Tag Archives: Sabbath

Major Themes LXXIII – Forgiveness


Luke  6:1-49 NKJV

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Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. And some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” But Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:  how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?”  And He said to them, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered. So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him. But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, “Arise and stand here.” And he arose and stood. Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?”  And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. 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. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself;  and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the  son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor. And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all. Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For 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? For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?  A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye. “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?  Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:  He 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.  But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”

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Major Themes XLI – Care for Needy!


The Sabbath of the seventh year and the year of jubilee

LEVITICUS 25:1-16 NKJV
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And the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the Lord . Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord . You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. What grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine, for it is a year of rest for the land. And the sabbath produce of the land shall be food for you: for you, your male and female servants, your hired man, and the stranger who dwells with you, for your livestock and the beasts that are in your land—all its produce shall be for food. ‘And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat its produce from the field. ‘In this Year of Jubilee, each of you shall return to his possession. And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor’s hand, you shall not oppress one another. According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor, and according to the number of years of crops he shall sell to you. According to the multitude of years you shall increase its price, and according to the fewer number of years you shall diminish its price; for he sells to you according to the number of the years of the crops.

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The 365-Day Devotional Commentary on Luke 6…


August 10. Reading 222.
Jesus‘ Teachings

Luke 6

“I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).

Jesus’ “teaching on the plain” (v. 17) is a typical sermon of Christ from His Galilean ministry.

Overview

Luke summarized Jesus’ Sabbath conflict with the Pharisees (6:1-11) and listed the Twelve Christ chose as Apostles (vv. 12-16). He also summed up common elements in Christ’s preaching: His lists of blessings and woes (vv. 17-26), His call to love enemies (vv. 27-36), His prohibition of judging (vv. 37-42), His demand for evidence of righteousness (vv. 43-45), and His call to put His teachings into practice (vv. 46-49).

Understanding the Text

“What is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Luke 6:1-2 Each Gospel records Sabbath controversy between Jesus and the Pharisees. This focused on the multiplied rules of Sabbath observance that the rabbis had piled on during the preceding centuries. Sabbath controversies served as test cases, in that here the approach of rabbinic Judaism to the Scriptures was most clearly seen.

It is important to keep in mind that neither Jesus nor His disciples actually broke a biblical law, though the disciples did violate a rabbinical ruling.

In the Sabbath controversies Christ exercised His right as Lord to define authoritatively what the Sabbath was for—and not for. Essentially Christ taught (1) the Sabbath was instituted for man’s benefit (cf. Mark 2:27) and therefore helpful deeds are permitted (Luke 6:9); (2) that Jesus Himself is Lord of the Sabbath (v. 5); and (3) that as God works on the Sabbath it is lawful for the Son to work also (John 5:17).

Human interpretations of Scripture must always be carefully scrutinized—particularly when they are in the form of rules and restrictions!

Luke frequently pictured Jesus in a synagogue on the Sabbath (4:16336:6). Even small communities had synagogues, which served as houses of study as well as of worship. Archeologists have excavated this first-century synagogue, whose foundation was found underneath a fourth-century synagogue in Capernaum. The drawing shows the plans of the discovered synagogue, which is most probably the very Capernaum synagogue in which Jesus taught!

“Spent the night praying to God” Luke 6:12-16. Luke has described some of the pressures on Jesus. He was surrounded by milling crowds in search of healing. He was the center of controversy. And He had to make a critical decision, choosing 12 from among the many who followed Him to be “designated Apostles.”

When the pressures are greatest and the decisions most significant, the best way to spend time is in prayer.

“He… stood on a level place” Luke 6:17-20. This summary of Jesus’ teaching has been called the “sermon on the plain” in contrast to Matthew’s “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5-7). Luke may be describing the same event, but not necessarily. Most likely he reported standard features in the “keynote address” Christ likely repeated often when presenting His kingdom. The features we find here surely are basic elements in Christ’s present kingdom, and foundational to our life as citizens in it. Jesus’ focus on His disciples (v. 20) makes it clear this sermon is for us.

“Blessed are you” Luke 6:20-23. The blessing Jesus referred to is the unique joy experienced only by those who participate in His kingdom. Note that Jesus used the present tense here: “Blessed are you.” Out of what others call deprivation flows the unique joy of experiencing God’s living presence. We who look beyond the material world not only have great reward in heaven, but even as we suffer we “rejoice in that day and leap for joy.”

What a mistake to assume that joy and blessing depend on our bank balance, or well-stocked closets. Joy and blessing flow out of relationship with the Lord, and are dependent only on our closeness to Him.

“Woe to you who are rich” Luke 6:24-26. The woes stand in direct contrast to the blessings. The misery Luke associated with wealth is not rooted in riches themselves, but in the impact of riches on the individual. The wealthy are tempted to seek satisfaction in the things they can buy now, rather than giving priority to the world to come, and tend to ignore spiritual realities. And the wealthy seem to consider what others think of them more important than what God thinks. James 2:6-7 seems to assume, as Luke here may, that anyone in the first century who was wealthy had gained his or her riches at the expense of someone else. Whatever their source, Christ clearly taught that riches are deceitful. Rich or poor, we must learn to depend solely on the Lord.

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” Luke 6:27-36. Sociologists call the pattern Jesus criticized the “norm of reciprocity.” In any culture, people will tend to keep the social books balanced. If you invite the Joneses over for dinner, they’ll feel they owe you an invitation. If you loan Mrs. Smith chocolate chips, she’s likely to bring you a few of the cookies she makes.

Jesus didn’t criticize this norm. He simply observed that even sinners live by it, so it is nothing special when we show love to those who love us. And He called us to live by the standard set, not by others in our society, but by God. Since God does good and loving things even for those who hate Him, we who are God’s children and citizens in His kingdom are to do likewise.

We are not to live by the norm of reciprocity, but the norm of redemption.

“Do not judge” Luke 6:37-42. There is a great difference between using our ability to distinguish (judge) between right and wrong and what Jesus is speaking of here. Luke carefully ruled out any misunderstanding by using parallel repetition, common in Hebrew poetry and wisdom literature. We are to be morally discerning—but we may not use that discernment to condemn others. If we must be critical, let’s turn a critical eye on our own behavior—and correct it!

“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit” Luke 6:43-45. Jesus’ teaching here is no commission for you and me to become “fruit inspectors.” It is, however, the statement of a principle that holds true in the spiritual realm as well as in nature. The fruit of a fig tree is figs. The fruit of a good heart is loving words and godly deeds.

Some take these words to be directed against the Pharisees, who stressed rigid obedience to hosts of man-devised as well as biblical regulations. Certainly Jesus’ saying discounts the ritual in which they took such pride, and exalts ordinary goodness. Even more important, however, Jesus’ words remind us that the quality of our life depends on our hearts. If your heart and mine overflow with love for God and a desire to please Him, our lives will be filled with an obvious and overflowing goodness. That’s why Augustine could say, correctly, “Love God and do what you please.” Augustine saw that if a person truly loves God, what that person wants will be to please God!

“Who comes to Me and hears My words and puts them into practice” Luke 6:46-49. There is no better foundation on which you and I can build our lives. We have come to Him. Now let us listen to His words—and go put them into practice. If we do, we will stand firm whatever the storms life may hold.

Devotional:
The Measure You Use

(Luke 6:27-42)

Jesus’ call to love enemies frightens us at first. If we love our enemies, surely they’ll take advantage of us! If we love our enemies, we’ll be more vulnerable to attack.

At first Jesus seemed to ignore this rather obvious objection. He simply reminded us that God is a lover of enemies, and that as God’s children now we are expected to act as He does. Never mind the practicalities. Just do what is right.

But then Jesus went on to remind us that doing what is right is practical as well! “Give,” He says, “and it will be given to you…. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (vv. 37-38). You can break patterns of hostility and animosity! You can use the innate principle of reciprocity which God has planted in human nature by breaking the pattern of blow for blow, of pain given for pain received. You can initiate a new pattern by returning love for hate, good for evil, and in so doing establish the measure by which, in time, it will be measured back to you.

After all, didn’t God do the same thing? We human beings were “enemies in our mind by wicked works” (see Col. 1:21). And God broke the pattern by one bold act of love, sending His Son to suffer and die for our sins. As we respond to that love, accepting the salvation Christ brings, our whole attitude toward God has changed, and we now love and want to please Him. God too has received in measure as He has given.

Oh, I know. It doesn’t always work. Some who know of Christ remain as hostile to God as before. And, sometimes, the people we treat lovingly continue to do us harm. But the principle remains valid and true, whatever the individual exception. There is a way to break patterns of hostility in relationships. And that way is to take the initiative and begin, now, to give love where there is hate, compassion where there is hostility, and devotion where there is antagonism. When we do, we live out our calling as God’s children. And we initiate transforming change.

Personal Application

The larger the measure of love you use, the greater the possibility of receiving love in return.

Quotable

“It is possible to have compassion without love, and it is possible to have kindness without love; but it is impossible for one who has put on love to be unkind and without compassion, for love itself is not just an accessory garment. Love is the complete garment that has all the others built into it, so that love is a total way of life.”—Ray Anderson

365-Day Devotional Commentary, The.