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Wednesday Bible Study
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
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A Question About the Sabbath
Luke 6:1 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?”

Two incidents concerning the Sabbath are now brought before us to show that the mounting opposition of the religious leaders was reaching a climax. The first occurred on “the second-first Sabbath” (literal translation). This is explained as follows: the first Sabbath was the first one after the Passover. The second was the next after that. On the second Sabbath after the first, the Lord and His disciples walked through some grainfields. The disciples plucked some grain, rubbed the kernels in their hands, and ate them. The Pharisees could not quarrel about the fact of the grain being taken; this was permitted by the law (Deut. 23:25). Their criticism was that it was done on the Sabbath. They sometimes called the plucking of grain a harvesting operation, and the rubbing of the grain a threshing operation.

Luke 6:3 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.”

The Lord’s answer, using an incident from the life of David, was that the law of the Sabbath was never intended to forbid a work of necessity.

Rejected and pursued, David and his men were hungry. They went into the house of God and ate the showbread, which ordinarily was reserved for the priests. God made an exception in David’s case. There was sin in Israel. The king was rejected. The law concerning the showbread was never intended to be so slavishly followed as to permit God’s king to starve.

Here was a similar situation. Christ and His disciples were hungry. The Pharisees would rather see them starve than pick wheat on the Sabbath. But The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath. He gave the law in the first place, and no one was better qualified than He to interpret its true spiritual meaning and to save it from misunderstanding.

A Man with a Crippled Hand
Luke 6:6 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. 

A second incident that happened on another Sabbath concerned a miraculous cure. The scribes and Pharisees watched Jesus closely and maliciously to see whether He would heal a man with a withered hand … on the Sabbath. From past experience and from their knowledge of Him, they had good reason to believe that He would. The Lord did not disappoint them. He first asked the man to stand in the middle of the crowd in the synagogue. This dramatic action riveted the attention of all on what was about to happen.

Luke 6:9 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?”

Then Jesus asked His critics if it was lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil. If they answered correctly, they would have to say that it was right to do good on the Sabbath, and wrong to do harm. If it was right to do good, then He was doing good by healing the man. If it was wrong to do evil on the Sabbath, than they were breaking the Sabbath by plotting to kill the Lord Jesus.

Luke 6:10 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.

There was no answer from the adversaries. Jesus then directed the man to stretch out his withered right hand. (Only Dr. Luke mentions that it was the right hand.) With the command went the necessary power. As the man obeyed, his hand was restored to normal.

Luke 6:11 But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

The Pharisees and scribes were filled with rage. They wanted to condemn Jesus for breaking the Sabbath. All He had done was speak a few words and the man was healed. No servile work was involved. Yet they plotted together how they might “get” Him.

The Sabbath was intended by God for man’s good. When rightly understood, it did not prohibit a work of necessity or a work of mercy.

Jesus Chooses His Twelve Apostles
Luke 6:12 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.

Jesus spent all night in prayer before choosing the twelve. What a rebuke this is to our impulsiveness and independence of God! Luke is the only evangelist who mentions this night of prayer.

Luke 6:13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:

From the larger company of learners (disciples), Jesus selected just twelve, no doubt a number with special significance. This number was suited for group instruction and “discipling.” Mark 3:14 gives the purposes of this selection as that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach.

These Twelve were to be special witnesses. The fact that they are called “apostles” (Gr apostello) indicates their new position as “sent ones.”

Luke 6:14 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.

Besides this passage there are several other lists of the twelve apostles (Mt 10:2–4; Mk 3:16–19; Acts 1:13). The names sometimes vary because Bartholomew and Nathanael are the same person, Matthew is also named Levi, and Lebbaeus was sometimes called Judas (not Iscariot) and also had the last name of Thaddaeus.

Summary of the The Disciples

  1. Simon, whom He also named Peter, son of Jonah, and one of the most prominent of the apostles.  
  2. Andrew his brother. It was Andrew who introduced Peter to the Lord.
  3. James the son of Zebedee. He was privileged to go with Peter and John to the Mt. of Transfiguration. He was killed by Herod Agrippa I. 
  4. John the son of Zebedee. Jesus called James and John “Sons of Thunder.” It was this John who wrote the Gospel and the Epistles bearing his name, and the book of Revelation. 
  5. Philip, a native of Bethsaida, who introduced Nathanael to Jesus. Not to be confused with Philip, the evangelist, in the book of Acts.
  6. Bartholomew, generally understood to be another name for Nathanael. He is mentioned only in the listings of the twelve.
  7. Matthew, the tax collector, also named Levi. He wrote the First Gospel. 
  8. Thomas, also called Twin. He said he would not believe that the Lord had risen until he saw conclusive evidence.
  9. James the son of Alphaeus. He may have been the one who held a place of responsibility in the church at Jerusalem after James, the son of Zebedee, had been killed by Herod.
  10. Simon called the Zealot. Little is known of him, as far as the sacred record is concerned.
  11. Judas the son of James. Possibly the same as Jude, the author of the Epistle, and commonly believed to be Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18).
  12. Judas Iscariot, presumed to be from Kerioth in Judah, and thus the only one of the apostles who was not from Galilee. The betrayer of our Lord, he was called by Jesus “the son of perdition.”

The disciples were not all men of outstanding intellect or ability. They represented a cross-section of humanity. 

Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 121). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr., MacDonald, Farstad, Believers Bible; Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2195). Nashville: Thomas Nelson