1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Luke, The Choosing of the Apostles – Lesson 71


Luke 6:13-16,  And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;14Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.


After a night spent on the mountain in prayer Jesus came unto his company of disciples and chose from this company  twelve Apostles who would accompany him throughout the remainder of his ministry. 


These Apostles, commissioned ones were now appointed to a position which would lead to leadership. 


Jesus knew that these men, with the exception of Judas, would become men of faith, would become spiritual leaders, but this was not so at this point in time.


Christ told them to follow him and he would make them fishers of men. 


Note that Jesus Christ was to do the making and not they themselves.


They, from the many other disciples were now separated unto this purpose as Apostles. 


So this is a beginning for the twelve where they will receive from the Lord Jesus Christ personal instruction and training.


We know from the Gospels that these twelve at this time did not fully understand the fact that Jesus was the Messiah.


It is not until chapter 9 in Luke’s gospel that Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ.


We could not call them believers at this appointment but Jesus, because he is God, knew what they would become.


In the case of Judas there is no indication that he purposely infiltrated the group in order to betray Jesus Christ. 


In our King James Version verse 16 says that Judas was the traitor while in the New American Standard version of the Bible verse 16 reads that Judas became a traitor. 


This is also stated that way in the New King James version.


But as time went on Judas made choices in line with a willing heart that the devil could use to bring about his betrayal of the Lord Jesus.


So at this time of appointment we do not see a great difference between Peter and Judas. 


They both had rare and extraordinary opportunities to learn from God himself as they sat at Jesus feet. 


And Peter, always the first listed in the roster of disciples, gained from these opportunities and ultimately became a rock.


But Judas, always the last listed in the roster of disciples, forsook these opportunities and  became a traitor.


But they were both designated as Apostles by the Lord Jesus Christ at the time of the Sermon on the Mount.


Both were chosen within the will of God for a particular purpose, for God intended that Jesus’ purpose of redemption be fulfilled.


The Apostles had a purpose and even the hatred of the Pharisees and scribes toward Jesus was used by God to fulfill his purpose of redemption.


God laughs at any attempt to thwart his purposes and as Psalm 76:10 says: 


Psalm 76:10, Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.


Man could not have shown his wrath in any greater degree than he showed it at Calvary but God took that wrath and turned it into redemption for you and me.


We have seen in previous passages how that wrath against Jesus Christ by the religious leaders was building. 


But as hatred was building his popularity was also building among the people and that is displayed here in this passage as the multitudes gathered in the plain to hear and to be healed. 


Luke 6:17, And he came down with them, (the company of disciples) 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; 18And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. 19And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.


Popularity can be measured by the distance people travel to hear a preacher. 


The measure of Jesus popularity is given to us by Luke when he tells us that the people came out of all parts of Israel including Tyre and Sidon.


It is easy to see the great courage of the Lord Jesus Christ in delivering this Sermon on the Mount for it tells us what moved Jesus Christ was not the pursuit of popularity.


For this sermon does not support the desire of the people for physical deliverance of Israel from Rome but instead preaches to the spiritual needs of the people of Israel. 


As with any leader popularity is fragile and can be fleeting. 


A leader who cares for popularity will cater to the people and the needs that they express and will avoid controversial messages that divide. 


As we so often see, in order to keep their office, our political leaders give the people what they want to hear, not what they need to hear!


But Jesus never avoided controversial matters just to keep the favor of the multitudes.  


This sermon was not designed to keep the favor of the crowds for Jesus spoke of poverty, hunger, and persecution as blessed, and of wealth, being well-fed and favor as bringing a curse.


He taught people to love their enemies, and not to retaliate.


He taught that one should give to those in need, knowing that they would never be repaid in this life.


These were not popular teachings in that day nor are they now, as evidenced by the health and wealth preachers that are so popular today.


The “health and wealth” “healing and financial well being” teachers so prominent today know this and that is why they preach this way.   


It guarantees their popularity and fills their bank accounts.


The health and wealth that they preach about is their health and wealth, not the people they preach to.


But Jesus Christ was always true to the father.


Jesus Christ is Truth and he always spoke the truth, and taught what people needed to hear, not just what they wanted to hear.


In this sermon we are given the true value of things. 


Men and women must make a decision as to their values and their priorities.


Are they after God or are they after mammon?


Whenever a man makes a choice for something he also makes a choice against something. 


That old saying applies:  You get what you want but you lose what you had. 


Men must all choose to forsake some things in the pursuit of others and in so doing many forsake God as they pursue wealth or power or popularity.


Not all men must forsake wealth to follow Christ, although all must forsake the love of money for the love of money is the root, or beginning of all evil.


Every choice has both benefits (blessings) and a price to pay.


The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of a gift, the gift of eternal life, which is of infinite value and to have it is worth the loss of anything else.


The price is that we must acknowledge our sins by repentance and trust only in Christ for he is the only Savior given of God to man.


We must forsake all other gods and follow Christ alone.


The message of the Sermon on the Mount is that if that forsaking also brings poverty, hunger, sadness and rejection, it is not only well worth it, but it is blessed.


The message in the Sermon on the Mount is that being rightly related to God and doing his will is the greatest of all blessings and all other blessings are but dung in comparison.


This message is central to the kingdom of Jesus Christ and this Sermon on the Mount speaks to the character of his Kingdom.


Jesus Christ has said in his preaching that the Kingdom of God is at hand and now he will tell the disciples and the multitudes what kind of man or woman will occupy the kingdom. 


Luke 6:20-23, And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. 21Blessed 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.


In this passage the “ye” that are spoken to are his disciples for he lifted up his eyes on his disciples. 


This is not addressed to the multitudes but it is mostly addressed to the 12 Apostles who had forsaken all others and now fit into the groups that Jesus included in this passage. 


They were now or would be of the poor, they were now or would be of the hungry, they were now or would be of the weeping and they would be of the hated and stand with those of lost reputation.


There are four “blesseds” in this section.


Blessed be ye poor. 


This word “poor” in the original language means more than being without money or property. 


But the sense of this word means to be frightened, to be cowed and in a broader sense to be destitute of influence, position, or honors.


The picture that the Lord gives is of a man, who in the estimation of the world is nothing. 


Paul, the Apostle not of the original twelve, but an Apostle, captured this when he wrote to the Corinthians:


I Cor. 4:7-13,   For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? 8Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. 9For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. 10We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. 11Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; 12And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: 13Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.


So this man who is poor has forsaken all to follow Christ; and is now despised by his former friends.


The very command to follow Jesus Christ includes within it the very real possibility of being poor, of being frightened, cowed, and destitute of influence, position or honor.


These 12 had accepted this position of Apostle and now Jesus Christ means to compensate them for their worldly loss by saying that they are blessed because theirs is the Kingdom of God and their reward is great in heaven. 


Poverty alone does not bring the Kingdom of God to them.


It is because of their allegiance to Christ that gives them the Kingdom.