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Luke 6:17–19

“All the crowd sought to touch [Jesus], for power came out from him and healed them all” (v. 19).

Having described some of Jesus’ teaching on the Sabbath and our Lord’s appointment of the twelve Apostles (Luke 6:1–16), Luke pauses in the middle of chapter 6 to offer a summary of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. This summary, which is found in today’s passage, sets the stage for the second half of Luke 6, which gives more of Jesus’ teaching on a variety of different subjects.

Because of the similarities between Luke 6:20–49 and Matthew 5–7, many commentators believe that the Evangelists are offering their own summaries of the same events. Matthew’s section is often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount because Matthew 5:1 says that Jesus was teaching on a mountain, but Luke’s section is usually called the Sermon on the Plain because its setting is a “level place” (Luke 6:17). Even if these two sections summarize the same event, this is not a contradiction because there are plateaus or level plains in mountainous areas, and Jesus would have been teaching up in the mountains on a plateau. It is also possible, however, that Matthew and Luke do not describe the same event, for Jesus almost certainly repeated much of His teaching in different places and at different times. Moreover, it could be that neither Matthew nor Luke is giving a single sermon that was preached all at once, but that they have collected many different snippets of our Lord’s teaching into one unit.

In any case, Luke 6:17 says that in Galilee, Jesus went down with “them”—the twelve Apostles (Luke 6:12–16)—and stood on the level place with a group of disciples and some people from Judea and Jerusalem and Tyre and Sidon. Here we have three distinct groups of people: Jesus’ closest followers, the Apostles; a group of dedicated followers a little further removed from Him, the disciples; and a number of individuals even more distant from Jesus’ ministry, a crowd of Jews and gentiles (Tyre and Sidon were gentile areas) who had some curiosity about Jesus but were not committed to Him. Note that Jesus paid attention to all those people, healing and teaching them no matter how well He knew them or they Him (Luke 6:17–19). From the very beginning, Jesus had a mission to all peoples; His teaching was never intended for only a few.

As the church, we can learn from Jesus’ example. We must preach the gospel to all peoples. God’s message of salvation is for the world, not only one tribe or tongue (John 3:16).

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

The church is not to be insular, declaring God’s truth only to its members. Instead, our mission is universal. Corporate worship is primarily for believers, but we must remember that unbelievers might be there as well, and so it is good to give the basic gospel again and again. In fact, even believers need to hear the gospel repeatedly. Furthermore, our churches should have a vision for missions to take the gospel to people outside our congregations. Let us support that work as we are able.

for further study
  • Isaiah 11:9
  • Mark 13:10
the bible in a year
  • Deuteronomy 29–30
  • Mark 16
  • Deuteronomy 31–Joshua 2
  • Luke 1:1–56

The Twelve Apostles

Coming to the Lord’s Table

Keep Reading A Manual for Kingdom Living: The Sermon on the Mount

From the March 2023 Issue
Mar 2023 Issue