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Luke Twelve

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Luke 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Luke 12:2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

Luke 12:3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

Luke 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Luke 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

two farthings. See note on Matthew 10:29. Today the value of “two farthings” would be perhaps fifty cents. Also see note on Matthew 5:26.

Luke 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

more value. The lesson of Job 38-39 is relevant. These chapters describe in detail the providential care of God for His animal creation. Job was concerned that God had forgotten him, but God had reasons for permitting Job's sufferings of which Job was unaware. No matter what problems may come, we may be confident that God cares and is in control (Romans 8:28).

Luke 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:

Luke 12:9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

Luke 12:10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

shall not be forgiven. On the unforgivable sin, see note on Matthew 12:32.

Luke 12:11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

Luke 12:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

shall teach you. This promise applied specifically to the witnessing of the disciples in the period before the New Testament was written. It does not excuse negligence in preparation through study and prayer before such encounters today, but the principle still applies. The indwelling, guiding, energizing Holy Spirit is always there, assuming we have done our part, to speak through us as needed.

Luke 12:13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

Luke 12:14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

beware of covetousness. Apparently this is a very hard lesson for Christians to learn, especially in lands and times of affluence. The frequency of Biblical warnings about this sin may indicate its seriousness. Note, for example, such Scriptures as Exodus 20:17; Matthew 6:19-34; Acts 5:1-10; Romans 14:17; Ephesians 5:5; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; and James 5:1-4, among many others.

Luke 12:16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

Luke 12:17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

bestow my fruits. Instead of “bestowing” his affluence on others in need, he “bestowed” his fruits merely to his barns.

Luke 12:18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

This will I do. In his monologue, this self-centered rich man (whom God called, “Thou fool”) used the personal pronouns (“I;” “my”) no less than eleven times in three verses (Luke 12:17-19), in addition to addressing himself three times—“soul”, “thou,” “thine.” Thus inordinate self-centeredness leads to eternal folly.

Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

Luke 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Thou fool. Those who lay up treasure for themselves and are not rich toward God (Luke 12:21) are insane fools in God's omniscient judgment. Jesus warned against our calling someone a fool (Greek moros, meaning “stupid”), but He used even a stronger word here (Greek aphron, meaning “insane one;” the word is closely related to the word for “foaming,” aphros). This is, therefore, a very serious and sober warning against self-centered covetousness.

Luke 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

for himself. See Psalm 49:6-12.

Luke 12:22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

Luke 12:23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

Luke 12:24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

Luke 12:25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

Luke 12:26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

Luke 12:27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Luke 12:28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Luke 12:29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

Luke 12:30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

little flock. Christ's warnings against individual covetousness apply also to church covetousness. His promised blessings are to the “little flock,” such as the church at Philadelphia, which had “little strength,” but had “kept my word” (Revelation 3:8), not to the church at Laodicea, which boasted that she was “rich, and increased with goods” (Revelation 3:17).

Luke 12:33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

Sell that ye have. Compare Jesus' advice to the rich young ruler given in Matthew 19:21. However, this must be balanced against a man's responsibility to “provide … for his own, and especially for those of his own house” (1 Timothy 5:8). We are also to “give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28; see also xTerm 3:17) and to “sow bountifully” as “a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). All of this implies that, by faithful labor in the vocation God has given us, we have the wherewithal to do such things, as the Lord provides. Ananias and Sapphira were punished not for retaining part of their possessions, but because they lied about it (Acts 5:1-5). The principle is this: all that we have is of the Lord, and thus must be used in ways that He leads and that honor Him. Our personal needs and wants should be kept minimal, so that more can be used in His service and to meet the needs of others.

Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Luke 12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

Luke 12:36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

Luke 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

Luke 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

Luke 12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

Luke 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Be ye therefore ready. We are frequently urged to be ready always for the Lord's return. If we could predict the date of His coming, or if we knew certain other events must transpire first, then such continual readiness would be unnecessary. Note Hebrews 9:28; xTerm 2:28;.

Luke 12:41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?

Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

Luke 12:43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

Luke 12:44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

Luke 12:45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

Luke 12:46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

many stripes. Since the context surrounding this parable is the judgment at the return of Christ (Luke 12:40, 49), its purpose is clearly to teach that there will somehow be degrees of punishment in hell. Both servants represent lost sinners, and both are punished, with neither saved. The intensity of suffering, however, is inflicted in accordance with degree of sinfulness in relation to degree of light received or truth known. We may not fully understand how this can be, but the righteous “Judge of all the earth” (Genesis 18:25) is well able to “render every man according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6).

Luke 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

much required. This principle applies to the saved in heaven (1 Corinthians 3:11-15) as well as to the unsaved in hell. At “the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10), all born-again believers will see their work examined to see “what sort it is.” This passage clearly teaches that, for example, those born in Christian homes, in Christian lands, with abundant access to Bibles, churches, and schools, as well as other privileges, will be evaluated more critically than those believers who served the Lord without such advantages.

Luke 12:49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

fire on the earth. The fire He will send is, first, the fires of division between friends and even family members over Him (Luke 12:51-53) and, ultimately, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

baptism. The baptism of which He speaks is His own impending immersion in the sufferings of crucifixion and hell (Matthew 20:18, 22).

accomplished. The sense of His question was: “And what do I wish? I wish it were already kindled.” He had come to accomplish His decease at Jerusalem (Luke 9:31), and He was in great stress to get it done. He knew there was a fiery baptism awaiting Him there, but there was also “joy that was set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2), and a gloriously redeemed “people that shall be born” because “He hath done this” (Psalm 22:31).

Luke 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

Luke 12:52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

Luke 12:53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Luke 12:54 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.

Luke 12:55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.

Luke 12:56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

Luke 12:57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?

judge ye not. The entire conversation centering on the dangers of covetousness and occupation with earthly things had been initiated by the argument between the two brothers about their inheritance (Luke 12:13). Jesus concludes by returning to their question and insisting they settle this mundane question amicably between themselves (Luke 12:58-59). Otherwise, if they insist on taking the squabble to a judge, one of them may end up in prison. Christians indeed should be able to settle their earthly disputes without going to court (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). It is better to lose an argument than to win the argument and lose a brother. The Lord also admonished all His hearers that they were hypocritical by trying to be so knowledgeable about earthly matters while ignoring the spiritual significance of their times (Luke 12:54-56).

Luke 12:58 When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.

Luke 12:59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.