Learning, Living, and Loving (Luke 6)
Choosing the Twelve
As the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus in something He said and as they grew in their rage against Him, Jesus goes away to pray all night. He is not praying that the opposition would go away, nor was He looking for a new course of action or a different method. Rather, in the face of opposition, He spends all night in prayer with His Father in order that He might press on with His Father’s will and move forward with His calling. The next morning, he selected His Apostles, or messengers; 12 ordinary men called by God to an extraordinary task. The important issue was not their credentials, but their calling. Through these 12 common men, Jesus was establishing a new and true Israel. The selection of Judas the traitor was not a mistake on Jesus’ part, but it teaches us not to make idols of ministers and it reminds us that tares will be found in the midst of the wheat.
– When faced with challenges or opposition, how do you respond? How can you learn from Jesus’ response?
– What do you see as limitations in your personal service to Christ? What does Jesus’ choosing of the Apostles teach us, along with other Scriptures, about how we should view those limitations?
Learning from Jesus (verses 20-26)
As Jesus begins to speak, He directs His words to his disciples. He shows them that there are two ways to live, either in blessing or in misery. Jesus is not saying that all the poor, hungry, sorrowful, or socially ostracized people on the earth are blessed. Instead, He is teaching that blessings result from having a right attitude toward poverty, hunger, sorrow, and social ostracism, as well as riches, abundance, lightheartedness, and social acceptance. Christ is teaching the blessedness that comes from living His way, prizing what the world deems pitiable, and suspecting what the world deems desirable. The disciples are learning to think rightly about life, both this life and the next.
– What are some things that the Christian prizes and the world despises? What are some of the things that the world holds dear, that the Christian should hold in suspicion?
Loving Like Jesus (verses 27-42)
Loving, doing good, blessing, and praying for others does not sound too bad, until we notice the full expectation: loving enemies, doing good to those who hate you, blessings those who curse you, praying for those who mistreat you. The epitome of Christian ethics is not revenge, repayment, or retaliation, but love expressed. Our concern as Christians is not our own self-preservation, but the needs of those around us, having Jesus Christ Himself as our example of receiving insults and threats without retaliation (1 Peter 2:21-23). The Golden Rule should be understood not merely as passively preventing offense to others, but as taking aggressive action to express love to them. While are to be discerning and wise, we are not to be quick to critique or reach unjust conclusions about motives. Our discernment and judgment should be governed by love. We should be our own chief critic, hauling away the lumber from our own lives before removing splinters from anyone else’s life.
– If you examine your thoughts over the past weeks, do you find yourself critiquing others more than yourself? Either in word or thought, have you worked harder to take out the splinters in others’ eyes more than the log out of your own eye?
Living Unto Jesus (verses 43-49)
The life you live is the result of who you are, just as good fruit is the product of a good tree. Obedience can only come from a heart that has been made new, and serves to give confidence to the believer that He belongs to Christ. Good fruit cannot come vicariously from rubbing shoulders with Christians or being a member of a church. It comes only from being rooted in Christ, and fruit that comes from anywhere else is not authentic fruit.
– What characteristics do the Scriptures teach will be present in the life of a believer? What are the good fruits that ought to be found in Christians?