Luke 6:1-5-The Pharisees dispute with Jesus about His disciples picking grain to eat on the Sabbath. They were claiming that doing so constituted working on the Sabbath and the law clearly forbade that. Jesus quotes an Old Testament passage to demonstrate that the Pharisees misunderstand the spirit, the intent of the law…that determines the letter, the application of the law. It isn’t that He is dismissing the law (Matthew 5:17), but that they have incorrectly interpreted it and how it is to be practiced, and He is correcting their mistake. They had chosen what parts of the law to obey…and had left part of it out. Jesus clarifies the part that they had left out. The Gospel of Mark (2:26-28) records this same incident and includes Jesus’ clarification that, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” The Pharisees had obviously left out this understanding of the law concerning the Sabbath. Jesus had previously claimed deity (5:20), now He claims sovereignty over the Sabbath…and His right to interpret the laws without reference to the traditions of the Pharisees. He tells them that He is, “Lord of the Sabbath.”
Luke 6:6-11-On another Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a synagogue…a man with a withered hand was there. The scribes and Pharisees were watching to see if He healed the man “in order that they might have reason to accuse Him.” Jesus knew what was going on. Jesus calls the man forward and asked those present if it was right, or not, to help someone on the Sabbath, when you have the ability to do so. To have the power to heal and to not do so would have been evil (v. 9). He then healed the man.
Luke 6:12-16-Jesus spent the night in prayer on a mountain (cf. 4:42). The next day He chose the 12 Apostles.
Luke 6:17-19-People began to come to Him from all over seeking to hear Him teach and to be healed. The power to heal was so great that they were simply trying to touch Him in order to be healed.
Luke 6:20-49-Jesus preaches a sermon similar to the Sermon on the Mount (it may be Luke’s record of it, or it may be a different occasion). See the contrast between vv. 20-23 (Blessed…) and vv. 24-27 (Woe…). Jesus says the same thing two times…from the opposite perspectives.
Prayer: Lord, it is impossible for me to do what You speak of here, on my own. Please help me…to remember that there is a priority that is greater than the things of this earthly existence, there are values that exceed those that we have here, and that the way that we treat others should be a reflection of how You have treated us. Help those standards to be what guides my life.