Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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LUKE - Chapter 6

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Luke 6

Supplemental Commentary:

Note.  Only those parts of the Third Gospel that are peculiar to it are commented on here.  For all other parts the reader should consult the Commentaries on the parallel passages in the other Gospels.

I.  THE PUBLIC MINISTRY OF JESUS  3-21 (continued)

2.  The Inauguration of the Ministry in Galilee  4, 14 -- 6, 16 (continued)

6, 1-5:  The Disciples Pluck Grain on the Sabbath.  Parallels in Matt. 12, 1-8 and Mark 2, 23-28.    1.  On the second first Sabbath: the best Greek manuscripts read simply, "On a Sabbath," but this shorter reading may be due to a deliberate correction made by some early copyist who could not understand the strange expression.  Some commentators explain this odd expression as a combination of two glosses: since 6 mentions another Sabbath, some annotator of the text may have marked 1 as the first Sabbath; another annotator, noting that Luke had already mentioned a Sabbath (4, 31), may have added the word second here.  Since the first ripe barley was offered in the temple at the Passover, this event must have taken place shortly after the Passover, the second one in Christ's public ministry.  Hence many commentators explain the second first Sabbath as meaning the second day within the Passover octave or the second Sabbath after the feast itself.

6, 6-11:  A Man with a Withered Hand.  Parallels in Matt. 12, 9-14 and Mark 3, 1-6.

6, 12-16:  The Choice of the Twelve.  Parallels in Matt. 10, 1-4 and Mark 3, 13-19; cf. also Acts 1, 13.    12.  Luke notes that Christ made a solemn preparation for the choice of His Apostles by spending the entire night in prayer.

3.  Second Period of the Ministry in Galilee and Across Its Lake  6, 17 -- 9, 17

6, 17-19:  The Sermon on the Mount:  The Scene.  Parallels in Matt. 4, 24 f and Mark 3, 7-12; cf. also Matt. 12, 15 f.  See Commentary on Matt. 5, 1 for the scene of this sermon.    17.  A level stretch must be understood, not of the valley below the mountain, but of a sort of plateau, somewhat below the top of the mountain (12), yet high enough above the Lake of Genesareth that it could still be called by Matthew "the mountain."

6, 20-26:  The Beatitudes and Woes.    20-23.  The Beatitudes; cf. Matt. 5, 3-12.

6, 27-38:  The Rules of Charity.    27 f.  Love for one's enemies: parallel in Matt. 5, 44.    29 f.  The new law of talion: parallel in Matt. 5, 39-42.    31.  The Golden Rule: parallel in Matt. 7, 12.    32-36.  Charity must be all-embracing: parallel in Matt. 5, 45-47.  The "publicans" and the "Gentiles" of the First Gospel, which was written for Jewish Christians, become simply sinners in the Third Gospel which was written for Gentile Christians.    37 f.  Against uncharitable judgments: parallel in Matt. 7, 1 f; cf. also Mark 4, 24.  Forgive, and you shall be forgiven: literally in Greek, "set free, and you shall be set free"; but this can rightly be understood of pardoning offenses (cf. Matt. 6, 14 f; Mark 11, 25).    38.  God will give us an immense reward for our generosity towards our neighbor.  The figure here is taken from the custom of distributing grain by means of a measure: God's measure for repaying our charity will be good, i.e., generously large; the grains will be shaken together in it, so that they will pack well; they will be pressed down, so that the measure may hold as much grain as possible; the grain will finally be heaped up above the level of the measure until it is running over.

6, 39-45:  Self-Examination.    39.  The figure of the blind leading the blind is used in Matt. 15, 14 of the Pharisees.  It was evidently a proverbial saying, which is the meaning of the word parable here.  According to the following context, the sense seems to be, "It is fitting that one who teaches another how to be good, should be good himself."    40.  There is a similar saying in Matt. 10, 24 f.    41 f.  One should not criticize the imperfections of others if he has greater faults himself: parallel in Matt. 7, 3-5.    43-45.  Internal dispositions reveal themselves in external actions.    43 f.  Parallel in Matt. 7, 16-18.    45.  Cf. Matt. 12, 34b-35, where there is a similar saying of Christ in a different context.

6, 46-49:  Conclusion of the Sermon.  Parallel in Matt. 7, 21.24-27.

Confraternity Bible:

The Disciples Pluck Grain  1 Now it came to pass on the second first Sabbath, that he was going through standing grain, and his disciples were plucking and eating the ears of grain, rubbing them with their hands.  2 But the Pharisees said to them, "Why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"  3 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Have you not, then, read, what David did when he and those with him were hungry? 4 how he entered the house of God, and took, ate, and gave to those who were with him, the loaves of proposition, which  no one may lawfully eat except the priests?"  5 And he said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

A Man with a Withered Hand  6 And it came to pass on another Sabbath, that he entered the synagogue and taught.  And a man was there and his right hand was withered.  7 And the Scribes and the Pharisees were watching whether he cured on the Sabbath, that they might find how to accuse him.  8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, "Arise and stand forth in the midst."  And he arose and stood forth.  9 But Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do evil? to save a life, or to destroy it?"  10 And having looked around upon them all, he said to the man, "Stretch forth thy hand."  And he stretched it forth, and his hand was restored.  11 But they were filled with fury, and began to discuss among themselves what they should do to Jesus.

The Choice of the Twelve  12 Now it came to pass in those days, that he went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.  13 And when the day broke, he summoned his disciples; and from these he chose twelve (whom he also named apostles): 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alpheus, and Simon called the Zealot; 16 Jude the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who turned traitor.

The Sermon on the Mount: The Scene  17 And coming down with them, he took his stand on a level stretch, with a crowd of his disciples, and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to listen to him and to be healed of their diseases.  And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured.  19 And all the crowd were trying to touch him, for power went forth from him and healed all.

The Beatitudes  20 And he lifted up his eyes to his disciples, and said,
"Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 

21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. 

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 
22 Blessed shall you be when men hate you, and when they shut you out, and reproach you, and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.  23 Rejoice on that day and exult, for behold your reward is great in heaven.  For in the selfsame manner their fathers used to treat the prophets. 
24* But woe to you rich! for you are now having your comfort.  

25* Woe to you who are filled! for you shall hunger. 

Woe to you who laugh now! for you shall mourn and weep. 
26* Woe to you when all men speak well of you!  In the selfsame manner their fathers used to treat the prophets.

The Rules of Charity  27 "But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.  28 Bless those who curse you, pray for those who calumniate you.   29 And to him who strikes thee on the one cheek, offer the other also; and from him who take away thy cloak, do not withhold thy tunic either.  30 Give to everyone who asks of thee, and from him who takes away thy goods, ask no return.  31 And even as you wish men to do to you, so also do you to them.  32 And if you love those who love you, what merit have you?  For even sinners love those who love them.  33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what merit have you?  For even sinners do that.  34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive in return, what merit have you?  For even sinners lend to sinners that they may get back as much in return.  35 But love your enemies; and do good, and lend, not hoping for any return, and your reward shall be great, and you shall be children of the Most High, for he is kind towards the ungrateful and evil.  36 Be merciful, therefore, even as your Father is merciful.

37 "Do not judge, and you shall not be judged; do not condemn, and you shall not be condemned.  Forgive, and you shall be forgiven; 38 give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they pour into your lap.  For with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you."

Self-examination  39 And he spoke a parable also to them, "Can a blind man guide a blind man?  Will not both fall into a pit?  40 No disciple is above his teacher; but when perfected, everyone will be like his teacher.  41 But why dost thou see the speck in thy brother's eye, and yet dost not consider the beam in thy own eye?  42 And how canst thou say to thy brother, 'Brother let me cast out the speck from thy eye,' while thou thyself dost not see the beam in thy own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam from thy own eye, and then thou wilt see clearly to cast out the speck from thy brother's eye.

43 "For there is no good tree that bears bad fruit, nor is there a bad tree that bears good fruit.  44 For every tree is known by its fruit.  For from thorns men do not gather figs, neither from a bramble do they harvest grapes.  45 The good man from the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and the evil man from the evil treasure brings for that which is evil.  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Conclusion of the Sermon  46 "But why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and not practise the things that I say?  47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and acts upon them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon rock.  And when a flood came, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it; because it was founded on rock.  49 But he who has heard my words and has not acted upon them is like a man who built his house upon the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke and straightway it fell in, and great was the wreck of that house."


24: Amos 6, 1; Ecclus. 31, 8.

25: Isa. 65, 13 f

26: The prophets alluded to are the false prophets, as is evident from the Greek text.