SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The chapter begins with the disciples picking grain in the fields on a Sabbath. Working on the Sabbath was strictly forbidden by Jewish law, so this upset the Pharisees. They became more upset when Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, but Jesus reminds them that rules without compassion are hollow and that life is about doing good, not evil.
- In verse 12 we see Jesus go and pray in solitude over who his disciples should be.
- Verses 17-26 is a strong teaching of Jesus, which includes four blessings followed by four curses. Jesus makes it clear that God looks at the heart, not an external set of circumstances.
- The word "blessed" connotes the idea of being happy or an object of grace.
- The warning to the rich and satisfied refers to those whose hearts are calloused. The problem is not their wealth, but their lack of concern for the needs of others. They are so engrossed in enjoying their decadent life that they cannot be bothered to care for others. Jesus warns that they have a judgment coming for them in the end.
- Jesus' teachings are in stark contrast to what the world teaches. The world teaches revenge, but Jesus teaches us to love our enemies.
- Jesus also reminds us not to judge others, and to forgive those who hurt us. He reminds us how easy it is to see the sin in others, but fail to see the sin in our own life. God wants us to concentrate on our own sinful desires and leave judgment of others to him.
- Jesus concludes by talking about a "tree and its fruit" and the "wise and foolish builders." In each story, the point is that listening to Jesus and knowing his teachings are not enough. We must apply and actually live out what he teaches.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Being a believer is not about following rules, but about following God with all your heart.
- Even Jesus prayed when he had important decisions to make. How much more, then, should we pray?
- It is not enough to know what the Bible teaches. We must act on it.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Do you have some difficult decisions to make soon? Have you considered asking God for his advice? Take time today and pray for his wisdom. He will be sure to answer.
- Take an honest look at your life. Do you only care about your needs? Do you only care about your friends? Are you holding a grudge against someone that hurt you? Do you criticize people for the decisions they make, without considering your own flaws? God says all of these attitudes are wrong. What will you do about it? What are some changes you need to make? Start today.