Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 12

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-13

46 Compare Mat_23:4 .

47 Compare Mat_23:29-36 .

51 Compare Gen_4:8 ; 2Ch_24:20-21 .

51 Men are to be judged by what they know as well as by what they do. To do that which you condemn in others convicts you of their crime as well as your own. Cain was a religious man; in fact he is the first to bring an offering to Jehovah ( Gen_4:3 ). But his works were evil ( 1Jn_3:12 ). The first murder was committed by an outwardly religious, but inwardly wicked man. It is rather remarkable that there were three different men, named Zacharias, murdered in the court of the temple. One was Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, who testified against them. And they conspired against him, and stoned him in the court of the house of the Lord. When he died he said ..Jehovah is seeing and inquiring:' which corresponds closely with "exacting", here used by our Lord ( 2Ch_24:20-22 ). As Chronicles is the end of the Hebrew canon, from Abel to this Zechariah would comprise all the religious murders or the book. But the Zacharias here may be the same as in Matthew, where he is called the son of Berechiah, that is, the author of the book of Zechariah ( Zec_1:1 ). He also testified of their evil ways. We have no other record of the manner of his death, but our Lord knew that he was slain where only a priest could have done the deed. From Abel to this Zechariah would stretch over their whole inspired history. Over thirty years later another Zacharias was foully slain in the outer temple (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book IV, chapter 5). This was near the end of their stay in the land.

52 Compare Mat_23:13 .

54 Compare Mar_12:13 .

1 Compare Mat_16:6-12 ; Mar_8:15-21 .

1 Though hypocrisy, in all its forms, is most hateful to God, yet it seems most prevalent in the sphere of religion. The most potent preventive is the great truth here enunciated. Once we realize that pretense of any kind is but a temporary expedient which will react with fearful effect in the future it will make us slow to claim to be what we are not. We may be successful now in concealing our deeds of darkness from our fellows, but they are surely known to God and just as surely will be manifest to men. Happy is he who is not concerned with present appearances but so lives that his acts will be approved in the light!

2-5 Compare Mat_10:26-28 .

4 Gehenna, the valley of the son or Hinnom just below Jerusalem, is the place where the refuse and offal of the city was burned. In the kingdom the bodies of criminals will be cast into its flames. The distinction here drawn is between the believer, whose death, especially if endured for the Lord's sake, will make him eligible to a high place in the kingdom at the resurrection of the just, and the rebellious, who, even if they should be in the kingdom, will suffer its stern condemnation. The enemies of Christ can kill, and thousands will be slain as witnesses to the truth, yet their act has an effect exactly opposite to what they intend, for it enhances the felicity of the saints in the resurrection. Not so with those whom He executes. They forfeit the joys of the kingdom.

6 The infinitude of God's care in creation surpasses all human comprehension. There is no detail of our lives too small for His microscopic concern, nothing too trivial to touch His tender solicitude.

8-9 Compare Mat_10:32-33 .

10 Compare Mat_12:31-32 ; Mar_3:28-30 .

10 The unpardonable sin of Israel was not the crucifixion of Christ, but the subsequent rejection of the holy Spirit's testimony through His apostles. This has brought on their present dispersion for the eon.

11 Compare Mat_10:19-20 ; Mar_13:11 .

11 This has no reference to the preaching of the evangel today, but to the proclamation of the kingdom.

12 Compare Act_4:8 ; Act_7:2 ; Act_7:55 .

Verses 14-38

14 See Exo_2:14 .

15 Compare 1Ti_6:6-10 .

15 A telling truth which would do more to ameliorate the ills of humanity than all government, were it heeded, is embodied in the phrase, "the superfluity of his possessions". Life does not consist in having, but in being. The moment that our possessions exceed our needs they become a burden. The only place that treasure can be safely and sanely deposited is in the heavens. This is illustrated in the following parable.

18 In Palestine it was customary to store grain and other products in sealed, air tight, cisternlike pits, dug on a hill side or in a field, where the ground was sufficiently dry. In these food was kept unspoiled for long periods, safe from marauders and mice and ants. It would be difficult to preserve grain or food stuffs for many years in barns such as are used in the West.

19 Compare Pro_18:11 .

19 This is an excellent passage to teach us the significance of the soul. It is now spoken of as though it were the spirit. The soul craves food and drink and merriment. It expresses itself in the appetite and physical desires. The rich man had made no provision for his spirit. His hoard was of grain and wine and oil, good only for the life that now is. The soul is satisfied by the senses. Taste, smell, hearing, sight, and touch are the means of its exercise.

20 See Job_27:16-22 .

21 Compare 29-34; Jam_2:5 .

22-26 Compare Mat_6:25-27 .

22 From the world's standpoint this man was most prudent, for he provided for the future. But his death turned his prudence into folly.

22 Man has become the slave of his desires. Instead of eating and drinking to live, he spends his life in laboring for the means of living according to his lilting.

24 The lower ranks of creation are a daily display of God's care and provision. No one can study the marvels of nature without some sense of the overseeing providence of God. They are better provided for than men.

27-28 Compare Mat_6:28-30 .

27 There are many beautiful flowers in Palestine but the scriptures do not mention any varieties, hence it is difficult to fix upon the one specially alluded to. Some have thought that He referred to a beautiful species of iris, colored dark purple and white. There are also brilliant hued tulips. But these flowers are not abundant enough to warrant the general allusion made by our Lord. There are other flowers, more numerous and quite as glorious, which carpet the fields of Palestine. Among these the most gorgeous and conspicuous in the Spring is the Anemane caronaria , usually a brilliant scarlet, which is found in all parts of the land. It abounds in the plains and on the mountains, along the shores of Galilee and on the bare hills of Judea. The richness of its tints and the profusion with which it appears everywhere combine to give point to our Lord's comparison. Though the commonest of flowers, it is also among the loveliest. The Arabs include it among the flowers called susan , which is equivalent to the Hebrew shushan and the Greek krinon , the word here used. This is, however, the common name for any brilliantly colored flower like a lily or tulip, or ranunculus or anemone.

29 Compare Mat_6:31-34 .

32-34 Compare Mat_6:19-21 .

33 See Hag_1:6 .

33 This advice must be understood in the light of the property laws in Israel and the imminence of the kingdom. Each one had his allotment, on which his living depended. Our Lord was not asking them to sell this. It was property over and above this which He advised them to sell, as it would be worthless to them in the redistribution of the land in the kingdom. Their only way of securing it was to use its price in helping the poor in Israel. Thus they would transfer their interests into the coming kingdom.

36 Compare Mat_22:1-14 .

38 The Lord's return is always left indefinite as to time so that it may be continually imminent to the hearts of His people. We should remember that our next conscious moment may be in His presence. There is nothing to compare with this to give joy and power in service.

Verses 39-56

39 As most of the houses in Palestine were built of sun-dried clay, or adobe, a thief could best effect an entrance by digging his way through the walls. They literally burrowed their way into a house they wished to rob.

39-40 Compare Mat_24:43-44 ; 1Th_5:1-11 ; Rev_3:3 ; Rev_16:15 .

40 The coming of Christ as Son of Mankind is to be a complete surprise even to those in Israel who are waiting for Him. This coming as a thief is connected with the day of the Lord ( 1Th_5:2 ), and the sudden destruction of those in darkness. But we are not in darkness, so that that day will not overtake us as a thief. God did not appoint us to indignation. We look for Him, not as an enemy, but as a Saviour ( Php_3:20 ). For us salvation has a past, a present, and a future tense. The bodies of our humiliation have not yet been saved. They will be at His coming.

41 The Lord's coming for us is a matter of pure grace in accord with all His dealings in this secret administration. We should not be drowsing, but this will not cost us our place in His presence. Our salvation depends on His death, not on our faithfulness. Whether we are watching or are drowsing, we shall live at the same time together with Him ( 1Th_5:10 ). It will not be so in His coming to Israel. Peter's question brings out the parable which shows that, while some will be rewarded for service at His coming, others will be cut asunder for unfaithfulness. They are dealt with as slaves and their place in the kingdom depends on what they do during His absence, but we are subjects of grace and, whatever loss we may suffer for unfaithfulness, we ourselves will be saved ( 1Co_3:15 ).

41-44 Compare Mat_24:45-47 ; 1Co_4:1-5 .

45 Compare Mat_24:48-51 .

47 All God's judgments are tempered by attending circumstances. He does not require His creatures to live up to light which they do not have. Yet His judgments increase in severity according to the privileges enjoyed. Thus it is that Israel is subject to the most awful of the inflictions of the end time. How thankful we should be that His grace not only bestows transcendent privilege but brings immunity from judgment as well!

49 We are now approaching the great crisis in His ministry. Instead of being believed and received, the proclamation of the kingdom has caused strife and contention. Its rejection is evident. The baptism with which it began must have its counterpart in another baptism at its end. The shadow of the cross lay athwart His path henceforth, and its awful pressure lay heavily on His Spirit. Until it shall have been accomplished the kingdom cannot come. Until then the opposition must increase. The kingdom of God was thrice rejected. They rejected

Jehovah when Saul was chosen king. They rejected Christ. They rejected the preaching of the apostles.

50 Compare Mat_20:22 .

51 Compare Mat_10:34-36 .

51 At His birth the heavenly hosts sang of peace on earth ( Luk_2:14 ). The kingdom foretold by the prophets was to end all strife. He was to be the Prince of Peace, and of the increase of peace there was to be no end ( Isa_9:6-7 ). Hence they had good reason to suppose that He had come to give peace to the earth. And that He will do when He comes again. But the time from His rejection until His return has been and will be a period of strife and division. This will reach its climax in the coming time of Jacob's trouble, when the kingdom is once more proclaimed and faithfulness to God will tear families asunder and destroy the tenderest ties of nature. But when He comes all strife will vanish and peace will preside over all the earth for the thousand years.

52 Compare Mic_7:6 .

54 The Lord now turns from the disciples to the throngs. In spirit, He sees a great storm coming. yet they are utterly oblivious of the signs. They were experts at foretelling the weather. Clouds in the west, over the Mediterranean, with a southwest wind, would be sure to bring a rainstorm. If the wind shifts to the north it is soon over. The south wind, off the desert, always brings heat. With all this discernment they did not see that the current of opinion in Israel was leading to a violent storm. There was little peace for them, and they were finally driven out of the land and scattered among the nations.

Verses 57-59

57-59 Compare Mat_5:25-26 ; Pro_25:8 .

1 There is a strong natural tendency to connect calamity with sin. Hardly any great disaster occurs but someone seeks to justify it on the ground that the victims must have been extraordinary sinners. Job's friends reasoned thus. In their minds his calamities must have been occasioned by some secret offenses, and were sent as a punishment for his wrong doing. Now, while sin often does entail suffering in this life, much of it does not. And suffering is not sent simply as a punishment for sin, but also as a means by which God reveals Himself. Job was vindicated by God, yet he abhorred himself. Through his trials he was led to a greater blessing and a closer knowledge of God than could otherwise be. He had heard of Him before; now he saw Him ( Job_42:5 ). Let us not judge those who suffer, as though they deserved what they endure. God is not now judging or sentencing His creatures. That is past for believers and future for unbelievers. In the great white throne judgment those who appear before it will be dealt with according to their sins. Then it will be possible to deduce their delinquency from the character and severity of their sentence. But all such reasoning is foolish now. The Galileans whom Pilate killed were no worse than others of their kind, and the tower of Siloam did not fall on the most vicious in Jerusalem.

1 Compare Act_5:37 .

2 Compare Joh_9:2-3 .

4 Compare Neh_3:15 ; Joh_9:7 .

6-9 Compare Isa_5:1-7 ; Mat_21:19 .

6 For three years John and the Lord sought to find fruit from Israel as a nation. Little did Israel think that their rejection of His proclamation was dooming all their national aspirations. The same truth is taught in the cursing of the fig tree ( Mat_21:19 ; Mar_11:13 ), which, indeed, may stand for the hewing down. The next miracle shows Him still laboring in a final effort to produce fruit.

10 Israel's doom is figured by a soulless tree; her deliverance is shown by the restoration of the infirm woman. This recognizes the reason for Israel's weakness, which was the possession of a spirit at variance with God. The ruler of the synagogue displayed this same spirit, so that, in a sense, the physical plight of the woman becomes his in spirit. He, like the whole nation, was opposing the Lord and His work, in a pretended zeal for God's law. The moral effect of the miracle seems to have kept the chief of the synagogue from forbidding the Lord to work, so he turns to the people and forbids them to come to be cured. He was blind to the great truth that salvation is of God, when man cannot work, hence is far more fitting on the Sabbath than during the week.

14 Compare Mat_12:9-10 .

15 Compare Luk_14:3-6 ; Mat_12:11-12 .

16 A significant note is sounded when our Lord terms the infirm woman a daughter of Abraham. It suggests that she had faith, and that the salvation which it prefigured will be confined to those who have the faith of their great forefather Abraham.

18-19 Compare Mat_13:31-32 ; Mar_4:30-32 .

18 As both birds ( Mat_13:4 ; Mat_13:19 ) and leaven ( Luk_12:1 ) are figures of that which is evil, and this is spoken, like the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, after the rejection of the King, we see in these comparisons a representation of the course of the kingdom before He returns in righteousness. At the end of the eon it will be again proclaimed and have an amazing growth, but will harbor wicked spirits and evil practices.

19 Compare Dan_4:10-12 .

20.21 Compare Mat_13:33 ; Zec_5:5-11 .

22-27 Compare Mat_7:13-14 ; Mat_7:21-23 .

23 The Lord avoids a direct answer to the question, and turns the questioner's thoughts upon himself. It would seem that at this time, the wide gates into the kingdom had been closed, and access could be had only through the private entrances, which are locked when evening comes. The proclamation of the kingdom had opened the gates wide up to this time, and it was easy to enter by repentance and baptism. But at this crisis the proclamation was withdrawn, hence many of those who struggled could not enter. By no means should this parable be applied indiscriminately to the evangel, either of the kingdom or of the grace of God. God's good news is never narrow or cramped. In the tabernacle in the wilderness the gate, which opened into the court where the altar and laver were stationed, was very wide, and the entrance into the holy place occupied the whole front side of the tent. It could not have been wider. These were types of the way of God during the proclamation of the kingdom. The evangel for today is wider still, for it embraces all nations and imposes no conditions. Faith in God's word cannot be obtained by any struggle. Neither is there any reluctance on God's part, but He is beseeching all men to be conciliated. This can be understood of those only who have neglected to enter while the wide gates of the kingdom evangel were open, and now seek an entrance after the proclamation has been closed.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Luke 12". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/luke-12.html. 1968.
 
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