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6. Teachings of Jesus
1Now it came to pass on a sabbath, that he was going through the grainfields; and his disciples plucked the ears, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. 2But certain of the Pharisees said, Why do ye that which it is not lawful to do on the sabbath day? 3And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read even this, what David did, when he was hungry, he, and they that were with him; 4how he entered into the house of God, and took and ate the showbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat save for the priests alone? 5And he said unto them, The Son of man is lord of the sabbath. 6And it came to pass on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man there, and his right hand was withered. 7And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath; that they might find how to accuse him. 8But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man that had his hand withered, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. 9And Jesus said unto them, I ask you, Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good, or to do harm? to save a life, or to destroy it? 10And he looked round about on them all, and said unto him, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored. 11But they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus. 12And it came to pass in these days, that he went out into the mountain to pray; and he continued all night in prayer to God. 13And when it was day, he called his disciples; and he chose from them twelve, whom also he named apostles: 14Simon, whom he also named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip and Bartholomew, 15and Matthew and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor; 17and he came down with them, and stood on a level place, and a great multitude of his disciples, and a great number of the people from all Judaea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; 18and they that were troubled with unclean spirits were healed. 19And all the multitude sought to touch him; for power came forth from him, and healed them all. 20And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed are ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. 21Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. 23Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25Woe unto you, ye that are full now! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you, ye that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets. 27But I say unto you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, 28bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you. 29To him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and from him that taketh away thy cloak withhold not thy coat also. 30Give to every one that asketh thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32And if ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? for even sinners love those that love them. 33And if ye do good to them that do good to you, what thank have ye? for even sinners do the same. 34And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? even sinners lend to sinners, to receive again as much. 35But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. 36Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 37And judge not, and ye shall not be judged: and condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: release, and ye shall be released: 38give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again. 39And he spake also a parable unto them, Can the blind guide the blind? shall they not both fall into a pit? 40The disciple is not above his teacher: but every one when he is perfected shall be as his teacher. 41And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42Or how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me cast 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 cast out the mote that is in thy brother's eye. 43For there is no good tree that bringeth forth corrupt fruit; nor again a corrupt tree that bringeth forth good fruit. 44For each tree is known by its own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. 46And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47Every one that cometh unto me, and heareth my words, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: 48he is like a man building a house, who digged and went deep, and laid a foundation upon the rock: and when a flood arose, the stream brake against that house, and could not shake it: because it had been well builded. 49But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that built a house upon the earth without a foundation; against which the stream brake, and straightway it fell in; and the ruin of that house was great.
Luke 6:1. On the second-first Sabbath It is beyond all question that this Sabbath belonged to some one of the festival-days which the Law enjoined to be observed once every year. Some have thought that there were two festival-days in immediate succession; but as the Jews had arranged their festival-days after the Babylonish captivity so that one day always intervened between them, that opinion is set aside. Others maintain with greater probability, that it was the last day of the solemnity, which was as numerously attended as the first. I am more inclined to favor those who understand by it the second festivity in the year; and this agrees exceedingly well with the name given to it, the second-first Sabbath, because, among the great Sabbaths which were annually observed, it was the second in the order of time. Now the first was the Passover, and it is therefore probable that this was the feast of first-fruits, (Exodus 23:15, 16.)
Luke 6:8. But he knew their thoughts If Matthew states the truth, they had openly declared by their language what was in their minds; and therefore Christ replies not to their secret thoughts, but to express words. But both may be true, that they spoke plainly, and yet that Christ discerned their secret thoughts; for they did not openly avow their designs, and Matthew himself tells us that their question was intended to take Christ by surprise; and, consequently, Luke means nothing more than that Christ was aware of their insidious designs, though not expressed in words.
Luke 6:13. Whom also he named Apostles. This may be explained in two ways: either that, at a subsequent period, when he introduced them into their office, he gave them this name, — or that, with a view to their future rank, he bestowed on them this title, in order to inform them why they were separated from the ordinary class, and for what purpose they were destined. The latter view agrees well with the words of Mark: for he says, that Christ appointed twelve to be with him, and to send them forth to preach. He intended to make them his companions, that they might afterwards receive a higher rank: for, as I have already explained, when he says, to be with him, and to send them forth to preach, he does not mean that both were to take place at the same time.
Luke 6:24. Woe to you that are rich. As Luke has related not more than four kinds of blessings, so he now contrasts with them four curses, so that the clauses mutually correspond. This contrast not only tends to strike terror into the ungodly, but to arouse believers, that they may not be lulled to sleep by the vain and deceitful allurements of the world. We know how prone men are to be intoxicated by prosperity, or ensnared by flattery; and on this account the children of God often envy the reprobate, when they see everything go on prosperously and smoothly with them.
He pronounces a curse on the rich, — not on all the rich, but on those who receive their consolation in the world; that is, who are so completely occupied with their worldly possessions, that they forget the life to come. The meaning is: riches are so far from making a man happy, that they often become the means of his destruction. In any other point of view, the rich are not excluded from the kingdom of heaven, provided they do not become snares for themselves, or fix their hope on the earth, so as to shut against them the kingdom of heaven. This is finely illustrated by Augustine, who, in order to show that riches are not in themselves a hindrance to the children of God, reminds his readers that poor Lazarus was received into the bosom of rich Abraham.
25. Woe to you who are filled. Woe to you who laugh now In the same sense, he pronounces a curse on those who are satiated and full: because they are lifted up by confidence in the blessings of the present life, and reject those blessings which are of a heavenly nature. A similar view must be taken of what he says about laughter: for by those who laugh he means those who have given themselves up to Epicurean mirth, who are plunged in carnal pleasures, and spurn every kind of trouble which would be found necessary for maintaining the glory of God.
26. Woe to you when all men shall applaud you The last woe is intended to correct ambition: for nothing is more common than to seek the applauses of men, or, at least, to be carried away by them; and, in order to guard his disciples against such a course, he points out to them that the favor of men would prove to be their ruin. This warning refers peculiarly to teachers, who have no plague more to be dreaded than ambition: because it is impossible for them not to corrupt the pure doctrine of God, when they, “seek to please men,” (Galatians 1:10.) By the phrase, all men, Christ must be understood to refer to the children of the world, whose applauses are wholly bestowed on deceivers and false prophets: for faithful and conscientious ministers of sound doctrine enjoy the applause and favor of good men. It is only the wicked favor of the flesh that is here condemned: for, as Paul informs us, (Galatians 1:10,) no man who “seeks to please men” can be “the servant of Christ.”
Luke 6:30. To every one that asketh of thee. The same words, as we shall presently see, are found in Matthew: for it may readily be inferred from the context, that Luke does not here speak of a request to obtain assistance, but of actions at law, which bad men raise for the purpose of carrying off the property of others. From him who takes away what are thine, ask them not again. If it is thought better to read the two clauses separately, I have no objection: and then it will be an exhortation to liberality in giving. As to the second clause, in which Christ forbids us to ask again those things which have been unjustly taken away, it is undoubtedly an exposition of the former doctrine, that we ought to bear patiently “the spoiling of our goods.” But we must remember what I have already hinted, that we ought not to quibble about words, as if a good man were not permitted to recover what is his own, when God gives him the lawful means. We are only enjoined to exercise patience, that we may not be unduly distressed by the loss of our property, but calmly wait, till the Lord himself shall call the robbers to account.
Luke 6:35. Lend, expecting nothing again. It is a mistake to confine this statement to usury, as if Christ only forbade his people to be usurers. The preceding part of the discourse shows clearly, that it has a wider reference. After having explained what wicked men are wont to do, — to love their friends, — to assist those from whom they expect some compensations, — to lend to persons like themselves, that they may afterwards receive the like from them, — Christ proceeds to show how much more he demands from his people, — to love their enemies, to show disinterested kindness, to lend without expecting a return. We now see, that the word nothing is improperly explained as referring to usury, or to any interest that is added to the principal:418418 “De l’usure et accroissement qui vient outre le principal;” — “of usury and increase which comes beyond the principal.” On the lawfulnesss of lending money at interest, the most enlightened men, at the time when our author wrote, were strangley divded in sentiment. His own views were unfolded in a small work, which has been admired by competent judges for the purity of French style, and for enlarged views of Political Economy. After suffering not a little obloquy for his manner of applying the law of God to commercial questions, he has been vindicated by the unanimous opinion of posterity; and his performance, having served its purpose, has been quietly laid on the shelf. We allude to it only to account for the rapid and cursory manner in which he disposes here of a question, on which all who wish to know his opinions may satisfy themselves by perusing his own complete and elaborate statement of the argument. — Ed. whereas Christ only exhorts us to perform our duties freely, and tells us that mercenary acts are of no account in the sight of God.419419 “Que les plaisirs lesquels les hommes se font les uns aux autres, sous esperance de recompense, ne viennent point en conte devant Dieu.” — “That the gratifications which men give to each other, in expectation of reward, come not into reckoning before God.” Not that he absolutely condemns all acts of kindness which are done in the hope of a reward; but he shows that they are of no weight as a testimony of charity; because he alone is truly beneficent to his neighbors, who is led to assist them without any regard to his own advantage, but looks only to the necessities of each. Whether it is ever lawful for Christians to derive profit from lending money, I shall not argue at greater length under this passage, lest I should seem to raise the question unseasonably out of a false meaning which I have now refuted. Christ’s meaning, as I have already explained, is simply this: When believers lend, they ought to go beyond heathens; or, in other words, they ought to exercise pure liberality.
Luke 6:37, 38. Forgive, and it shall be forgiven to you. Give, and it shall be given to you. This promise, which is added by Luke, means, that the Lord will cause him, who is indulgent, kind, and just to his brethren, to experience the same gentleness from others, and to be treated by them in a generous and friendly manner. Yet it frequently happens, that the children of God receive the very worst reward, and are oppressed by many unjust slanders; and that, to when they have injured no man’s reputation, and even spared the faults of brethren. But this is not inconsistent with what Christ says: for we know, that the promises which relate to the present life do not always hold, and are not without exceptions. Besides, though the Lord permits his people, when innocent, to be unjustly oppressed and almost overwhelmed, he fulfils what he says in another place, that “their uprightness shall break forth as the morning,”464464 In the French version our Author quotes a similar passage from the book of Psalms, (37:6;) “and he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon-day ” — Ed (Isaiah 58:8.) In this way, his blessing always rises above all unjust slanders. He subjects believers to unjust reproaches, that he may humble them, and that he may at length maintain the goodness of their cause. It ought also to be taken into the account, that believers themselves, though they endeavor to act justly towards their brethren, are sometimes carried away by excessive severity against brethren, who were either innocent, or not so greatly to be blamed, and thus, by their own fault, provoke against themselves a similar judgment. If they do not receive good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, though this is chargeable on the ingratitude of the world, yet they ought to acknowledge that it was partly deserved: for there is no man who is so kind and indulgent as he ought to be towards his brethren.
Luke 6:39. And he spake to them a parable. Luke relates this saying without mentioning any occurrence, but states generally, that Christ made use of this parable; as in recording many of Christ’s discourses he says nothing as to the occasion on which they were delivered. It is no doubt possible that Christ may have spoken this parable more than once; but, as no place more appropriate was to be found, I have not hesitated to insert here what Luke relates without fixing the time.
Luke 6:40. The disciple is not above his master, but every one shall be conformed to his master Luke gives this sentence without any connection, as if it had been spoken abruptly in the midst of other discourses; but as Matthew explains very clearly, in this passage, to what it relates, I have chosen not to insert it in any other place. With respect to the translation, I have chosen neither to follow Erasmus nor the old translator, and for the following reason: — The participle κατηρτισμένος, signifies perfect, but signifies also fit and suitable Now, as Christ is speaking, not about perfection, but about resemblance, and must therefore mean, that nothing is more suitable for a disciple than to be formed after the example of his master, the latter meaning appeared to me to be more appropriate.
Luke 6:43. For the tree is not good This statement, as related by Luke, appears to be a general instruction given by Christ, that by the fruits our opinion of every man ought to be formed, in the same manner as a tree is known by its fruit After having inserted the reproof to hypocrites, who “perceive a straw in the eye of another, but do not see a beam in their own,” (verses 41,42,) he immediately adds, For the tree is not good which beareth rotten fruit, nor is the tree rotten which beareth good fruit The illative particle γὰρ, for, appears to connect these two sentences. But as it is certain that Luke, in that sixth chapter, records various discourses of Christ, it is also possible that he may have briefly glanced at what is more fully explained by Matthew. I attach no great importance to the word for, which in other passages is often superfiuous, and appears obviously to be so from the concluding statement.
Luke 6:45. A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good Such is the statement with which Luke concludes the discourse; and I have no doubt that he intended to describe, without a figure, the kind of judgment which Christ orders us to make from the fruits Believers ought to examine carefully what kind of doctrine is taught by those who profess to be the servants of God. “Titles (he says) are of little value, till the speaker give actual evidence that he is sent by God.” Yet I am far from saying, that this passage may not be applied to a general doctrine, And certainly the last clause, out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh, has a more extensive reference than to false prophets: for it is a common proverb. Is it objected, that the tongues of men lie, and that men of the worst hearts are often the best speakers? I reply: Christ merely points out here what is a very ordinary occurrence. For, though hypocrites express in words what is different from the feelings of their hearts, that is no reason why we may not justly and appropriately call the tongue the portrait of the mind.