ON THE SABBATH: "On the second sabbath after the first"
(Luk 6:1, KJV, but phrase omitted in some mss): Prob the Sabbath which concluded
the feast of Unleavened bread, 7 days after Passover sabbath (Lev 23:8) (WGos
HEADS OF GRAIN: The month "Abib" (or Nisan) sig "early
grain", ie spring.
WHEN THE PHARISEES SAW THIS: Luk 6:2 has "some of the
Pharisees", impl two different attitudes now discernible among the
WHAT IS UNLAWFUL ON THE SABBATH: By rabbinical
tradition, eating corn on Sabbath was lawful, but "harvesting" and "threshing"
Key point: David was the "anointed one" who came "on king's
THE CONSECRATED BREAD: "Shewbread" (AV), "bread of the
DESECRATE THE DAY: By doing "work", such as offering
sacrifice (Num 28:9), and baking shewbread (1Ch 9:32).
ONE GREATER THAN THE TEMPLE: And thus those "priests"
who serve Christ -- just like those Levitical priests who serve the Temple (v 5)
-- are not bound by the Sabbath Law (cp Joh 2:19-21: Jesus compares himself to
// Mat 23:23; 1Sa 15:22.
I DESIRE MERCY, NOT SACRIFICE: "I prefer a flexible
heart to an inflexible ritual."
THE SON OF MAN IS LORD OF THE SABBATH: The Sabbath was
designed for positive good (vv 10-13); it should have been a blessing, not a
Israel was not to be a "slave" to the Sabbath, but to be made
free by it.
Jesus is the king of the future "rest", the true "Sabbath"!
OF: Or "on".
Cp 1Ki 13: Jeroboam stretches out his arm -- withered -- then
restored. The outcome: altar was destroyed, sacrifice ceased.
HAND: "Arm" (NEB).
A SHEEP... FALLS INTO A PIT ON THE SABBATH: This is
eventually what the Pharisees contrived to have happen to Jesus, the "lamb of
God" -- and they did nothing to help him!
But they were silent: Mar 3:4.
"Jesus looked": vv 5,34; Mar 5:32; 6:41; 7:34; 8:33;
Mark's account says they were all silent (Mar 3:4).
THEN: "He looked around at them in anger" (Mar
STRETCH OUT YOUR HAND: An act of faith. As the lame man
stood up to walk, so the man with a withered hand stretched it out! To "stretch
out hand" is to seek fellowship with Christ. See Isa 35:3.
HAND: "Arm" (NEB).
RESTORED: Isa 35:3.
OT //: Jeroboam stretches out arm, which is withered,
then restored. Outcome: the altar destroyed, and sacrifice ceased.
Long or repeated conferences. All plots and attempts to get
rid of Jesus: Joh 5:16; Mar 3:6; Luk 4:29 ("common people"); Luk 11:54; Joh
7:19-21,25; 8:59; Luk 13:31; Joh 10:31,39; 11:8,16,44-54; Luk 20:14-26; Mat
26:3-5,16. OT prophecies: Psa 140:2; 59:3; 10:9; 71:10,11; 41:7.
PHARISEES: Prob, Jews of influence who favored the rule
of Romans and Herod. The aristocracy.
HOW THEY MIGHT KILL JESUS: The downward path of
Pharisees -- they question inwardly (Mar 1:27), they ask his disciples (Mar
2:16), they openly accuse (Mar 2:24), and finally they plot (Mar 3:6).
So, evidently, it is wrong to heal someone on the Sabbath, but
not wrong to plot a murder!
Jesus needs solitude for thought and prayer (cp Isa 50;4; Psa
119:147,148). A list of "solitude passages": Mar 1:35-37; 3:7,9,20,21; 4:35-38;
6:31; 7:17,18,24; 8:10,11,27; 9:30; 10:32; 14:32.
WITHDREW: A word implying "flight" (cp Mat
AND HE HEALED ALL THEIR SICK: Including Gentiles (vv
Silence was his settled policy for most of his ministry (Mat
9:30; 17:9; 12:16; Mar 1:34; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26; Luk 5:14), with one notable
exception (Mar 5:19 -- Legion with his family). But in last days of ministry, a
change of course (Mat 21:1-11; Joh 7:37; 9:3; 11:4).
WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN: Or "separated"; cp "withdrew" (v
IN WHOM I DELIGHT: At baptism also: Mat 3:17.
HE WILL NOT QUARREL OR CRY OUT...: So as to fulfill v
16: Christ desired to be something other than a notorious
NO ONE WILL HEAR HIS VOICE IN THE STREETS: Most of
Jesus' preaching was done on mountains or at the seashore.
Israel (like the menorah, or lampstand) is represented as
being in a very low state, spiritually: the reeds (ie tribes) being clogged, and
the wicks (ie priests) untrimmed.
"Some of God's children are made strong to do mighty works for
Him; God has His Samsons here and there who can pull up Gaza's gates, and carry
them to the top of the hill; He has a few mighties who are lion-like men, but
the majority of His people are a timid, trembling race. They are like starlings,
frightened at every passerby; a little fearful flock. If temptation comes, they
are taken like birds in a snare; if trial threatens, they are ready to faint;
their frail skiff is tossed up and down by every wave, they are drifted along
like a sea bird on the crest of the billows -- weak things, without strength,
without wisdom, without foresight. Yet, weak as they are, and because they are
so weak, they have this promise made specially to them. Herein is grace and
graciousness! Herein is love and lovingkindness! How it opens to us the
compassion of Jesus -- so gentle, tender, considerate! We need never shrink back
from his touch. We need never fear a harsh word from him; though he might well
chide us for our weakness, He rebuketh not. Bruised reeds shall have no blows
from him, and the smoking flax no damping frowns" (CHS).
BUT WHEN THE PHARISEES HEARD THIS, THEY SAID, "IT IS ONLY
BY BEELZEBUB, THE PRINCE OF DEMONS, THAT THIS FELLOW DRIVES OUT DEMONS":
Perhaps they took their lead from Christ's own family (Mar 3:21). This campaign
continued (Mar 10:25; Joh 7:20; 8:48,52; 10:20).
BEELZEBUB: Lit, Beelzebul = "Lord of the dwelling".
Corrupted by the Jews to Beelzebub: "Lord of the flies", and (by implication)
"Lord of the dunghill". Irony: it was in fact by the TRUE "LORD" of the TRUE
"dwelling" that Jesus did his work!
Background: The Canaanite god most often referred to is Baal,
which means "lord" or "master." The word could be used as a title for any person
who owned something, or any god considered to be a lord or master. But the word
Baal soon became identified with various regional gods that were thought to
provide fertility for crops and livestock. As a god who symbolized the
productive forces of nature, Baal was worshiped with much sensuality (Num 22:41;
Jdg 2:13; 1Ki 16:31,32).
Baal appeared in many forms and under many different names.
The Bible often makes reference to the Baalim (the plural of Baal, KJV) or to
the Baals (NKJV; Jdg 2:11; 1Ki 18:18; Jer 2:23).
The word Baal was often used in forming names, such as Baal of
Peor (Deu 4:3; Baal-peor, KJV). Peor was the name of a mountain in Moab. Baal of
Peor was an idol of Moab (probably to be identified with Chemosh) that Israel
was enticed to worship with immoral practices. In several passages the idol is
simply called Peor (Num 25:18; Josh 22:17).
Baal-Berith, which means "lord of the covenant," is a name
under which Baal was worshiped in the time of the judges at Shechem, where he
had a temple. In Jdg 9:46 he is called simply the god Berith (El-Berith, NIV).
Baal-Zebub, which means "lord of the fly," was "the god of
Ekron" (2Ki 1:2,3,6, 16) -- the name under which Baal was worshiped at the
Philistine city of Ekron. The name is probably a deliberate and scornful scribal
corruption of Baal-Zebul, "lord prince," another name for the Canaanite god Baal
(see below). In the NT, reference is made to Beelzebub, a heathen god considered
the chief evil spirit by the Jewish people (Mat 10:25; 12:27; Luke 11:18,19).
The Pharisees called him "the ruler of the demons" (Mat 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke
11:15), and Jesus called him "Satan".
This word Baal was also used in personal names, but when the
worship of Baal became a problem in Israel, Baal was replaced by Bosheth, which
means "shame" (probably because it was shameful to have the name of a pagan god
as part of one's name and because Baal was a shameful god: Jer 11:13). For
instance, Merib-Baal (1Ch 8:34; 9:40), the name of the son of Jonathan, became
Mephibosheth (2Sa 9:6–13), and Esh-Baal (1Ch 9:39) became Ishbosheth (2Sa
The Canaanite god Baal was known as Baal Zebul ("lord prince")
and Aliyan Baal ("strong lord"), as well as by a number of other titles. Baal
was considered the god who brought rain and fertility (especially good harvests
and animal reproduction). In a number of passages in Canaanite literature he is
identified as Hadad, another god believed to bring the rains, storms, and
fertility. Hadad is the god Adad of Assyria.
So in reality the Jews were still believing in false gods
(even if not worshipping them), since to acknowledge Baal would be therefore to
give credit to a false god.
So they not only blasphemed the Holy Spirit in denying the
power, but were attributing the power to Baal, thus giving honour to false
Vv 25-28: 'If by my works I show my opposition to demons, and
since you oppose me, then you must be on the side of Beelzebub!'
Quoting from Isa 49:24,25.
A STRONG MAN'S HOUSE: Sig, here, the body of a
demoniac, inhabited by Beelzebub. "Beelzebul" lit means "Lord of the
AND CARRY OFF HIS POSSESSIONS: That is, cast him out,
with all his "goods" or works.
Vv 31,32: An enlightened rejection of the truth: testified by
Christ through the Holy Spirit. Cp warnings: Heb 6:6-9; 10:28-31. Cp also Act
// Mar 3:29; Luk 12:10. Example: Act 5:3.
A TREE IS RECOGNIZED BY ITS FRUIT: Cp Mat 7:18; Jam
BROOD OF VIPERS: Cp Joh 8:39,44-48.
THE GOOD STORED UP IN HIM: "Therefore every teacher of
the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of
a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old" (Mat
CARELESS: "Inactive, lazy". Sw Mat 20:3,6 (workers
doing nothing!); 1Ti 5:13 (idlers); Tit 1:12 (lazy); 2Pe 1:8 (ineffectual). In
this case, every "careless" word spoken against the Holy Spirit (v
EVERY CARELESS WORD: That is, esp by context, every
careless word against the power of the Holy Spirit (vv 31,32). This was the sin
of the Pharisees (v 24).
"It comes out the worst when a man is half conscious of having
a weak case and is making desperate efforts to convince himself that he does
well to be angry. If he believes in the Bible he needs then to remember that all
who watch for iniquity and make a man an offender for a word shall be cut off
(Isa 29:20). It is usually an easy matter to collect reports derogatory to any
man or any body of men. There is quite a temptation to use these 'make weights'
in time of controversy, especially if the original cause of dispute is slight.
One on the defensive can be kept busy chasing the false reports and unfair
interpretations, but never succeeding in catching one before the next is on the
"In a court of law a litigant is tied down to the actual
charge. It is useless for him to try to fatten out his suit by all sorts of
complaints remote from the original accusation. We are free from any such legal
restrictions now, but it is well to remember that we have to go before a
judgment seat far more searching than any ever set up by man, and for 'every
idle word' that we have spoken we shall have to give account. Do not let us
watch for iniquity, then, either in those we accuse of specific errors or in
those who accuse us. Such watching inevitably leads to countless idle and evil
THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS: This is a Hebrew idiom:
meaning parts of three day-night periods, reckoned inclusively: Mat 12:40; Luk
24:21; Mat 27:63,64; Luk 22:1,2; 2Ki 18:9,10; Mat 17:1 / Luk 9:28; Jer 34:14;
Est 4:16 / Est 5:1. Cp also implications of Luk 22:53.
THE MEN OF NINEVEH WILL STAND UP AT THE JUDGMENT:
Gentile repentance is a witness to faithless Israel.
"Is it possible to understand a reference like this on the
nonhistoric theory of the book of Jonah? The future Judge is speaking words of
solemn warning to those who shall hereafter stand convicted at his bar.
Intensely real he would make the scene in anticipation to them, as it was real,
as if then present, to himself. And yet we are to suppose him to say that
imaginary persons who at the imaginary preaching of an imaginary prophet
repented in imagination, shall rise up in that day and condemn the actual
impenitence of those his actual hearers" (TT Perowne).
THE JUDGMENT: Def article: THE Judgment Seat of
AN EVIL SPIRIT: Sig a wicked thought or teaching, or an
evil practice (Eph 2:2,3).
SEEKING REST AND DOES NOT FIND IT: Because the only
true rest is to be found in Christ (Mat 11:28-30).
IT: The "evil spirit", and not the man
Vv 44,45: Much of the nation had "repented" at the preaching
of John the Baptist, but it was not enough! It is not enough to cast out the
"demon" of wicked thoughts and actions; the void must be filled with good and
positive things. Since "nature abhors a void", then other wicked thoughts and
actions will rush in to fill the mind and life of the one who casts out the
negative, but does not put the positive in its place.
AND THE FINAL CONDITION OF THAT MAN IS WORSE THAN THE
FIRST: Cp case of Saul: 1Sa 16:14; 18:10.
Does he know the motives of his brothers? (Mar
"He said of his father and mother, 'I have no regard for
them.' He did not recognize his brothers or acknowledge his own children, but he
watched over your word and guarded your covenant' " (Deu 33:8-10).
"An alien to my mother's children": Psa 69:8.
WHOEVER DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER: "Are we doing the
will of the Father in heaven? That is the real test. It is not a question of
doing what we assume ought to be His will. It is not enough to find in our
hearts general desires and aspirations in the right direction. Is the work we
are doing now in accordance with the revealed will of God? Are we engaged in the
works of love, dispensing the bread and water of life, doing good to all men,
especially those of the household of faith? Are we crucifying the flesh by
enduring evil treatment without retaliation, leaving vengeance of all degrees to
the Lord? It is so easy to be self-deceived in these matters" (PrPr 56). See
full article, Lesson, Brethren of Christ do the will of Father.