Verse 1-11 Disputes over the Sabbath.
One Sabbath day the Lord and His disciples were walking through some grain fields. The disciples plucked some grains, rubbed them in their hands and ate them. This was permitted. Deut 23:25.
The Pharisees objected to this because it was done on the Sabbath. The Lord answered by using an incident in the life of David. The law of the Sabbath was never intended to forbid a work of necessity. Ox in the ditch etc.
David and his men were being hunted—they were hungry. They went to the house of God and ate the shewbread, which was reserved for the priests. God did not count David guilty, because of the extenuating circumstances.
In the present situation, Christ and His disciples were hungry. They ate because of necessity; therefore the law of the Sabbath was not broken.
Verse 6-11 In this second instance Christ heals on the Sabbath.
There was a man in the synagogue with a paralyzed hand. Maybe he was put there by the religious leaders. They watched to see how he would react.
He knew their thoughts - asked the man to stand up with Him. Then He addressed His critics. Is it lawful on the Sabbath days to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy it? Verse 9.
There was no answer from His adversaries—so Jesus healed the man. Verse 10. The Pharisees and scribes were furious. They wanted to condemn Jesus, but He had done no work—He only spoke a few words and the man was healed.
Note the truth here - the Sabbath was designed by God for man’s good. When rightly understood it did not prohibit a work of mercy or necessity.
Verse 12-16. Jesus calls His disciples.
Please note and emphasize the all night prayer vigil before the Lord chose the twelve disciples. The Lord at this time prayed for wisdom and for guidance in His choice of the men who would be His followers. He no doubt also prayed God’s blessing upon them.
How dependent the Lord was upon His Father.
Stress at this point the importance of prayer.
Following this night of prayer Jesus chose twelve men from the larger group that followed Him. These were chosen to represent Him as His ambassadors. First to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then later to the great Gentile world.
These men were comparatively young. In the prime of their life.
Examples of young men being called by God.
· Young Martin Luther
· the college students John and Charles Wesley
· George Whitefield
· D.L. Moody
· Charles Spurgeon (16 years)
· William Booth.
These men make interesting character studies.
1. Peter - A man of contradictions - truly possessed of two natures - capable of ascending to the highest and descending to the lowest. Eventually, in old age, about A.D. 70 sealed his testimony with a martyr’s death.
2. Andrew, Peter’s brother excelled as a personal worker. He first led Peter to Christ. Little is said of him, he appears to have been helpful, and served in a humble capacity. He too was martyred - nailed on a cross.
(3) (4) James and John the sons of Zebedee. Like the two mentioned previously they were fishermen. They were the sons of thunder — stormy — energetic young men. James was the first of the twelve to be put to death. John lived to be over 90 years of age, and though suffering much for Christ, died a natural death.
(5) (6) Philip and Bartholomew, also called Nathaniel. They were friends before they knew the Lord, and closer comrades afterwards.
(7) Matthew was a tax collector for the Roman government, his office was in Capernaum. He left all to follow Christ, and probably devoted his wealth to the cause of Christ.
(8) Thomas, sometimes called the doubter. Faithful, devoted, ready to die with Christ if necessary. He seems to have carried the Gospel to India.
(9) (10) James the son of Alpheus, we do not know much about him. He and his brother Judas were the cousins of Jesus. Judas may have been the author of the epistle of Jude. Sometimes this Judas is called Thaddeus.
(11) Simon Zelotes was formerly a member of a secret order whose objective was to overthrow the Roman usurper. He turned from this to Christ as the true Deliverer of Israel.
(12) Judas, the traitor. He was probably the most cultured of the twelve. He was the treasurer of the group. He fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah, selling the Shepherd of Israel for 30 pieces of silver. He is referred to as the “son of perdition.”
The disciples were not men of outstanding intellects. The thing that made them great was their relationship with Jesus Christ. They were probably young men in there twenties when the Lord called them.
Give an appeal here for young men to keep an open heart to the call of Christ.
The following discourse is not the same as the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount was delivered on a mountain. This address was delivered on a plain, or level place. The first had blessings but no woes. This address had both blessings and woes. The people came to Him from every quarter. Sick people - demon possessed people pressed around Him to be healed.
Verses 20-26 Blessings and woes.
The Savior began His address by bringing the attention of the audience to the four blessings and the four woes.
1. “Blessed be ye poor; for yours is the kingdom of God.” Here Jesus is speaking of a self-imposed poverty for His sake. He was referring to those who purposely chose to be poor in order to share Christ with others. The kingdom of God belongs to people of this caliber.
2. “Blessed are ye that hunger now; for ye shall be filled.” This does not refer to the hungry multitudes in the world today. Instead it refers to disciples of Christ who live sacrificially in order to further the work of the Lord. These shall be filled with spiritual blessings.
3. “Blessed are ye that weep now; for ye shall laugh.” Jesus is referring here to the tears shed for His sake. Tears for the lost - perishing mankind. Tears over the divided and impotent state of the church. Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.
4. “Blessed are ye when men shall hate you—separate you from their company—reproach you—cast out your name as evil.” This blessing is not for those who suffer for their own folly. It is for those who are despised – excommunicated – reproached - slandered because of their loyalty to Christ.
The key to understanding the four blessings is the phrase, “for the Son of man’s sake.” The four blessing describe the ideal believer in the kingdom of God who lives sacrificially – austerely – soberly - enduringly.
Verses 24-26 The four woes.
The four woes describe those who are least esteemed in the kingdom of God, but counted great by the world.
1. “Woe unto you that are rich; for ye shall receive your consolation.” The meaning of this verse is, that those who have wealth and who refuse to use it for the Lord’s glory and the benefit of His people, they have already received the only reward they will ever get.
2. “Woe unto you that are full; for ye shall hunger.” These are believers who believe only the best of this world is good enough. The Lord says that they will hunger in a coming day when the rewards are given out for faithful service.
3. “Woe unto you that laugh now! For ye shall mourn and weep.” This woe is aimed at those who seek to satisfy themselves with the pleasures of the world, and seem oblivious to the fact than men and women are perishing. Those that laugh now will weep and mourn when they look back over wasted opportunities, self indulgence, and their own spiritual improvement.
4. “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.” When all men speak well of you it is a sure sign that you are not living and proclaiming the message of the Gospel faithfully. The fathers in Israel praised the false prophets because they tickled their ears, they told them what they wanted to hear. The false prophets were more interested in the favor of men than in the praise of God.
The instruction given here is almost entirely against human reasoning.
Verse 27 “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.” This is contrary to human nature. But it is what the Lord demands from His followers. To obey these precepts is to manifest the spirit of Christ. The Lord continues His instructions in Verses 28-30. Read and explain.
Verse 31 This is the golden rule.
Verses 32-34 These verses show us how the unsaved would act under certain circumstances. Much more is expected from a disciple of Christ. See Verse 35.
Verse 27-35 describes the way God treated us - He was merciful to us.
Verse 36 “Be ye also merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”
Verse 37 Judge not - condemn not - forgive.
Verse 38 Love is manifested in giving.
The Christian ministry is expenditure. Those who give generously are rewarded generously. The picture here is of a man sowing seed. The more he sows, the greater his harvest. He is rewarded with good measure - pressed down - shaken together - and running over. A fixed principle in life is that we reap according to our sowing. Our actions react upon us. What we measure out to others is measured back to us again.
Verse 39 teaches us we cannot take another person beyond our own spiritual experience. If we attempt to do so the next result is disaster.
Verse 40 The disciple is not above his teacher: but every student when he is mature will be like his teacher. The more a teacher teaches his students, the more they become like him. But he cannot take them beyond his own degree of intelligence.
Verse 41-42 teach us that before we should correct or condemn others, our lives must be exemplary before our fellow-men and God.
Verses 43-44 Good trees bring forth good fruit.
Bad trees bring forth bad fruit. We judge a tree by the kind and quality of the fruit it bears. So it is in the area of discipleship.
Verse 45 A disciple who is morally pure and spiritually healthy brings forth good fruit from the treasures of his heart. On the other hand, a man who is basically impure can only bring forth bad fruit.
“Why call ye Me Lord,” Lord=Master, “and do not the things that I say?”
The word Lord means master meaning He has complete authority over our lives. To call Him Lord and fail to obey Him is absurdly contradictory.
The story of the two builders is often applied to the gospel. There is a further meaning. The wise man comes to Christ for salvation - hears the words of instruction - and obeys them, though battered by storms, he stands firmly. The foolish man on the other hand, hears the instructions - disobeys the teaching. He builds his life on carnal ideas. When the storm comes, he has no foundation and is swept away.