Luke chapter 12

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1In 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. 2For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. 3Therefore 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. 4And 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. 5But 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. 6Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. 8Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: 9But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. 10And 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. 11And 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: 12For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
22And 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. 23The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 24Consider 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? 25And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27Consider 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. 28If 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? 29And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell 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. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 35Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36And 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. 37Blessed 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. 38And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39And 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. 40Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
41Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? 42And 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? 43Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 44Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. 45But 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; 46The 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. 47And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48But 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. 49I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? 50But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! 51Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53The 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.

What does Luke chapter 12 mean?

Luke 12:1—15:32 is the third major section of the "travelogue" of Jesus: a group of stories providing the disciples with the foundational theology they will need to build the church. In the first section (Luke 9:51—11:13), the disciples showed their devotion to Jesus and Jesus promised that God would bless them. In the second (Luke 11:14–54), the Pharisees rejected Jesus and Jesus revealed how their pious deeds masked their spiritually abusive leadership and rebellion against God and His prophets. This section and the next (Luke 16:1—19:27) are comprised of three smaller units that form a pattern:

  • Kingdom Focus: 12:1—13:9
  • A miracle and teachings on the kingdom and salvation: 13:10–35
  • A miracle and teachings on the kingdom and salvation: 14:1—15:32

  • Kingdom Focus: 16:1—17:10
  • A miracle and teachings on the kingdom and salvation: 17:11—18:34
  • A miracle and teachings on the kingdom and salvation: 18:35—19:27

This unit describes how Jesus' followers should respond to the coming of God's kingdom. This includes both disciples and the crowd that swarms around them. The disciples, who are charged with spreading news of the kingdom (Luke 10:1–9), need to reject the honor, safety, wealth, security, self-indulgence, and even community the world offers (Luke 12:1–53). The crowd needs to be aware that the kingdom is coming, and seek repentance and reconciliation with God and others (Luke 12:54—13:9).

The previous chapter dealt largely with the Pharisees' blasphemy against Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:14–23). The Pharisees will be judged for their hypocritical words—even if they are only thought and not spoken. The Pharisees wish to destroy Jesus' life (Luke 11:53–54). Yet Jesus tells His disciples to reject the Pharisees' beliefs and to stand firm in the face of persecution or even death. Eternal separation from God is far more tragic than losing one's physical life. God cares for the sparrows; He knows, sees, and cares for His followers even more. When the disciples face civil and religious rulers with the power to kill, they must speak boldly about their allegiance to Jesus, relying on the Holy Spirit to give them words to say (Luke 12:1–12).

A man from the crowd calls out, demanding Jesus settle a family inheritance issue. Jesus is trying to tell the disciples how the coming kingdom of God will require sacrifice, but He also wants the crowd to have right priorities. He tells the parable of the rich fool. This describes a man overly focused on earthly wealth instead of his relationship with people and especially with God. After returning to the disciples' responsibilities, Jesus will come back to this same theme in Luke 12:54—13:9. For now, Jesus points out that you can gain great wealth but if you die, what good is it? Better to be a citizen of heaven and build up riches for eternity (Luke 12:13–21).

Diving more deeply, Jesus exhorts the disciples to not be anxious about their physical needs. This is not to say believers are never to work, or care about themselves. Rather, it means to set aside paranoia, terror, panic, or angst over such things. If we are citizens of God's kingdom, He will provide what we need to serve Him properly. And if we focus on God's work, we will earn eternal treasures in heaven (Luke 12:22–34).

Going beyond money and security, Jesus tells the disciples they should not fall into the worldly ways of laziness and abuse of power as they represent Him as His servants. As His followers, they must be diligent with their duties, even if He is not directly with them. As leaders, they must be responsible with His resources and care for His followers (Luke 12:35–48).

Finally, Jesus tells the disciples that they may need to sacrifice family relationships. They must recognize that they will be separated from any family member who does not follow Jesus. Their contentment must come from the hope of their place in God's kingdom (Luke 12:49–53).

Jesus then returns His attention from the disciples to the crowd. They are savvy enough to detect changes in weather, but they lack common sense about the larger story. The kingdom of God has been inaugurated and they haven't noticed, let alone prepared. Instead of seeking security in wealth or indulging in pride, they should be working toward peace with each other (Luke 12:54–59).

In the final stories of this unit, Jesus points out that the crowds don't even have the foresight to make peace with God. Death will come whether they are ready or not. Yet, if they don't repent from their sins, they will be separated from God. They are not showing the fruit that comes from being part of God's kingdom and they are flirting with eternal damnation (Luke 13:1–9).

This pattern of two sections of three units each finishes out Jesus' "travelogue" as presented by Luke. After the last teaching, the parable of ten minas (Luke 19:11–27), Jesus will lead the disciples into Jerusalem where He will face the cross.
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