This section marks Jesus’ first extended teaching, also known as the Sermon on the Plain (see 6:17). This may be the same as the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, except that Matthew and Luke selected and presented different parts of the sermon. As a prelude to the sermon, Luke sets the stage with the account of choosing the Twelve and healing the great multitude. Typical of Luke’s emphasis on prayer, he did not fail to first note that Jesus continued all night in prayer to God before all these events.
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Although the passage does not state the purpose of Jesus’ prayer, looking at the whole context, what are some possible reasons that He “went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God”?Hide Answer
The recording of Jesus’s night-long prayer probably indicates that this prayer was due to the pressing need that arose from the circumstances. These are possible reasons for this special prayer: 1. To renew His strength for further ministry in the midst of rising opposition (cf. 6:11). 2. To ask for guidance in selecting the apostles. 3. To be empowered (cf. 6:19).
Go through the names of the apostles and see how much you know about each of them.
Why is it remarkable that Matthew and Simon the Zealot became members of this select group?Hide Answer
While Matthew had been a tax collector for the Roman government, Simon the Zealot belonged to a group that was vehemently opposed to Rome. Despite their former differences, their new identity as disciples of the Lord now enabled them to become brethren and fellow workers in God’s kingdom.
Why do you think Jesus chose a group of apostles out of all his disciples?Hide Answer
The word “apostle” (one who is sent to carry out a mission with the authority of the one who sent him) indicates the purpose of choosing the Twelve. The Lord chose them and gave them authority (9:1-2) so that they may continue the ministry after His ascension (cf. Acts 6:1-4), form the core of Jesus’ witnesses (cf. Acts 1:21-22), and take the leading role in the church (cf. Acts 15:1-2).
Why did the great multitude come to Jesus?Hide Answer
See verse 17.
What is emphasized here about Jesus’ healing?Hide Answer
The power that went out of Him (19). Also notice how the multitude was drawn to Jesus, the source of power and healing.
Who were the primary audience of Jesus’ sermon? Who were the larger audience?Hide Answer
The primary audience were the disciples (20). The multitude comprised the larger audience (17).
How does Jesus’ message on blessings and woes compare with popular values?
Who are the poor, the hungry, and those who weep?Hide Answer
These are those who suffer in this world for Christ’s sake. They may also be those who acknowledge their need for God with a broken and contrite spirit.
Explain how such people are blessed (Take note of the varying tenses in 20 and 21).Hide Answer
They may receive spiritual fulfillment and joy in the kingdom of God. Anyone who comes to Christ now with humility and forsake all to follow Him are given citizenship of heaven, and even now they may begin to enjoy the spiritual blessings in God’s kingdom (“For yours is the kingdom of heaven”). The beatitude also reminds us to deny ourselves now to receive God’s everlasting blessings rather than reject Him now and suffer a wretched end in the future (“who hunger now”; “who weep now”).
Who are the rich and those who are full?Hide Answer
Those who are complacent because of their material comfort and pleasure.
According to 22-23 and 26, what is the difference between a true believer and a false believer?Hide Answer
A true believer suffers hatred, exclusion, insult, and defamation for upholding the name and teachings of Christ. On the contrary, false believers enjoy popularity and commendation from the ungodly because in their message and lifestyle they have compromised with secular values.
How do the teachings in this paragraph relate to the previous paragraph?Hide Answer
In the beatitudes, the Lord promises reward to those who suffer persecution. Here, He teaches us to not only endure such sufferings but take an active step to love our enemies.
According to these teachings, how does Christian love transcend the love in this world?
Do you find it difficult to love your enemy? What principle has the Lord offered here that can help you overcome this difficulty?Hide Answer
When we remember how our Heavenly Father is merciful and “kind to the unthankful and evil,” as His children, we ought to imitate His unconditional love. Not only so, He is merciful towards us even though we are often ungrateful and sin against Him. Such unconditional love should motivate us to love others in the same way.
How does the command to give (38) relate to verse 37 and the previous paragraph?Hide Answer
The giving here may refer to being generous with our love (27-36) as well as in our measurement of others (37; i.e. “judge not” and “condemn not”).
On what governing principle are the commands in 37 and 38 based?Hide Answer
God would surely deal with us according to how we deal with others.
What is the point of the parable in 39-40?Hide Answer
In Matthew, the two parts of this parable are used on two separate occasions, and they carry different meanings (Mt 10:24, 15:14). However, in the context of this passage, the parable is more likely illustrating a point about judging others. If this view is correct, then the parable is saying that the person who judges (the blind guide and the teacher) cannot possibly help the person whom he is judging (the disciple) because of his own severe limitations.
What makes a person judgmental?
Have you been critical of someone lately? Based on what you have learned in this paragraph, state in your own words why you should no longer pass judgment on this person.
Think of ways that can help us see the plank in our own eyes.
What do the fruit and the tree refer to?Hide Answer
Our heart and our words (45).
How does the parable of the tree and its fruit relate to the teachings in 37-42?Hide Answer
Just as the fruit reveals the type of tree it is in, our judgmental words reveal our wicked intent, such as jealousy, hatred, hypocrisy, and pride.
What kind of fruit are you bearing?
When you call Jesus “Lord,” what does it mean to you?
Based on your own experience, how is putting the Lord’s words into practice like laying a solid foundation?Hide Answer
Constant use of God’s word can give us spiritual discernment (Heb 5:14). Only when we carry out God’s word will we realize our shortcomings and seek to improve with God’s help. Furthermore, practicing God’s word often involves hardship, which helps us develop perseverance and spiritual character (cf. Rom 5:3-4). Most importantly, doing God’s will allows us to experience God and establish a closer relationship with Him. When trials come, we would be able to endure and stand.
On the contrary, why would a person fall under trials if he does not put Christ’s words into practice?Hide Answer
If we only agree with God’s word conceptually but lack any discipline or experience with God, we would not have the conviction or the endurance to remain faithful to Christ when trials come.
The house without a foundation may look identical to the house on the rock, and it takes much less effort to build. What lesson can you learn from this analogy?Hide Answer
It takes much less effort to appear to be a Christian than to be a true Christian. We should not deceive ourselves by serving Christ only superficially (e.g. merely calling ourselves Christians or going through the routine of attending church regularly). We must carry out God’s word in our daily lives so we may build a strong foundation for our faith.
Where are you building your house today?