1 Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands.
2 And some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?”
3 But Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:
4 how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?”
5 And He said to them, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
6 Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered.
7 So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him.
8 But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, “Arise and stand here.” And he arose and stood.
9 Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?”
10 And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
11 But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:
14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew;
15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot;
16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.
17 And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases,
18 as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed.
19 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.
20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh.
22 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake.
23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation.
25 Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets.
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.
29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.
30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.
31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.
35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
39 And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?
40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.
41 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye?
42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:
48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
It’s amazing how vindictive assumed religious superiority can be over those it determines to be in minor error. Here was Jesus, full of scriptural knowledge that far exceeded that of his accusers, being challenged for ministering a work of the Lord on the day set aside for only works of God. To their ignorance of the true purpose of God’s expressed guidelines, Jesus responded by juxtaposing an actual knowledge of the Father’s heart discovered from all-night sessions with the Father Himself, with traditions and rituals that fall far short of legitimate dedication to His heart. He was about to actually carry every one of their own failures with regard to the law they so revered and was in the process of fulfilling every requirement to the letter so that He would qualify as a spotless sacrifice for their own transgressions. Their perception of fallacy was actually Him demonstrating a righteousness that would far exceed that required in the law. He explained each of their assumptions of legal precision to be a mere shadow of what following Him would look like. The life He was providing would not remove the need for discipline. It would just make it possible to take on a heart that could produce righteousness from its nature rather than its efforts.
For those who would press for removal of any expectations from a life reborn in Christ, there should be a requirement at least of spending a whole night alone with their most Holy Father in Whom there is no darkness or faltering in the least. To behold Him and receive of His heart is to take on a transformation so much greater than lists of things to never deviate from. It is to be affected by the Word in such a way that it forms the very structure of a life that cannot fall in the least. There with Him, every reception of Jesus’ expressions will be discovery of who they’ve become by union with Him. Rather than carrying an air of superior judgment, there will be in their fruit the spreading of a way of life the dictates of religious superiority can never touch. They will become the very righteousness of God in Christ – not the compromise of flesh by grace.
So good to be taken to something so much better, to be drawn to words that really transform and deliver from perilous conforming.
The beginning of this chapter finds Jesus calling His disciples together and choosing the 12 out of them, including Judas Iscariot. Jesus knew the end to his story, and yet he still chose Judas. Skip down a few verses and Jesus teaches on love for your enemies.
I haven’t read it in conjunction with Him choosing Judas before, but maybe that is exactly what He was doing. He had proven His ultimate love challenge by knowing Judas would betray Him, yet choosing to love Him anyway.
What an example for us, sometimes we may know someone will hurt us, but our calling is still to love them anyway..