It’s okay to enjoy the Sabbath
- 6:1 Jesus and his disciples took a walk through grain fields one Sabbath Saturday.1 As they walked, his disciples picked a snack of grain kernels. They plucked a few grain heads off the stalks. Then, in the palms of their hands, they rubbed off the outside chaff. They ate the grain kernels left behind.
- 6:2 Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing this when you know you are breaking the Sabbath law?”2
- 6:3 Jesus said, “Haven’t you read in your own Bible what David did when he and the people with him were hungry?
- 6:4 He went right into the sanctuary of the worship center and took the holy bread3 that only priests are allowed to eat. He and his men ate it.”
- 6:5 Then Jesus told them, “The Son of Humans4 is the boss of the Sabbath.”
- 6:6 On another Sabbath day, Jesus went into the synagogue to teach. He noticed a man whose right hand was withered and useless.5
- 6:7 Jewish scholars and Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would practice medicine on the Sabbath.6 If he did, they intended to call him on it.
- 6:8 Jesus knew what they were thinking. He told the man with the withered hand, “Come up here and stand in front of the people.”
- 6:9 Jesus said to everyone in the synagogue, “I have a question for you. What does the Jewish law say about the Sabbath? Is it a day to help people or to hurt people, to save people or to kill people?”
- 6:10 Jesus looked around the room at all the people. Then he told the man, “Stick out your hand.” The man did and his hand suddenly became perfectly normal.
- 6:11 Jewish leaders got crazy mad and started jabbering with each other about what they could do to put Jesus in his place.
Picking a dozen disciples
- 6:12 It was around this time that Jesus went off by himself to spend the whole night praying to God on the mountain.
- 6:13 After daylight, Jesus met on the mountain with the group of people who had become his devoted followers. He picked 12 of them as his closest disciples. He called them “apostles.”7
- 6:14 Simon, who Jesus renamed Peter,
Andrew, Peter’s brother,
- 6:15 Matthew,
James the son of Alpheus,
Simon, people called a Zealot
- 6:16 Judas, the son of James,
Judas Iscariot, the traitor.
- 6:17 Jesus and his followers walked down to a level field where a large crowd of his followers had gathered. The crowd also included a lot of people from all over the region, from as far south as the territory of Judea and the city of Jerusalem, and as far north as the Mediterranean coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon.8
- 6:18 They came for different reasons. Some came to hear what he had to say. Others came to get healed of their diseases. Some came for exorcism, for release from unholy spirits that tormented them.
- 6:19 The crowd jostled around him with everyone trying to touch him. That’s because they realized healing power was coming out of him and that whenever sick people touched him they were healed.
When to consider yourself fortunate
- 6:20 Jesus looked at the crowd of his followers and he started talking to them.9
“Consider yourself fortunate if you’re poor,
because God’s kingdom belongs to you.
Consider yourself fortunate if you’re hungry,
for you are going to be completely satisfied with what you’re going to get.
Consider yourself fortunate if you are crying now,
for you will be laughing soon enough
Consider yourself fortunate if people hate you, ignore you, insult you, and refuse to speak your name because of me, the Son of Humans.
Throw yourself a party when that happens.
Jump for joy because you are in for one whopper of a bonus in heaven.
People who treat you like this have a long history of doing it. Their ancestors treated the prophets like this.
But how tragic it will be for those of you who are rich.
You have already enjoyed all the comfort you will ever get.
How tragic it will be for those of you who have stuffed yourself full. You are going to wind up hungry.
How tragic it will be for those of you laughing now. You’re going to end up depressed and crying.
How tragic it will be when people do nothing but feed you compliments. That’s what their ancestors did to the fake prophets.
Treat your enemies kindly
- 6:27 If you’re listening to me I want you to hear this. It’s important. Love your enemies. Be kind to people who hate you.
- 6:28 When someone says bad things about you, say good things about them. Pray for people who insult you.
- 6:29 To the person who slaps you up the side of your face, turn your head and offer the other side as well. And to the one who confiscates your coat, let that person also have the shirt off your back if they want it.
- 6:30 When someone asks you to give them something, give it to them. And when they take something from you, don’t bother trying to get it back.
- 6:31 Whatever you wish other people would do for you, do it for them.
- 6:32 If you love people who love you, do you really think that makes you a loving person? Even the low-down sinners love people who love them.
- 6:33 And if you are good to people who love you, do you really think that makes you a good person? Even the sinners do that.
- 6:34 And if you loan to people who will return what they borrowed, do you think that makes you a generous person? Even sinners loan to sinners when they expect to get their stuff back.
- 6:35 People, love your enemies, do good, and loan what you have, expecting nothing back. When you can start living like that, you can expect a great reward, and you will be considered one of the children of the Most High God. For he is kind to people who are unkind and no good.
- 6:36 Be compassionate, like your Father is.
Show compassion, like your Father
- 6:37 Don’t judge people and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn and you won’t be condemned. Forgive and you’ll be forgiven.
- 6:38 Give and you’ll receive. What you get back will be like a big basket fully loaded, pushed down and shaken to make room for more. And it will be like a bucket so full that it runs over the top and spills into your lap. However much you decide to give, that same level of generosity or stinginess will determine what you get.”
- 6:39 Jesus told them a parable. “Can the blind lead the blind? Won’t they both end up in a ditch somewhere?
- 6:40 A student is not someone who knows more than his teacher. But when the student is fully educated, he will be very much like his teacher.
- 6:41 How is it you can notice the tiniest speck in your brother’s eye, but you miss that beam of timber in your own?
- 6:42 Where do you get the chutzpah to say to your brother, ‘Hey, brother, let me take that speck out of your eyeball?' Come on. How can you possibly do that when you can’t see past that plank in your own eyeball? Can you spell ‘hypocrite’? First get that plank out of your own eye and then maybe you’ll be able to see clearly enough to get the speck out of your brother’s eye.
If you’re good, it’ll show
- 6:43 A good tree doesn’t give us bad fruit. And a bad tree doesn’t give us good fruit.
- 6:44 We know our trees by the fruit they produce. We also know that we’re not going to pick figs from thorn bushes or grapes from briar patches.
- 6:45 Good people out of the goodness of their heart produce goodness. We can see it on them. Evil people out of the darkness of their heart produce evil. We can see it on them. What you’ve got in your heart comes out of your mouth in the words you speak.
Build on a solid foundation
- 6:46 Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ as though I’m your master, but you don’t do what I tell you to do?
- 6:47 Let me tell you something. Everyone who comes to hear me and then does what I tell them to do
- 6:48 is like a man who builds his house by starting with a deep foundation built on bedrock. When the river flooded over its banks and the current started pushing against the house, the house stood firm. It would not be moved. It was that well-built.
- 6:49 But the person who hears me and doesn’t do what I say is like a man building a house on top of the ground without any foundation at all. When the flooding river hits that house, it will collapse into a total loss."
The Jewish Sabbath Day starts at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday. Jews are not supposed to work during those 24 hours.
The laws that Moses gave the Jews says they should not work on the Sabbath, but the law stopped short of defining “work.” So Pharisees defined it. They taught hundreds of laws identifying what they considered work. Picking grain, they said, was harvesting.
Every Sabbath, Jewish priests put 12 loaves of fresh bread inside the worship center – one loaf for each of the tribes of Israel. Then priests ate the old loaves put there the previous Sabbath (Exodus 25:30).
Usually translated Son of Man. See note 5:24.
Possibly from paralysis.
Pharisees taught that even physicians needed to rest on the Sabbath. The exception would be if a person was in danger of dying that day. As far as they were concerned, a patient with a paralyzed hand could wait another day.
Apostle means “official messenger,” such as a delegate or an ambassador sent to deliver a message. The title “apostle” came to mean disciples hand-picked by Jesus to tell his story and spread his teachings. The title usually referred to the 12 original disciples of Jesus and Paul, who met Jesus in a miraculous encounter while Paul was traveling to Damascus to arrest Christians (Acts 9:5).
In what is now the country of Lebanon.
The section that follows is often called the Beatitudes, the beginning of the most famous sermon of Jesus, often known as the Sermon on the Mount. It’s reported, too, in Matthew 5—7.
The law of Moses tells Jews not to work on the Sabbath, but it doesn’t define work. It seems the Pharisees are simply trying to help people understand what they were not supposed to do on the Sabbath. That’s pretty much what church manuals do. They tried to apply Bible principles to life. Do you think there was anything wrong with what the Pharisees were trying to do?
When the Pharisees confronted Jesus about his disciples “harvesting” grain on the Sabbath, Jesus sounded a bit harsh in his response. Why do you think he didn’t approach the answer in a way that showed more respect to the Pharisees?
What do you make of what Jesus told the Pharisees: “The Son of Humans is the boss of the Sabbath” (6:5)? What do you think Jesus meant by that? And how do you think the Pharisees took it?
What point do you think Jesus was trying to make by healing a man on the Sabbath—the man “who’s right hand was withered and useless” (6:6)?
Jewish leaders saw a miracle. They watch Jesus heal a man’s useless hand. But the only emotion they seemed to feel was anger, they “got crazy mad” (6:11). What do you think that says about them?
Luke says Jesus preached what most people call the Sermon on the Mount from “a level field” (6:17). Matthew describes the same sermon, but says it took place on a hillside (Matthew 5:1). Search the internet for pictures of the site where a long tradition says this sermon took place, a short walk away from Capernaum. Do you see any way to explain the apparent discrepancy?
In the section of his sermon that’s often called the Beatitudes (6:22-26), Jesus seems to say the opposite of everything that most people seem to believe. Why do you think he is doing this? What do you think he expects the people listening to him to get out of this?
Jesus tells us to love our enemies, let people get away with hitting us, and loan our stuff to people who won’t give it back. Basically, it sounds as though he is asking us to become a doormat that people can use to wipe their feet. How would you argue that this is not the case?
LIFE APPLICATION. Given what the Jewish Bible says about worshiping God and resting on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11) and what Jesus did by healing people on the Sabbath and by allowing his disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath, how do you think we should spend that one day a week that’s devoted to God?
LIFE APPLICATION. Pharisees not only followed what appears to be a lot of man made rules that were not in the Bible, they expected everyone else to follow them as well. How do you see that played out in today’s world?
LIFE APPLICATION. Jesus advises us not to judge others in a condemning way: “Don’t judge people and you won’t be judged” (6:37). Is that why? To protect ourselves? Also, how have you noticed people reacting to others who have a habit of beating them up with judgment and condemnation?
LIFE APPLICATION. “Good people out of the goodness of their hearts produce goodness” (6:45). What kind of goodness like that have you seen lately?