Luke 6 – Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath

Verses 1-5 have been used to link Biblical teaching to situation ethics, but this comes from a lack of understanding of the scriptures.  The disciples in verse 1 plucked and ate the grain with their hands, not with a sickle.  This was expressly allowed in the Law given in Deuteronomy 23:24-25.  But the Pharisees had made their own interpretation and decided it was the law, rather than God’s word.  Jesus challenged them to speak against David and his men eating the Bread of the Presence, or shewbread (1 Samuel 21:1-6) – which He said in verse 4 was unlawful.  He settles the matter in verse 5, saying that He is “lord of the Sabbath,”  with the unstated conclusion that the Pharisees are not.

English: A dispute with the pharisees. Passeri...

English: A dispute with the pharisees. Passeri. In the Bowyer Bible in Bolton Museum, England. Print 4384. From “An Illustrated Commentary on the Gospel of Mark” by Phillip Medhurst. Section D. Jesus confronts uncleanness. Mark 1:21-45, 2:1-12, 5:1-20, 25-34, 7:24-30. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verses 6-11 are another Sabbath encounter with the Pharisees, as Jesus was teaching in the synagogue.  Knowing that they are waiting to see if He will heal the man with the withered hand, He poses the question of whether it was lawful to do harm or to do good on the Sabbath.  They would not answer, but when he healed the man, they were angry.  Notice that their malice and desire to do harm to Him blinds them to the fact that the miracles prove He is the son of God.

In verses 12-16, after spending all night in prayer, He chose the twelve apostles from his disciples.   Verses 17-19 show the magnitude of the vast amounts of people He ministers to in the rest of this chapter.  People from Tyre and Sidon would almost certainly be Gentiles.

Some believe that the rest of this chapter is just Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, but we must realize that similar sermons by the Lord would be taught at different times and to different crowds.  Note that in verse 17, after having spent the night praying on the mountain, He “he came down with them and stood on a level place.”  This has resulted in people referring to this as the Sermon on the Plain.  In comparing the “blessed” and the “woes” in this sermon, Jesus is not saying that it is wrong to be rich or that the poor are more righteous.  He is stating the poor and those less fortunate who are in His kingdom will have their reward, while those who may be rich but not part of the faithful already have their reward.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


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