Real Bible Studies, Luke 6

Luke 6 features a number of incidents covered in Mark and Matthew, which Luke rearranges in his Gospel.

The Sabbath

Luke gives his take on Jesus’s disciples gathering grain on the Sabbath. Luke’s retelling is a short summary of what is in the others, but the chief rivals are the same, namely the Pharisees. Jesus doesn’t give a pithy statement such as, “the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath” but keeps with Luke’s contention that Jesus is the speaks with authority. After sharing the anecdote about David, Jesus concludes, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

This segues into the incident where Jesus heals the man with a withered hand, which also takes place on the Sabbath. This time no one says anything, but Jesus somehow intuits what the scribes and Pharisees are thinking. He asks the question about whether it’s lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath before asking the man to stretch out his hand, which is healed. This leaves Jesus’s opponents angry and conspiring against him.

The Twelve

Just like Mark and Matthew, Luke starts his list with Simon (called Peter) and, like Matthew, Luke tells us he was Peter’s brother. Luke does not identify James and John as brothers, or the sons of Zeb’edee, or the sons of Thunder though he has previously linked them to Zeb’edee. Luke also substitutes Judas, the son of James, for Thaddaeus. It’s not clear if he meant this Judas was the son of James, the apostle, or Jesus’s brother James, which would have made him Jesus’s nephew. It’s also possible Judas was another name for Thaddaeus, but Luke doesn’t clarify. The other Simon, who Mark and Matthew identify as the Cananean, here is called the Zealot. Luke follows the pattern of referring to Judas Iscariot as a traitor. Luke adopts Matthew’s standard of listing the apostles in pairs. Luke seems to be using “disciples” to indicate all Jesus’s followers which makes the distinction of calling the twelve apostles all the more important. Whereas Mark provides us with the distinction between disciples and apostles (apostles have the authority to preach and cast out demons), Luke simply states Jesus calls twelve disciples and appoints them as apostles.

Teachings, Healings, and Beatitudes

After adjourning to “a level place” Jesus teaches and heals a great multitude of disciples, and drives out demons. Luke tells us that people only need to touch his garment to be healed. This leads into Luke’s description of the Beatitudes. Since Mark doesn’t include the Beatitudes, Luke largely follows Matthew’s account, but does not include mention of the Law. Luke tosses in a few parables, one about the blind leading the blind and one about building a foundation on solid ground. Leaving out Yeshua’s pronouncement that he’s there to fulfill the Law reinforces Luke portrait of Jesus as the ultimate authority. Luke also has Jesus state that while a disciple is not above his teacher, through knowledge, the disciple becomes like the teacher, a major theme in later Christianity.

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