Saint Luke – Chapter 6

The Bible – New Testament

Saint Luke

Chapter 6


1 While he was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.


Some Pharisees said, «Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?»


Jesus said to them in reply, «Have you not read what David did when he and those (who were) with him were hungry?


(How) he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, 2 which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions.»


Then he said to them, «The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.»


On another sabbath he went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.


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.


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.


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?»


Looking around at them all, he then said to him, «Stretch out your hand.» He did so and his hand was restored.


But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.


3 In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer 4 to God.


When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, 5 whom he also named apostles:


Simon, whom he named Peter, 6 and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,


Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, 7


and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, 8 who became a traitor.


9 And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon


came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.


Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.


10 11 And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: «Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.


Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.


Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.


Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.


But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.


But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep.


Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.


12 «But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,


bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.


To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.


Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.


Do to others as you would have them do to you.


For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? 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? Even sinners do the same.


If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit (is) that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount.


But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.


Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful.


13 «Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.


Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.»


And he told them a parable, «Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?


No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.


Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?


How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.


14 «A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.


For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles.


A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.


«Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?


15 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them.


That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built.


But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.»

1 [1-11] The two episodes recounted here deal with gathering grain and healing, both of which were forbidden on the sabbath. In his defense of his disciples’ conduct and his own charitable deed, Jesus argues that satisfying human needs such as hunger and performing works of mercy take precedence even over the sacred sabbath rest. See also the notes on  Matthew 12:1-14 and  Mark 2:25-26.
2 [4] The bread of offering: see the note on ⇒ Matthew 12:5-6.
3 [12-16] See the notes on ⇒ Matthew 10:1-⇒ 11:1 and ⇒ Mark 3:14-15.
4 [12] Spent the night in prayer: see the note on ⇒ Luke 3:21.
5 [13] He chose Twelve: the identification of this group as the Twelve is a part of early Christian tradition (see ⇒ 1 Cor 15:5), and in Matthew and Luke, the Twelve are associated with the twelve tribes of Israel (⇒ Luke 22:29-30; ⇒ Matthew 19:28). After the fall of Judas from his position among the Twelve, the need is felt on the part of the early community to reconstitute this group before the Christian mission begins at Pentecost (⇒ Acts 1:15-26). From Luke’s perspective, they are an important group who because of their association with Jesus from the time of his baptism to his ascension (⇒ Acts 1:21-22) provide the continuity between the historical Jesus and the church of Luke’s day and who as the original eyewitnesses guarantee the fidelity of the church’s beliefs and practices to the teachings of Jesus (⇒ Luke 1:1-4). Whom he also named apostles: only Luke among the gospel writers attributes to Jesus the bestowal of the name apostles upon the Twelve. See the note on ⇒ Matthew 10:2-4. «Apostle» becomes a technical term in early Christianity for a missionary sent out to preach the word of God. Although Luke seems to want to restrict the title to the Twelve (only in ⇒ Acts 4:4, ⇒ 14 are Paul and Barnabas termed apostles), other places in the New Testament show an awareness that the term was more widely applied (⇒ 1 Cor 15:5-7; ⇒ Gal 1:19; ⇒ 1 Cor 1:1; ⇒ 9:1; ⇒ Romans 16:7).
6 [14] Simon, whom he named Peter: see the note on ⇒ Mark 3:16.
7 [15] Simon who was called a Zealot: the Zealots were the instigators of the First Revolt of Palestinian Jews against Rome in A.D. 66-70. Because the existence of the Zealots as a distinct group during the lifetime of Jesus is the subject of debate, the meaning of the identification of Simon as a Zealot is unclear.
8 [16] Judas Iscariot: the name Iscariot may mean «man from Kerioth.»
9 [17] The coastal region of Tyre and Sidon: not only Jews from Judea and Jerusalem, but even Gentiles from outside Palestine come to hear Jesus (see ⇒ Luke 2:31-32; ⇒ 3:6; ⇒ 4:24-27).
10 [20-49] Luke’s «Sermon on the Plain» is the counterpart to Matthew’s «Sermon on the Mount» (⇒ Matthew 5:1-⇒ 7:27). It is addressed to the disciples of Jesus, and, like the sermon in Matthew, it begins with beatitudes (⇒ Luke 6:20-22) and ends with the parable of the two houses (⇒ Luke 6:46-49). Almost all the words of Jesus reported by Luke are found in Matthew’s version, but because Matthew includes sayings that were related to specifically Jewish Christian problems (e.g., ⇒ Matthew 5:17-20; ⇒ 6:1-8, ⇒ 16-18) that Luke did not find appropriate for his predominantly Gentile Christian audience, the «Sermon on the Mount» is considerably longer. Luke’s sermon may be outlined as follows: an introduction consisting of blessings and woes (⇒ Luke 6:20-26); the love of one’s enemies (⇒ Matthew 6:27-36); the demands of loving one’s neighbor (⇒ Luke 6:37-42); good deeds as proof of one’s goodness (⇒ Luke 6:43-45); a parable illustrating the result of listening to and acting on the words of Jesus (⇒ Luke 6:46-49). At the core of the sermon is Jesus’ teaching on the love of one’s enemies (⇒ Luke 6:27-36) that has as its source of motivation God’s graciousness and compassion for all humanity (⇒ Luke 6:35-36) and Jesus’ teaching on the love of one’s neighbor (⇒ Luke 6:37-42) that is characterized by forgiveness and generosity.
11 [20-26] The introductory portion of the sermon consists of blessings and woes that address the real economic and social conditions of humanity (the poor – the rich; the hungry – the satisfied; those grieving – those laughing; the outcast – the socially acceptable). By contrast, Matthew emphasizes the religious and spiritual values of disciples in the kingdom inaugurated by Jesus («poor in spirit,» ⇒ Matthew 5:5; «hunger and thirst for righteousness,» ⇒ Matthew 5:6). In the sermon, blessed extols the fortunate condition of persons who are favored with the blessings of God; the woes, addressed as they are to the disciples of Jesus, threaten God’s profound displeasure on those so blinded by their present fortunate situation that they do not recognize and appreciate the real values of God’s kingdom. In all the blessings and woes, the present condition of the persons addressed will be reversed in the future.
12 [27-36] See the notes on ⇒ Matthew 5:43-48 and ⇒ Matthew 5:48.
13 [37-42] See the notes on ⇒ Matthew 7:1-12; ⇒ 7:1; ⇒ 7:5.
14 [43-46] See the notes on ⇒ Matthew 7:15-20 and ⇒ 12:33.
15 [47-49] See the note on ⇒ Matthew 7:24-27.