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. 2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days? 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; 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? 5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
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. 7 And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. 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. 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? 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. 11 And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.
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. 13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; 14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphæus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16 and Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
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 Judæa and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; 18 and they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22 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. 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.
24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 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. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 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. 35 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. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 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.
39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 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? 42 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.
43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 44 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. 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.
46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 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. 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.
Healings, blessings, warnings, instructions, foundation. Those words describe the contents of this chapter.
The Pharisees were the rich elite of their city, but when they saw men so hungry that they would eat what little raw grain they could pick from a field as they passed through, their only thought was how they could find fault with them using a twisted interpretation of a law that was meant to focus Jews’ attention on Jehovah at least one day of the week.
Jesus easily parried their blow and verbally shrugged them off as if they weren’t worthy of serious debate.
1) Healings (verses 6-11 and 17-19)
The next verses record a similar incident: on another Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, and there was a man with a withered hand present. Again the Pharisees were watching, hoping Jesus would heal on the Sabbath, which they would claim was work, and contrary to the Law of Moses, and therefore Jesus was not obeying the Law of Moses.
Mark, in chapter 3 of his Gospel, records this same event, and he adds that when Jesus asked if it were lawful to do good on the Sabbath, and the Pharisees remained silent, Jesus “looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart …”
So Jesus demonstrated that God approves of doing good to people, even (gasp!) on the Sabbath. He healed the man. End of discussion.
Now that Jesus had made His character, His honor, His integrity, and His supernatural ability known, He “went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.” Then He chose His disciples.
The public debut of Jesus was so successful that when He and His disciples came back down to the flatlands, “a great multitude” came to hear Him and to be healed by Him. The description makes my heart rejoice:
“And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.”
The King James Version says “virtue”, but the Greek word is “dunamis”, from which we get the English word “dynamite”. POWER!
Can you imagine that! Can you feel it! Can you see it!
I can think of half a dozen friends and family whom I have been lifting up in prayer to God for healing for some time. I would give just about anything if I could bring them to Jesus and see them healed ! And at least some of you have the same situation.
The Christian faith is built on reality! Jesus really was the Son of God, a miracle-worker! And His miracles proved that He was also the One authorized by the Holy One of Israel to forgive sins and grant eternal life!
But the attitude of the Pharisees demonstrated that there would be resistance. Jesus warned His disciples. The entire rest of the chapter is lessons for His disciples – and for us:
2) How to know when you are being blessed. (verses 20-23) It was necessary for Jesus to impress this on His disciples, because these blessings are cleverly disguised as curses!
3) What will cause you “woe”, that is, extreme distress. (verses 24-26)That is, what “feels good” now that will cause you desolation in the long run, especially in Eternity.
Both of those lessons are counter to every natural human instinct. You can bet they didn’t sound any better to 1st-century ears than they do to us. We need to think deeply about these lessons. Overall, on average, American Christians have been very protected and coddled. But we are probably seeing the end of that now, so these lessons, like it or not, are very important for us.
4) How to live to incur the real blessings and avoid the real curses. (verses 27-42) For example:
Love your enemies.
Bless those who curse you.
If someone takes away your goods, do not demand them back.
Give to everyone who begs of you
Do not judge, and you will not be judged
Those are terrible, harsh standards to live up to. We need to understand that these words were spoken to the first disciples (not just twelve; there were many more) and Jesus was preparing them to spread the Good News about salvation through faith in Him in a largely hostile world. They had to be prepared to let everything else slide in order to evangelize their world. They were going to be the channel through which the Most High, the only true God, would communicate to a world in deep spiritual darkness. They had to be absolutely single-minded.
The word “martyr” in that time only meant “witness”. Because of these first disciples, and the thousands who would follow Jesus in the next few decades, and who knows how many who would follow Jesus in the next seventeen hundred years, it would come to mean “one who dies for what she or he believes in”.
Martyrs. Crucified like their King. Fed to lions. Covered in pitch and set on fire. Tortured. “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
We don’t have to live up to the Law of Moses, but we are supposed to try to live up to the laws of Jesus.
He is –
5) Our Foundation (verses 47-48)
“Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them … is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.”
Those who have lived long in faith know that this is true. Faith in Jesus will sustain you when every other reason becomes a joke. When you don’t have the strength to go on. When you don’t want to go on. When you are afraid to go on. Your King is the Rock on which your life is built, and He will not let you fail, as long as you trust Him.
It may look to the world as if you have failed. You may feel like a failure. But “… whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1st John 5:4)
Have a blessed Wednesday all!