What does it say?
The Pharisees attack Jesus and his disciples for gleaning from the grain fields to satisfy their hunger. Jesus responds with scripture and heals a man to further infuriate the religious leaders. Jesus is greater than the Sabbath. Either Jesus is the hope of the nations or, as the Pharisees conclude, he is the Devil’s agent (12:15-37). Ignoring all of Jesus’ many signs in fulfillment of the prophets, certain scribes and Pharisees demand of him a sign. The sign he gives is that of Jonah. Just as Jonah was three days in the fish, so Jesus will be in the grave prior to his resurrection (12:38-42). Jesus warns against self-reformation (12:43-45) and refuses to give a position of prominence to his own physical family (12:46-50).
Mark 3 opens with the Sabbath controversy followed by more accounts of Jesus healing. This is where Mark includes the commissioning of the Twelve. Next is Mark’s version of the Pharisees’ accusing Jesus as being the Devil’s agent. As did Matthew 12, this chapter of Mark concludes with Jesus statement about his family.
Luke also describes the Sabbath controversy and the apostles’ commissioning. The rest of Luke 6 is a major discourse by Jesus very similar to Matthew 5-7 and known as the Sermon on the Mount. The setting here is on a plain and there are differences in the teaching. Rather than try to reconcile the two sermons as the same, it is better to understand that Jesus often teaches the same truths to different groups at different times and adjusts his teachings accordingly.
What does it mean?
These chapters deal with key issues. What is the true purpose of the Law? Which matters most, the letter of the Law or the principles and spirit of the Law? Is Jesus a Satanic agent or is he God in human form? Is salvation by self-reformation of by the grace of God? What does it mean to be part of Jesus’ family?
The teaching in Luke 6 is deep. Be careful not to think that just being poor, hungry, sad or persecuted is to be blessed and more spiritual than others. The heart of what Jesus is saying is in the phrase “for the Son of man’s sake” (6:22). In other words, when you suffer these things for Jesus’ sake, God will bless you accordingly in compensation.
How will I respond?
Of these many truths and teachings, which is the one that most speaks to my heart today? What specific step will I take today to make application of this truth or principle to my daily life?