Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.c. THE SON OF MAN, THE LORD OF THE SABBATH (LUKE 6:1–11)
(Parallels: Matt. 12:1–14; Mark 2:23–3:6.)
1And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first,1 that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. 2And certain of the Pharisees said unto them,2 Why do ye that which is not lawfulto do [om., to do3] on the sabbath days? 3And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this [lit.: Not even this have ye read?], what David did, when himself was a hungered [he himself hungered], and they which were with him;4How4 he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? 5And he said unto them, That the Son of man is [a, V. O.] Lord also of the sabbath.6And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man [there, ῆ̓ν ἐκεῖ ἄνθρωπος] whose [lit.: and his] right handwas withered. 7And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, [to see] whether he would heal5 on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation [or, whereof to accusehim6] against him. 8But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man7 which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stoodforth.8 9Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask [I ask9] you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save [a] life, or to destroy it? And10looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand.And he did so: and his hand was restored whole10 as the other. 11And they were filled with madness11; and communed [or, consulted] one with another what they might do to Jesus.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Δευτεροπρώτῳ.—Without here entering into a statement or criticism of all the different explanations of this designation, we will here only briefly justify the view taken by ourselves. So much appears at once, that this Sabbath was no ordinary but an extraordinary one, and that it must have fallen in the month Nisan, since it was not till this month that the barley was ripe. In the second half of this month fell the passover. But if the miracle of the loaves and fishes took place before the second passover in the public life of the Saviour, John 6:4; and if the plucking of the ears, according to all the Synoptics, preceded the miracle, the second-first sabbath must have fallen between the feast of Purim, John 5:1, and the passover, Luke 6:4. Since now the word δευτεροπρώτῳ of itself points us to a terminus a quo, it appears that the question what terminus is here meant cannot be answered more naturally than by WIESELER, Chron. Syn. pp. 226–234, that it was the first sabbath after the beginning of the second year in a cycle of seven years. We understand it, therefore, of the first sabbath in Nisan, with which the Jewish church-year began, and believe that in relation to that of the former year, which was the first in the week of years, it is named the second. That such a division of years was known among the Jews is sufficiently plain from Dan. 9:24, only it cannot be absolutely demonstrated that they were accustomed also to number the years according to their place in the cycle, and the first sabbath in each year according to the cyclical yearly number. This, however, is so simple and natural that little can be objected against it. But that here, according to the view of Scaliger, which is followed by Kuinoel and De Wette, the first sabbath after the second passover is meant, can only be assumed if with them the feast of the Jews, John 5:1, is regarded as a passover. Bengel’s view, that here the sabbath before the new moon in Nisan, 14 days before the passover, is meant, is indeed apparently supported by his reckoning, that on this day 1 Sam. 20:18–42 had been read, and that, therefore, the Saviour’s answer, when He appealed to 1 Sam. 21:6, stood in connection with the pericope just heard. But Wieseler justly remarks that the present division of the Parashas and Haphtharas is of later origin. Other views are presented in De Wette and Meyer. For the history of the exegesis, comp. WOLF, in curis; WINER, art. Sabbath, &c. Upon the grammatical signification of the word δευτεροπρώτῳ, see HITZIG, Ostern und Pfingsten, p. 19.
Luke 6:1. He went through the cornfields.—Comp. LANGE, Matthew, p. 217. Apparently the Lord had found the morning’s spiritual nourishment in the word of the Scripture in the synagogue, but of earthly bread His disciples have as yet enjoyed nothing, or, at least, so little that they feel the need of instantly allaying their hunger. A striking proof of the πτωχεύειν of the Saviour, 2 Cor. 8:9. They make use of the right which the law, Deuteronomy 23:25, gave to the needy. On the position of a pure Mosaism there was certainly no breach of the sabbath, since certainly their act could not be called a daily labor; they followed rather the precept of the later Rabbins, not to fast on the sabbath, but by enjoyment of food and drink to strengthen themselves. See MAIMONIDES, Schabb., Luke 30. But the Pharisees who followed the Saviour, perhaps for the purpose of spying out whether He would go any further than the usual sabbath-day’s journey, saw here, according to their bigoted views, work, and so a criminal breach of the sabbath.
Luke 6:2. Τινὲς δὲ τῶν φαρ.—According to the first two Gospels they address themselves to the Lord, according to Luke more directly to the disciples; they may have done both. It is entirely agreeable to the spirit of the Pharisees to make Jesus Himself answerable for the conduct of His disciples; on the other hand, if there were several present, some may have turned directly to the guilty ones. At all events, the Saviour takes up the cause of His own, and the way in which He does it, at the same time gives us to recognize the holy sabbath-rest of His soul.
Luke 6:3. What David did, 1 Sam. 21:6.—If we read, Mark 2:26, that this took place at the time of Abiathar the high-priest, this appears to be a lapse of the pen for Abimelech. The example was in the highest degree fitted to show how necessity knows no law, and the more strikingly as the Rabbins themselves said: “In the sanctuary there is no sabbath, the slaughtering expels the sabbath.” See Light-foot on the passage.
Luke 6:5. The Son of Man.—As the sabbath must give way before the temple-service, so must sabbath and temple-service both give way before something greater (μείζων in Matthew), namely, the Son of Man. If the day of rest and glorifying God must yield even to the rational inhabitant of earth, how much more might the Son of Man, the Redeemer and the Ideal of mankind, have dominion over the sabbath-service! The true sabbath-breakers were those who would sacrifice man to save the sabbath. As to the rest, Luke 6:5 appears in Luke very abrupt (De Wette), but this does not warrant us with Cod. D. to place this declaration of the Saviour after Luke 6:10, and still less on this testimony alone to receive the addition: “τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ θεασάμενός τινα ἐργαζόμενον τῷ σαββάτῳ εῖ̓πεν αὐτῷ· ἄνθρωπε, εἰ μὲν οῖ̓δας τί ποιεῖς, μακάριος εἶ· εἰ δὲ μὴ οἶδας, ἐπικατάρατος καὶ παραβάτης εἶ τοῦ νόμου.” In and of itself this utterance is by no means unworthy of the Lord, but it is not probable that at this time any one in the Jewish land would have labored unpunished, and, moreover, with a good conscience [on the sabbath], and quite as little that the Saviour, by such a declaration, exposed to various abuse, would have needlessly angered His enemies. If we do not choose to assume that the narration was invented a Marcionita quodam (Grotius), or that it was suggested by the words of Paul, Rom. 14:22, 23 (Neander), yet at least it may be supposed that it was inserted by some one who fully agreed with the view commended by the apostle in the above passage.
Luke 6:6. On another sabbath.—In all probability on the one immediately following. Luke, to be sure, does not expressly say this, but all the Synoptics connect this miracle immediately with the foregoing, which could the more easily happen if we assume with Wieseler, p. 237, that the day after the δευτεροπρώτῳwas again a sabbath, and that, therefore, not seven but only one day intervened between the two sabbaths. Then it is also intelligible how Mark and Matthew do not even definitely distinguish the days, and how the Pharisees so shortly after their discomfiture come to renew their attack.
A man.—According to Jerome on Matt. 12:10, who takes his account from the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, quod a plerisque vocatur Matthœi authenticum, it was a mason, who entreated to be healed that he might not have to beg. The allegorical manner in which this father sets forth this person as a type of Judaism, which in the days of Jesus had become quite incapable of building the spiritual temple of God in Israel, does not of itself justify us in doubting the truth of this account, which may actually proceed from a pure tradition.
Luke 6:7. Παρετηροῦντο.—The snare was not laid without cunning. The healing of a sick man by any one who was accustomed to render help to sufferers, might with better title call forth the charge of breaking the sabbath than plucking ears during a walk, as this was at all events no actual work. There even existed a controversy between the schools of Hillel and Shammai, whether even the comforting of the sick on the sabbath was to be regarded as allowed. See SCHÖTTGEN, Horœ Hebr. 4, p. 123.
Luke 6:9. I ask you.—One must enter fully into the spirit of the embittered enemies in order to feel the crushing force of the question. It contains a searching antithesis (intelligible, however, to them alone) between the beneficent plan of the Saviour and the murderous intent of the assailants. He says in other words: “Which really breaks the sabbath, I, who am preparing myself for a work of beneficent healing, or you, who in secret cherish a purpose of murder against Me, the innocent one?” He will thus not only impress upon them that not to do good is of itself to do evil, but at the same time show that they cannot conceal themselves before Him. This whole address of the Saviour, moreover, united with His searching look (Mark 3:5) is a practical commentary on Paul’s word (Eph. 4:26). The word which Matthew (Luke 6:14) alone has in addition, appears by Luke to be more correctly used on another occasion. See Luke 13:10; 14:5.
Luke 6:11. Ἀνοίας.—Rage made them mad; comp. 2 Tim. 3:9 and the passage in proof from the classic literature in Meyer.—The Æolic optative form expresses in a striking way the uncertainty and wavering of their deliberations. See WINER, N. T. Gram. 6th ed. p. 275: “What they might perchance do with Jesus,” quid forte faciendum videretur (balancing the different possibilities in a wavering frame of mind).
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The first sabbath miracles which we here see the Lord perform, spontaneously suggest the question in what relation He placed Himself to the Law and the Old Covenant. On one hand it must be acknowledged that He actually held Himself bound to the law of Moses, and from His first visit to the temple even to His last passover, showed that in this respect also He wished to fulfil all righteousness. The words of the Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5:17, remained His principle of life, so that He could composedly leave it to time for the new spirit awakened by Himself to destroy also the old form. But as little as He freed Himself or His own from obedience to the commandments of God, just as little could He endure to have this weakened by human ordinances. And this was actually done when the Pharisees and others explained and enjoined the commandment of the sabbath in such a way, that it must often appear as if man had been made for the sabbath. The thirty-nine different activities which they regarded as forbidden on the sabbath, were an invention of trivial narrowness, not commanded by the letter of the law, and in manifold ways at variance with its spirit. The Saviour maintains the spirit of the law precisely when He incurs in their eyes the guilt of a formal breach of the sabbath.
2. As the Lord of the sabbath He shows, on the one hand, the obligation, and, on the other hand, the freedom, of His disciples in reference to the sacred day of rest. The Lord, in visibly distinguishing the sabbath from other days, and on this day visiting the synagogue, gives us plainly to see that His disciple is also enduringly under obligation to hallow to God a weekly day of rest. But, on the other hand, He also passes through the corn, performs labors of love, and powerfully vindicates the maxim: “Necessity knows no law.” A mechanical Judaistical celebration of Sunday is, therefore, by His example as little favored as a reckless contempt of Sunday. The Christian also, the one anointed by the Holy Spirit, is a lord of the sabbath, and where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty, but also order, obedience, glory given to God, and fear of offending a weak brother.
3. When the Lord, appealing to Scripture, asks: “Have ye never read?” this is not only an accommodation to the prejudices of the Jews, but also an expression of His principle to remain in all things faithful to the standard here established. David’s son mirrors Himself in the history of His illustrious ancestor. While He with compassionate care vindicates the interests of His own, He shows here at the same time the most exalted self-consciousness. He feels that in Him yet more than in the temple the Father’s glory dwells. And if He does not at once give it to be understood that He will make use of this His exalted dignity and abrogate the law of the sabbath and the temple-service, He actually did at least here what He says in the fourth Gospel, John 5:17: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”
4. In the Saviour’s sabbath miracles also His exalted character reveals itself. When once a prophet was despised by Jeroboam, the hand of the presumptuous king was dried up (1 Kings 13:4). Jesus heals a withered hand, and is far from punishing the hands recklessly lifting themselves against Him. His miracles are no punishments but benefits, and even though the enemies of God’s kingdom think to destroy life, the King’s delight is to preserve it.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
General point of view for both narratives: the Son of Man, the Lord of the sabbath, who as such 1. rules in unrestricted might, 2. serves in love.
SPECIAL:—Luke 6:1. The celebration of the sabbath in the bosom of nature.—Enjoyment of nature on the sabbath: 1. Tasted, 2. embittered, 3. vindicated.—The Divine harmony of the sabbath disturbed by the discord of sin.—The hostile looks which beset even the most innocent movements of the disciples of the Lord.—The Scripture, authority in every point of religious controversy.—David, a prophetic type of evangelical freedom, in the midst of legal servitude.—The Scripture, no shew-bread in the sanctuary, for the priests alone.—Our Lord, His position towards a twofold view of the sabbath, that of freedom and that of servitude.—The dry morsel, with quietness, is better than, &c. (Prov. 17:1.)—The Son of Man, the true Son of David, the true Lord of David.—How the sabbath may be disturbed even without working.—Luke 6:6 seq. No corruption in the Israelitish worship keeps Jesus back from visiting the synagogue.—The hostility of the Pharisees augmented by every discomfiture.—The afflicted one in the house of the Lord: 1. What he seeks, 2. how much more he finds.—Healing of the sick man, furthered: 1. By the malice of enemies, 2. by the compassion of the Lord, 3. by his own faith.—Evil thoughts in the house of the Lord: 1. Entertained, 2. penetrated, 3. frustrated.—Jesus overcoming His enemies by 1. the questioning of righteousness, 2. the powerful word of love.—It is permitted to do good on the sabbath.—Holy anger and compassionate love united in one look of the Lord.—The greater Jesus’ love the deeper the hate of His enemies.—The madness of enmity: 1. It thinks that it can destroy Jesus; 2. it does not once see how deeply it condemns itself.—No faith is demanded that is not also crowned.—The synagogue the theatre of the glory of our Lord: 1. His impartial judgment, 2. His heavenly knowledge of hearts, 3. His compassionate sympathy, 4. His delivering might, 5. His forbearing long-suffering.
BOTH TOGETHER:—Two sabbath-works in the life of the Lord; difference and agreement between these two: 1. Difference of acts but oneness of end; 2. difference of enjoyment but oneness of consecration; 3. difference of strife but oneness of triumph.—The Christian sabbath celebration: a. Negatively: 1. no absolute equalizing of all days, 2. no slothful inactivity; b. positively: 1. glorifying of God in the house of prayer and in the temple of Creation, 2. labor of love for others.—The sabbath-rest of the Saviour like that of the Father: a. An active, b. a holy, c. a blessed sabbath-rest.—The Lord of the sabbath and the slaves of the law.—The sabbath a day on which the Saviour: 1. Refreshes His friends, 2. vanquishes His foes, 3. helps His afflicted ones, and by all this 4. advances the coming of the kingdom of God.
STARKE:—Love and need know no law.—MAJUS:—It is a shame to those who will be masters of the Scripture when they do not know what is written in the law.—QUESNEL:—The use of holy things, when it takes place through love, can never desecrate them, because God’s love sanctifies all things.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Those must be of evil disposition to whom even benefits can be an occasion of persecution, and even good an inducement to evil.—CANSTEIN:—The solicitousness of Christ’s enemies to hinder His kingdom shames the sluggishness of the children of God.—OSIANDER:—The papistical corner-miracles (Winkel-wunder) are mere cheatery; Jesus did His miracles publicly before the world.—We are not to mind the blasphemy of the godless when we do what our vocation brings with it.—When the truth shines brightest hardened ones nevertheless are thereby not amended, but only made worse and more venomous, 2 Tim. 3:13.—With despisers of the truth, even miracles will accomplish nothing.
HEUBNER:—The excessively anxious care of the Jews in the old temple for the sabbath is a reproof to Christians.—Zeal for religion without love is an abomination.—ARNDT:—Jesus the Friend of the church, since He 1. uses the means of the church, 2. furthers the ends of the church.
CALVIN:—“Monemur etiam, cavendum esse, ne cœrimoniis tribuendo plus quam par est, quœ longe pluris sunt coram Deo, et quœ prœcipua legis Christus alibi vocat (Matt. 23:23), effluere sinamus.”
Luke 6:1.—If our critical conscience allowed us to expunge entirely the puzzling δευτεροπρώτῳ from the text, we should certainly have disburdened ourselves in the most convenient way of one of the most desperate cruces interpretum. However, although a not inconsiderable number of testimonies is for the omission, and, therefore, the possibility that we have here before us only an old marginal gloss, must be conceded, yet we cannot avoid supposing that this ἅπαξ λεγόμενον has been expunged by some only out of exegetical perplexity, ignoratione rei, as Bengel expresses himself. Respecting the presumable sense, see Exegetical and Critical remarks. [Ins., A., C., D., R.; om., B., L. Cod. Sin. has ἐν ἑτέρῳ σαββάτῳ. Meyer regards it as spurious. Tischendorf inserts it; Lachmann and Alford put it in brackets; Tregelles omits it.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:2.—Rec.: αὐτοῖς. Critically too weakly supported. [Om., Sin.]
Luke 6:2.—Rec.: ποιεῖν, as interpretamentum correct, but as reading suspicious. [Supported, however, by Sin.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:4.—Rec.: πῶς εἰσῆλθεν. Πῶς rightly, as it appears, omitted by Tischendorf, according to B., D., Cantabrig., and some cursives. It is more intelligible how πῶς should have been interpolated from Matthew, than why it should have been omitted, if it had actually stood here originally.
Luke 6:7.—With Lachmann and Tischendorf we give the preference to θεραπεύει over θεραπεύσει. The latter appears borrowed from Mark 3:2. [Cod. Sin. has θεραπευει.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:7.—Rec.: κατηγοριαν αυτου with A., R. D. has κατηγορησαι. B., S., R., Cod. Sin.: κατηγορειν.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:8.—Ἀνδρὶ. Rec.: ἀνθρώπῳ. Meyer’s remarks ad loc. are entirely correct. “Τῷ ἀνδρί was omitted in consequence of the following τῷ (as in D., Cant.), and then the hiatus supplied by τῷ ἀνθώπῳ according to Luke 6:6 and Mark 3:3.”
Luke 6:8.—Entirely without reason are the last words: ὁ δὲ ἀναστὰς ἔστη, omitted in De Wette’s translation of this passage.
Luke 6:9.—Rec.: ἐπερωτήσω. With Tischendorf, [Alford, Tregelles,] we prefer the present ἐπερωτῶ, which is supported by B., L., [Sin.,] 157, and five ancient versions, and heightens the vividness of the whole scene. By the same authorities, [including Sin.,] the reading εἰ, instead of τί, is strongly supported.
Luke 6:10.—The ὑγιής which the Rec. subjoins to ἡ χεῖρ αὐτοῦ, is doubtless only an interpolation from the similar passage in Mark. [But Tischendorf and Lachmann, and Alford, following them, omit the whole clause, ὑγιὴς ὡς ἡ ἄλλη, in Mark 3:5, supported by A., B., C., D., [Sin.], and 3 other uncials. It seems more likely to have been introduced from Matthew, where its genuineness is undoubted. In Luke it is omitted by A., B., D., Sin., and 6 other uncials.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:11.—“It does not appear that this word can ever mean, as in the former editions, ‘madness,’ rage of a senseless kind. … The proper meaning, ‘senselessness,’ ‘wicked folly,’ must be kept to. See Ellicott’s note on 2 Tim. 3:9.” Alford. I give this note, although I am not persuaded that the not difficult transition from “utter senselessness” to “madness” has not been made in this passage. It is hard to see how they could have been “filled” with “senselessness,” “unwisdom,” as Wiclif has it, otherwise than through rage.—C. C. S.]
And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.D. THE SON OF MAN, THE LAWGIVER IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
α. THE CHOICE OF APOSTLES (Luke 6:12–16)
(Parallels: Matt. 10:2–4; Mark 3:13–19.)
12And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a [the] mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles [that is, missionaries];14Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James andJohn, [and12] Philip and Bartholomew, [and, V. O.] 15Matthew and Thomas, James the 16son of Alpheus, and Simon called Zelotes [i.e., the zealot], And Judas the brother [the son, V. O.13] of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also14 was the traitor [became traitor].
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 6:12. In those days.—From the comparison with Matthew and Mark it appears that the choice of apostles took place at a time in which the fame of the Saviour had mightily increased in Galilee. The healing of the man with the withered hand was followed by a number of miracles (Matt. 12:15–21; Mark 3:17 seq.). Even from Tyre and Sidon do the throngs stream together. The voice of the supplicating sick unites itself with the cry of the demons. With difficulty does He escape the throng, withdraws Himself to the solitary mountain, and finds in communion with the Father the rest which earth gives Him not.
In prayer to God.—It is of the greatest moment that the choice of the apostles is preceded by a night of prayer, and that it may thus be denominated the fruit of the most immediate communion of the Son with the Father. An echo of this prayer we hear in the heartfelt supplication of the Lord for all those given Him by the Father. (John 17:6–9.)
Luke 6:13. His disciples.—According to the definite account of Luke, we are to conceive the matter thus, that the Saviour caused a great number of the disciples to come to Him, and now out of this number called the twelve apostles. We have, therefore, to distinguish clearly this choice of apostles, on the one hand, from the later mission of the apostles indicated by Matt. 10 in giving their names (Luke 6:1, 5), on the other hand, from the earlier relation in which at least some of these men had already stood to Jesus. First had they become friends, then disciples of the Lord in a wider sense, afterwards are they called as apostles to leave all (Luke 5:10, 11, 27, 28), but now united in a distinctly formed circle of apostles. And even within this there are still grades in respect of their intimate communion with Christ. Even as apostles He calls them at first servants (Matt. 10:24), afterwards friends and children (John 13:33; 15:15), finally even brethren (John 20:17).
Whom also He named apostles.—The complete college of the twelve did not, therefore, first arise after Jesus’ ascension by gradual selection from a wider circle of His adherents (Schleiermacher, Weisse), but it was founded by Jesus Himself. Only on this supposition do we understand the character of the Sermon on the Mount as a dedicatory discourse, as well as the connection between this act of the Saviour and the previous solitary prayer. Although John does not mention the formal choice of apostles, yet it appears from John 6:70; 15:16, that he by no means contradicts it. It is true that the name apostle in other places in the New Testament is not exclusively given to the twelve (see Gal. 1:19; Acts 14:14; Hebr. 3:1). But the Saviour Himself never, so far as we know, used this name otherwise than as the designation of the twelve to whom He entrusted the apostolic function.
The apostolic catalogue of Luke agrees almost entirely with that of Matthew; see LANGE ad loc., who also communicates particularly what is most worth knowing respecting the names of each one. We wish chiefly to suggest the heavenly wisdom of the Saviour in the manner in which they have been paired. Although Luke does not give the names in pairs but individually (see Luke 6:14), yet from the comparison with other specifications of the names it is easy to see how the pairs must have been arranged.
a. Peter and Andrew. In all catalogues of the apostles Peter stands at the head. The man full of fire and energy, the son of Jonah (a dove), who is to become a rock of the doves, the mouth of the apostolic circle, as John constitutes its heart; of fiery spirit, as the latter of deep sensibility; ever ready for combat, as the latter is patient in enduring—and by his side Andrew, his brother, whose personality is less prominent, but who brought his brother to Jesus (John 1:42), and afterwards appears a single time as the fourth intimate companion of the Saviour along with the three specially chosen ones, Mark 13:3.
b. John and James, his brother, sons of Zebedee and own cousins of the Lord, the first prophet and the first martyr among the twelve. The question why they received the name Boanerges appears to have been best answered by Theophylact, who says this name designated them, ὡς μεγαλοκήρυκας καὶ θεολογικωτάτους. Against the view that this name was meant to be a censure of their fiery zeal (Luke 9:51 seq.), maintained by Gurlitt, see LANGE in the Studien und Kritiken, 1839, 1. Comp. Leben Jesu, ii. p. 696.
c. Philip and Nathanael, the son of Tholmai (Bartholomæus), two friends (John 1:45 seq.), the one of Bethsaida, the other of Cana in Galilee. Nathanael is known for his uprightness (John 1:47), Philip for his frankness, through which he ventured to open every difficulty to the Lord (John 6:7; 12:22; 14:9). Two men involved in similar prejudices, but also animated by like love to the truth, belonged in the apostolic circle together.
d. Matthew and Thomas. In this fourth pair the name Matthew in Luke and Mark stands first, but he himself gives himself a second place, perhaps in the same feeling of humility in which he has added to his name the phrase ὁ τελώνης. Both are apparently of Galilee. If Thomas was of a heavy, melancholy temper, on the other hand Matthew, as we know from the narrative of his calling (Luke 5:27, 28), was distinguished by the capability of easily surmounting great difficulties; and while the one, moreover, was disposed to solitary thought, the other appears from his former calling to have gained a certain facility in intercourse with men. Thus does one supplement the other
e. James, the son of Alphæus or Cleophas, and Lebbæus, surnamed Thaddæus. The former certainly is not one and the same with James, the brother of the Lord (John 7:5). The other, agreeably to his two names, לֵב, cor, תַּד, mamma, a courageous, spirited man. It is unnecessary to understand here two different persons, and far less can we believe (Von Ammon) that some apostles, because they did not come up to the Saviour’s expectations, were even in His life replaced by others. No, Lebbæus and Thaddæus are one person; however, the question remains: what was the proper name of the man who possessed this double surname? Here Luke (Luke 6:16) shows us the way with his: καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰακώβου, only we must not understand by this the brother but the son15 of an otherwise unknown James. From John 14:22 we know that besides Judas Iscariot there was yet another Judas among the twelve. This similarity of name may have been the cause why he was not commonly called Judas, but by one of his surnames, as indeed Jerome with reason called him the Three-named.
f. Judas Iscariot and Simon Zelotes, or Cananites. These two names, the one Greek and the other Hebrew, signify “The Zealot.” The germ of zealotism, which first developed itself in the last Jewish war, already existed in the days of the Saviour; perhaps Simon had already appealed to the law of the Zealots and belonged to the followers of Judas Gaulonites, before he became an apostle. Apparently the Lord placed the high-spirited, vigorous man beside the dark form of Judas Iscariot, on account of the moral preponderance which Simon might exercise upon his character, but also because Judas could most easily unite himself with a brother who had already previously striven for a political and outwardly theocratical end. It is noticeable, moreover, that Judas Iscariot, in Luke, is not coupled with Simon Zelotes, but with Judas, the son of James. We need not, however, conclude from this alone that tradition, in respect to the pairing of the apostles, had already become uncertain. We incline the rather to suppose that the Saviour, who quite early penetrated the character of Judas, did not always associate the same companion with him. By change, the danger of being infected by Judas was averted, and from different sides an influence was exerted for the ennobling of his character. The vigorous, hearty Lebbæus might for his part have been as well fitted for that as the courageous zealot.
As to the choice of the apostles in general, comp. an admirable dissertation by LANGE in his miscellaneous writings, part iv. p. 158, and the authors cited by HASE, Life of Jesus. Some names of apostles which are mentioned in the Gemara, namely, Nazar, Nabi, Bohi, are of later and fabulous origin, and can, therefore, by no means be turned as weapons against the evangelical tradition. Respecting the conjectural fate and deeds of these twelve, which were very early embellished by tradition, see WINER in voce.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The calling and training of His apostles was one of the most momentous parts of the work which the Father had committed to the Son. With a little reflection, we can by no means be surprised that the Saviour (John 17:4–6) defines the declaration: τὸ ἔργον ἐτελείωσα, κ.τ.λ., more precisely by adding almost immediately afterwards: ἐφανέρωσά σου τὸ ὄνομα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, οὓς δέδωκάς μοι, κ.τ.λ. The ἔργον of His public life was, as it were, concentrated in the training and guidance of His elect witnesses. He Himself could indeed only lay the first foundations of the extended temple of God, and therefore He was obliged to look around for skilful workmen who should carry the temple up. Therefore, even during His life, He gathered a little company whose spiritual head He was, first visibly, afterwards invisibly. Therefore does He begin immediately after His baptism, to prepare for the vocation of the twelve. To their training the greatest part of His time and energies is devoted, and even when He acts upon the people, He has regard at the same time to their peculiar needs. His death even has to contribute to their education, since by it their earthly expectations are at the same time slain; and even after His resurrection He continues for yet forty days to labor personally in their training, until finally they are fully capable and prepared to receive the promised Holy Spirit. We have accordingly here approached the proper centre of His public life.
2. The choice of apostles is one of the most brilliant proofs of the adorable wisdom of the Saviour. 1. He chooses simple-minded, yet already measurably prepared, men. To some has the Baptist’s instruction, to others the toilsome fisherman-life, or the active publican’s office, been a more suitable school of preparation than a scientific preparation by Hillel or Shammai. 2. Few, yet very diverse, men. He works intensively before He begins to labor extensively on the kingdom of God that is to be founded. He will rather perfect some than only partially train many. Accordingly He trains them with and also by means of one another, and shows how fully His gospel accommodates itself to every point of human development, and how it is perfectly calculated for every one’s individual necessities. 3. Some prominent to go with several less noticeable men whom He gathers together into a little company. So far as we can see, the beautiful figurative language used in 1 Cor. 12:14–27 is also completely applicable to the organism of the apostolic circle. Had all been as distinguished as a Peter, a John, and as afterwards a Paul, the unity would have suffered by the diversity, and the one light would have been broken into altogether too many colors.
3. With this wisdom the preëminence which He gives to three of His apostles above the others is not in conflict. Unquestionably the preëminence is undeniable (Mark 5:37; 9:2; Matt. 26:37), but it was at the same time relative, natural, beneficent. Relative, for it by no means excluded sharp rebuke of personal failings and close observation of the necessities of each single one (Matt. 16:23; Luke 9:54, 55). Not Peter and the sons of Zebedee, but Andrew and Philip, make the Lord acquainted with the request of the Greeks (John 12:22). The former we find sitting with the three on the Mount of Olives (Mark 13:3), with the latter the Lord counsels as to how He shall feed the people (John 6:5). Natural, on account of their individuality and the need of the Son of Man for personal intimacy. A Christ who, among twelve intimate associates, had not one bosom-friend, we should scarcely understand or be able to love. Beneficent, for the training as well of the elect three for their special work as of the other nine, who must thus have learned to see that as well the Saviour’s vocation as the preëminence accorded by Him was only free grace.
4. Quite as little difficulty does the primacy of Peter offer, which we, understanding it in a sound sense, do not need to deny. Only one-sided ultra-Protestantism can assert that the Lord did not concede to Peter the slightest preëminence. Certainly it is not accidental that his name in all the apostolic catalogues is the first; and that the word of the Saviour (Matt. 16:18) refers not alone to the confession but also to the person of Peter, is scarcely to be denied. Yet over against this, observe: 1. That the Lord also most sharply rebukes or humbles the high-placed apostle; 2. that his prerogatives are communicated to all the apostles, see Matt. 18:18; John 20:22; 3. that the other apostles and first churches conceded to him no primacy in the Roman Catholic sense (Acts 11:12; Luke 15; Gal. 2:11); 4. that he did not claim it for himself (1 Peter 5:1–4); 5. that even the most ancient church fathers do not acknowledge it in respect to him. See J. ELLENDORF, The Primacy of the Roman Popes.
5. As respects, finally, the choice of Judas, we are to avoid, on the one hand, the Docetic conception that Christ had at His very first meeting with him seen through the future traitor, and chosen him entirely ad hoc; on the other hand, the Ebionitic one, that He erred like a common man, and found a devil where He had expected an angel. According to the first, we must pity Judas as the victim of an unavoidable destiny, while the other view presents not indeed the love, yet so much the more the wisdom, of the Saviour in an unfavorable light. The only correct view is this, to see in the choice of Judas, the highest stake of adventurous love, which finds in him the germ for much that is excellent, and does all that is possible to win him wholly, but soon discovers that the evil is much stronger than the good, John 6:69, and now expressly warns him, Matt. 6:19–21; Mark 7:21–23; Luke 12:16–20; repeatedly leaves him free to go, John 6:67; 13:27; with long suffering endures him, John 13:11; finally, with majesty removes him, but now henceforth can look back even upon the son of perdition with tranquillity, because He has not on his account the least thing with which to reproach Himself, John 17:12. Living and dying, therefore, even Judas preserves the rank of a witness of the Lord, so that the scoff of unbelief upon this point, from Celsus on (see Origen Contr. Celsum, ii. p. 11) even to Strauss and later than he, rebounds on the head of its own authors. Comp. the weighty judgment of Lavater on Judas, communicated by NIEMEYER, Charakteristik der-Bibel, 1. pp. 83, 86.
6. The result has justified the wisdom of the Saviour in the choice of apostles most admirably. The kingdom of heaven founded by so frail and weak instruments on earth, stands as a work of God in the strictest sense of the word before us. When we compare what the twelve originally were with what they afterwards became, we obtain the convincing proof of the power of the grace of the Lord, but see at the same time how the Holy Spirit works not for the destruction but for the purifying and ennobling of each particular individuality.
7. “First they become disciples, then apostles; not at once are they sent out to preach, and not at once into all the world. Christ was no enthusiast, to have called His apostles without instruction, and as it were with unwashed hands to the ministry. During a long time did He instruct them with great diligence, and carefully train them up for their future vocation, and yet upon the apostles a special miracle of the Holy Spirit was to be shown forth! How much more does it become us to insist that the servants of the Lord shall right earnestly study with persevering diligence and holy eagerness to learn in order to become fit to teach.” Chemnitz.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The Lord will have witnesses of His manifestation; He chooses them, He trains them.—The choice of apostles an image of the choice of grace.—The choice of apostles prepared for with care, brought into effect with wisdom, and by the result most admirably vindicated.—Important steps must be prepared for in prayer.—Difference and unity among the first witnesses of the Lord.—The grace of the Lord: 1. How low down it seeks its elect; 2. how high it lifts its elect.—“Diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit,” 1 Cor. 12:4–6.—“Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you,” John 15:16.—One must already be a disciple in order to be able to testify as an apostle.—The apostolate and the later ministry: 1. Precedence, 2. equality.—The preacher of the gospel not less called than the apostles to be His witness.—The word of the Saviour, “Ye also shall bear witness” (John 15:27), addressed to every preacher of the gospel. Thereby: 1. The extent of his office is defined; 2. the nobility of his office is confirmed; 3. the conflict of his office is declared; 4. the power of his office is assured; 5. the blessing of his office is prophesied; 6. the requirement of his office is renewed.
STARKE:—The affairs of the kingdom of God we should prefer to all convenience and earthly repose.—CRAMER:—Teachers and preachers must not crowd themselves into their office, but wait till they are sent by Christ, the Lord of the harvest.—Bibl. Wirt.:—We should not form such an idea to ourselves of the church of Christ on earth, as if it could be without hypocrites and ungodly.—ARNDT:—The names of the twelve apostles: 1. Their choice; 2. their importance. We may: a. not overvalue, b. but quite as little fail to recognize their incomparable preëminence. “Their preëminence in the church has been, moreover, through all centuries in such wise recognized, that never has an important teacher of it, never has a martyr or a reformer, ventured to attribute to himself the appellation of an apostle, as little as any one since then has again borne the name of Jesus. Only high-minded fanatics have now and then chosen twelve apostles and two and seventy disciples from their adherents, but all “these sects have long since fallen under the judgment of history (and the Irvingites?).”
BORGER:—The apostolic catalogue. I. Historically. 1. What was the work of the apostles? 2. What were the men whom the Lord chose to this work? 3. Why did He choose just such men? II. Apologetically. 1. These apostles the best witnesses of the Lord; 2. proofs for the divinity of the gospel; 3. even the traitor witness of the truth.—VAN OOSTERZEE:—The catalogue of the apostles: I. A source of knowledge. This catalogue fills 1. a brilliant chapter in the history of mankind, 2. a sublime chapter in the history of Jesus, 3. a noteworthy chapter in the history of the Divine government. II. A support of faith. It witnesses of 1. the truth, 2. the sublimity, 3. the divinity, 4. the imperishableness, of the gospel. III. A school of life. It displays the image 1. of the condition, 2. of the intended work, 3. of the prerogatives, of the Christian church even in our days.
Luke 6:14.—For the insertion of καί—καί before the names James and Philip also, among others, we have B., D., L., [Sin.]. In the same way it appears that this particle must be read before all the following names, Luke 6:15, 16. Luke, therefore, does not give the names of the apostles in pairs, but singulatim. [Before Ιακ., Luke 6:15, om. και A., B., D.2, 11 other uncials, ins. και D.1, Sin., L. Considering that και is so strongly supported before all the other names, it is evident that if it is to be omitted here, it is a mere taking of breath on the part of the evangelist, and does not introduce a pair.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:16.—“Usually, and I believe rightly, rendered Jude the brother of James, see Jude, Luke 6:1, and note.” Alford. Winer supports the same opinion as Alford, Meyer the same as Van Oosterzee. It appears to me that the former is preferable.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:16.—καὶ here has not sufficient manuscript testimony (see Tischendorf). At least it gives room for the conjecture that it is taken from the parallels in Matthew and Mark. [Om. B., L., Sin.—C. C. S.]
[See Notes on the text.—C. C. S.]
And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;β.THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (Luke 6:17–49)
17And he came down with them, and stood in the plain [having come down with them, he stood upon a level place, ἐπὶ τόπου πεδινοῦ], and the [a] company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea-coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; 18And they that were vexed [harassed] with unclean spirits: and they16 were healed. 19And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and20[he, V. O.17] healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed 21be [are] ye poor; for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. 26Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you [om., unto you18], when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. 27But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, dogood to them which hate you, 28Bless them that curse you, and19 pray for them which despitefully 29use you. And [om., And] unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. 30Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them like wise. 32For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive,20 what thank have ye? for21 sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children [lit.: sons] of the Highest:for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the22 evil. 36Be ye therefore23 merciful [or, compassionate], as your Father also is merciful.24 37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over [or, heaped up],25 shall men [they] give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal [measure with] it shall be measured toyou again. 39And he spake a parable unto them; Can the blind lead the blind [a blindman lead a blind man]? shall [will] they not both fall into the ditch? 40The disciple is not above his [the, V. O.26] master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master 41[when completely trained, every one will be like his master]. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine 42own eye [but the beam in thine own eye dost not perceive]? Either27 how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. 43For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither 44[yet again28] doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart [om., treasure of his heart, V. O.29] bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the [his] heart his mouth speaketh. 46And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom 48he is like: He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep [building a house, who dug deep], and laid the foundation on a [the] rock: and when the [a] flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock [because that it was well built30]. 49But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell [in a heap, συνέπεσεν]; and the ruin of that house was great.
1. As to the question whether the Sermon on the Mount was twice delivered by the Lord, or whether we meet in Matthew, chapters 5–7; Luke 6:20–49, with the same discourse, the views have always been different. We feel obliged to concur with the interpreters who maintain the identity of the discourse. Its commencement, contents, course of thought, and conclusion, certainly agree remarkably, in Matthew and Luke. Each is followed immediately by the healing of the centurion at Capernaum, and although the one mentions a mountain and the other a τόπος πεδινός, yet even this discrepancy can be reconciled. [Robinson and Stanley both describe the Tell Hattûn, which the Latin, though not the Greek tradition, connects with the delivery of the Sermon on the Mount, as consisting of a ridge, from which rise two horns or peaks, known as the Horns of Hattûn. If the tradition is correct, as Stanley is disposed to regard it (and even Robinson finds nothing contradictory to it in the situation of the hill), our Lord ascending the ridge into one of the peaks, would have gone up “into the mountain,” and coming down afterwards, for greater convenience, upon the ridge, would have been upon a τόπος πεδινός, without having left the mountain.—C. C. S.] If Jesus appears, according to Matthew (Luke 5:1) to have sat, according to Luke (Luke 6:17), to have stood, yet this latter may be regarded as having been the case, some moments before the beginning of the discourse, while as yet the sick were coming to Him, and the people were sitting down to hear. The Jewish teachers were certainly accustomed to impart their instruction sitting, and even if Matthew’s report were unknown to us we should have to supplement that of Luke in this way: that Jesus, first standing, soon sat down. In this way the two accounts can be brought into unison. Many single proverbial expressions of this discourse the Saviour may often without doubt have repeated, but that He, at different periods in His life, should have made use of the same commencement and the same conclusion of His discourse we consider as on internal grounds improbable. It would only be conceivable if we assume with Lange that the Sermon on the Mount, as given in Luke, immediately followed that of Matthew, and that the former was an esoteric one, delivered on the summit of the mountain before the disciples—the second an exoteric one, delivered on the same day on a less elevated part of the mountain. See the more detailed developments of this view in his Leben Jesu, ii. pp. 568–570. Nevertheless even in this view it is conceded that “the two discourses in their fundamental ideas and essential substance are one discourse and two different redactions.”
2. As to the questions, when, where, before whom, and for what purpose, this discourse was held, we believe that we find the most exact account in Luke (contra Meyer). Altogether unfounded is the assumption that it was uttered even before the calling of Matthew; on the contrary, it was, as far as we know, the first extended discourse which Matthew, after his own calling and after the setting apart of all twelve apostles, heard. From this very fact it is explicable that he assigns it a place so early in his gospel, although it at once strikes the eye that Matthew here binds himself to no strict chronological sequence; as indeed even his statement, Luke 4:23–25, refers not obscurely to a point of time not in the beginning, but about in the middle of the public life of our Lord. Even the open opposition to Phariseeism and the not obscure declaration of the Saviour’s Messianic dignity in this discourse appear to intimate a later point of time. As to the place, see LANGE, Matthew, p. 100. Comp. JOSEPHUS, De Bell. Jud. iii. 108. Among the hearers we have to distinguish the nearer circle of his μαθηταί, including the just-called apostles and the wider circle of the people, who also listened to it, and left the Mount in holy rapture. Matt. 7:28; Luke 7:1. From the substance of every utterance in it, it is perfectly easy to conclude to which part of this numerous audience it was especially directed, and as respects the purpose of the whole discourse: “Jesus must undoubtedly, after He had gradually gained so great a following and attracted so much attention, and after He had by parables intensely excited the expectation of His hearers, have certainly at last been obliged for once frankly to declare what He meant. All His working hitherto took the form of means,—the end had not yet been manifested. The sick He had healed, the dead He had raised, of a βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ, which, He had come to found, He had spoken in enigmatical images. The people had opened their ears; all, more clearly or more obscurely, more purely or more impurely, had surrendered themselves to the hope that Jesus was the promised Messiah. They followed after Him; they were willing to take part in His kingdom: should He therefore now any longer keep silence? must He not give to this wavering, perplexed mass definite form: Such and such is the nature of my kingdom; this is its form, this the true disposition for it; these are my requirements?” (Ebrard.)
3. The praise of the greatest originality and exactness in the report of the Sermon on the Mount we do not give to Luke (Schneckenburger, Olshausen, B. Bauer, and others), but to Matthew. We believe that the more systematic arrangement of the thoughts in Matthew does not proceed from him, but from the Saviour Himself. The view of Sepp (II. p. 261), that Matthew as well as Luke does not properly communicate anything here but “the complex whole and sententious summary of all the didactic deliverances, as it were the themes of the sermons which our Lord, during His whole Messianic activity, delivered,” is too arbitrary to receive any particular critical notice. He has no other ground than “the explications which the godly Catharine Emerich von Dülmen gave” in her visions, an authority which the Protestant can hardly acknowledge.
4. The question why Luke communicates the Sermon on the Mount in a much less regular and perfect manner than Matthew, may be differently answered. It may be that Luke only found this short extract in his written authorities (Ebrard), or that oral tradition preserved this instruction of the Saviour in more than one form (Meyer a. o.) In no case must we overlook the fact that Luke has indeed proposed as his end exactness in his accounts, but not completeness, and might pass over much, e.g., of the controversy against Phariseeism, Matt. 5:20–48, which for his friend Theophilus was unnecessary and perhaps not even intelligible. Other portions of the Sermon on the Mount he communicates in another connection, and it is therefore very possible that the Saviour delivered them more than once. On the other hand, he has even in his shorter redaction some additional sayings of the Saviour, which perhaps Matthew communicates in a more correct connection. (Accordingly Stier himself, in reference to Luke 6:45 compared with Matthew 13:52, is obliged to acknowledge “that Luke has made a mistake.” Reden Jesu, i. p. 302.) By no means is the opinion well grounded (Bauer, Schwegler) that the redaction of the Sermon on the Mount in Luke bears a thoroughly Ebionitic character. See below in the exegetical remarks.
5. The peculiar character of the Sermon on the Mount comes in Luke also into sufficiently clear relief. Even 1. considered in and of itself, the substance as well as the form is incomparably beautiful. It is perhaps possible, in respect to some particular sayings which are here found, to adduce parallels from Rabbinical, nay, from heathen authors, but the whole is inimitable, and the spirit which streams through all its parts and joins them all together is completely unattainable. 2. In its historic connection, without being an actual consecratory or inaugural discourse of the Twelve, it is nevertheless in the highest degree adapted for the frame of mind and need of the moment. It was intended, more than had hitherto been the case, to draw the attention of a numerous throng to His person and His work, and by the very reason of its great difference from the mode of teaching of the Pharisees and Scribes, it called forth of itself an impression all the deeper. If we consider it 3. finally as well in relation to the Old Testament as to the chief substance of the Gospel in its strict sense, it soon becomes clear to us that the requirements here uttered are at the same time the expression of the eternal spirit of the Mosaic law, from which even the Saviour could not absolve. And lastly, if we give ear to the Beatitudes, the distinction in principle between Law and Gospel comes at once unmistakably to light. The doctrine of faith and grace is here, it is true, not announced in many words, and so far there is truth in the pregnant expression of Hase: “The Sermon on the Mount is not the completion but the one side of Christianity.” On the other side, it must however be remarked, that silence as to that which the people from their position could not yet bear, is by no means a contradiction of it; that the doctrine of sin and its wretchedness is here manifestly presupposed; that even in Luke there is no want of intimation as to the Saviour’s person (Luke 6:22, 40–46), and that therefore R. Stier is not without reason in saying (Reden Jesu, i. p. 312): “Oh, ye rationalists, who are so willing to hear the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount, hear, hear, I pray you, also its dogmatics!”—The Sermon on the Mount is the Magna Charta of the kingdom of God, and at the same time places before the eyes of all the disciples of the Lord the unchangeable principles by which the new life of faith must be guided. It is a practical commentary on the word of the Baptist, Matt. 3:8. Whoever finds difficulty in the ethical requirements of the Sermon on the Mount has an unhealthy, and whoever will hear of no truth of salvation which is not contained in the words of the Sermon on the Mount has a superficial, a one-sided Christianity.
6. Since the Sermon on the Mount in Luke is, in respect to form, inferior to that of Matthew, it is not possible to give so organic a disposition of its contents as was the case in the notes on Matthew; but if any one is disposed, in order to make the general survey, at least to attempt a division, we may distinguish
I. The Salutation of Love (Luke 6:17–26).
II. The Requirement of Love (Luke 6:27–38).
III. The Importunity of Love (Luke 6:39–49).
Luke 6:18.—The Rec.: καί before ἐθεραπεύοντο has A., B., [Sin.,] D., L., Q., and 33 other Codd. against it. The independent sense which this omission gives to Luke 6:18 directs the attention still more definitely to these possessed, as a special class of sick. [This omission of καί is accepted by Lachmann, Meyer, Tregelles, and Alford, but disapproved by Tischendorf.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:19.—This insertion of “He” before healed, appears unnatural, and seems to proceed from an unnecessary anxiety to emphasize the voluntariness of the Saviour’s healings.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:26.—Ὑμῖν is here, as before γελῶντες, Luke 6:25, spurious. [Om., ὑμῖν, Luke 6:25, B., Sin., K., L., S.; ins., A., D., E., 10 other uncials. Om., ὑμῖν, Luke 6:26, A., B., Sin., E., 15 other uncials; ins., C., D., Δ.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:28.—The [E. V.] has “and pray, &c.:” the καί is critically untenable.
Luke 6:34.—The reading of Tischendorf, λαβεῖν, appears preferable to that of Lachmann, ἀπολαβεῖν. [Sin. has λαβεῖν.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:34.—The Rec.: καὶ γὰρ οἱ ἁμ., κ.τ.λ., appears to be taken from the preceding verse. [Cod. Sin. omits γάρ.—C. O. S.]
Luke 6:35.—Ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀχαρίστους καὶ πονηρούς, “the unthankful and evil.” One class designated by two qualities; not “the unthankful and the evil,” two classes.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:36—Rec.: γίνεσθε οὖν οἰκτίρμονες. Οὖν appears to have crept in quite early on account of its connecting the sentences more exactly. [Lachmann, Tregelles, and Alford omit the οὖν, supported by B., D., L., Ξ., [Sin.]; Tischendorf and Meyer retain it, supported by A., R., X. Meyer remarks: “How easy to overlook it before the syllable OI! An internal ground of omission, considering the congruousness of οὖν to the sentence, is hardly to be assumed.”—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:37.—At the beginning of Luke 6:37 καί is to be retained, in the second clause, on the contrary, to be expunged (against Rec.). [All the critics agree in retaining the first καί, opposed only by D. But Tischendorf and Alford retain the second καί also, supported by B., L., S., X., Sin.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:38.—The repeated καὶ—καί before the last two adjectives, can without danger to the purity of the text very well be dispensed with. [Om., Sin.]
Luke 6:40.—Rec.: διδάσκαλον αὐτοῦ. [Αὐτοῦ approved by Tischendorf, om. by Lachmann, Tregelles, Alford, Cod. Sin.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:42.—Ἢ πῶς, κ.τ.λ. Rec. approved by Lachmann, bracketed by Tregelles. Cod. Sin. gives πῶς δὲ δύν., κ.τ.λ.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:43.—Tischendorf has rightly received into the Greek text the word πάλιν, which was bracketed by Lachmann. Weighty authorities support it, and many appear to have omitted it only because it is not also found in the similar passage, Matt. 7:18. [Ins., Cod. Sin.]
Luke 6:45.—We read with Tischendorf: ὁ πονηρὸς ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ προφέρει τὸ πονηρόν. What more the Rec. has are plconastic supplements, whose genuineness is doubtful. [Tischendorf’s reading is confirmed by Cod. Sin.—C. C. S.]
Luke 6:48.—Rec.: τεθεμελίωτο γὰρ ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν. Comp. Matt. 7:25. One cannot help supposing that the reading defended by Tischendorf: διὰ τὸ καλῶς οἰκοδομεῖσθαι αὐτήν, although only supported by a few manuscripts (D., L., and cursives), was the original one, which, however, quite early was supplanted by the Rec., from a harmonistic striving. [Tischendorf’s reading is not supported by D., but by B., L., Ξ., and Cod. Sin., the latter, however, having οἰκοδομῆσθαι.—C. C. S.]
And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.FIRST SECTION: Salutation of Love
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 6:17. And He came down with them.—We have therefore to conceive the Saviour as surrounded by a threefold circle of hearers; the first indicated by μετ̓ αὐτῶν (the recently chosen Twelve), the second described as an ὄχλος μαθητῶν, and this latter again closed around by πλῆθος πολὺ τοῦ λαοῦ, who come partly even from beyond the boundaries. Comp. Matt. 4:23–25.
Luke 6:19. For there went virtue out of Him.—Comp. Luke 5:17; 8:46. As therefore the choice of apostles is preceded by silence and prayer, so is the Sermon on the Mount immediately preceded by miraculous works. Here in fullest significance is the sublimest symbolism of the kingdom of heaven whose fundamental laws He will forthwith reveal to the world. The might of deed must support the might of the word. So is the faith of the just-chosen ones strengthened and the people prepared for hearing.
Luke 6:20. And He lifted up His eyes.—It belongs to the peculiarities of Luke that he in some passages gives us to feel the eloquence of the look of Jesus even when this is not indicated by others. See here and in Luke 22:61.
Blessed are ye poor.—“This is indeed an admirably sweet friendly beginning of His doctrine and preaching. For He does not proceed like Moses or a law-teacher with command, threatening, and terrifying, but in the friendliest possible way, with pure, enticing, alluring, and amiable promises” (Luther). The question whether the most original and exact form of the Beatitudes is to be found in Matthew or Luke appears to us to admit an answer in favor of the former. This gives us the right even at this point to call to our help as a legitimate subsidium interpretationis, the τῷ πνεύματι of Matthew. That the Saviour means no other than the spiritually poor is quite as plain as that those at this day were commonly found among the poor in worldly respects; comp. James 2:5. Luke is here as far as in chs. 12 or 16 from the thought of conceding to external poverty, considered in and of itself, even the least advantage. With the confessedly universal and Pauline character of his Gospel such an Ebionitic tendency is incompatible. Comp. moreover LANGE on the passage, and upon the inner connection of the different Macarisms, KIENLEN in the Studien und Kritiken, ii., 1848.
Luke 6:21. Ye that hunger now—ye that weep now.—According to what is said above, only spiritual hunger and trouble for sin and the suffering arising from the same can be understood. As only such come with eager longing to the kingdom of God, so could God’s kingdom and truth only come to these. In answering the question how satisfaction and comfort should fall to their lot, we have not only to bear in mind the word of the kingdom of heaven, which was perfectly to satisfy their spiritual necessities, but especially also the new spiritual life, which was to be bestowed upon them in communion with the King Himself.
Luke 6:22. Blessed … when men shall hate you.—Comp. Matt. 5:11, 12. A noticeable climax is found in the description of this hatred in Luke, first, as the foundation of all that follows, ὅταν μισήσωσιν, then the severing of the thus hated from general and special intercourse (ὅταν ἀφωρίσωσιν), and moreover, alongside of this negative persecution, also the more positive and more malicious (καὶ ὀνειδίσωσιν), finally, the formal excommunication from the synagogue (καὶ ἐκβάλωσιν); comp. John 9:34; 16:2.—And all this is not purely personal injuriousness, but is an opposition in principle against the principle of faith represented by them: “and cast out your name as evil;” to be understood of the name which they bore as Jesus’ disciples. What, however, alone can make such a suffering the ground of a beatitude is the adjoined: “for the Son of Man’s sake.” Not every ignominy, only the ignominy of Christ gives the ground for joy and renown. Comp. Acts 5:41; Heb. 11:26.
Luke 6:23. Rejoice ye.—Comp. Acts 16:25; Romans 5:3; Romans 8:35–39. “Great is your reward in heaven. Deus est debitor noster, non ex congruo, sed ex promisso.” (Augustine.) At the same time an indirect intimation that they for their approved faithfulness must not expect too great a reward on earth. It is especially noticeable how the Saviour at once places His scarcely-called apostles in one rank with the prophets of the Old Testament, and in the demand that they should be ready for His name’s sake to suffer shame, shows the sublimest self-consciousness. Such intimations must also, above all, not be overlooked by those who are paying attention to the Christology of the Synoptical gospels. As to the rest, it scarcely needs pointing out how completely the idea that they were to suffer in such society, surrounded by such a νέφος μαρτύρων, was adapted to strengthen the courage and the spiritual might of the witnesses of the Lord.
Luke 6:24. But woe unto you.—The force and application of these four οὐαί, which are only found in Luke, is, after what has been said, self-evident. Had the Saviour been able to find among the rich also the spiritually poor, He would not the less have pronounced them blessed. The rich Chuza with his wife (Luke 8:2, 3), or the family of Bethany (Luke 10:38–42), had surely never for an instant drawn this οὐαί upon themselves. But if even a Nicodemus ventured only in the night to come to Jesus, if the rich young man went away sad, and if there were innumerable proofs of the truth of the declaration Matt. 19:23, 24, no wonder that here there proceeded forth a terrific Woe over the rich, who for the greater part were self-satisfied and proud characters; sumptuous livers who suffered a pious Lazarus to pine away at their gate, unrighteous ones who stinted the wages of the poor (Luke 16:20; James 5:4). These threatenings also are, therefore, directed against a moral degeneracy, which however at that time was a chief sin of the rich and powerful. A poor man who merely on account of his neediness should have made claim to the kingdom of heaven, must have been pride itself, have been no truly hungry soul, but one spiritually full, who should be left empty. Comp. Luke 1:53; Rev. 3:17, and from the Old Testament, Is. 65:13, 14; Hosea 2:9.—Ye have received your consolation.—“As something perishable” (De Wette); comp. Matt. 6:2; Luke 16:25.—The retribution which here is first described only as a coming short of the expected consolation is in the two following threatenings, πεινάσετε, πενθήσετε καὶ κλαύσετε, represented as a direct feeling of hunger, pain, and sadness.
Luke 6:26. Woe, when all men shall speak well of you.—Is this Woe like the first three addressed to unbelievers (Meyer), or to the disciples, in opposition to the Beatitudes of Luke 6:22, 23? (De Wette, Kuinoel, and most.) Without doubt the former is demanded by symmetry. Those who accept the praise of the hostile world are compared by the Saviour with the ψευδοπροφῆται; but disciples who could so far forget themselves as to take any special pains to secure the praise of all men, would be properly no longer disciples. The Saviour first begins again in Luke 6:27 to address Himself directly to the circle most nearly surrounding Him. It is, however, of course, self-evident that the rule here expressed by the Lord can be easily applied to His first disciples and to all further witnesses of His name.
As to the rest, there is not the slightest ground respecting the four Woes in Luke “to assign them to the later formation of the later tradition” (Meyer), in other words, to deny that the Saviour Himself uttered this fourfold judgment. If one is not disposed to assume that He delivered it immediately after the seven Beatitudes of Matthew, there is yet nothing against the supposition that the Saviour first uttered this Woe on another occasion, and that Luke has (very fittingly) taken it up into his abridged redaction. Respecting all the Beatitudes, comp. the admirable homily of HERDER in his complete works.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. There are moments in the public life of the Lord in which, if possible, even more than at others, He does everything to prepare the coming and founding of His kingdom in Israel. To such culminating points of the light of His glory belongs also that to which we have now drawn near. The calling of the twelve apostles is in the fullest sense of the word a decisive step towards His goal. A rich fulness of miracles shown forth urges at the same time the enthusiasm every moment higher. An incomparable sermon exalts and intensifies this impression. Even before the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount it is already shown into how wide a circle the report of His words and deeds had gone out, and certainly this circle now enlarges itself to a yet more significant extent. Within a few hours there is concentrated thus a work of love which at another time might have been divided through several days. It is the hour of the preparation for a great decision. That Israel did not know and use such a καιρὸν τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς increases its shame and guilt.
2. There exists an inward connection between the choice of apostles and the Sermon on the Mount. Now when the heralds of the King are appointed, the Magna Charta of the kingdom of heaven is proclaimed. All which the recently called hear is, on the one hand, adapted to inflame the holy fire on their altar, on the other hand, fitted to extinguish the fire that is fed by the stubble ofearthly expectations.
3. The Beatitudes present to us, even in the imperfect form given in Luke, a clear mirror of the kingdom of heaven. The first and the last of the Beatitudes preserved in the evangelical history (Luke 1:45; John 20:29) agree in this, that they promise salvation to those who believe even without seeing. Between these two Beatitudes stand those of the Sermon on the Mount in the midst. They reveal to us the glory of the King of the kingdom of heaven as the Christus Consolator of suffering and sorrowing mankind (an admirable work of art representing this by Ary Scheffer); comp. Luke 4:18, 19. They give us to see the final purpose of the kingdom of God as in the highest degree adapted to satisfy the deepest spiritual interests of man. They present before us the image of the citizen of heaven, as well as the character that is peculiar to him, and the destiny that stands before him. The highest blessings of the kingdom of heaven, perfect satisfaction, joy, and consolation, do they make known to all that desire salvation; yea even into the future of this kingdom of God there is granted us here as in a prophetic sketch a glance. Thus does already the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount deserve to be called a short summary of the whole preaching of the gospel, as indeed the words in Nazareth’s synagogue, Luke 4:18, 19, already were.
4. The four “Woes,” which in Luke follow the Macarisms, are as little unworthy of the Saviour as the fact that in the Old Covenant over against mount Gerizim there stood mount Ebal, and that in the Gospel of Matthew (Luke 23) the eight “woes” uttered by the Saviour stand over against the eight Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. He might have reiterated here what Moses at the end of his last address testified, Deut. 30:18, 19. In this respect there exists a noticeable agreement between the beginning and the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, which in Luke also ends with a proclamation of a blessing and a curse in a parabolic form. This blessing and this woe might even be named a typical symbol of that which in sublimest wise shall hereafter repeat itself; comp. Matt. 25:34–40. It is the audible resonance of the אָרוּר and of the בָּרוּךְ of the prophets (comp. Jer. 17:5–8), with the distinction that here in true evangelical wise the μακάριος precedes the οὐαί.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The King of the kingdom of heaven for the first time in the circle of His future ambassadors.—Christ the Physician of body and soul.—The might of deed and word.—The Saviour’s gracious look upon weak yet sincere disciples.—The Beatitudes of the New Testament: 1. In their sweetness, 2. in their holy earnestness.—Blessing and cursing, life and death.—The common character of the Macarisms as: 1. Enigmatical utterances, 2. utterances of truth, 3. utterances of comfort and life.—The Mount of Beatitudes and the Mount of the Law-giving: 1. How they stand over against one another; 2. how they condition one another.—The first beatitude on earth, the last in heaven, Rev. 22:14.—What is foolish before the world that hath God chosen, 1 Cor. 1:26–31.—The beatitude and description: 1. Of the character; 2. of the salvation of the heavenly citizen: 1. a. poor, b. hungry, c. weeping, d. hated by men; 2. a. riches, b. full contentment, c. joy, d. reward of a prophet.—The identity in the reception of the prophets of the Old and the apostles of the New Covenant in the unbelieving world: 1. The exactness, 2. the ground, 3. the significance of this identity for all succeeding centuries.—The King of the kingdom of heaven: 1. The Friend of the poor, 2. the Bread of the hungry, 3. the Joy of the sorrowing, 4. the Judge of the oppressed.—Even under the day of grace a Woe.—Self-righteousness and unrighteousness the two hindrances to entering into the kingdom of heaven.—The distinction between reality and semblance among those called to the kingdom of heaven: 1. The unfortunate not seldom least to be commiserated, 2. those worthy of envy not seldom furthest removed from the salvation of the Lord.—The kingdom of heaven: 1. The riches of the poor, 2. of all poor, 3. of the poor alone.—It is blessed, 1. To need consolation, 2. to receive consolation, 3. to enjoy consolation.—The alternation of joy and pain in the life of the disciple of the Lord: 1. Joy of the world must become sorrow for sin, 2. sorrow for sin must become joy in Christ—1. No disciple of Christ without hatred of the world; 2. no hatred of the world without rich compensation; 3. no compensation without steadfast faithfulness.—The great reward in heaven: 1. To whom it was once given and why; for whom it is even now prepared and how.—How the self-righteous man stands in respect to Christ and how Christ stands in respect to the self-righteous.—The hungering of the already satisfied; 1. a painful, 2. a self-caused, 3. an unending hungering.—Universal praise of the world a stigma for the Saviour’s disciples, since it brings them into the suspicion, 1. of unfaithfulness, 2. of characterlessness, 3. of the lust of pleasing.—False prophets can ever reckon upon loud applause.
STARKE:—Jesus has an entirely different office from Moses.—Love of riches and love of God can never agree together in one heart.—Rich enough, whoever has the kingdom of God.—QUESNEL:—Tears belong to time, but true joy to eternity.—Whoever finds it irksome to bear the cross of Christ understands not its worth.—OSIANDER: Godless rich men have their heaven on earth, and after this life hell is made ready for them.—For a good Christian name we must certainly strive, but not against our consciences speak to please every one. Galatians 1:10.—Many a one might come to repentance if flattery did not, so to speak, bar the door against conversion. Jeremiah 23:15–22.
ST. MARTIN (l’homme de désir, 1790):—Voulezvous que votre esprit soit dans la joye? faites que votre âme soit dans la tristesse. [Would you have your spirit joyful? Contrive that your soul may be in heaviness.]—KERN:—Heaviness and highness, sadness and gladness of true Christians.
Entirely original treatment of the Sermon on the Mount (according to Matthew) by Dr. C. Harms, in twenty-one sermons, Kiel, 1841. Examples: The first Beatitude: 1. It opens the door of the kingdom of heaven that we may look in, 2. bids us stand still to inquire: Are we therein? 3. It is the call at the door of the kingdom of heaven to enter in, and 4. a word of encouragement to those entered in, that they may also remain therein.—The second: 1. the Who, 2. the When, and 3. the How.—The third: We discourse 1. of righteousness, 2. of the longing after it, and 3. of the promise which is given to this longing.
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,SECOND SECTION: The Requirement of Love
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 6:27. But I say unto you which hear.—Antithesis to the foregoing, Luke 6:26. Meyer very happily: “Yet although I utter against those these Woes, yet I enjoin on you not hatred but love towards your enemies. It is therefore no accidental antithesis” (Köstlin). As the Saviour in Luke 6:26 had shown what treatment Christians have to expect of their enemies, He unfolds, Luke 6:27–38, what return they must give to this treatment. Comp. Matt. 5:38–48; 7:12. Here is connected in thetic form what was given by Matthew antithetically, over against the ἐῤῥέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις.
Ἀγαπᾶτ ε, κ.τ.λ.—The doctrine of love to enemies is here communicated in the most complete the fourfold form, while in Matt. 5:44 the second and the third member appear to be spurious. (See Tischendorf.)—Respecting the subject itself comp. LANGE, Matthew, p. 117. Although it cannot be denied that love to enemies is in a certain sense required even by Jewish and heathen moralists, it must yet be remembered that the thought of requiting acts of enmity with devout intercession could only arise in the heart of Him who has Himself prayed for the evil doers. Such sayings of the Saviour, particularly, may well have elicited from even a godly man, on reading the Sermon on the Mount, the exclamation: “Either this is not true, or we are no Christians.”
Luke 6:29. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek.—The sense and application of this and similar precepts will occasion no difficulties, if we only bear in mind the simple rule: “The ethical commandments of Christ, or His explanations of the Old Testament, must themselves in turn be explained in the spirit of Christ.” (THOLUCK, Bergpredigt, p. 163.) Let us in this matter consider well, first, that in proportion as civil life is more and more guided and sanctified by the spirit of Christ, it must continually be and become less and less possible that any one should unrighteously smite us, or take away our mantle, or force us to accompany him a mile. Secondly, that the Saviour did not here intend to project a definite rule of behavior, but to inculcate certain essential principles, as Augustine very justly remarks on the passage: “Ista prœcepta magis ad prœparationem cordis, quœ intus est, pertinere, quam ad opus, quod in aperto fit, ut teneatur in secreto animi patientia et benevolentia, in manifesto autem id fiat, quod iis videtur prodesse, quibus bene velle debemus.” Respecting the views of the ancient Christians as to the allowableness or inadmissibleness of military service, we find important statements in NEANDER’S Denkwürdigkeiten. If we remember, finally, the time of closely impending persecutions in which this precept was given, and the conflict in which a literal following of Luke 6:29, 30, would bring us with the unchangeable and chief principle of Luke 6:31, the way is then as it were of itself prepared for a right explanation of this precept. We do not even need to form the supposition that “the sentence: ‘From him that taketh thy goods ask them not again,’ is hardly original with Luke, since it unnecessarily exaggerates the endurance” (Ewald), for it requires nothing more than what had immediately preceded. Better is Bengel’s remark: “Nimis hic cumulatœ sunt ingenii humani exceptiones.”
Luke 6:31. And as ye would.—Here connected still more closely with the duty of love to enemies, in Matt. 7:12 more generally stated. Justly Theophylact: νόμον ἔμφυτον ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν γεγραμμένον. The Saviour gives a touch-stone into the hands of His disciples, by which they might prove themselves as to whether their demeanor towards neighbors and enemies was in agreement with their duties. His utterance contains no principle, but a touch-stone of morality, since it only refers to an outer form of action. Neither is it new (comp. Jesus Sirach xxx. and the passages cited by Tholuck, p. 488 seq.), and might even be misused by egoism and perversely interpreted by scoffers, except as it is understood and applied with the whole spirit of Christianity. Where it is so used we shall discover in it a plain, simple, universally applicable precept of the practical wisdom of life, fully fitted for the purpose for which the Saviour has given it. Only let a special emphasis be laid upon the καθώς. Very happily Lange: “Not what people desire of us, but according to all that we desire of them, agreeably to that should we do to them.” We subjoin that here the standard is not intrusted to the hands of every natural man, but to those of the disciples of Christ.
Luke 6:32. What, thanks.—“Qualis vobis gratia, ut qui uberius quidam, mercede dignum, prœstiteris.” Bengel. It is, of course, to be understood that we are not here to think of human, but of Divine recompense. Comp. Matt. 5:46, 47.
For sinners also.—Here and Luke 6:33, 34, each time ἁμαρτωλοί, in Matthew τελῶναι καὶ ἐθνικοί (see TISCHENDORF on Matthew 5:47). In Luke, from his position of liberality towards the Gentiles, it is not the ethnic but the ethic antithesis which comes most into prominence; but the meaning remains the same. The Saviour will raise His disciples above the position of the ordinary morality of the natural man. Comp. the beautiful essay of A. VINET in his Nouveaux discours sur quelques sujets religieux, entitled, L’extraordinaire, pp. 146–184.
Luke 6:34. And if ye lend.—Lending in the hope of receiving again is human; but without this hope it becomes Christian. And yet, how many found their right to the Christian’s name almost on nothing else than on services of love so carefully measured and egoistic that every heathen or Jew equals them therein, perhaps even excels them.
Luke 6:35. Hoping for nothing again.—It is plain that the Saviour here only forbids the expectation of human recompense, inasmuch as He has already confirmed the hope of heavenly reward, Luke 6:23, and immediately animates this again with the words: And your reward shall be great. The different explanation of Meyer: “nihil desperantes,” is, without doubt, philologically admissible; yet it appears to us to be less favored by the connection.
Ye shall be the children of the Highest.—We find no reason to restrict the enjoyment of this dignity (with Meyer) to the future life. The Pauline doctrine of the υἱοθεσία even in the earthly life of believers, appears to us, on the other hand, to have its ground in such sayings of Jesus. If the ethical relationship with God manifests itself even here, why should its reward be incapable of being enjoyed until the next life?
Luke 6:36. Be ye therefore merciful.—In Matthew, τέλειοι, here, οἰκτίρμονες; explicative: (for only in His moral attributes can God be an ideal to be imitated, and of this His love is the centre). Even without the spurious οὖν the nexus idearum is of itself evident.
Luke 6:37. And judge not.—Comp. Matt. 7:1. Κρίνειν is not the same as κατακρίνειν (Olshausen), or here there would be a tautology with the immediate sequel: μὴ καταδικάζετε, κ.τ.λ.; but what is here understood by judging, is the considering of the faults of our neighbor with a look only sharpened by mistrust, and not tempered by love and self-knowledge. It is the not “judging of a righteous judgment,” John 7:24. Undoubtedly, to the spiritual man, who judges all things (ἀνακρίνει, 1 Cor. 2:15), the right to judge, in and of itself, cannot be forbidden; yet it is only granted by the Lord when one has previously cast a look of searching examination upon himself. “Luke conceives as a consequence what Matthew designates as that to be avoided.” (De Wette.) Forgive, &c.—A practical commentary on this saying see in Matt. 18:23–35.
Luke 6:38. Good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and heaped up.—The distinction of Bengel: in aribus, mollibus, liquidis, appears to be more ingenious than true. At least it cannot be denied that all the epithets here used can be used of a measure for dry substances. The climax brings into relief in a vivid manner the riches of the Divine retribution. Since now the Saviour does not at all say whom He uses for the impartation of such a recompense to His disciples, it is not at all necessary to restrict the matter exclusively to the future life, and to understand it of the angels (Meyer). Even in this life His disciples might at least now and then expect a superabundant recompense of their labor of love.—With the same measure.
Very well Theophylact: τῷ αὐτῷ, οὐ μὲν τοσούτῳ.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The high value of the ethical precepts here given will not become fully evident unless we consider how the Saviour Himself fulfilled them His life long in the most perfect manner; so that they contain not only the expression of His will, but also the living image of His own heart and life. By the comparison with the Saviour’s own conduct, moreover, will the arbitrary application of the rules here given be best avoided. Comp. for instance John 18:21, 22.
2. In the fulfilling, moreover, of the precepts here given, Luke 6:29, 30, the main requirement of the gospel, love to God before all, and to our neighbor as ourselves, still remains at once principle and corrective. It is self-evident that an unthinking obedience to the letter would often bring with it dishonor to God, and would strengthen our neighbor in his injustice. Or should we have to give a supplicant everything, for instance even a dagger or poison to the madman who incessantly begs for them? Just as well might then the old Carpocratians derive from this passage the doctrine that a woman is obliged to follow the voice of temptation to forbidden lusts! But then the Saviour himself sinned against His own precept, when He permitted the Canaanitish woman first to entreat fruitlessly for help, and forbade one healed by Him to accompany Him, although entreated by him to permit it. The understanding, enlightened by the spirit of Christ, and the moral sense, guided by a tender conscience, must and can, in particular cases, decide whether love itself does not command to act directly contrary to the letter of the precept, in order to act agreeably to its spirit.
3. The peculiar Christian command of love to enemies must, on the one hand, not be exaggerated, nor, on the other hand, thrown aside. The former is done when the fact is overlooked that even heathen philosophers have given the most striking hints in this respect; see Tholuck on the passage. The other takes place when it is forgotten that the ground, impulse, form, measure, and ideal of this love, in the Christian sphere, are something entirely different from what they are in the extra-Christian sphere.
4. This whole pericope of the Sermon on the Mount is important for the answer of the question, how far the Saviour required an entirely pure love (Amour pur in the sense of Fénélon), or whether He has encouraged a respect to the reward promised to obedience. That He would never command a desire of reward, as the essential principle, hardly needs to be suggested; and quite as little, that genuine Christian effort does not seek its reward without, but within, itself. On the other hand, however, we see that He adds the incitement of the love of reward as a counterpoise to so many things that might be able to depress zeal and obedience. The question, Matt. 19:27, although placed upon a legal position, is not of itself anti-Christian.
5. The exalted excellence of the Christian ethics comes convincingly into view when we compare its highest requirement, Likeness to God in love, with what heathen philosophers have given as the highest precept.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Love to enemies: 1. A human virtue, 2. a Christian virtue, 3. a Divine virtue.—Love to enemies: 1. A severe conflict, 2. its noble trial, 3. its glorious crown.—The vengeance of love: 1. Its fervor, 2. its loveliness.—The invincible might of voluntary defencelessness.—Better suffer wrong than do wrong.—The relation of Christian love of our neighbor to befitting self-love.—The ordinary in the life of man, the extraordinary in the life of a Christian.—Whoever, in a Christian sphere, only does what is common, has no extraordinary reward to expect.—The love of sinners to each other, and of nominal Christians, compared with one another: 1. Often the former is even greater; 2. often both are like; 3. the latter must always rise above the former.—The Christian a follower of God as a dear child, Ephes. 5:1.—What God is, Christ’s disciples must become.—Regard to reward in the Christian sphere: 1. How far is it permitted, 2. how far not permitted.—Compared with the goodness of God, all are unthankful and evil.—Compassion that which is divinest in God and in man.—The judicial function, as exercised by pride and by love.—Even the righteous receive reward here below.—The disciple of the Saviour before a threefold judgment, before that: 1. Of his conscience, 2. of his neighbor, 3. of the Lord. Comp. 1 Cor. 4:4.—God’s righteousness keeps measure, but God’s love is immeasurably rich. “It gives for a penny more than ten thousand pounds, for a peck more than a hundred thousand bushels, for a little drop of comfort to my neighbor whole streams of refreshments; for a little tear, shed from love to Jesus, a whole sea of blessedness; for brief temporal suffering an everlasting and far more exceeding weight of glory.” Brast-berger.
STARKE:—Be ashamed, ye scoffers, that pretend that the gospel teaches nothing concerning friendship: He who commands to love our enemies, presupposes that true friends are much more to be loved.—HEDINGER:—In all wrong suffered we must leave room for the wrath of God, Rom. 12:19.—A Christian heart is easily entreated, and willingly assumes the necessities of the saints.—NOVA BIBL. TUB.:—Better is it to lose land and goods, and to let all go, than to suffer harm to the soul. Matt. 16:26.—To love enemies and do them good, is the Christian’s art and test.—OSIANDER:—An honest man seeks his own, but a Christian Jesus Christ’s.—A bought or bartered love is no love of God that has reward.—CRAMER:—Children of God have their Father’s temper, and do not let themselves be rebuffed by the unthankfulness of man from doing them good.—Nulla re sic colitur Deus, ut misericordia, Gregor. Nazianz.—MAJUS:—It is a desperate blindness, rather to rush upon Divine vengeance, than to show kindness and meekness towards our own brother.—HEDINGER:—Be not angry if thou gettest back again just the coin which thou hast given out.—Why do others trouble thee? Look to thyself! Gal. 6:1.—It ought not to go hard with love to give that which Divine truth promises to give back. Prov. 19:17.—The Christian loses by liberality nothing, but gains very much. 2 Cor. 8:10 Acts 20:35.—To be parsimonious and niggardly it not the right way to become rich, but to be beneficent and free-handed is the way.—The jus talionis is with the righteousness of God fully in accord, and never fails. Therefore be warned, whosoever thou art. Judg. 1:7; 1 Kings 21:19–24. Comp. 1 Kings 22:38, 39.
UBBER:—The Christian eye for human faults: 1. Strict against itself, 2. gentle towards its neighbor.—AHLFELD on Luke 6:36:—1. The source from which compassion springs; 2. the fields on which it brings forth its fruit; 3. the hindrances with which it wrestles.—UHLE:—How we are wont to demean ourselves: 1. Towards our neighbor’s faults; 2. in the case of suffering wrong from him; 3. in the case of his necessity being made known to us—RAUTENBERG:—The Divine compassion: 1. The type, 2. the ground, 3. the reward of our compassion.—BURKE:—The love of compassion: 1. Who gives it? 2. How is it exercised? 3. Who rewards it?—SCHMALTZ:—Without self-conquest no true love.—ALT:—Who can constrain his enemies to esteem?—STIER:—Concerning the evil habit of judging others.—VAN OOSTERZEE:—What do ye more than others? The Christian called to distinguish himself. This a requirement: 1. Whose scope is extensive; 2. the urging of which is legitimate: 3. the remembering is needful. On 1. The Saviour demands that His disciples should be more upright, more disinterested, more steadfast in good than others. On 2. The Christian must distinguish himself above others; he can do it, and, as history shows, he does it in fact. On 3. By this remembrance, Humility, Faith, Heavenly longing, is awakened.
And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?THIRD SECTION: The Importunity of Love
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 6:39. And He spake.—From transitions of this sort we see how loose the thread is which connects the different elements of the Sermon on the Mount in Luke. Respecting the understanding of the παραβολή, see Lange, on Matthew 13, and below on Luke 8. The here cited parabolic saying appears according to the more exact report of Matthew, Luke 10:24; 15:14, to have been spoken on another occasion, and not to belong to the original Sermon on the Mount, although in and of itself it is quite possible that the Saviour frequently used such gnome-like dicta.
Can the blind.—If one is inclined to insist upon some connection between the four parables here following and what precedes, it would be best to settle it as follows: “The disciples might, after these words of the Lord, think in their hearts: It is not easy to be a Christian! They were called to show to the world by their preaching and by their walk the way which the Lord showed them: therefore this above all was needful, that they themselves should allow the light to penetrate themselves, and should establish themselves upon the right and only ground. To this now does the Lord admonish them.” (Besser.)
Τυφλός.—Whoever himself is blind for the light of truth cannot possibly serve another as leader, but draws him with him into destruction which reaches its fearful culmination in Gehenna. This was plainly manifest by the example of the Pharisees, comp. Matthew 15:14, from which the disciples could see what leaders they should not be. Although all men by nature are spiritually blind, the judgment here pronounced is perfectly righteous, since the blindness of the leaders of the blind to the light of the Lord is a self-caused one.
Luke 6:40. Οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητής.—If the Sermon on the Mount in Luke consists in part of a collection of different sayings of the Saviour apart from their original historical connection, it is then indeed superfluous to inquire after the connection of the preceding saying with this. Yet Luke 6:40 may serve to illustrate the naturalness and justness of the judgment pronounced in Luke 6:39. In this way, namely: only if a disciple surpassed his master could he hope to be preserved from the ditch into which he sees his blind leader fall. Since, however, the disciple does not commonly surpass the master, he has also the same danger to fear. As a rule every one is constituted like his master.—We must not over-look the fact that here at the same time an indirect intimation is given to the Twelve to fashion themselves in all things after the character of their new Master.
Luke 6:41. And why beholdest thou.—Comp. Matt. 7:3. Not merely “a climax upon the preceding” (Gerlach), but a pointing out of the way to be kept from the character and fate of the blind leader of the blind. Self-knowledge and amendment is required of the disciples of the Lord before they judge the failings of others and offer themselves to them as leaders.
Κάρφος.—“That He may warn us the more diligently He finds a palpable comparison and paints it before our eyes,—gives such a sentence as this, that every one who judges his neighbor has a great beam in his eye, while he who is judged has only a little splinter, so that he is ten times more worthy of judgment and condemnation even in this, that he condemns others.” (Luther.) As to the rest, moral defects, as well as those of knowledge, appear to be spoken of here, such as the Saviour relatively likens to a little splinter. The δοκός can then be nothing else than just that foolish imagination of a greater excellence compared with our faulty brother: therefore the man with the δοκός is immediately called ὑποκριτά because he demeans himself as if free of faults.
Διαβλέψεις.—The composite, perhaps chosen (“intenta acie spectabis.” Meyer) in order to place in a strong light the difficulty and delicacy of the work, in which the greatest carefulness is necessary. How surely every one has first to look to himself appears particularly from the following parable.
Luke 6:43. Οὐ γάρ.—First of all this parabolic saying is connected with what immediately precedes, “If thou dost not see the beam in thine own eye thou wouldst be like the corrupt tree, which cannot possibly bring forth good fruit.” So Bengel: qui sua trabe laborans alienam festucam petit est similis arbori malœ bonum fructum affectanti. Yet, since the Sermon on the Mount is hastening to its end, we may at the same time refer this word back to all the preceding requirements, the fulfilment of which is specially dependent on the condition of the heart.
A good tree.—Comp. Matt. 7:15–20, and Lange on the passage. The fruits can here be nothing else than works. That the Saviour is here particularly thinking of misleading spirits in the Christian Church we do not believe, although we willingly concede that His saying may also be applied to these: as the sign of such it is not the walk, but the doctrine, that is given. In a striking way did the misleaders of the people who shortly after His appearance stirred up the unhappy Jews show the truth of this His utterance. They knew how with brilliant promises to allure great throngs to their side, but their behavior was so entirely in conflict with the essential principles of religion and of the state, that by this alone they could not but forfeit all confidence. The credulous multitude who gave credence to their words learned too late what evil fruits these trees of abundant promise brought forth.
Luke 6:45. The good man.—Comp. Matt. 12:35. Probably no part of the original Sermon on the Mount, but communicated out of its historical connection by Luke. The Saviour regards no man as naturally good in the Pelagian sense of the word, but speaks of the sinner who has become good through grace. Both the good and the evil man He sets forth as they commonly reveal themselves outwardly, without however denying that even the good has his weak and the evil man his better side. The heart of the one and of the other is the magazine (θησαυρός), out of which perpetually proceeds what therein was in no small measure hidden.—For out of the abundance, comp. Ps. 36:2.
Luke 6:46. And why call ye Me.—This same dictum is communicated in a complete form, Matt. 7:21, with reference to the Pharisaic pretended holiness. Yet it is also applicable to the disciples of the Lord so far as in their disposition remnants of the old leaven are still found. It is only possible for the greatest misunderstanding, the most perverted apprehension of the οὐ πᾶς ὁ λέγ. in Matthew to find here a ground for declaring the external confession of the Saviour to be wholly indifferent. (Kant.) Comp. Matt. 10:32, 33. In the connection in which Luke reports this saying of the Saviour, it constitutes of itself the transition to the concluding parable, which he has in common with Matthew. Before any one comprehends the requirements of the ποιεῖνin an anti-evangelical sense, let him consider what the Saviour himself demands as the essence of the ἔργον τοῦ θεοῦ, John 6:29.
Luke 6:47. Πᾶς ὁ ἐρχόμενος, κ.τ.λ.—A commencement of the concluding parable peculiar to Luke, in a more lively form than in Matthew. The whole conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount shows sharply, from word to word, a striking climax. Very vivid is the representation of the man who not only begins to build but also incessantly digs deeper (ἐβάθυνε), and does not rest before he reaches the firm rock (ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν). That this is done in Palestine even now by solid builders is stated by ROBINSON, Biblical Researches, vol. iii. The rock can here hardly be primarily the person of Christ, as in 1 Cor. 10:4, but is primarily the word, wherein however He Himself is. Who builds thereupon the house of his hope builds secure; whoever out of Him seeks firmness and security proceeds towards certain destruction. The work of both builders becomes plain by the test. Comp. 1 Cor. 3:11–15.
Luke 6:48. A flood.—De Wette: “an inundation.” Comp. Job 40:23, LXX.—Symbol of all possible tests which the edifice of faith and hope can have to undergo in hours of doubt, of temptation, and of danger of death. Then is true for the disciple of the Lord the word—Proverbs 12:7. The antithesis is so much the more striking as He does not here oppose the morally good to the morally bad, but simply the careful to the heedless.
For it was well built.—“For it was founded upon a rock.”—The steadfastness of the building does not lie in what is built, but in the foundation on which it is built.—Comp. Ezekiel 13:11.
Luke 6:49. Without a foundation.—ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον, Matthew. All that is not πέτρα remains ἄμμος, even if it were outwardly like a rock.—The breach, in Matthew the fall, the one is consequence of the other. In both redactions the Sermon on the Mount ends as it were in a storm of wind, earthquake, and fire, 1 Kings 19:11, 12. The supposition that a rising tempest or rain hastened the end of the discourse and placed on the lips of the Saviour this last word is ingeniose magis quam vere. Now and then without doubt the Saviour has found occasion from the nature surrounding Him to the choice of His figurative language, e.g., John 3:8; 15:1. But did He also in Matt. 15:14, or in John 16:21?—Credat Judœus Apella.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The four parables with which the Sermon on the Mount in Luke concludes contain the most admirable proofs of the Saviour’s wisdom as a Teacher. They were all taken from daily life, and also from historically given circumstances. One had not far to go to seek blind leaders of the blind, or to see beautifully appearing trees with evil fruit. So far as such manifestations continually repeat themselves in the church of the Lord, an eternal significance may be ascribed to them. The example of the Saviour moreover shows plainly how far those are from the ideal of Christian eloquence who condemn a great richness of noble imagery. Here there is no abstract development of ideas, but all alike pictorial and intuitive. The presentation of the subjects becomes plain in that these are made visible in persons acting very variously. Alternately we hear the voice of the deepest love, and that of the earnestness which menaces with judgment. The discourse unfolds itself regularly; is as rich in surprises as in gradual climax, and ends with an utterance which must leave the deepest impression in the conscience. “Non opus est, omnes homilias desinere in usum paracleticum,” remarks Bengel, with great truth, on Matt. 7:29. After the reading of the Sermon on the Mount we repeat the declaration, John 7:46.
2. Without the word μετάνοια being mentioned, the last part of the Sermon on the Mount also contains a most obvious intimation of the indispensable necessity of the new birth. The blind who leads the blind into destruction; the hypocrite who overlooks his own faults compared with those of his brother; the corrupt tree which in its present condition cannot possibly bring forth good fruit; the fool who builds his house upon the sand—all give us to recognize in various forms the image of the natural man in his delusion and pride, in his ruinous fall and destruction. In vain is it to will to do good so long as one has not become good, and good can no one make himself without Christ. Comp. Jeremiah 13:23. Thus does the Lord repeat here in a practical popular form essentially the same thoughts which He in John 3 has expressed before Nicodemus. On the other hand He states the one infallible sign of the genuineness of the great change which takes place in the heart of His true disciples: the joyful doing of His will.
3. When we observe how the Saviour in this part of the Sermon on the Mount also insists especially upon an active Christianity, it is almost incomprehensible how, in the course of the centuries, and even to-day, so much Antinomism could show itself in the Church. For, according to His intimations also, His disciple can and will be blessed alone ἐν τῇ ποιήσει αὐτοῦ. Comp. James 1:25. Never can the vindicator of a lax and shallow morality appeal to His words so long as He has not rent the Sermon on the Mount out of the Gospel. Yet, alas, to many an antinomistic theory is the profound saying of Gregory of Nazianzen applicable: πρᾶξις ἐπίβασις θεωρίας.
4. If we apply the saying: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” to the Saviour Himself, how deep a look do we then obtain through the clear current of His preaching on the Mount into the golden recesses of his Divinely human heart! The less He says unequivocally in the Sermon on the Mount, who He is, the more clearly does it show itself.
5. Not unjustly has the conclusion been drawn from this part of the Sermon on the Mount, how much easier it is to take note of others than of ourselves; how much more convenient to show a brother the way than to walk therein ourselves; how great the danger of ourselves being found reprobates while we work for the salvation of others. Comp. 1 Cor. 9:27. Perhaps it was similar considerations which in the end of the last century gave occasion to the singular question, “Whether it is a miracle when a clergyman is saved?” (Bretschneider, † 1792.)
6. The concluding parable of the Sermon on the Mount unites in itself allegory and prophecy in the most beautiful manner. In three verses there is here compressed the primeval, and yet ever fresh, history of all that which has been built, is building, and until the end of all days shall be built; on the one hand without, on the other hand in and upon, the word and the Spirit of the Lord. The μεγάλη πτῶσις of the house built upon the sand, was, among other instances, heard at the fall of unbelieving Judaism, as well as at that of all unbelieving philosophical systems which have overlived themselves, and at that of every state, of every church which is not built upon the only true foundation; and all this will repeat itself in continually greater measure, the nearer the last crisis of the future approaches, until the word is wholly fulfilled: 1 John 2:17.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
He who allures to love, threatens also with the terrors of judgment.—The blind and his leader: 1. The way of both; 2. the fate of both, a. mournful, b. inevitable.—The disciple must be as his master, 1 John 2:6.—Whoever will be to others not a mischief, but a blessing, must begin to know himself aright.—Unloving judgment a fruit of blindness in the judge.—Humility before God leads to love towards man.—A serviceable hand not seldom coupled with a loveless heart.—A brother’s name and a brother’s service without true brother’s love, an abomination before God.—Only the absolutely Holy One is able and entitled to judge completely.—A hypocritical judge of his brother a corrupt tree in the garden of God.—The connection between tree and fruit: 1. In the realm of nature; 2. in the realm of grace.—Christian diagnosis.—What is to be expected of men whose hearts are like thorns and brambles.—The heart a treasure-chamber for very different treasures.—A full heart and a closed mouth agree ill together.—The Christian cannot be silent concerning Jesus. Acts 4:20.—First to become, than to be, last to do.—The spiritual vintage: 1. Here on earth; 2. in the future.—A fourfold relation to the Lord; there are men who 1. Neither say Lord! Lord! nor do His will; 2. say, indeed, Lord! Lord! but without doing His will; 3. do His will, indeed, but without saying Lord! Lord! (upright but anxious souls); 4. as well do His will, as also say Lord! Lord! The last, the concurrence of deed with word, is in every respect the best.—Nominal Christianity: 1. In its guise of great promise: 2. in its wretched reality.—The different builders: 1. One plan of building, but two manner of foundations; 2. one crucial test, but two manner of results.—How the genuineness of faith is tested: 1. In the tempest of doubt; 2. in the tempest of affliction; 3. in the tempest of death.—The magnificent Plan; the swelling Flood; the deep Fall; the heavy Ruin.
STARKE:—In the choice of a leader, whether temporal or spiritual, all foresight and prudence is to be used; the danger is great, the mischief often irreparable, of hasty choice.—From the ignorance of pastors rises adulteration of the true service of God, superstitious sermons, abuses, and numerous disorders. 2 Tim. 3:13.—The least splinter can destroy the whole eye; slight seeming sins also are ruinous and damnable. Canticles 2:15; 2 Sam. 6:6, 7.—QUESNEL:—Whoever diligently proves himself, will not easily chastise others. Sir. 23:2.—True self-knowledge the beginning of our own amendment, and the way to edify our neighbor.—The wisdom from above makes humble and compassionate, but earthly wisdom presumptuous and unmerciful men.—Self-complacence corrupts all good.—OSIANDER:—He is no pious man, out of whose mouth poisonous calumnies are heard. Ps. 15:2, 3.—QUESNEL:—The fruits of a carnal or of a spiritual heart are the works of the flesh or of the Spirit. Gal. 5:16 seq.—Bibl. Wirt.:—The evil heart of man becomes then good when Christ the fruitful olive tree is, by faith, planted in the same. Acts 15:9.—He is only a mocker that calls God his Lord, yet obeys not His commandments. Malachi 1:6.—To know and do the Lord’s will, manifests a faithful servant. Luke 12:47, 48.—OSIANDER:—Believers are in all storms of temptation preserved to eternal life. Isaiah 32:2; 33:16.—Ye teachers, ye hearers, ye parents, ye children, think on a right laying of foundations in religion, that in the hour of temptation and distress ye may not find yourselves deceived.
HEUBNER:—The disposition to give a verdict against others, the fruit of a false eagerness to quiet one’s self.—The Christian must be severe against himself, mild-judging towards others.—The culture of grace first fashions a man into something noble.—The inward disposition in man, what the sap is in a tree.—What a destruction shall come upon apostate teachers!—COUARD (on Luke 6:46):—The confessing of Jesus Christ in Christendom. It comes to pass that 1. With many the confessing of Christ is wholly wanting (they deny the Lord); 2. with many this confession is the thoughtless language of custom (they are Christian in name); 3. with some only an assumed pretence of godliness (hypocrites); 4. with others a matter of the heart and expression of living faith (true Christians).—JASPIS:—Hypocrisy in religion: 1. How easily it creeps over us; 2. how quickly it grows; 3. how slowly it cures; 4. how deep it casts us down.—HOPFNER:—Four things of principal concern in Christianity: 1. Faith makes the Christian; 2. the life shows the Christian; 3. suffering proves the Christian; 4. dying crowns the Christian.—KRUMMACHER:—Who shall enter into the kingdom of heaven? (on Luke 6:46. Comp. Matt. 7:21–23.) From this saying appears the threefold necessity: 1. Of saying “Lord! Lord!” 2. of the new birth through the Holy Spirit; 3. of incorporation into the despised ecclesiola in ecclesia.—CLAUS HARMS (on the Pericope Matt. 7:15–22):—Deeper Christian truths in the text read. They respect: 1. The teachers, especially the false; 2. the conditions of our salvation, the rule and the exception; 3. the future decision, when and by whom, and according to what it is made.
“Let not him who is established and built upon the rock, imagine that he can now be no more overtaken by all manner of affliction or danger. Rather is he like a house that is situated on the shore of the sea, upon which the waves beat heavier than is known to houses inland. This house must be the target and mark of all the beating storms of the world. But because it is founded on the rock, it may indeed be shaken to the centre, and its rafters creak, yet fall shall it never, for its foundation stands fast and unmovable.” CHEMNITZ.