselves. Arthur W. Pink said that love is “a principle of action, and it expresses itself . . . by deeds which please the object loved.” To obey God means to relinquish what we want and to choose to do what He asks.

God requires the obedience of His followers, and Jesus placed great importance on it. He asked, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). And He issued this challenge: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

To say we follow Jesus Christ
Without attempting to obey
Reveals our lack of faith that He
Will lead us right in every way.

Obedience to God is an expression of our love for God.

By Cindy Hess Kasper  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 6:47  "Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like

KJV Luke 6:47  Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:


Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words - What words? The Good News as summarized in the Gospel of Mark writing that "after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of God,  and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel." (Mark 1:14-15).

John MacArthur observes that "Jesus closed His sermon by challenging His hearers to make a choice."

J Ligon Duncan - Jesus is warning here against a verbal profession that is not accompanied by a conversion of life. He is warning people who are respectful of Him, people who will listen to Him, but who fail to follow His words....Now again I ask you, is Jesus saying, “Faith plus works equals forgiveness, justification, salvation?” No. What is He saying? “You will know if you believe and if your hope is on Me and Me alone, by what you do. What you do will reveal what you are. How you live will show what you believe. Your choices, your responses, your ambitions, will disclose to Me and to the world whether your hope is on Me, whether your foundation is on the Rock, or whether it's on something else.”...Now there are many who profess Christ and hope for heaven, but their lives are built on the sand. And the tests and the storms and the trials and finally the Last Judgment, will make clear what the foundation of all our lives is. (You Are What You Do Luke 6:39-49)

And acts on them - Hears and heeds. Hears and obeys. Listens and responds. He believes in the Gospel and obeys the Gospel (contrast 2 Th 1:8). Utley comments hearing and acting on His words "is similar to the connotation of the Hebrew word Shema of Deut. 6:1, where the word implies "to hear so as to do."  Hears and acts are both in the present tense indicating that the "general direction" of their behavior is "heavenward" (so to speak). Jesus is not speaking of perfection but direction. If a person's lifestyle demonstrates this general direction, then they are true believers who have been born again and who have the indwelling Spirit Who enables them to act on Jesus' words (e.g., see Ro 8:13-14-note where you see that being led by the Spirit is another indicator that one is a true son of God). 

As noted in the previous passage, James, the half-brother of Jesus, gives us a parallel truth exhorting his readers to "prove (present imperative) yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." (James 1:22-note) The present imperative calls for doing of the word to be the habitual practice or lifestyle of his readers. In other words James calls for doing to be their continual practice. Believers are never to stop being doers of the Word! Keep on striving (enabled by the Spirit of grace) to be doers. The middle voice adds a reflexive sense ("you prove yourselves"). The verb is second person plural so that he is speaking not just to individuals.

In John's Gospel Jesus declared "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." (John 5:24) John has the verbs "hears" and "believes" which parallels with Luke's "hears" and "acts". In other words the person who genuinely believes will act (or obey), not to merit salvation but because he or she truly possesses salvation (see John's phrase below - "His seed abides in him."). Of course the only way one can habitually obey is by relying on the enabling power of the indwelling Spirit. The corollary is that the one who hears and never obeys is not saved! See discussion of Obedience of faith and Relationship of faith and obedience.

In his first epistle John presents a similar contrast between a genuine believer and a "professing believer" or non-believer.

Little children, make sure no one deceives you (E.G., BY SAYING IF YOU AT ONE POINT IN TIME BELIEVE YOU CAN LIVE ANY WAY YOU WANT TO LIFE AND YOU ARE STILL SAVED!); the one who practices (present tense) righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices (present tense) sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices (present tense) sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin (present tense), because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice (present tense) righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love(present tense) his brother. (1 John 3:7-10-note)

We see this same spiritual dynamic in John 3

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36) 

Comment - It would be easy to misinterpret this passage and say (falsely) that John is teaching salvation by works (obedience), but that is not what he is saying. The key is in the context which clearly states that it belief in Jesus that results in eternal life. His point in the second clause is that the one who does not obey has never truly believed. 

I will show you whom he is like - Speaking of the one who hears, believes and obeys Jesus' Words, especially the words of the Gospel. In John Jesus "showed" that a true believer is like a sheep writing "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." (Mk 10:27). Notice that one who follows Jesus is a disciple of Jesus. All believers are disciples, contrary to some teaching that suggest a "disciple" is a more "elite" believer or "super saint." We are all Jesus' "sheep" and are to follow Him.

Show  (5263)(hupodeiknumi from hupó = under + deiknuo = show, make known the character or significance of something by visual, auditory, gestural, or linguistic means) literally means to show by placing under (as under one's gaze or before one's eyes) and thus so to show or instruct plainly, to set before one's eyes, to exemplify by words or actions. The idea is to direct someone’s attention to something and so to point out or make known. In some context the idea is to warn (Mt 3:7, Lk 3:7, 12:5)  Some lexicons state that the original meaning is to show secretly (Liddell-Scott).

Steven Cole writes that "Obedience is not optional because it is the foundation that will withstand the tests of time and eternity (Luke 6:47-48).

The first home-builder represents the man who not only hears, but acts upon, Jesus’ words. He goes to the trouble of digging deep into the soil until he hits bedrock. He anchors his foundation to the bedrock, so that his house rests on a solid foundation. When the storm hit and the flash flood burst against that house, it stood firm because it was well built.

The house represents our lives. We’re all building a house. The question is, are we building our lives on the sure foundation of obedience to Jesus or are we building it on the sand of empty profession? To build a house involves a lot of time and expense. It’s not like throwing up a shed, where you don’t plan to spend much time inside and it isn’t expected to last. In a new home, you can install the finest hardwood cabinets. You can spend extra money on brass doorknobs and crystal chandeliers. You can put in a custom masonry fireplace. But if the house is not resting on a solid foundation, you’re throwing your money away. If you build the house of your life without obedience to Jesus on the heart level, it’s like wasting your money on a house without a foundation.

When you build a house you can be sure, no matter where you build it, that storms will come to test your foundation. The geography and climate of Palestine is much like that of Arizona, subject to sudden flash floods. Dry streambeds can quickly turn into raging torrents that sweep away almost everything in their paths. If you’re building your home near such a streambed, you had better make sure that it has a solid foundation.

The flood refers both to the trials of this life as well as to the flood of future judgment when we all must stand before God. The context in Matthew emphasizes more the future judgment, while Luke focuses more on the trials of life. But neither passage refers exclusively to one or the other. The person who has built his life on obedience to Jesus Christ has a solid foundation that will carry him through both the floods of this life and the future judgment. The person who professes to know Christ, but who is not walking in obedience, will be wiped out when trials hit in this life. And, he will be totally ruined when he stands before God at the judgment. There are only two final results: the one house stands, while the other house falls. There is no middle possibility of sustaining just a bit of damage. This points to the fact that there are two and only two final destinies, heaven and hell. Those who truly believe in Jesus as revealed by their obedience to Him will be in heaven. Those who profess to believe in Jesus but deny Him by their disobedient life will go to hell (Titus 1:16).

Before the flood, both houses would look the same to the casual observer, but there was a vast difference between them after the flood hit. One stood firm, the other was a shambles. The difference was in the hidden part, the foundation. Foundations aren’t very glamorous, but they are absolutely essential if you want a building to stand over the long haul. The foundation of obedience enables a Christian to stand firm when trials hit.

What are some of those inevitable floods that test our faith? There are the trials that we all face—disappointments, setbacks, sickness, loss of loved ones, the loss of a job, being let down by family members or friends, etc. There are the certain floods that go along with growing older—the loss of health and strength, being confined by the limitations of our bodies. And, of course, there is the steady, relentless approach of our own death. All these trials test whether we are true disciples of Jesus Christ or just fair-weather followers who were not sincere in our faith.

Further, there are the floods of temptation that come at us from the world, the flesh, and the devil. This evil world, under the dominion of Satan, presses on us relentlessly, often in subtle ways we are not aware of. It may be an enticement to cheat on an exam in school, to steal, to indulge in immorality, to set our minds on the fleeting pleasures of riches. When those blue-collar workers recently won the world’s largest lottery jackpot, most of us were tempted by the greedy thought, “What would I do if I won all that money?” Some may have yielded to the temptation of buying a lottery ticket, hoping to strike it rich. Few of us thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to win all that money so that I could give it all to the Lord’s work!”

The point is, if you’re not establishing the habit of obedience to Jesus every day, taking every thought captive to Him, confessing and forsaking all known sin, you are building your life on sand. When these inevitable temptations come, they will sweep away any profession of faith that you have made.

Of course, the final trial we all must face is to die and stand before God. He knows everything about us (Heb 4:13). If we have been hypocrites, putting up a good front before others, claiming to be Christians, but all the while living in disobedience, it will all come crashing down in the flood of God’s judgment. The Bible is abundantly clear that that day is both certain and final. Everyone will be called to account before God’s throne. Those who may have fooled everyone on earth will not fool God in heaven. Only those who have lived in obedience to God’s Word, constantly examining themselves by it, judging their sin, seeking to be pleasing to God, will stand. Those who have said, “Lord, Lord,” but who have not sought to obey Him, will be ruined finally and forever.

That leads to the final reason Jesus gives that obedience is not optional. It is not optional because it is the true test of professing Christ; it is not optional because it is the only foundation that will withstand the tests of time and eternity. (Luke 6:46-49 Why Obedience is Not Optional )

Table Rock: Luke 6:46–49 

A large, illuminated cross stands erect on Table Rock, a rocky plateau overlooking my hometown. Several homes were built on neighboring land, but recently the owners have been forced to move out due to safety concerns. Despite their close proximity to the firm bedrock of Table Rock, these homes aren’t secure. They have been shifting atop their foundations—nearly three inches every day—causing risk of major water pipes breaking, which would accelerate the sliding.

Jesus compares those who hear and obey His words to those who build their homes on rock (Luke 6:47–48). These homes survive the storms. By contrast, He says homes built without a firm foundation—like people who don’t heed His instruction—cannot weather the torrents.

Lord, thank you for being my firm foundation.

On many occasions, I’ve been tempted to ignore my conscience when I knew God asked more of me than I had given, thinking my response had been “close enough.” Yet the homes in the shifting foothills nearby have depicted for me that being “close” is nowhere near enough when it comes to obeying Him. To be like those who built their homes on a firm foundation and withstand the storms of life that so often assail us, we must heed the words of our Lord completely.

Help me, Lord, to obey You fully and with my whole heart. Thank You for being my firm foundation.

God’s Word is the only sure foundation for life. 

By Kirsten Holmberg  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 6:48  he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built

KJV 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.

  • laid a foundation -  Proverbs 10:25; Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 7:25,26; 1 Corinthians 3:10-12; Ephesians 2:20; 2 Timothy 2:19
  • rock Deuteronomy 32:15,18,31; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:2,32,47; 23:3; Ps 95:1; Isaiah 26:4; 1 Peter 2:4-6
  • Torrent -  2 Samuel 22:5; Psalms 32:6; 93:3,4; 125:1,2; Isaiah 59:19; Nahum 1:8; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Romans 8:35-38; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15; 15:55-58; 2 Peter 3:10-14; 1 John 2:28; Revelation 6:14-17; 20:11-15
  • Could not shake it - 2 Peter 1:10; Jude 1:24
  • for Ps 46:1-3; 62:2
  • Luke 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • Luke 6:46-49 The Ultimate Religious Decision - John MacArthur
  • Luke 6:46-49 Why Obedience is Not Optional - Steven Cole
  • Luke 6:17-49 Jesus' Teaching - Darrell Bock


How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

Jesus closed the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7 with a similar description of true believers versus "pseudo-believers"...

Therefore everyone who hears (present tense) these words of Mine and acts (present tense) on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. (THE STRIKING CONTRAST NOW WITH A PROFESSOR) Everyone who hears (present tense) these words of Mine and does not act (present tense) on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27-note)

He is like a man building a house - Jesus uses a simile to depict the fate of the soul who trusts in Him for his or her eternal salvation. He is the one who hears the Gospel and lives out the Gospel in the power of the Spirit. In simple terms, this man obeys God's commands, whereas the one who builds on a poor foundation (Lk 6:49) is the man who gives Christ "lip service" but does not obey His will as revealed in His Word.

Guzik -  In Jesus’ final illustration of the two builders, each house looked the same from the outside. The real foundation of life is usually hidden and is only proven in the storm.“The wise and the foolish man were both engaged in precisely the same avocations, and to a considerable extent achieved the same design; both of them undertook to build houses, both of them persevered in building, both of them finished their houses. The likeness between them is very considerable.” (Spurgeon)

Who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock -  As the hymn writer says the only firm foundation in which a soul can believe is God's excellent Word, ultimately the Word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Who is the Word of God (Jn 1:1) and the Word of life (1 Jn 1:1).

Hannah exulted in Jehovah declaring "There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides Thee, Nor is there any Rock like our God." (1 Sa 2:2)

David affirmed "The LORD is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer; My God, my Rock, in Whom I take refuge; My Shield and the Horn of my salvation, my Stronghold and my Refuge; My savior, Thou dost save me from violence." (2 Sa 22:2-3, Psalm 18:2)

Related Resources

As the psalmist says "O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation." (Ps 95:1)

Praise the Rock of our salvation! 
Praise the Father’s boundless love! 
Praise the Lamb, our expiation! 
Praise the Spirit from above! 

Praise the Rock of our salvation! 
Jesus’ blood avails for sin; 
Jesus, at the door of mercy, 
Waits to let the wandr’er in. 

Praise the Rock of our salvation! 
Catch from yonder radiant clime 
Strains by everlasting ages, 
Echoed back in tones sublime. 

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! 
He is God, and He alone. 
Wake the song of adoration— 
Come with joy before His throne!

Foundation (2310)(themelios from théma = that which is laid down in turn from títhemi = to place [see study of related word themelioo]) means something laid or put down, that on which a structure is built or a stone used in the construction of a foundation. It was used literally of a building's foundation to describe that which provides stability. In this passage foundation is a metaphor for the Gospel and the doctrines of the faith (See Ro 15:20-note)

Paul speaks of the elementary doctrines of our faith as the good foundation...

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, (Eph. 2:19-21-note). 

Paul expands upon the meaning of foundation explaining that in the final analysis Jesus Christ is our foundation writing

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (1 Cor. 3:10-12)

In his last letter Paul counters false teaching that was upsetting the faith of some (2 Ti 2:16-18-note) writing

Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” (2 Ti 2:19-note)

NET Note on dug deep - There are actually two different Greek verbs used here: “who dug (eskapsen) and dug deep (ebathunen).” Jesus is placing emphasis on the effort to which the man went to prepare his foundation. (Ed: Of course our "efforts" do not save us but they do demonstrate that our salvation is genuine or authentic).

The torrent burst against that house - Jesus' figure of a torrent is a description of the wrath of God that one day will burst forth (cf Mt 3:7, Lk 3:7-note) and consume all sinners, "dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." (2 Th 1:8-9)

It should be noted that a number of commentators (e.g., Wiersbe) do not see this torrent as the last judgment but as the variegated tests of life which come upon the one who professes to believe in Christ. When the testing times come to these professors of Christ, like a chameleon they turn into rejectors of Christ (cf Mk 4:17, Mt 13:21, Lk 8:13-note). Jesus may have had both temporal and eternal judgment in view, for the fate is similar if one is a professor and not a possessor of Jesus! Some say that the torrent simply sweeps away a believer's rewards, that his soul is saved but his eternal rewards are lost. However if one compares Jesus' stories about the two builders in Matthew and Luke's versions, Matthew's illustration is clearly in the context of eternal judgment (e.g., see Mt 7:13, 14-note, Mt 7:21-23-note) Given the considerable similarities between the two sermons (which many in fact interpret as the same sermon), it is would seem to be very difficult to propose that here in Luke's version both builders are referring to believers and the only difference is in their eternal rewards. This genre of interpretation in fact borders on the teaching of "easy believism" which says just believe in Jesus and live any way you want, but don't worry, you have a fire insurance policy and a ticket on the bus to heaven's gate! Wrong!

David Guzik - Jesus warned that the foundations of our lives will be shaken at some time or another, both now (in seasons of difficulty) and in the ultimate judgment before God. It is better that we test the foundation of our life now rather than later, at our judgment before God when it is too late to change our destiny. (Commentary)

John Trapp -  Time and the storms of life will prove the strength of one’s foundation, even when it is hidden. We may be surprised when we see who has truly built upon the good foundation. “At last, when Judas betrayed Christ in the night, Nicodemus faithfully professed him in the day.”

NET Note on the torrent - The picture here is of a river overflowing its banks and causing flooding and chaos. (Ed: What a picture of the fate of all unbelievers who will in a very real sense experience eternal chaos the derivation of which denotes a gaping void or chasm from the Greek word khaos which means ‘vast chasm or void’! What a tragic thought that souls created in the image of God will suffer an eternal existence in a void, one that is devoid of any meaning whatsoever except to demonstrate that God's judgment against unrepentant sinners is just and righteous!)

Christ the Rock of our Salvation - We place our trust in the Rock Who is Christ, so that He becomes our eternal refuge, "the Rock of our Salvation” (Ps 95:1-note). Then we like David can confidently declare “He ONLY is MY Rock and MY Salvation.” (Ps 62:2, 6-note) “The LORD lives and blessed be MY Rock (He is not a dead rock like the idols but a “living Rock” - "indeed their rock is not like our Rock" Dt 32:31-note) and exalted be God, the Rock of my salvation....Who is a ROCK, except our God?” (2Sa 22:47-note, Ps 18:31b-note) “Jehovah is upright. He is MY Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Ps 92:15-note) And so we must first confess that Jehovah (Jesus) is “MY ROCK and MY REDEEMER. (Ps 19:14-note) Peter explains that Jesus is "a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense" for all who are disobedient to (who disbelieve) the word (the Gospel). (1Pe 2:8-note quoting Isa 8:14-note) Only when the ROCK is also our REDEEMER do we possess Biblical hope--not a “hope so” but a "hope sure"--an absolute assurance that God will bring us safely through the storm of this life, will shelter us from the wrath to come [1Th 1:10-note], and will finally bring us to our eternal Home in the presence of His majesty and glory! May we all be able to sing David's song: “Upon God rests (depends) MY salvation and MY glory, the Rock of MY strength (“MY MIGHTY ROCK”-NIV), MY Refuge where no enemy can reach me.” (Ps 62:7-note)

C H Spurgeon calls us to notice how David “multiplies titles for Jehovah, and in so doing he renders much glory and honor to the Lord, Whom he had tried and proved to be “the faithful God” (Dt 7:9-note, 1Co 1:9-note) in all of our various circumstances. Ignorance needs but few words, but when experience brings a wealth of knowledge, we need varied expressions to serve as coffers for our treasure. God Who is OUR ROCK when we flee for shelter, is also OUR MIGHTY ROCK (Ps 62:7NIV-note) when we stand firm and defy the foe. He is to be praised ("Praise to MY ROCK" Ps 18:46NLT-note) under both characters. Observe how David brands (as with a branding iron) his own initials upon every Name which he rejoicingly gives to his God-- MY Expectation (Ps 62:5KJV-note), MY Rock (Ps 28:1-note), MY Salvation (Ps 25:5-note), MY Glory (Ps 62:7-note), MY Strength (Ps 31:4-note), MY Refuge (2Sa 22:3-note). He is not content to simply know that the Lord is all these things. He acts in faith towards Him, and lays claim to Him under every character (the Lord's many titles). What are the silver mines of Peru to me if I have no inheritance in them? It is the little pronoun “MY” which puts the honey into the comb. If our experience has not yet enabled us to realize the LORD under any of these consoling titles (ROCK...of MY Refuge [Ps 94:22-note]...of MY Salvation [Ps 89:26-note]...of MY Strength [Ps 62:7-note, Ps 31:2-note]...of MY Habitation [Dwelling Place -Ps 71:3-note]), we must ask the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29-note) to enable us to be partakers of their sweetness. The bees in some way or other penetrate the flowers and collect their juices. It must be hard for them to enter the closed cups and mouthless bags of some of their favorites in the garden, yet these honey gatherers find or make a passage and in this they are our instructors, for into each delightful NAME, character, and office of our covenant God, our persevering faith must find an entrance, and from each it must draw delight” and like the bees we too might "suck honey from the Rock" (Dt 32:13-note) and come to experience that His "honey from the rock would satisfy (satiate)" (Ps 81:16-note) our deepest, innermost needs!

Luke 6:49  "But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great."

KJV 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.


But - term of contrast. What is Jesus contrasting? The fate of hearers who are doers is contrasted with the fate of hearers who are not doers. As noted above, "doers" are not saved by their "doing" but they "do" because they believe and as genuine believers they have the supernatural power (the indwelling Spirit) to "do." Have you heard the Good News of Jesus and yet failed to truly believe it? Even more deceptively dangerous, is a profession of belief in Christ and failure to "do" or obey Christ! If you are in either of these categories, then take heed because Jesus is describing your eternal destiny in this passage. Run from the coming storm and take refuge in the Rock and "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved." (Acts 16:31-note)

the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man building a house without any foundation- Jesus uses the same simile to depict the fate of the soul who rejects the divine Word, leaving divine retribution as their only alternative. The house coming into a state of ruin is a figurative description of a false believer whose ruin will be great! Jesus of course is the Firm Foundation, the only Solid Rock of Salvation Who can withstand the coming judgment, the wrath to come (cf 1 Thes 1:10-note), because He has already taken the judgment for sin on Calvary (Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed....the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him....the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, Isaiah 53:4-6, 10). All who are safe in the Ark (so to speak) of Jesus will not be carried away by the flood of God's wrath and will not suffer loss and eternal ruin but instead will received an eternal inheritance (1 Pe 1:4-note) and eternal life by grace through faith in Christ. How can we thank God enough for so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3-note)? 

And the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great -  In context the torrent bursting against the house is a picture of God's judgment of all who are not safe in the "Ark" of Christ when the "torrent" of God's holy wrath "bursts" forth at the Great White Throne Judgment (see Rev 20:12-15-note). Their eternal doom will be swift and sure! That house will not suffer just a little "water damage," but will be broken to pieces. What a picture of the final judgment of unregenerate sinners, who of course will not be physically broken to pieces but who will suffer "breakage" (so to speak of their wealth, power, prestige, etc) and eternal loss of everything they had valued during their short time on earth (great!). 

J C Ryle on the torrent - To understand this, we must remember that the climate in hot countries is very different from our own. When rains fall in hot countries they often fall very violently, and cause the rivers and streams to swell into a flood very rapidly. Under such circumstances the events described by our Lord might easily take place, and had doubtless often been seen by many of His hearers.

John MacArthur explains that " This religious edifice appeared superficially to be identical to the first house, and was located in the same region, since the same storm affected both. As was illustrated in the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt. 13:24-30), false believers are often indistinguishable from true believers until judgment comes and sweeps their self-righteous religious edifice away. But when the flood and torrent of divine judgment and fury burst against each house the results were dramatically different. When the storm of judgment hit the house built on the solid foundation of salvation in Christ it could not shake it, because it had been well built. Those who build their lives on the foundation of the gospel have nothing to fear from the storm of judgment, since Jesus promised, “Truly truly I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24; cf. 3:16, 18; Rom. 8:1; 1 John 4:17). The other religious house, having no grounding in Christ and the gospel, could not stand. When the torrent of divine judgment burst against it… immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great. The choice every person faces is clear. Those who follow the blueprint provided by false teachers and foolishly build their spiritual houses on the sand of human achievement will be swept into hell by the flood of divine judgment. But those who build on the solid foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will not be shaken (cf. Rom. 9:33; 10:11; 1 Peter 2:6). (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 6-10)

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' Name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Torrent (4215)(potamos from pino = to drink) refers literally to flowing water, such as a stream or river (Mt 3:6). In the plural can refer to water rushing down ravines after heavy rains (floods, torrents - Mt 7:25). It is interesting that here in Luke Jesus uses potamos in a negative sense, whereas in Jn 7:38-note He uses it in a positive sense, figuratively describing the great abundance and never ending flow of life giving "water," that comes from the Holy Spirit the eternal, omnipotent Source Who indwells every believer forever. One "torrent" causes eternal ruin, whereas another "torrent" is associated with eternal life!

Ruin (4485)(rhegma from rhegnumi = to break) is found only here in the NT and describes that which has been split open, broken, rent asunder. BDAB says rhegma describes " the event of reduction to a ruined state" (wreck, ruin, collapse). Vine says rhegma is "akin to rhēgnymi, "to break," denotes "a cleavage, fracture" (so in the Sept., e.g., 1 Kings 11:30, 31); by metonymy, that which is broken, "a ruin," Luke 6:49." Rhegma was used in secular Greek writings to describe a "breach" in the Nile embankments and in the medical profession described a "rupture," especially rupture of a lung (which can produce a fatal pneumothorax). The verb used by Jesus for "burst against" (prosregnumi) is also derived from the verb rhegnumi. The related noun rhagma is used in the Septuagint translation of Amos 6:11 describing the judgment of God on the entire nation of Israel - "For behold, the LORD is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces (Lxx = rhagma) and the small house to fragments." 

Rhegma is used in the Septuagint on 1 Ki 11:30-31 to picture the dividing of the Kingdom of Israel by taking a new cloak and tearing it into 12 pieces (Lxx of pieces = rhegma).  (Four uses of rhegma in the Septuagint - 1 Ki. 11:30-31; 12:24; 2 Ki. 2:12)


In Hebrews we see this principle of hearing but not heeding played out in the life of OT Israel....

And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. (Heb 3:18,19-note)

Comment: Notice the clear parallel between disobedience in Heb 3:18 and unbelief in Hebrews 3:19. In other words Israel's unbelief was indicated by her disobedience. 

J C Ryle - The plain words of John Bunyan, when he describes Talkative in Pilgrim’s Progress, are an admirable commentary on this verse.

“The soul of religion is the practical part. ‘Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.’ (James 1:27.) This Talkative is not aware of. He thinks that hearing and saying will make a good Christian, and thus he deceiveth his own soul. Hearing is but the sowing of the seed. Talking is not sufficient to prove that fruit is indeed in the heart and life. Let us assure ourselves, that at the day of doom men shall be judged according to their fruits. It will not then be said, Did you believe? but, Were you a doer, or talker only? And accordingly they shall be judged. The end of the world is compared to our harvest; and you know that men at harvest regard nothing but fruit.”


Why would people build a house without a foundation? Perhaps they want to save time and avoid the hard work of preparing a stone foundation. Possibly because the waterfront scenery is more attractive or because beach houses have higher social status than cliff houses. Perhaps because they want to join their friends who have already settled in sandy areas. For some reason people who build their lives on weak foundations assume that disaster can’t happen to them. When God judges each person’s life, only those who have built on Jesus and his teaching will stand the test. Obedience is the only flood insurance you need. (LAC)

Steven Cole explains that "Obedience is not optional because those who do not obey Christ face sudden and final destruction (Luke 6:49). As you consider the man who built his house without a foundation, you have to ask, “Why would he do such a dumb thing?” There could be several reasons. First, it involved a lot of time and hard work to dig by hand down to the bedrock and the foolish man was lazy. It was much easier to throw up the house without all the hassle of putting in a proper foundation. So he followed the path of least resistance. If you’ve ever done home improvement projects, you’ve come across situations where the previous owner “fixed” a problem by doing it the easy way, but it wasn’t right. In the long run it would have been better to do it right in the first place, because you have to tear apart his botched up easy fix in order to really fix the problem.

There’s a spiritual parallel. Disobedience is usually much easier than obedience, and it seems at the time like it will get you where you want to go more quickly than the more difficult path of obedience. The guy who threw up his house without a foundation was sitting inside sipping lemonade while his neighbor was out in the hot sun dripping with sweat as he dug his foundation. You young men see a guy who is living with his beautiful girl friend, enjoying all the pleasures of sex with seemingly no consequences. Meanwhile, you’re in the trenches battling for moral purity in obedience to Jesus, and you wonder, “Why am I digging this foundation while that guy sits in his comfortable house with his girl friend on his lap?” Wait till the flood hits and you’ll know the reason!

Another reason the guy didn’t bother to dig a proper foundation is that he wanted the immediate benefits of the house without the necessary labor and time to build it correctly. He had a roof over his head and all his furniture nicely arranged while his neighbor wasn’t even above ground yet. Spiritually, a lot of people come to Jesus for the benefits He offers. Seemingly, they’re instantly enjoying the blessings of salvation even though they have never repented of sin and they are not daily judging their sin by His Word. They enjoy the good feelings of singing praise songs and swaying with the music. They like the love and fellowship of the body. But in their private lives, they are not digging the foundation of obedience to God’s Word. The flood will hit and their spiritual house will come crashing down.

A third reason this guy didn’t bother to put in a foundation is that he was short-sighted. He was living for the here and now, without thought for the future. It wasn’t raining when he threw up his house. The riverbed was dry. Flood? What flood? A flood was not in his thinking. He just wanted to get inside his new house and enjoy the comforts it provided. Spiritually, we are fools if we do not live in light of death and the judgment to follow. This very day your soul may be required of you, and then where will you be? If you profess to be a Christian, but you’ve been living all these years for self, with no regard for furthering the kingdom of God, your life is built on sand. It will collapse when the flood of God’s judgment hits.

When you peel away the outside, so many professing Christians, even many who are engaged in ministry, are just living for self. What motivates their Christian service is not the glory of the Savior who gave Himself for them. They’re not doing what they do because they love the Lord Jesus. They’re motivated by the strokes they get from serving. They love the affirmation. But if their service goes unrecognized or someone else gets the credit, they get angry and quit. Their motive was to please self, not to please the Lord. They were not laboring with a view to the future judgment when they would hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Conclusion - What can we do to make sure that our house is built on the rock of obedience to Christ, not on the sand? Jesus mentions three things (Lu 6:47): Come to Him, hear His words, and act on them.

First, you must come to Jesus. This implies a personal, one-to-one relationship between Jesus and you. In the parallel passage in Matthew, Jesus says to the hypocrites who had done all their impressive works in His name, “I never knew you” (Mt 7:23). Do you know Jesus and does Jesus know you? Christianity is not a system of rules where you decide you will start working on the list. It is fundamentally a personal relationship with the risen, living Savior. Your sins have separated you from Him. But He shed His blood to reconcile to God every sinner who will stop trusting in himself and his own good deeds and who will trust in Jesus’ blood as the only satisfaction for sin.

Second, you must hear Jesus’ words. This implies growing in your knowledge and understanding of His teaching as revealed in the Bible. If you are not feeding daily on God’s Word, learning from it how He wants you to live, you are living according to the desires of the flesh. You are being squeezed into the world’s mold. The teaching of the Bible centers on two main subjects: how to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul; and, how to love your neighbor as you do in fact love yourself. In other words, the Bible shows us how to relate properly to God and to others. As you read and study your Bible, your aim should not be simply to fill your head with knowledge, although proper knowledge is essential. The bottom line for biblical knowledge is that you will please God by loving Him and loving others as He commands.

Third, Jesus says that you must act upon His words. This implies soul-searching obedience, down to our very thoughts, motives, and attitudes. It means continually examining ourselves in light of Scripture. When you read a psalm that says, “Praise the Lord and sing for joy,” you ask yourself, “Is my mind filled with praise to God and joy in Him, or am I marked by grumbling and complaining?” You apply Scripture to your life. The bottom line of our time in His Word should be, “How then should I live?”

The forecast is that there is a 100 percent chance of a flood hitting your life in the near future. In light of that forecast, now is the time to check your foundation. If you are living in daily obedience to Jesus on the heart level, your house will stand. If you call Him “Lord” but you are living for self, you had better start digging!

Discussion Questions

  1. How would you answer a professing Christian who said, “I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior, but not as my Lord”?
  2. How does “lordship salvation” differ from works salvation? Is there a danger of crossing that crucial line?
  3. You are witnessing to a guy who is living with his girlfriend. Must he give up his immorality in order to be saved? If so, is this works salvation?
  4. Why must all obedience begin on the heart (or thought) level? Does this mean that we should not obey outwardly if our heart is not in it? How can we become obedient from the heart? (Luke 6:46-49 Why Obedience is Not Optional)