Luke 6


Reading Luke and Acts in 2020

Week 6  |  Luke 6

Luke 6 Reflections and Questions

By Rev. Juan Quintanilla

Luke was a medical doctor and also a gentile which gives him a unique distinction as a New Testament writer. Not being a Jew, he had a different perspective on life, humanity, the world, and Jesus Christ, so this gospel is written with gentiles in mind. 

As I meditated on this chapter, l felt impacted by the short but powerful sermon. The new values are kingdom values.

In life, we tend to look for answers to our questions, yet in this chapter there are very interesting questions asked by Jesus. Luke 6 is full of questions that will reveal how the new values challenge the old values of the world, so get ready!

The chapter began with two incidents where Jesus challenged the sabbath, holding people’s needs as more important than the moral law. Jesus quoted the Old Testament to the Pharisees, referencing when David ate consecrated bread. The disciples are hungry. 

The first question came when the Pharisees asked Jesus: “Why are you doing that, breaking a Sabbath rule?”

According to the Pharisees, Jesus’ disciples “broke” the Sabbath. “..His disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”  Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? …

Of course, they knew. But by questioning them and quoting the Old Testament, he makes the point that if it was okay then, it is okay now to see beyond the sabbath. The value is to deal with hunger in a practical way. 

Jesus asked:
  • "Haven’t you read what David and his companions did when they were hungry?"
  • "Here’s a question for you: Is it legal on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?"
  • “Let me ask you something: What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?”
  • "If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that."
  • “Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you?"

“The question is the answer.”
― Thomas Vato, Questology

In a second incident in this chapter, a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. "The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”

Again, it was a rhetorical question so that they could understand the value of being well. In other words, a person is more valuable than moral law.

In Luke 6:20, we read “Blessed are you poor because yours is the kingdom of God.“ This is the first beatitude on Jesus’s priorities. What does it mean to be poor? The word in Hebrew means more than a lack of money. It means low social status (at that time this referred to those with disabilities, women, children, and elderly ) or social outsiders (people from other ethnicities, groups and/or individuals with poor life choices, and those outside of religious circles). Jesus’s questions challenge us to review our faith, our values, our priorities, our lives, our relationships and above our commitment to our Lord.

The next question Jesus asks prompts his followers to understand that they are not to limit love, instead, expand love beyond its familiarity.  

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 

Jesus continues with another rhetorical question   

39 .. “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?

By this question Jesus wants his followers to have discernment and common sense. Questions will help you to find the truth.

In the following questions, He wants us to develop the value of introspection, to look inside first then outside. 

41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? How blind we are. Are we?

The last question is almost a summary of his sermon, it is about the value of commitment to him or the value of integration between what we said to preach, teach,  reflect, declare or whether comes from our mouth and how we behave in public or private. Jesus asks this question at the end of his manifesto

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Rev. Dr. Juan Quintanilla is a consultant for Hispanic Ministry in the North Georgia Conference and Pastor of Hispanic Family Ministry and Recreation at Norcross First UMC.

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