Luke 6

Luke 6:1-5.72

Matt. 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28.

The Evangelist is inspired to introduce these accounts of two Sabbaths here. Very probably also they took place at this point of time. If so, it is because the moral object of the Spirit in Luke coincided here with the historical order. This we may infer from a comparison with the order of Mark, who, as a rule, cleaves to the sequence of events. In Matthew, on the contrary, these facts are reserved for a much later point of his Gospel (Matt. 12). A vast compass both of discourses and miracles is introduced by him before he speaks of these two Sabbath days. And the reason is manifest. Matthew here, as often, departs from the order of occurrence in order to show the long-continued and ample testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus, before he makes use of these incidents on the Sabbath, which even the Jews themselves felt to slight their sabbatical practice, and threatened the legal covenant. Ezekiel speaks of the Sabbath as a sign between Jehovah and Israel (Ezek. 20:12, 20). And now this was about to vanish away. Hence these actions on the Sabbath day are extremely significant. They occur in Matthew, in the chapter where our Lord announces the unforgivable sin of that generation, as also at the close He disowns His natural ties, and speaks of the formation of a new and spiritual relationship, founded on doing the will of His Father in heaven. Then forthwith, in the next chapter, He shows the kingdom of heaven and its course, which was about to be introduced because of the utter apostasy of Israel and the consequent rupture of that economy.

In Mark and Luke this is not the immediate object. They are given, it would appear, as they occurred, and Mark had to tell. Still, it is evident that their mention here falls in with Luke’s design remarkably. He takes notice, we saw in the last chapter, of the working of Divine grace, which calls not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Nor will the new things of Christ, the Second Man, mix with the old things. Yet man’s preference is undisguised for the old because it suits his habits and self-importance. Grace exalts God, and must be paramount.

In this chapter we are told, “It came to pass” that not on the second Sabbath after the first, but “on the second-first Sabbath”73 — a very peculiar phrase, which has perplexed the commentators and critics immensely. It is found in no place or author but here. The only thing which really explains it seems to be a reference to Jewish customs and their feasts.

On one of these occasions (Lev. 23:10-12) the first cut sheaf of corn was waved before God. The disciples were now going through the cornfields. Thus the connection was evident. It was the earliest Sabbath after the first-fruits had been offered. This adds to the striking character of the instruction. The Passover took place immediately before, as we know: the paschal lamb was killed on the fourteenth of Nisan between the evenings. Then followed the great Sabbath immediately, and on the day after, the first sheaf of corn was waved before the Lord. It was the type of Christ’s resurrection. The corn of wheat had fallen into the ground and died, but was now risen again. (John 12:24.) As the killing of the lamb was the type of His death, so was this wave sheaf of His resurrection. From the day on which it was offered, seven weeks were counted complete (of course with their Sabbaths), and then came the next great feast, or that of weeks. The first of these Sabbaths in the seven weeks, counted from the day of the wave sheaf, was not the great paschal Sabbath, but it followed next in succession. The Sabbath that opened the feast of unleavened bread after the Passover was the first, and the following Sabbath day was “the second-first.” It was “second” in relation to that great day, the paschal Sabbath, but “first” of the seven which immediately ensued. Thus it was the first Sabbath day after the wave sheaf; and no “Israelite indeed” could have counted it lawful to have eaten of corn till after Jehovah had received His portion.136a

On that Sabbath, then, the disciples, in passing through the cornfields, “were plucking the ears of corn, and eating [them], rubbing them in their hands.” This was always allowed, and is still, in Eastern countries round the Holy Land — no doubt a remaining trace of the old traditional habit of the Jews. It is allowed as an act of charity to the hungry. What a condition for the followers of the Lord Jesus to be in! What a proof of His shame and of their need!

But nothing moved the Pharisees: religious bitterness steels the natural heart. “But some of the Pharisees said to them,74 Why do ye that which is not lawful to do75 on the sabbath?”137 The Lord answered instead of the disciples, “Have ye not read so much as this, what David did when he hungered, he and those who were with him; how he went into the house of God, and took the showbread, and ate and gave to them also who were with him; which it is not lawful that [any] eat unless the priests alone? “The Spirit of God here takes up only David — not the priests of whom also Matthew treats, which was very suitable. He, writing for Jews, would use a proof of the folly of their objection which was before their eyes every day. But Luke refers to the moral analogy in the history of the great king David, who, after his anointing, and before coming to the throne (which was just the Lord’s position now), was reduced to such excessive straits that the holy bread was made profane for his sake. God, as it were, refused to hold to ritual where the anointed king and his followers were destitute of the barest necessaries of life. For what did it imply? The depth of evil that ruled the nation. How could God sanction holy bread in such a condition? How could He accept of the showbread of the people as the food of His priests, when all the foundations were clearly out of course? Was not this evident in the hunger of His anointed and of His trusty band? Was not the rejected Son of David as free as the rejected David?

The Lord closes this part of the subject with the declaration that “the Son of man is Lord of the sabbath also.”76 Thus there is another reason yet more powerful. David was not the Son of man as Jesus was. The Son of man had, in His own person and position, rights altogether superior to any ritual. He was entitled to abrogate it. He would do so formally in due time; for this attached to His personal glory. “The Son of man is Lord of the sabbath also,” which David was not.

Luke 6:6-11.139

Matt. 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6.

Nor is this all. The Lord Jesus on another Sabbath enters the synagogue and teaches, where “there was a man whose right140 hand was withered.” And now the scribes and Pharisees with deadly hatred are watching141 to see “whether he would heal on the sabbath, that they might find something of which to accuse him.” Such was man on one side: on the other there was a Stranger come down from heaven; a Man also, to fallen man, and with a heart to display heaven’s and God’s mind perfectly. But those who prided themselves upon their righteousness and wisdom are afraid lest men should be healed by Him at the expense of their ceremonies, and they seek to fasten an accusation against Him. “But he knew their thoughts,142 and said to the man who had the withered hand, Rise up and stand in the midst. And having risen up, he stood [there].” The thing was not done in a corner, but boldly, in presence of them all.

The Lord even challenges them publicly, and says, “I will ask77 you if it is 78 lawful on the sabbath79 to do good or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy [it]? “They were doing evil; it was His to do good. They were seeking to destroy His life; He was willing to save theirs. “And having looked around on them all, he said to him,80 Stretch out thy hand.” It was enough: the man did so, “and his hand was restored as the other.”81 How simple, and yet how truly Divine! Was this, then, a work done? Was the Son’s healing what God had forbidden? Was this unworthy of God? Was it not, on the contrary, the very expression of what God is? Is not God always doing good? Does He forbear to do good on the Sabbath day? Was not the very Sabbath itself a witness how God loved to do good, and a pledge that He will bring His people into His own rest? Was not Jesus doing so to this sufferer, and giving a witness of the gracious power that will do so fully by and by?

And what was the effect upon unbelief? “They were filled with madness, and spoke together among themselves what they should do to Jesus”; and this because He had shown that God never foregoes His title to do good even on the Sabbath day in a world that is ruined by man’s sin and Satan’s wiles. A superior power has entered and manifests the defeat of Satan. But, meanwhile, the instruments of Satan are filled, first with his lies, and secondly with his murderous hatred. “They spoke together among themselves what they should do to Jesus.” For indeed they had no, communion with God and with His mind. They were only filled with madness, and communed one with another how to injure the Lord, the manifest children of their father, such did not Abraham.143

Luke 6:12-16.

Mark 3:13-19.

The pronounced enmity of the religious leaders led our Lord to special prayer. From man He turns to God. But there was another reason. He was about to call others to take up the work in which He had been engaged, and to carry it out to the ends of the earth. “And it came to pass in those days that he went out into the”‘ mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.” This special prayer suited both the circumstances of evil on man’s side, and the fresh mission of grace on God’s part. “And when it was day, he called his disciples; and having chosen out twelve from them whom also he named apostles.”145 These were to be His chief envoys in the work.146

Luke 6:17-19.

Matt. 4:23-5:1; Mark 3:7-12.

“And having descended with them, he stood on a level place.” This has been often misunderstood, and some have contrasted the discourse in “the plain” here with the discourse on “the mountain” in Matthew 5, 6, 7. There is no ground for this. The expression does not really mean a plain, but a plateau or level place on the mountain. It was the same discourse, which Matthew set down, without presenting the special circumstances which led to particular parts of it — questions, etc.; whereas Luke was inspired to give it in detached portions here and there, and generally with the questions or other circumstances which led to each particular part.147 The two inspired writers, I doubt not, were governed in this by the special design of the Holy Ghost in each.

It has been irreverently asked whether Luke could thus have written with the Gospel of Matthew before him. The answer is, It would be the highest degree of improbability on mere human principles. Had his Gospel no higher source than a skilful use of existing documents, he could not, in my judgment, have ventured to differ so widely from Matthew, in the disposition of facts and teachings, if he regarded his apostolic predecessor as inspired, and desired to strengthen his testimony, not to perplex souls, nor to furnish objections to men of speculative mind. The course he has pursued is the weightiest conceivable proof of his own direct inspiration, as the fruit of a special design on the part of the Holy Ghost. whether Luke had or had not the Gospel of Matthew in his hands. This I say, accepting fully the identity of the two discourses; for the attempt of the late M. Gaussen and others to establish their difference has long seemed to me a failure, not only in fact but in principle, from reducing the function of the Spirit to that of a reporter instead of an editor, in either case of course unerring.

Here, then, Jesus stood, where a vast multitude might hear Him. “And a crowd82 of his disciples and a great multitude of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea-coast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases. And those that were beset by unclean spirits148 were healed. And all the crowd sought to touch him; for power went out from him and healed all.”

Luke 6:20-23.

Matt. 5:3, 4, 6, 11, 12.

But now we come to what was still better, not for the body nor for this world, but for the soul in relation with God. “And he, lifting up his eyes149 upon his disciples, said, Blessed [are] ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” There is this remarkable difference in the manner of presenting the discourse on the mount here and in the first Gospel. That in Matthew gives it in the abstract, presenting each blessing to such and such a class. “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Luke makes it a more personal address: “Blessed be ye poor.

The reason is manifest. In the one case it is the prophet greater than Moses, Who lays down the principles of the kingdom of heaven in contrast with all Jewish thought, and feeling, and expectation. In the other case it is the Lord comforting the actually gathered disciples, addressing themselves as so separated to Himself, and not merely legislating, so to speak. It was now the time of sorrow; for as bringing the promises in His person, man would not have Him.

Again, it is always “the kingdom of God” in Luke. “The kingdom of heaven” is more dispensational, and finds its perfect place in Matthew. Luke, as ever, holds to that which is moral. Certainly the poor were little in man’s kingdom. “Blessed,” were they, said the Lord, “for (theirs) is the kingdom of God.”

Further, it may be remarked that there is no such fulness here as in Matthew, where we have the complete sevenfold classes of the kingdom, with the supernumerary blessings pronounced on those persecuted, whether (1) for righteousness’ sake, or (2) for Christ’s sake.

But here we have another difference very notable. There are but four classes of blessing — not seven; but then they are followed by four woes, which in Matthew are reserved to a still greater completeness in Matthew 23, at the end of His ministry, for the same dispensational reason which is adhered to throughout his Gospel. Luke, on the other hand, presents at once, first, the blessings: and immediately after, the woes. It was not the time of ease; judgment was coming. This flows from the moral character of his Gospel, just as we find Moses in Deuteronomy, which has a similar, purpose, telling the people that he sets before them the blessing and at the same time the curse (Deut. 28).

The first blessing, it will be noticed, is that which man always counts the greatest misery. So the poor in this world look to be despised; but “yours is the kingdom of God.”149a The next blessing is hungering now, with the certainty of being filled. The third is present sorrow - with joy promised (that is, in the morning).150 Lastly, “Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you151 [from them], and shall reproach [you], and cast out your name as wicked, for the Son of man’s sake.” Luke, it will be noticed, leaves out entirely persecution for righteousness’ sake, which finds its fitting, though not exclusive, place in Matthew.

“Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in the heaven: for after this manner did their fathers act towards the prophets.” This supposes exercised faith, with the greatest resulting blessing. But the fact that Luke confines himself to the blessedness of those persecuted for the Son of man’s sake, beautifully accords with the direct addresses in his four classes. As the blessed here are immediately. before the Lord, so the persecuted here are only for His sake. All is intensely personal.83

Luke 6:24-26.

Then follow the woes. “But woe unto you rich! for ye have received your consolation.” Nothing more dangerous than ease and satisfaction in this world — there is no greater snare even to the disciple. So again: “Woe unto you that are filled!84 for ye shall hunger.” This, of course, has its moral bearing. There is leanness for the soul where the heart has all that it desires. “Woe unto you85 that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.” A still further carrying out of the danger of man’s heart. “Woe86 when all men shall speak well of you!” Here it is not personal only, but relative satisfaction.152 “For after this manner did their fathers to the false prophets.” In all respects it is a complete picture of that which is spirituality desirable or to be dreaded. And thus our Evangelist closes this part of the discourse.

Luke 6:27-36.153

Matt. 5:39-48.

There is no such open contrast with the law as in Matthew 5-7. The reason is manifest. Matthew has the Jews full in view, and therefore our Lord contrasts “Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment; but I say unto you,” etc. All that Luke says is, “But I say unto you that hear, I say.” The disciples actually addressed were Jews, but the instruction in its own nature goes out to any man, and is profitable for all the faithful, to the Gentile as much as to the Jew. Notwithstanding it was pre-eminently important for a Jew who had been formed on the principles of earthly righteousness. None the less was it full of instruction for the Gentiles when they should be called to hear. The Gentile believer has the same heart as the Jewish, is in the same world, has to do with enemies and those that hate. Hence the value of such a word, “Unto you that hear I say, Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you, bless those that curse you, pray for those that use you despitefully.” This is entirely contrary to nature; it is the revelation of what God is, applied to govern the heart of His children. “Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you.” It is this that He was doing, and showing in Christ, and the children are called to imitate their Father. “Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children.” (Eph. 5:1.) This is of the deepest importance practically, for Christ is our real key according to that revelation of Him which is given in the New Testament; and this alone enables us to use rightly and intelligently the Old Testament. The Christian who is under grace understands the law far better than the Jew who was under law; at least, he ought to enter into it, as a whole and in all its parts. with a deeper perception of it, than the saints who had to do with its ordinances and ritual. Such is the power of Christ and such the wisdom of God which is our portion in Him.

But, besides these unfoldings of truth, there are the affections that are proper to the Christian. “Bless those that curse you and pray for those that use you despitefully.” The Lord looks for the activity of good, and the looking to God on behalf of those who might treat themselves despitefully. Thus it is not only kindness and pity, but there is the earnest and sincere pleading with God for their blessing.

Verse 29 is remarkable as compared with the corresponding portion (verses 39, 40) of Matthew 5. They both deserve our particular consideration and well illustrate the difference of the Gospels, and, what is also of the greatest importance, the manner of inspiration generally. It is a mistake to think that the Spirit of God is limited to a mere report even of what Jesus said. He exercises sovereign rights, while He gives the truth and nothing but the truth; and inasmuch as His aim is to give the whole truth, He is not tied down to the same expression, even while He is furnishing the substance of all that is needed for God’s glory.87

Thus in the Gospel of Matthew the case is of one who sues at law. In that case the object is to take away the coat; and the Lord bids the disciple to let the cloak be taken also. Luke, on the contrary, writes, “him that taketh away thy cloak, forbid not to thy vest also.” It is not a case of legal suing, but of illegal violence; and the spoiler who would take the outer garment is not to be resisted if he proceeds to take the inner one also. This clearly gives a far greater fullness of truth than if the Spirit of God had restricted Himself to only one or other of the two cases. The apparent discrepancies of the Gospels are therefore their perfection, if indeed we value the entire truth of God. Only thus could the different sides of truth be presented in their integrity. The Jew would require especially to be guarded on the side of law; but there is also violence in the world contrary to law; and it was necessary that the disciples should see it to be their calling and privilege to hold fast their heavenly principles in the face of man’s force, no less than law. To maintain the character of Christ in our practice is of greater consequence than to keep one’s cloak or coat also.

Then the Lord says, “Give to every man that asketh of thee.” It is no question of foolish prodigality, but of an open hand and heart to every call of need. “From him that taketh away what is thine ask it not back.” It is of all consequence that, as there should be the patient endurance of personal wrong — “unto him that smiteth thee on the cheek, offer also the other” — so there should be also the testimony that our life does not consist in the things which we possess. At the same time, He adds for our own guidance towards others, “As ye wish that men154 should do to you, do ye also to them in like manner: and if ye love those that love you, what thank155 is it to you? for even sinners love those that love them.” To love those who love us is not the point for a Christian; it is a mere human principle — as the Lord emphatically says here, “sinners also love those that love them.” It is not as in Matthew, publicans or Gentiles, but “sinners,” according to the ordinary moral tone of Luke. This was true of man everywhere, and the word “sinner” has a great propriety and emphasis. Not only men, but bad men, may love those who love them. So, too, the doing good to those who do good to us is but a righteous return of which the evil are capable; as indeed lending, when they hope to borrow or to receive. Sinners do quite as much.155a But for us the word is “love your enemies, and do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return88; and your reward shall be great.” Nor is the reward all. “And ye shall be sons of [the] Highest.” How soon it was made their conscious relationship! Thus it becomes the desire and aim — to acquit ourselves according to the relationship grace has given us. “For he is good to the unthankful and wicked.” How truly Divine! We ourselves are the witnesses of it in our unconverted days.

Hence the call in our Gospel does not follow as in Matthew, “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” but “Be ye therefore89 merciful, even as your Father also is merciful.” The perfection in Matthew seems to be in allusion to the call on Abraham, whose perfection was to walk in integrity, confiding in the shadow of the Almighty. The disciple, instructed of Jesus, had the Father’s Name declared, and his perfection is to illustrate his Father’s character in indiscriminate grace — not in the spirit of law. Writing for the Gentiles, Luke simply calls them to be merciful as their Father was merciful. This would be obvious even to such as had not a minute acquaintance with the Old Testament, and therefore incapable of appreciating the delicate allusions to its contents here or there. Any believer could understand the force of such an exhortation as “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.” The tendency to censoriousness, the imputation of evil motives, and the danger of sure retribution, are here brought before us. “Condemn not, and ye shall in nowise be condemned.”156a

Luke 6:37-49.

On the other hand, says our Master, “remit, and it shall be remitted unto you.” It is the spirit of grace in the experience of wrongs. “Give, and it shall be given unto you.” It is the spirit of large generosity; and who ever knew a giver with nothing to give or receive? Yea, “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over shall be given157 into your bosom.” Men are very far from giving thus; and the Lord leaves it entirely vague. It might be by men or by believers: certainly God thus acts. Whoever gives will find his account sure in the far-surpassing goodness of God. “For with the same measure90 with which ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” — whatever the means that He employs and whatever the time of recompense.

The first principle that the Lord here lays down is the necessity of a man himself seeing in order to lead others aright. This has been constantly lost sight of in Christendom. It was not in the same way necessary to priesthood in Israel, though there were duties of a priest which needed discernment, to judge between clean and unclean. Still, their function lay in mere outward things, which required no spiritual power. But it is not so in Christianity, though there are moral principles — first principles of everyday life — which are unchangeable. Yet as a whole, Christianity does suppose a new nature and the Spirit of God; and he who has not that nature and the power of the Spirit is incapable of rightly helping others. Now, ministry demands this, even in the Gospel. There are varying states; and unless a man is capacitated by his own personal faith as well as by the Word of God, he will misapply Scripture. But it is still clearer in the instruction and guidance practically of believers. He who is called to help them on must necessarily be taught of God, not in mind only but in heart and conscience, well and thoroughly furnished in Scripture, so as rightly to divide the Word of truth. The blind, therefore, cannot lead the blind. Neither is it Christianity that the seeing should lead the blind. The true principle of our calling is, that the seeing should lead the seeing — the very reverse of the blind leading the blind.

Although every believer is supposed to see, yet he may not see clearly. He has the capacity, but may not yet have been exercised in using it. But when the truth has been brought clearly out, he is able to see it without more ado, and, it may be, as distinctly as he who had taught it. Thus that which he receives (whatever the means employed) stands on the Word of God and not on the authority either of Church or of teacher. If the teacher is removed or goes astray, still he sees the truth for himself in the light of God.

Thus it remains true that the seeing, whom God has qualified to lead others, teach the seeing who have light enough from God to follow, and who know that they are not following man but God, in that they intelligently follow those who are taught of God, and who lead them according to His word, that which commends itself by the Holy Spirit to the conscience. So far is ministry therefore from being incompatible with Christianity, that it is characteristic of it. Strictly speaking, it was not a distinctive feature of Judaism. They had priests to transact their religious business for them; but Christians have ministry in order to guide and cheer them on, and strengthen them by God’s grace, in doing that which pertains to the whole body of which ministers are but a part. “Can a blind [man] lead a blind [man]? Shall not both fall into [the] ditch?”158 This is precisely what Christendom, by confounding Christianity with Judaism, is falling into rapidly. Some take the side of infidelity, some of superstition. But they both fall into the ditch, on the one side or the other.

On the other hand, “the disciple is not above his teacher.” Our portion is according to Christ. Christ was despised, and so are we. Christ was persecuted, and so must the disciple be content to be. He has Christ’s portion: if above, so upon earth. “Every one that is perfected shall be as his teacher.”158a

Then there is another danger, and that is of censoriousness. The habit of always seeing faults in others is exceedingly to be deprecated and watched against. “And why lookest thou on the mote that is in thy brother’s eye?” What is the true root of it? Invariably, where there is the habit of beholding faults in others, there is an overlooking of our own. “Why lookest thou on the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” In that state of things we cannot help others: we must have our own evil dealt with first. “For how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, allow [me], I will cast out the mote that is in thine eye” (love would meet another’s want: self is blind and busy, forgets its own faults, but can be zealous in correcting others for its own glory) — “thyself not seeing the beam that is in thine eye?” Our own fault, unjudged, always obstructs our affording real aid to another. Whereas, where we have judged ourselves, it is not only that we can see more clearly, but we can enter upon the work more humbly and lovingly. It is this that makes a man spiritual. Nothing but self-judgment can ever do it ‘ coupled with the sense of the Lord’s great grace and holiness, which is the crown of self-judgment, by the Spirit’s power. But it is only the sense of the Saviour’s grace and regard for His holiness, which produces self-judgment; as, on the other hand, the exercise of self-judgment increases our sense of that grace, and keeps us bright in it, instead of letting ourselves be lowered to the level of surrounding circumstances, and the state to which the allowance of flesh would ever reduce us. The Lord speaks very severely of such — “Hypocrite!” and I believe censoriousness as a rule does tend directly to hypocrisy. It leads persons to assume a spirituality which they do not possess; and is this truthful? A person who is continually commenting on others you may set down as more or less hypocritical in pretending to a holiness which is certainly beyond his measure. Such is the Lord’s judgment; and you may he sure that the word which He has spoken will so decide at the last day. People forget that there is no way of pretending to spirituality more cheap and more imposing on thoughtless minds than this readiness to speak of the faults of others; but there is scarcely anything that the Lord Jesus more sternly refutes and condemns. “Hypocrite! cast out first the beam out of thine eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.”

Then He shows how clearly it is a question of nature. “For there is no good tree which produceth corrupt fruit, nor91 a corrupt tree which produceth good fruit.” (Cf. Matt. 7:17-20.) You cannot change the nature. “Every tree is known by its own fruit; for figs are not gathered from thorns, nor grapes vintaged from a bramble.” The Lord did not as yet show the action of two natures, and the way in which the fruits of the new creation might be hindered by the allowance of the old. He simply points out the fact that there are two natures, but not their co-existence in the same person, which is the matter of fact even in the real believer. “Every tree is known by its own fruit.” This is peculiar to Luke — I mean the putting it in so strong a manner. Matthew says, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Luke makes it more comprehensive and emphatic. “Every tree is known by its own fruit.” “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good; and the wicked [man] out of the wicked92 bringeth forth that which is wicked: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” This is another addition of Luke’s in this place. Our words are very weighty in the sight of God, as Matthew reveals in chapter 12 of his Gospel, quite in a different connection: “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” He had in view particularly the great dispensational change when the Jews should be cut off, not only for speaking against the Son of man, but for blaspheming against the Holy Ghost — the sin that cannot be forgiven, into which also the Jews fell. They rejected, not only the humbled Lord Jesus, the Son of man, but they refused the Holy Ghost’s testimony to Him when He was glorified. They rejected every evidence that God gave them, and all advance in the ways of God was utterly loathsome to them. The consequence was that they broke out in violent rejection, according to their own evil, of God’s good things. “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”158b Their mouth spoke, and they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment, even as men generally shall. of every idle word they shall give account. The Jews have thus lost their place for the time, and God has brought in a new thing.

But Luke presents the matter far more as a moral principle. It is true of every man, that out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh: and this is an important test for the state of our souls. Our lips betray the condition of our heart — of our affections. Then there is another thing. If we own Christ to be Lord in word, how come we not to do what He says? The very saying that He is Lord implies the obligation of subjection to Him.” - Why call ye me, Lord, Lord; and do not the things that I say? Every one that cometh to me, and heareth my words, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like. He is like a man building a house, who dug and went deep, and laid a foundation on a rock.” (Cf. Matt. 7:24-27.) Nothing could shake that house. “But a great rain coming, the stream broke upon that house.” But in vain: when the flood arose, it could not be shaken; “for it had been founded on the rock.”93 The heeding the words of Christ is that which survives every shock of the adversary. He who proves his faith thus in his obedience shall never be moved nor ashamed. “And he that has heard and not done,” which is precisely what has characterised Christendom and Judaism then and since — “is like a man who hath built a house on the ground, without a foundation, on which the stream broke, and immediately it fell; and the breach of that house was great.” So it shall be. The heaviest blow of the Lord returning in glory will fall, not upon pagans who have never heard, but upon the baptized who have heard and not obeyed the Gospel.

Moralising for others, or bare unfruitful hearing even of Christ’s words, is but adding to one’s own condemnation. Nothing can be substituted for real obedience of heart. Christ was the obedient as well as the dependent Man, the bright moral contrast of the first man; and such must be and are those who are His. In all respects the discourse supposes and insists on a reproduction of His character in His disciples. It is not only promise come and fulfilled in Christ, but the manifestation of God in Him, and this, now forming the disciples who are thus morally and actually distinguished from the nation.159

72 Cf. “Introductory Lectures,” pp. 274-278.

73 (Verse 1) “Second-first Sabbath.” The word δευτερωπρώτῳ (or δευτέρῳ πρώτῳ, as in some copies) is, in my judgment, part of the inspired text, as exhibited in the vast majority of manuscripts, uncial and cursive [ACDEHKM(R)SUVX(L) ΔΛΠ, almost all cursives], as well as the Amiatine of Vulg. and other Latin copies, the Gothic, the later Syriac[hcl], etc., not to speak of ample citation and comment in Greek and Latin fathers. The Sinai and Vatican, with L of Paris, omit the word, as do seven cursives [including 1, 33, 69] and several versions [Syrrsin pesch hier, Memph., Aeth.]. For this we may easily account by the difficulty of the phrase and its absence, not only in the corresponding passages of Matthew and Mark, but everywhere else. All attempt to show how so singular a word could have slipped in and have spread, so generally and soon, is a failure; though it may be fair to state that Schultz conjectures that it arose out of insertions, by some of πρώτῳ, by others of δευτέρῳ, which were in the next stage joined together (B.T.).136 It was retained by Tischendorf in his last (eighth) edition, as it is by Blass. See further in Scrivener, ii., p. 347ff. W. H. App., p. 58f, and note 47.

74 (Verse 2) “To them so AE, etc., 33, 69, Amiat., Syrr. Edd. omit, after BCpmL, etc., Old Lat., Memph., etc.

75 “To do”: so ACEL, with later uncials, Syrr., Memph.; but Edd. omit, as BDR, 69, and Amiat.

76 Codex Bezae Cantab. transposes verse 5 to the end of verse 10. But this licence is small compared with the singular addition which it exhibits in place of that transposed verse 5: — Τῃ αὺτῃ ἡμέρᾳ θεασάμενος τινὰ ἐγαζόμενον τῳ σαββάτῳ εἶπεν αὐτῳ Ἂνθρωπε, εἰ μὲν οἶδας τί ποιεῖς τί ποῖες, μακὰριος εἶ, εὶ δὲ μὴ οἶδας, ἐπικατάρατος καὶ παραβατὴς εἶ τοῦ νόμου. On the same day having beheld one working on the sabbath, he said to him: Man, if thou knowest what thou art doing, thou art happy; but if thou knowest not, thou art cursed and a transgressor of the law.” It is surprising that any thoughtful Christian should be rash enough to regard this insertion as authentic; for while the Lord always met the faith of the Gentiles or Samaritans to whom grace gave a deeper perception of His personal glory above law, He does not anticipate, in His dealings in the Gospels, that deliverance of the believer from law which is based on His own death and resurrection as now revealed (B.T.). See, further, note 138 in Appendix.

77 “I will ask”: so AD, later uncials, most cursives, Syrr., Arm., Aeth.; but Edd. adopt “I ask,” from BL, Amiat., Memph.

78 “If it is”: so Edd., after BDL, Syrr., Amiat., Memph. A and many cursives, “what is.”

79 “Sabbath”: so BDL; for “sabbaths” (T.R.).

80 “Him”: so Edd., following ABE Δ, etc., Syrr. “The man” is found in DL, 1, 33, 69, Amiat., Memph.

81 “As the other”: so AD, etc., 1, 69, Syrr. After “restored” some later uncials with 69 insert “whole,” which Edd. reject, after ABDKL, many cursives (1, 33), Old Lat., Vulg., Syrr. Memph. (from Matthew), whilst BL and some cursives (33) leave out also “as the other” (so Edd.).

82 “Crowd”: so AD and later uncials, most cursives, Old Lat. and Vulg. BL 1, and Syrr. insert “a great.”

83 Cf. “Lectures on Matthew,” p. 122.

84 “Filled”: so AD, etc., Old Lat., etc. Edd. add “now,” following BL and later uncials, 1, 33, 69, Memph.

85 “Woe unto you”: so A, etc. BKL, etc., 1, 13, 69, have “Woe ye.”

86 “Woe”: so Edd. with AB and later uncials, 1, 33. — D Δ, 69, Memph. add “to you.”

87 Cf. “Exposition of Mark,” p. 10f, and note 6 in Appendix here.

88 “Hoping for nothing ( μηδέν) in return”: so W. H., etc., after ABLD, Latt., etc. Tischendorf adopted μηδένα (Revv. marg. “despairing of no man”), following ΞΠpm. Syrr. (sin.: “do not cease hope of men”). We cannot reason on the use of the word [ ἀπελπίζειν] elsewhere in the N.T., for this is its only occurrence. What influenced the Revv. is the fact that the word occurs in Polybius in the sense of despairing or giving up in despair . . . But even Liddell and Scott furnish from Diog. L. i. 1-59, an instance of the modification, hoping that a thing will not happen. . . . Verbs compounded with ἀπὁ admit of flexibility enough in sense to cover the meaning attached to the word in our old and other versions. The question then mainly turns on the requirement of the context. And when one weighs verses 30-34 with care, it seems surprising that a sense so unnatural here should be attached to the word inverse 35. Especially consider the immediately preceding verse: what can be simpler than the converse call of grace, love, do good, lend, “hoping for nothing again”? (Cf. Luke 14:12.) What worthy sense in such a connection is there in “never despairing”? Does it mean that, whatever we may give thus unselfishly in faith, we are to have no fears of coming short for ourselves? If so, it seems needless, mean, and out of character with all the rest. Never despair because of giving or lending to others! Even a generous man might be beyond such fears, not to speak of a son of the Highest exhorted by the Only-begotten of the Father. And what here is the force of the margin “despairing of no man”? If the Revv. understand despairing of no man’s honesty or gratitude in repayment, it seems quite contrary to the spirit of verse 30, not to mention that the sequel of verse 35 casts the believer wholly on God’s great recompense [B. T.].156

89 “Therefore”: so AEPX Δ, etc., Amiat., Syrr. (exc. sin.). Edd. omit after BD L Ξ 1, 33, Syrsin Memph.

90 “With the same measure”: so AC, later uncials, most cursives, Old Lat. Syrr. BDL, 1, 33, Aeth. Memph. read “with what measure ye mete.”

91 Edd. after “nor” add “again,” following B Ξ 1, 69, Memph. — ACD Δ Syrr. Goth. Aeth. omit.

92 “Treasure of his heart”: so AC and later uncials, most cursives (33), Syrr. Aeth. Memph. Goth. Edd. omit after BDL Ξ, 1, 69, Amiat.

93 “For it had been founded on the rock” so ACDX ΓΔΛΠ, etc., most cursives, Syrrpesch, hcl Old Lat. Goth. Arm. Edd. adopt “on account of its having been well built,” after BL Ξ, 33, Memph. (from Matt.).