Continuing our study of the Gospels, notice Matthew’s account (Matthew 12:3-10) of Jesus healing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath is repeated in the Gospel of Mark (3:1-5). As Jesus’ fame and following grew, so did the animosity of the religious leaders. Mark reminded his readers that the Pharisees and Herodians [Jews loyal to Herod and Caesar], “took counsel against [Jesus], how they might destroy Him” (3:6).
Withdrawing from the crowds, Christ went “up into a mountain” and there He called and “ordained the Twelve,” among them “Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed Him” (3:13-19). While multitudes followed Him, we find Jesus’ own family sought to “lay hold on Him,” saying among themselves, “He is beside Himself” (3:20-21).
Though 1,000’s followed Jesus and benefited from His power to heal and have authority over demons, His own siblings believed he was crazy, a lunatic (3:21, 31-32). We also find religious leaders of the day were numbered among Christ’s enemies (3:22-30). Mark mentions a delegation of scribes (experts in the law), who came from Jerusalem, and accused Jesus of serving Beelzebub, saying, “by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils” (3:22).
Jesus, in a brilliant, but simple reproof of those proud hypocrites, pointed out the absurdity of their accusation, that Satan would “rise up against himself” (3:26). With a stinging rebuke, Jesus warned, “28Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation” (3:28-29).
Closing thoughts – Mark 3 concluded with Jesus’ siblings coming again, but this time with His mother Mary (3:31-32). Hearing Mary and his brothers were desiring to see Him (3:32), the LORD gave His followers a lesson in the treasure of spiritual relationships, saying, “Behold my mother and my brethren! 35For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother” (3:34-35).
You will find Luke 6:1-12 to be a parallel chronicle of the same events we studied in both Matthew 12 and Mark 3 (the disciples plucking grain and eating on the Sabbath, and Jesus healing the man with a withered hand). Luke also gives record of Jesus calling the Twelve to be His disciples (6:13-16; Matthew 10:1-2; Mark 3:13-14).
Followers of Heart of a Shepherd are no doubt familiar with the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), but here Luke gives us what I might describe as the Sermon on the Plain (6:17-49). Having called and commissioned His disciples, Jesus “came down with them, and stood in the plain” (6:17). There, He began to teach and heal those who came to Him. In fact, Luke states, “the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all” (6:19).
Closing thoughts (6:20-49) – I close today’s devotional with a brief summary of the balance of Luke 6. Here we find Jesus described the spiritual character of sincere believers in Luke 6:20-23 (poor, and dependent on the LORD, hungering for righteousness, a sorrow for sin, and persecuted). He warned His disciples about the dangers of materialism (6:24-26). The LORD also defined how believers should act toward enemies (love, do good, bless, and pray for them, 6:27-28), and react when mistreated (6:29-30).
Finally, consider how the love expressed by believers should exceed the love of sinners. Is your love for others self-sacrificing, good, giving, loving those who are not so loveable, merciful (6:31-36)? Such is the character of Biblical love!
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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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