This study of Luke chapter 6 was given by pastor Barry Forder at Calvary Portsmouth on 27th November 2022.
In this chapter we see Jesus confronted by the Pharisees regarding, as they perceived, a direct violation of their Sabbath laws. Jesus undoes their arguments by quoting scriptural examples to show that ‘the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’ (Mark 2:27). It is good that we rest one day a week, God has designed our bodies that way; and that rest should be a day when God is our central focus. But as the writer to the Hebrews points out*, the real heart of the Sabbath is the rest our soul’s find in Christ. He is the ultimate rest from our labour.
Significantly, the Sabbath was not instituted by Moses at Sinai, it was given in Genesis and affirmed in Exodus 18 (with the provision of Manna) before the giving of the Law in Exodus 20. Also worth noting is that the observance of the Sabbath will continue throughout the Millennium (Isaiah 66:22-23 / Ezekiel 46:1).
We then see Jesus spend all night in prayer before choosing His 12 disciples. There is a great lesson here in the importance of bringing everything to our Heavenly Father in prayer before simply acting on impulse. (See Proverbs 3:4-5 / Proverbs 16:3 / Philippians 4:6) If Jesus needed to take prayer that seriously, how much more do we!
In the rest of Luke chapter 6 we have Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, that Matthew records for us in Matthew ch5-7. This is so familiar to most Christians it’s easy to miss the import of what is being said, and exactly what is expected and required of a disciple of Jesus.
In essence, it is a call to become Chist-like in our thinking and attitudes; it is a call to live a life of prayer, being rooted in God and His Word. However, as Oswald Chambers insightfully points out: “Fancy coming to men and women with defective lives and defiled hearts and wrong mainsprings, and telling them to be pure in heart! What is the use of giving us an ideal we cannot possibly attain? We are happier without it. If Jesus is a Teacher only, then all He can do is to tantalise us by erecting a standard we cannot come anywhere near. But if by being born again from above we know Him first as Saviour, we know that He did not come to teach us only: He came to make us what He teaches we should be. The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His way with us”. (Oswald Chambers, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount).
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study.
The PowerPoint slides used in this study are available for free download.