In these verses, we have our Lord Jesus in secret, in his family, and in public; and in all three acting like himself.
I. In secret we have him praying to God, Luke 6:12. This evangelist takes frequent notice of Christ’s retirements, to give us an example of secret prayer, by which we must keep up our communion with God daily, and without which it is impossible that the soul should prosper. In those days, when his enemies were filled with madness against him, and were contriving what to do to him, he went out to pray; that he might answer the type of David (Ps. 109:4), For my love, they are my adversaries; but I give myself unto prayer. Observe, 1. He was alone with God; he went out into a mountain, to pray, where he might have no disturbance or interruption given him; we are never less alone than when we are thus alone. Whether there was any convenient place built upon this mountain, for devout people to retire to for their private devotions, as some think, and that that oratory, or place of prayer, is meant here by he proseuche tou theou, to me seems very uncertain. He went into a mountain for privacy, and therefore, probably, would not go to a place frequented by others. 2. He was long alone with God: He continued all night in prayer. We think one half hour a great deal to spend in the duties of the closet; but Christ continued a whole night in meditation and secret prayer. We have a great deal of business at the throne of grace, and we should take a great delight in communion with God, and by both these we may be kept sometimes long at prayer.
II. In his family we have him nominating his immediate attendants, that should be the constant auditors of his doctrine and eye-witnesses of his miracles, that hereafter they might be sent forth as apostles, his messengers to the world, to preach his gospel to it, and plant his church in it, Luke 6:13. After he had continued all night in prayer, one would have thought that, when it was day, he should have reposed himself, and got some sleep. No, as soon as any body was stirring, he called unto him his disciples. In serving God, our great care should be, not to lose time, but to make the end of one good duty the beginning of another. Ministers are to be ordained with prayer more than ordinarily solemn. The number of the apostles was twelve. Their names are here recorded; it is the third time that we have met with them, and in each of the three places the order of them differs, to teach both ministers and Christians not to be nice in precedency, not in giving it, much less in taking it, but to look upon it as a thing not worth taking notice of; let it be as it lights. He that in Mark was called Thaddeus, in Matthew Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus, is here called Judas the brother of James, the same that wrote the epistle of Jude. Simon, who in Matthew and Mark was called the Canaanite, is here called Simon Zelotes, perhaps for his great zeal in religion. Concerning these twelve here named we have reason to say, as the queen of Sheba did of Solomon’s servants, Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, that stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom; never were men so privileged, and yet one of them had a devil, and proved a traitor (Luke 6:16); yet Christ, when he chose him, was not deceived in him.
III. In public we have him preaching and healing, the two great works between which he divided his time, Luke 6:17. He came down with the twelve from the mountain, and stood in the plain, ready to receive those that resorted to him; and there were presently gathered about him, not only the company of his disciples, who used to attend him, but also a great multitude of people, a mixed multitude out of all Judea and Jerusalem. Though it was some scores of miles from Jerusalem to that part of Galilee where Christ now was,—though at Jerusalem they had abundance of famous rabbin, that had great names, and bore a mighty sway,—yet they came to hear Christ. They came also from the sea-coast of Tyre and Sidon. Though they who lived there were generally men of business, and though they bordered upon Canaanites, yet there were some well affected to Christ; such there were dispersed in all parts, here and there one. 1. They came to hear him and he preached to them. Those that have not good preaching near them had better travel far for it than be without it. It is worth while to go a great way to hear the word of Christ, and to go out of the way of other business for it. 2. They came to be cured by him, and he healed them. Some were troubled in body, and some in mind; some had diseases, some had devils; but both the one and the other, upon their application to Christ, were healed, for he has power over diseases and devils (Luke 6:17, 18), over the effects and over the causes. Nay, it should seem, those who had no particular diseases to complain of yet found it a great confirmation and renovation to their bodily health and vigour to partake of the virtue that went out of him; for (Luke 6:19) the whole multitude sought to touch him, those that were in health as well as those that were sick, and they were all, one way or other, the better for him: he healed them all; and who is there that doth not need, upon some account or other, to be healed? There is a fulness of grace in Christ, and healing virtue in him, and ready to go out from him, that is enough for all, enough for each.