Luke Chapter 12
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.”
“Multitude (or many thousands)”: The Greek word is the same from which we get the word “myriads.”
Jesus has just left the Pharisee’s where He ate with them. This multitude had gotten so large that they were walking on each other to get to Him.
Leaven symbolizes sin. Jesus is telling the people, especially the disciples, watch out for their sins.
Luke 12:2 “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.”
“Nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest”: All truth will be manifest in the judgment (12:2-3; 1 Col. 4-5; 1 Tim. 5:24-25). God’s ultimate purpose is not to hide the truth but to make it 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.”
The purpose in keeping something hidden is so that one day it can be revealed. Jesus’ teaching was never intended to be just for an inner circle of followers. It would be the responsibility of the disciples to communicate the gospel of the kingdom to the world at large (Matt. 28:19-20).
These Pharisees had a false new doctrine that they had been pushing on the people. They would be exposed. The disciples, on the other hand, had been preaching with very little acceptance. And I believe, this tells them also, that their message will be found to be true, and they will stand on the flat roofs of those houses and preach to the people below.
The housetop will be like a platform for them to preach from. The great multitude was more miracle seekers at this time, than there were message seekers.
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.”
“Fear him”: God is the one who destroys in hell (Luke 12:5). Persecutors can only harm the body.
Our fear of man is unfounded simply because he can do just so much to you. Our fear should be of God, who could send you to a burning hell.
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.”
We know that immediately after Jesus rose from the grave that the Pharisees become less and less popular with the people and the people became anxious to hear the disciples. (Verses 4 and 5), seem a little strange to be in here with such popularity, but there would also be those who were killed (martyred), in the name of Jesus.
Jesus says here to His followers; don’t worry about the shortness of life on the earth. The death you must worry about is the second death. If you die on this earth, you are just transported to heaven. There is one in heaven who, if He condemns you to death, includes hell and a fiery grave.
The first death all men die, don’t fear that, just be prepared to live with the Lord in heaven; and whatever you do, live pleasing to Him so you will not taste the second death which you really do need to fear. Only Jesus can condemn you to the second death. Fear Him.
Luke 12:6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?”
“Two farthings”: A Roman coin equal to a 16th of a denarius. One assarius (Roman coin), would be less than an hour’s wage.
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.”
A sparrow is worth less than many other birds. Jesus chose them because of their seemingly little value. He tells us though that the Father is concerned even with one little sparrow. It is almost unbelievable that each hair on our head would be numbered by God.
The human body is really the most complicated piece of equipment ever constructed. This one thing alone, if there was no other evidence, would proclaim how great our God is. God loves His people more than any other part of His creation.
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:”
Before the angels of God”: i.e., in the Day of Judgment (Matt. 25:31-34; Jude 24).
Jesus is saying here that if these disciples stay true to Him and never deny Him, He will tell the Father and the angels in heaven that these belong to Him. This is not just for them, but for us also. Jesus is the Judge of the world; we stand or fall by Him.
Luke 12:9 “But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.”
“He that denieth me before men”: This describes a soul-damning denial of Christ, not the sort of temporary wavering Peter was guilty of (22:56-62). But the sin of those who through fear, shame, neglect, delay, or love of the world reject all evidence and revelation and decline to confess Christ as Savior and King, until it is too late.
Can you imagine how Peter felt when He denied Jesus 3 times before the cock crew? You know his memory flashed back to this very statement that Jesus had made. Peter, under a different set of circumstances, even faced crucifixion proclaiming Jesus with every breath in his body. This is saying that under all circumstances we are not to deny Jesus.
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.”
“Blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost”: This was not a sin of ignorance, but a deliberate, willful, settled hostility toward Christ, exemplified by the Pharisees (in Matthew 12), who attributed to Satan the work of Christ (11:15).
This has always been a controversial Scripture. We must look at the Holy Ghost and understand the person of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of the risen Christ.
In my opinion, this sin is the sin of dying not believing in the risen Christ. This is total rejection of God and His teaching, choosing Satan over God. Just as Jesus was crucified from the foundation of the earth, the Holy Spirit is eternal as well.
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:”
“Take ye no thought”: i.e., do not be anxious. This does not suggest that ministers and teachers should forego preparation in their normal spiritual duties. To cite this passage and others like it (21:12-15; Matt. 10:19), to justify the neglect of study and meditation is to twist the meaning of Scripture.
This verse is meant as a comfort for those under life-threatening persecution, not an excuse for laziness in ministry. The exact same expression is used (in verse 22), speaking of concern for one’s material necessities. In neither context was Jesus condemning legitimate toil and preparation. He was promising the Holy Spirit’s aid for times of persecution when there can be no preparation.
Luke 12:12 “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”
Jesus is telling them here to let God speak through them. The words the Holy Ghost puts in your mouth will be what they should say when they are questioned or even when they are ministering. Turn your tongue over to God and let Him do the rest.
Luke 12:13 “And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.”
“Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance”: “The right of the firstborn” was a double portion of the inheritance (Deut. 21:17). Perhaps this man wanted an equal share. In any case, Jesus seemed unconcerned about the implied injustice and refused the man’s request to arbitrate the family dispute.
We see here, someone who has eyes on the things of the world. He might have been part of the group, but he certainly had not been attentive to the Lord’s teachings. He has his eyes fixed on worldly wealth. He was perhaps, a younger son and had not received the first born portion. Jesus has more important things to do than to stop and settle a family argument.
Luke 12:14 “And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?”
“Who made me a judge”: One of Christ’s roles is that of Judge of all the earth (John 5:22), but He did not come to be an arbiter of petty earthly disputes. Settling an inheritance dispute was a matter for civil authorities.
Jesus does not judge in secular or worldly matters. He is the Judge of all the world in spiritual matters.
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.”
Thou shalt not covet is one of the ten commandants. We are taught that whatever state we find ourselves in, therewith to be content.
Jesus explains to Him that the physical part of life is unimportant. The important thing is to be right in the spirit. Whether a person is rich or poor is not what gets them to heaven, but whether their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Luke 12:16-17 “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:” “And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?”
We see here, (by the world’s standards), a very prosperous man. He must have been a good farmer. It appears that this crop was so plentiful that he had more than even his barns could hold. A good neighbor would have looked to the needs of the less fortunate and shared this bountiful crop with them.
It appears that he was not a godly man, because he was just thinking of stacking up more and more of the world’s goods for himself. This is a self-centered, self-indulgent man thinking about the here and now rather than storing up in heaven.
Luke 12:18-19 “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.” “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.”
This self-centered man is only interested in his own welfare. This is really a good example of the flesh controlling the soul. This is in fact, the opposite of what Jesus had been teachings the Christians to do, if they were to inherit eternal life.
In 1 Timothy 6:17 we read: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;” “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
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?”
It is certain we came into the world with nothing, and this is the way we will go out. The only treasure we will have is the treasure of good deeds for others we stored ahead of time.
Matthew 6:19-20 says it all: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:” “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”
Luke 12:21 “So [is] he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Here Jesus brings out the meaning of verses 16 to 20. Notice that what Jesus calls for toward all who seek Him (Romans 10:12). Jesus is thus not speaking of a pay-as-you-go faith, but of a participation in a relationship in which God already provides what He wishes His people to give back to Him.
Luke Chapter 12 Questions
- What did Jesus tell the disciples to beware of with the Pharisees?
- What is a hypocrite?
- What is leaven symbolic of?
- That which ye have spoken in darkness ye shall ______.
- What will the housetop be like to the disciples?
- Fear not those who can ______ the _______.
- Fear the one that can do what?
- What did Jesus say that was sold for two farthings?
- What did Jesus say that was numbered on us?
- If we confess Jesus here, who will He confess us before in heaven?
- Under what circumstances are we not to deny Jesus?
- What shall not be forgiven men?
- What does the author think of this?
- What are you to do when you are taken before the magistrate?
- What is Jesus saying here?
- What did one in the company ask Jesus to speak to his brother about?
- How did Jesus answer him?
- A man’s life consisteth not in the _______ of the things which he ______.
- Which of the ten commandants covers this situation?
- In the parable Jesus told, what had happened to the rich man?
- Why would he not be classified as a godly man?
- What did he say to his soul?
- Whose welfare is he interested in?
- In I Timothy 6:17 we read, charge them that are rich in this world that they _____________________.
- They must not trust in uncertain riches, but in _______.
- What would happen to the man that night?
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