Luke 12

Luke 12

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Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees

12 In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

Have No Fear

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Acknowledge Christ Before Men

“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

The Parable of the Rich Fool

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Do Not Be Anxious

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

You Must Be Ready

“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Not Peace, but Division

“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Interpreting the Time

He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Settle with Your Accuser

“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”


Luke 12 Commentary

by Hank Workman

If you stepped back and assessed your prayers, what do you find you pray about the most?  Where is the focus of your prayers at these days?

Maybe the answer will reveal where your treasure is.

The crowd was growing.  Thousands had gathered and were ‘trampling’ on one another to get a good seat or line of site where they could hear Jesus.  Speaking to his disciples about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, he was interrupted.  A man had an issue with his inheritance and wanted Jesus to mediate with his brother who according to him, was the problem. 

There are two things to note here in the story:  first, it seems the man was so self-centered he wasn’t following Jesus as Lord but as a counselor.  Just let that thought resonate a moment.  He just wanted Jesus for His advice.  Gosh, how many times do we do this?

The second noteworthy point is as you read what Jesus said, he never answered the question solving the issue.  Rather he turned it toward in general man’s heart.

Through a parable, he spoke straight to the issue.  A man had an incredibly great year as a harvest.  There was so much he didn’t know what to do.  After thinking about it, he decided he would tear down his current barns and build newer much larger ones.  He would lay up this harvest and ones to follow, for years to come.  God spoke to the man and told him he would take his life that very night.  The man was more interested in storing things for himself rather than investing and becoming rich in the things of God.

As you read the parable in Luke 12:16-21 note something.  This man never saw beyond his own selfish interests.  In his 2 sentences alone count how many times he says I and my.  This poor guy, even though ironically he considered himself rich, was missing everything about God.  His mind drove his actions toward his own personal resources and riches.  He never saw beyond this world toward the things of eternal value.

Our life doesn’t consist of our riches but the absolute joy we can have in Jesus Christ in serving Him.  This is what Jesus is saying.  What we have now, the worries of our life will one day end, but what we did with Jesus is what truly matters.

Jesus turned the discussion toward worry and things of life taking over our thoughts.  They become all-consuming if we are not careful.  Through Jesus’ words, he confirms God takes care of us throughout all of the situations we face.  But we must trust and continue to invest in Him.
So, what was the answer to the question?  What do you find you pray about the most?  Where is the focus of your prayers at these days?  “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34) Where is your treasure?

Luke 12 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

“I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!

Luke 12:49 NASB

Jesus would send fire upon in the Earth in a few ways. First, He is the judge of all humanity. He will be there to cast final judgment upon the Earth and those who oppose him. A supporting indication that Jesus could be speaking of judgment here is because there are many examples in Scripture where fire is associated with judgment. Jesus also cast fire upon the Earth when He sent the Holy Spirit. Both of those are only small sparks at the time He speaks of them but they would soon be kindled into devouring flames. A third interpretation of kindling the fire is the backlash that would come from the Roman government even after Christ’s death.

“But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!

Luke 12:50 NASB

The baptism Jesus spoke of was His death on the cross. It’s a reminder that His death and suffering were not small doses of agony, but the complete immersion of baptism. Jesus knew that his baptism had to come before the fire would be cast upon the Earth.

“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division;

Luke 12:51 NASB

To understand the division Jesus is speaking of, we need to consider His audience. The Jews were under the impression that Jesus was coming to make all things right from a secular and spiritual perspective. Of course, we know that Jesus was coming to defeat sin, so spiritually speaking, this was true. However, it was not going to happen how they expected. From a temporal standpoint, the whirlwind was just beginning. As Jesus himself said, the fire was kindling. All we need to do to understand this verse is look at the turmoil that surrounded first century Christians as they followed after Christ.

for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three.  53  “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Luke 12:52-53 NASB

This phrase is meant in its truest form. It wasn’t that His intention was to pit family members against each other, but rather, their spirits would naturally mix together like oil and water if they were differing. A child filled with the Holy Spirit and a mother who was not would be at odds with each other in the most absolute way.

When you put all these phrases together – the kindling of fire, the baptism, the division, and the spirits at odds with one another – you see an amazing foreshadowing that Jesus gave to these people. Although they may not have understood completely then, all of these things have come true. Division will continue just like the wheat and the tares growing together until the final harvest is brought in.

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