Luke 12

1 Meanwhile, when a multitude of many thousands had gathered together, so much so that they trampled on each other, he began to tell his disciples first of all, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But there is nothing covered up, that will not be revealed, nor hidden, that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light. What you have spoken in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops. 4 “I tell you, my friends, don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom you should fear. Fear him, who after he has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 “Aren’t five sparrows sold for two assaria coins? Not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows. 8 “I tell you, everyone who confesses me before men, him will the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies me in the presence of men will be denied in the presence of the angels of God. 10 Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, don’t be anxious how or what you will answer, or what you will say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that same hour what you must say.” 13 One of the multitude said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 He said to them, “Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses.” 16 He spoke a parable to them, saying, “The ground of a certain rich man produced abundantly. 17 He reasoned within himself, saying, ‘What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?’ 18 He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 I will tell my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared—whose will they be?’ 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God.” 22 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they don’t sow, they don’t reap, they have no warehouse or barn, and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds! 25 Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height? 26 If then you aren’t able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith? 29 Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious. 30 For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you. 32 Don’t be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. 33 Sell that which you have, and give gifts to the needy. Make for yourselves purses which don’t grow old, a treasure in the heavens that doesn’t fail, where no thief approaches, neither moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 35 “Let your waist be dressed and your lamps burning. 36 Be like men watching for their lord, when he returns from the marriage feast; that, when he comes and knocks, they may immediately open to him. 37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord will find watching when he comes. Most certainly I tell you, that he will dress himself, and make them recline, and will come and serve them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched, and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40 Therefore be ready also, for the Son of Man is coming in an hour that you don’t expect him.” 41 Peter said to him, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everybody?” 42 The Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the right times? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his lord will find doing so when he comes. 44 Truly I tell you, that he will set him over all that he has. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delays his coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken, 46 then the lord of that servant will come in a day when he isn’t expecting him, and in an hour that he doesn’t know, and will cut him in two, and place his portion with the unfaithful. 47 That servant, who knew his lord’s will, and didn’t prepare, nor do what he wanted, will be beaten with many stripes, 48 but he who didn’t know, and did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes. To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked. 49 “I came to throw fire on the earth. I wish it were already kindled. 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, no, but rather division. 52 For from now on, there will be five in one house 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 her mother; mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” 54 He said to the multitudes also, “When you see a cloud rising from the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it happens. 55 When a south wind blows, you say, ‘There will be a scorching heat,’ and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how is it that you don’t interpret this time? 57 Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 For when you are going with your adversary before the magistrate, try diligently on the way to be released from him, lest perhaps he drag you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will by no means get out of there, until you have paid the very last penny.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–12

A firm belief of the doctrine of God’s universal providence, and the extent of it, would satisfy us when in peril, and encourage us to trust God in the way of duty. Providence takes notice of the meanest creatures, even of the sparrows, and therefore of the smallest interests of the disciples of Christ. Those who confess Christ now, shall be owned by him in the great day, before the angels of God. To deter us from denying Christ, and deserting his truths and ways, we are here assured that those who deny Christ, though they may thus save life itself, and though they may gain a kingdom by it, will be great losers at last; for Christ will not know them, will not own them, nor show them favour. But let no trembling, penitent backslider doubt of obtaining forgiveness. This is far different from the determined enmity that is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall never be forgiven, because it will never be repented of.

Verses 13–21

Christ’s kingdom is spiritual, and not of this world. Christianity does not meddle with politics; it obliges all to do justly, but wordly dominion is not founded in grace. It does not encourage expectations of worldly advantages by religion. The rewards of Christ’s disciples are of another nature. Covetousness is a sin we need constantly to be warned against; for happiness and comfort do not depend on the wealth of this world. The things of the world will not satisfy the desires of a soul. Here is a parable, which shows the folly of carnal worldling while they live, and their misery when they die. The character drawn is exactly that of a prudent, worldly man, who has no grateful regard to the providence of God, nor any right thought of the uncertainty of human affairs, the worth of his soul, or the importance of eternity. How many, even among professed Christians, point out similar characters as models for imitation, and proper persons to form connexions with! We mistake if we think that thoughts are hid, and thoughts are free. When he saw a great crop upon his ground, instead of thanking God for it, or rejoicing to be able to do more good, he afflicts himself. What shall I do now? The poorest beggar in the country could not have said a more anxious word. The more men have, the more perplexity they have with it. It was folly for him to think of making no other use of his plenty, than to indulge the flesh and gratify the sensual appetites, without any thought of doing good to others. Carnal worldlings are fools; and the day is coming when God will call them by their own name, and they will call themselves so. The death of such persons is miserable in itself, and terrible to them. Thy soul shall be required. He is loth to part with it; but God shall require it, shall require an account of it, require it as a guilty soul to be punished without delay. It is the folly of most men, to mind and pursue that which is for the body and for time only, more than that for the soul and eternity.

Verses 22–40

Christ largely insisted upon this caution not to give way to disquieting, perplexing cares, Mt 6:25–34. The arguments here used are for our encouragement to cast our care upon God, which is the right way to get ease. As in our stature, so in our state, it is our wisdom to take it as it is. An eager, anxious pursuit of the things of this world, even necessary things, ill becomes the disciples of Christ. Fears must not prevail; when we frighten ourselves with thoughts of evil to come, and put ourselves upon needless cares how to avoid it. If we value the beauty of holiness, we shall not crave the luxuries of life. Let us then examine whether we belong to this little flock. Christ is our Master, and we are his servants; not only working servants, but waiting servants. We must be as men that wait for their lord, that sit up while he stays out late, to be ready to receive him. In this Christ alluded to his own ascension to heaven, his coming to call his people to him by death, and his return to judge the world. We are uncertain as to the time of his coming to us, we should therefore be always ready. If men thus take care of their houses, let us be thus wise for our souls. Be ye therefore ready also; as ready as the good man of the house would be, if he knew at what hour the thief would come.

Verses 41–53

All are to take to themselves what Christ says in his word, and to inquire concerning it. No one is left so ignorant as not to know many things to be wrong which he does, and many things to be right which he neglects; therefore all are without excuse in their sin. The bringing in the gospel dispensation would occasion desolations. Not that this would be the tendency of Christ’s religion, which is pure, peaceable, and loving; but the effect of its being contrary to men’s pride and lusts. There was to be a wide publication of the gospel. But before that took place, Christ had a baptism to be baptized with, far different from that of water and the Holy Spirit. He must endure sufferings and death. It agreed not with his plan to preach the gospel more widely, till this baptism was completed. We should be zealous in making known the truth, for though divisions will be stirred up, and a man’s own household may be his foes, yet sinners will be converted, and God will be glorified.

Verses 54–59

Christ would have the people to be as wise in the concerns of their souls as they are in outward affairs. Let them hasten to obtain peace with God before it is too late. If any man has found that God has set himself against him concerning his sins, let him apply to him as God in Christ reconciling the world to himself. While we are alive, we are in the way, and now is our time.

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