Luke 6:2 Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?
"When on his flight from Saul, David had, 'when an hungered,' eaten of the shewbread and given it to his followers, although, by the letter of the Levitical law, it was only to be eaten by the priests, Jewish tradition vindicated his conduct on the plea that 'danger to life superseded the Sabbath law,' and hence, all laws connected with it. . . . In truth, the reason why David was blameless in eating the shewbread was the same as that which made the Sabbath labor of the priests lawful. The Sabbath law was not one merely of rest, but of rest for worship. The service of the Lord was the object in view. The priests worked on the Sabbath, because this service was the object of the Sabbath; and David was allowed to eat of the shewbread, not [solely] because there was danger to life from starvation, but because he pleaded that he was on the service of the Lord, and needed this provision. The disciples, when following the Lord, were similarly on the service of the Lord; ministering to Him was more than ministering in the temple, for He was greater than the temple. If the Pharisees had believed this, they would not have questioned their conduct, nor in so doing have themselves infringed that higher law which enjoined mercy, not sacrifice." (Edersheim as quoted in Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage, p. 202)
Luke 6:11 they were filled with madness
Imagine for one moment that you are sitting in a congregation and the speaker takes a man with a distorted, withered hand and heals it before your eyes. You actually witness the transformation from twisted knuckles, atrophied muscles, and distorted sinews to a hand of perfect form and function. This is no phony healing ruse. This is not some pre-planned fanatic dancing about declaring he has been healed of some invisible affliction. The hand changes shape before your very eyes. What is your response to witnessing such a miracle? Can you discount the power of the miracle worker? Can you be angry that this afflicted man has been shown such great power and compassion? Are you offended because another has been made whole?
Yet the Pharisees had already made up their mind about Jesus. He threatened their superiority and their traditions. The fact that he demonstrated the power of God only enraged them. They had come on a mission to discredit him only to be discredited themselves. They came as protectors of the Sabbath day only to be outdone by the Lord of the Sabbath. If they had the power, they would have turned that perfect hand back into its twisted and deformed shape.
Neal A. Maxwell
"Jesus' indignation was over 'the hardness of their hearts,' over their inability to see how appropriate a healing on the Sabbath day was, especially for a man who had endured a withered hand for so many Sabbaths before
"How contorted and distorted the thinking was of those who were critical of Jesus for violating the Sabbath day! After all, He was Lord of the Sabbath, and they clearly misunderstood the purpose of the Sabbath. Jesus' critics were, in effect, denying the value of a miracle just performed. However, should not man be entitled to do 'good' on the Sabbath as well as on any other day?" (Sermons Not Spoken [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985], 87.)
Luke 6:12 he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God
"We might ask why it took so much time for the Savior to pray. Why would he 'continue all night in prayer' or rise 'up a great while before day' in order to pray? Having the fulness of the Spirit (and 'not by measure'), it would seem that the questions and answers would have been immediate.
"Living in mortality, however, he was apparently required to study out problems in his mind-much as we are. He must have had to explore alternatives, present questions, and express feelings, prior to receiving answers. Evidently he was not exempt from the work and effort involved in the process of prayer." (Errol R. Fish, Promptings of the Spirit [Mesa, Ariz.: Cogent Publishing, 1990], 147.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"It is significant to me that the Lord chose those who should walk next to him only after he had prayed all night concerning the matter." ("Special Witnesses for Christ," Ensign, May 1984, 50)
Luke 6:13 he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles
David O. McKay
"Some of the leaders of the Jews thought that [the apostles] were 'unlearned and ignorant men.' 'Unlearned they were; but not ignorant; for by their wisdom and preaching, they overthrew the whole edifice of human wisdom, and led the world to the light of truth.'" (Ancient Apostles [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 29.)
Harold B. Lee
"May I impose to bear my own testimony. I was visiting with one of the missionaries some years ago when two missionaries came to me with what seemed to be a very difficult question, to them. A young Methodist minister had laughed at them when they had said that apostles were necessary today in order for the true church to be upon the earth. And they said the minister said: 'Do you realize that when they met to choose one to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judas, that they said it had to be one who companied with them and had been a witness of all things pertaining to the mission and resurrection of the Lord? How can you say you have apostles, if that be the measure of an apostle?' And so these young men said, 'What shall we answer?' I said to them: 'Go back and ask your minister friend two questions. First, how did the Apostle Paul gain what was necessary to be called an apostle? He didn't know the Lord; had no personal acquaintance. He hadn't been a witness of the ministry, nor the resurrection of the Lord. How did he gain his testimony sufficient to be an apostle? Now the second question you ask him: How does he know that all who are today apostles have not likewise received that witness?' I bear witness to you that those who hold the apostolic calling may, and do know of the reality of the mission of the Lord." (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 53)
Luke 6:17-49 The Sermon on the Plain
"Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain
"In his sixth chapter Luke records an event similar to the 'Sermon on the Mount' but places it on the plain after Jesus had come down from the mountain, having just ordained the Twelve (Luke 6:10-17). There is a question whether these are two different sermons or two accounts of one sermon. It has been noted that Matthew's account is to disciples only, whereas Luke's account seems to include a multitude as well as the disciples (see Luke 6:17-20). It is possible that Jesus gave instructions on the mount to the Twelve and then came down with the Twelve and delivered portions to the multitude on the plain. The specific instruction that was given only to the disciples about not having a preoccupation with food and clothing (as in Matt. 6:25, 34, noted earlier), and the references to the 'salt of the earth' and the 'light of the world' are not found in Luke's account, which would be proper if the Sermon on the Plain was directed to the multitude generally and not to the Twelve specifically. Although the Twelve were present, there would be no need to repeat that which he had spoken specifically to them on the mount a few hours before." (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 122.)
Luke 6:24-23 woe unto you that are rich! ...Woe unto you that are full!
Absent from the Matthew account of the beatitudes, is this short list of "woes for the wicked." They contain the universal truth that those who have been blessed temporally while ignoring the things of the spirit will suffer the inevitable consequences. Hence, "there is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all cursings are predicated-And when we obtain any cursing from God, it is by disobedience to that law upon which it is predicated" (see DC 130:20-21). Thus, the man who was rich as to temporal things will find himself the poorest of all on judgment day. Those whose stomachs were always full will finally feel hunger-only to realize that spiritual hunger pangs are even more acute than physical ones. Those whose mortal lives were filled with fun and laughter will mourn and weep when they realize they have wasted away 'the days of [their] probation' (2 Ne. 9:27).
Bruce R. McConkie
"If there is a blessing, there must needs be a cursing. There can be no light without darkness, no good without evil, no blessed heights of glory and honor unless there are also cursed depths of despair and damnation.
"If the pure in heart shall see God, those whose hearts are impure shall be shut out of his presence. If the peacemakers shall be called the children of God, those who foment war shall be the children of Lucifer their father. If those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, those whose appetites are fed on carnal and evil food shall be filled with a worldly spirit that breeds evil deeds. And so on with reference to all of the Beatitudes. All things have their opposites, and there must needs be an opposition in all things." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 2: 126.)
Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!
Harold B. Lee
"President Joseph F. Smith, speaking of this same subject, said, 'There are at least three dangers that threaten the Church within, and the authorities need to awaken to the fact that the people should be warned unceasingly against them. As I see these, they are the flattery of the prominent men in the world, false educational ideas, and sexual impurities.'
"I heard President Heber J. Grant say many times, 'When certain men start to praise me or applaud me or speak well of me, I say to myself: Heber Grant, you must not be doing your duty or such men would not praise you.'
"Sometimes it is the mark of distinction to have men of ill repute not say good things about you.
"What the Lord meant when He counseled His disciples to 'beware' when all men shall speak well of them is suggested by another statement: 'Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues.' (Matt. 10:16-17.)
"Truly our worst enemies are they of our own household. When flatterers meet, someone said, 'the devil goes to dinner.' Cooper said it this way: 'The lie that flatters, I abhor the most.' Someone else stated: 'The only benefit of flatterers is that by hearing what we are not, we may be instructed in what we ought to be.'
"One of our brethren told me of an incident that occurred once when he and his family were eating in a restaurant. A family in a stake where he had been the visiting authority came over to shake hands with him, and they used superlatives to say that he was the most wonderful, the greatest, the most powerful, and so on. After they had left, he made some comment about these statements, and his sweet daughter said, 'That's all right, Daddy, if you don't begin to believe it yourself.' Beware when men shall speak well of you." (Ye Are the Light of the World: Selected Sermons and Writings of Harold B. Lee [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974], chap. 2)
Ezra Taft Benson
"The Master warned, 'Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.' (Luke 6:26.)
"As Latter-day Saints we have been driven, mobbed, misunderstood, and maligned. We have been a peculiar people. Now we are faced with world applause. It has been a welcome change but can we stand acceptance? Can we meet the danger of applause? In the hour of a man's success, applause can be his greatest danger.
"There is, of course, nothing wrong with being honored by men if one is being honored for a good thing, if one comes to these honors through righteous living, and if, while holding these honors, one lives honorably. One should strive to have wide influence for good.
"However, virtue is not the only basis for being singled out and promoted. As the world gets more wicked, a possible way to attain worldly success may be to join the wicked. The time is fast approaching when it will require great courage for Latter-day Saints to stand up for their peculiar standards and doctrine-all of their doctrine, including the more weighty principles such as the principle of freedom." (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 234.)
Harold B. Lee
"While it becomes us to seek the good will of righteous men and women everywhere, it is well for us to remember that when the lewd, the immoral, and the corrupt begin to compliment us and to curry favor with us, that we had better begin to examine ourselves to see if we are doing our full duty. The Apostle Peter said to the Saints in his day: 'But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.' (1 Peter 2:9.)
"Our failure to be a 'peculiar' people in maintaining our standards, despite the jeers and the criticisms of the crowd, will be our failure to be chosen for that calling to which we are called.
"The Lord has told us, 'Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen.' (D. & C. 121:34.)
"And then in the same revelation points out two reasons why men fail of their blessings. The first reason he gives is that their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and the second is that they aspire so much to the honors of men. So then as Church members let us beware lest we set our hearts upon the things of this world and lest we aspire so much to the honors of men that we compromise our standards. If we do so, we will be cut off in the day of judgment and will lose our blessings. Our reward for daring to live the gospel despite the oppositions from the outside world will be to have blessings added upon our heads forever and forever." (Conference Report, October 1945, Afternoon Meeting 48.)
Luke 6:32 if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye?
Harman Rector, Jr.
"I don't know why God loves us, but I believe the scriptures give us a clue. God doesn't love us because we are good. God loves us because he is good. God is good and so he loves us, and those who are the best love the best. It appears that only if you are good do you receive a reward for loving. The Lord requires us to love those who don't deserve it.
"'For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye?' saith the Master. 'for sinners also love those that love them.' (Luke 6:32.)
"It is easy to love people who love us. It is much more difficult to love people who not only don't love us, but don't even like us. But if we are to be like our Father in heaven who 'maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust' (Matt. 5:45), then we must love these people who don't like us, and we'll have to be good to do that.
"I have seen this godlike quality of unselfish love in all the best men I have known or read about. Jesus wept over those who rejected him and prayed for those who crucified him.
"Joseph Smith's heart was filled with love and compassion for all men, even for his persecutors. All the prophets have had this great quality. I never had the privilege of knowing President George Albert Smith, but from the testimony of those who knew him, love radiated from his countenance for all men. I know this to be a quality of President David O. McKay. I have seen and personally experienced the all-encompassing love of our present, beloved prophet. Those who are the best love the best." (Conference Report, October 1969, Afternoon Meeting 76.)
Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful
Jeffrey R. Holland
"To those who may feel they have somehow forfeited their place at the table of the Lord, we say again with the Prophet Joseph Smith that God has 'a forgiving disposition,' that Christ is 'merciful and gracious, slow to anger, [is] long-suffering and full of goodness.' I have always loved that when Matthew records Jesus' great injunction, 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,' Luke adds the Savior's additional commentary: 'Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful'-as if to suggest that mercy is at least a beginning synonym for the perfection God has and for which all of us must strive. Mercy, with its sister virtue forgiveness, is at the very heart of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the eternal plan of salvation. Everything in the gospel teaches us that we can change if we need to, that we can be helped if we truly want it, that we can be made whole, whatever the problems of the past." ("He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things," Ensign, Nov. 1997, 65-66)
Luke 6:37 condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven
"I have been guilty of judging-of trying to set right some wrong against me or others, as I perceived it. I then learned how much easier and more fulfilling life is when you let God do the judging. The Lord told us, 'Ye ought to say in your hearts-let God judge between me and thee.' (D&C 64:11.) I learned that a big load is removed from my shoulders when I don't make it my responsibility to be judgmental. So much time and energy is wasted that could be spent on developing tolerance and love for others.
"It is so dangerous to judge and criticize another. We never have all the facts about any situation that would allow us to judge another person righteously for any act or words. We don't have the right to draw our own conclusions based on our limited knowledge, because we really don't understand everything that has gone on to motivate that person's behavior. When we judge, we are looking for the mote in the eye of another, when the beam in our own eye distorts our view. And when we don't forgive, or think we cannot, we destroy that bridge over which we must cross to receive forgiveness.
"Let us have as a daily guide to our conduct the words of Christ when he said: 'Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.' (Luke 6:37.)" (Helen Wells as quoted in The Mount and the Master, by Robert E. Wells, p. 167)
Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over
"One of my favorite scriptures is in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus tells his disciples, 'Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over' (Luke 6:38). It's a wonderful thing to know that this is how the Savior longs to give us his peace and mercy and love: not a skimpy and hastily filled measure but a container that is overflowing-one that has been pressed down, shaken down, with more and more poured in until it overflows.
"I have a visual aid that I love to use when I'm talking about this concept. You'll just have to imagine it here as I describe it. Picture a quart canning jar. Let's say that I'm filling it with walnuts. I pour in as many as I can, and it's as full of walnuts as it can get, but there are still spaces around the nuts.
"So next I pour in some popcorn kernels. The amazing thing is that I can actually get a full cup of popcorn into a jar that's already 'full.' I can press in as many kernels as I can by hand, but what does Jesus say? He says, 'pressed down and shaken together.' So when I shake the jar, I can make room for even more popcorn!
"Well, you might think that the jar is completely full now, but it's not so. I can pour sugar into the jar-and almost two cups will fit around the walnuts and the popcorn!
"You know, Jesus says that he doesn't stop there. He runs the measure over...Jesus doesn't stop when it's full. He presses. He shakes down. And then he overflows.
"Let's back up and look at the context in which Jesus explains this principle to his disciples. He says:
"In other words, if we measure out our love to others in teaspoons, God will use teaspoons to measure love to us. If we use a bushel basket to give mercy to others, God will be merciful to us in the same measure. But if we judge and condemn others by the bucketful, so will God judge us. There's no question in my mind which measure I want God to use with me, so I think I need to find ways to increase the measure of my love and mercy and generosity to others." (Disciples [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 117-118.)
Hartman Rector, Jr.
"When the Master said, 'Give, and it shall be given unto you,' this means if you want to receive, you must first give. That's different from paying tithing where you receive and then give back ten percent. Here, the Master tells us to give first; then we shall receive. 'Well, how much am I going to get?' (That's always the question, isn't it?) The Lord tells us how much. His words: 'good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. ...' Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? He continues, '... shall men give into your bosom.' Men? I thought you said it was the Lord. Yes, it is the Lord, but he always uses men. If you pray for a revelation from the Lord, he will probably send you your bishop with the answer. You really don't need a visit from an angel so long as you have a bishop. The Lord continues, 'For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.'
"If you would have a blessing from the Lord, put something upon the altar. Make the sacrifice." ("Following Christ to Victory," Ensign, May 1979, 30)
Carlos E. Asay
"Many years ago, I delayed my formal education, gave up a promising sports career, and interrupted my marriage to serve a full-time mission for the Church. At the time I felt that I was placing my all upon the altar of God, making a significant personal sacrifice. Some well-meaning people added to my feelings of self-pity by saying I was giving away my future; others said I was forfeiting the best years of my life. Yes, I was led to presume that by serving the mission, I would place the Lord deeply in my debt.
"How very wrong I was! Even before my mission ended, the blessings came flowing upon me. And, that stream of goodness from heaven has continued over the years and seems to be never ending. What little I gave to the Lord has been returned to me in 'good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over' (Luke 6:38). No, the mission was not a sacrifice; it was a simple test of my faith and a time for God to verify his promise, which is, 'Seek not the things of this world, but seek ye first to build up the Kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness; . . . and all these things shall be added unto you' (JST Matthew 6:38)." (In the Lord's Service: A Guide to Spiritual Development [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 162.)
Luke 6:40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master
Neal A. Maxwell
"To strive to be like Him means that we must be genuinely serious about developing these same specific qualities in our own lives: 'The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.'
"Joseph Smith noted how long the journey will be-even for those who in this life earnestly, seriously, and constantly seek to be like Jesus: 'When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel-you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.'" (Even As I Am [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 14.)
Luke 6:45 for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh
"The aphorism, 'As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,' (see Prov. 23:7) not only embraces the whole of a man's being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts...A noble and Godlike character is not a thing of favour or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with Godlike thoughts. An ignoble and bestial character, by the same process, is the result of the continued harbouring of groveling thoughts.
"Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury of thought he forge the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought man ascends to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master." (James Allen, As a Man Thinketh, 11-13)
"It is what we are-including the attitudes and emotions which attend our actions-that our children see. Our behavior is either an expression of our moral commitments, or of our hypocrisy-behaving 'properly' while withholding our hearts. If we are to be true examples of the moral principles we want our children to learn, we must do more than just behave properly. Our behavior must be supported with the heart, might, mind, and strength of moral commitment, for as we think in our hearts, so are we. (See Prov. 23:7.)" (Terry Olson, "Helping Children Build a Moral Framework for Life," Ensign, Aug. 1986, 30)
Luke 6:46 why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
David O. McKay
"The discrepancy between the lofty teachings of Jesus Christ and the actions, business dealings, and social life of His professed followers is doing more today to discredit Christianity than any other one thing in the world. It is the discrepancy between pretentions and actions-the discrepancy that Christ condemned when He said: 'Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?'
"All this but emphasizes the responsibility to right living that everyone assumes when he takes upon himself the name of Christian." (Pathways to Happiness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1957], 234.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"It is true that a country cannot get ahead of its religion. The higher our ideals, the nearer we observe divine law and the stronger are our spiritual forces. No Christian can forsake the divinity of Jesus Christ and not suffer. In those lands in Europe where paganism has superseded the Christian ideals, there is bound to come decay and eventually, if there is no repentance, their former greatness will be forgotten. Jesus said, 'And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?'" (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 279.)
Russell M. Nelson
"This was the plea of the Savior, who reported, 'Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.' (Matthew 7:21.) Another writer so recorded this inquiry: 'Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?' (Luke 6:46.) James admonished: 'Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only.' (James 1:22.) King Benjamin also confirmed this concept. He said, 'If you believe all these things see that ye do them.' (Mosiah 4:10.)
"If the most important things in life are to know God and to keep his commandments, then heeding his prophets and abiding their teachings should be among our most important objectives. In a way, the very repetition of the teachings of prophets may have sounded monotonous throughout the years. The pleadings of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Abinadi have not differed significantly from those of President Harold B. Lee, President Spencer W. Kimball, or President Ezra Taft Benson." (The Power within Us [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988], 20.)
Joseph B. Wirthlin
"The prophets and other Church leaders have never misled the Latter-day Saints on a principle of righteousness. Every principle is for our benefit. However, if we choose to ignore the prophets, we choose the consequences that follow. We have the God-given agency to either follow the prophets or not, but we cannot choose the consequences of exercising that agency. They will follow with absolute certainty. If we ignore the prophets, we become like the people the Savior chastised when he said, 'Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?' (Luke 6:46.)" (Finding Peace in Our Lives [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 15.)