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In the mean time ; while he was delivering his discourse to the Pharisees.
The leaven of the Pharisees ; hypocrisy, the great sin of the Pharisees, which, like leaven, mingled itself with and corrupted all their religious services. Men should be especially careful to be at heart in all things honest, upright, and sincere, and to act from good motives; they should be more desirous of being right in the sight of God, than of appearing to be right in the sight of man.
For there is nothing covered ; the Saviour shows the folly of hypocrisy from the consideration that every thing will at last be made known.
Be not afraid ; a very common form of hypocrisy has always been dissimulation and the denial of Christ through fear of man. Compare John 12:42-43 . The Saviour, therefore, next warns his disciples against this sin, because, first, men can do us no real harm, while God can destroy both soul and body in hell, verse Luke 12:4-5 ; because, secondly, God, who watches over the sparrows, will protect his faithful servants, verses Luke 12:8-9 . He then warns his disciples against the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, a sin in which the denial of Christ might end, verse Luke 12:10 ; and against anxiety in respect to their defence when brought before magistrates, verses Luke 12:11-12 .
Speak to my brother ; he wished to make use of the Saviour’s authority and influence to increase his own estate, as some men now value religion simply from its worldly advantages.
Covetousness ; over-anxiety and selfish greediness for earthly things.
Consisteth not ; neither the length, usefulness, and happiness of a man’s life in this world, nor his eternal life hereafter, depend upon the amount of his earthly possessions.
In providing for happiness, men should act, not for time merely, but for eternity, that, at whatever moment they may be called from earth, they may go to, and not from, their treasures.
Thy soul shall be required ; thou shalt die, and thy soul shall be required to go to judgment and give an account of its deeds while in the body. In trusting to riches for that happiness which can come only from God; in depending upon long life, when death may come this night; and in laying up treasure on earth, and not in heaven, men act the part of fools.
That layeth up treasure for himself ; lives supremely for himself, not for God, which was the great sin charged upon this man.
Those who have that fear of God which leads them to avoid what displeases him, have no reason to fear any thing else. In him they may trust for whatever they need, and he has promised that, in the best way and time, he will supply them.
Taking thought for the morrow. Matthew 6:25-34 .
Add to his stature one cubit ; see note on Matthew 6:27 .
The kingdom ; of heavenly glory. Matthew 3:2 .
Give alms ; use your wealth in doing good, and then you make it impossible that it should be lost; for the treasure which is given to the poor in Christ’s name, is given to Christ, and he will lay it up for us in heaven.
Bags which wax not old ; heavenly purses to contain heavenly treasures. Let that which you regard as your chief good be in heaven. Your hearts will then be heavenly, and your treasure and blessedness be eternal.
Let your loins be girded ; the girding up of the loins was a preparation for action. Be ready for duty.
Your lights burning ; be always watchful.
The faithful servant. Matthew 24:42-51 .
When he will return from the wedding ; either his own wedding, in which he is the bridegroom, or the wedding of a friend. Weddings were attended in the night; and servants were accustomed to sit up and wait for their master’s coming, that on his arrival they might immediately open the doors. So our Lord told his disciples to watch, and pointed out the blessedness of those who should do so. Matthew 25:1-13 .
Come forth and serve them ; he will greatly honor and bless them.
Second watch ; from nine in the evening to twelve.
Third watch ; from twelve to three in the morning.
Good man of the house ; master of the house.
Unto us , or even to all? is it meant for us, as thine apostles, or for all men? Our Lord, in his answer, speaks of a steward set over his master’s household, thus intimating that the parable has its highest reference to the ministers and rulers of his church; but shows at the close, verse Luke 12:48 , that it applies to every one according to the measure of his knowledge and of the duties laid upon him.
To send fire ; in the same sense in which he came to send a sword. Matthew 10:34 . Fire and sword are emblems of contention, distress, and ruin: not that this was the object of Christ’s coming, or the tendency and proper effect of his gospel, but it would be the effect of the opposition which wicked men would make to it.
What will I , if it be already kindled? did he regret the publication of the gospel, or would he desist from it on account of the contention it would occasion? No; he desired its publication, and that, as soon as practicable, it might be universal. Opposition to the best things often produces the greatest mischiefs. But no good thing, rightly done, is to be charged with any of the evils which opposition to it occasions.
A baptism ; extreme suffering which he must pass through before the gospel could be fully published.
Straitened ; oppressed in spirit, in view of the sufferings which were before him.
Rather division ; Christ came to send divisions in the same sense in which he came to send fire and sword. His gospel would not produce divisions, but men’s opposition to it would. Luke 12:19 ; Matthew 10:34-36
Out of the west ; from the Mediterranean sea, which lay west of Judea. Were men as quick to discern, and as wise to judge, in spiritual as they are in temporal things, and did they as earnestly and perserveringly pursue them, they might all, through grace, become rich for eternity. But while they know that to obtain temporal good they must be awake and active, must exercise judgment, lay plans, and diligently pursue them, they often hope to obtain eternal good without thought, plan, or effort.
The south wind ; from the hot and sultry deserts of Arabia and Eqypt.
This time ; the indications of the presence of the Messiah.
Even of yourselves ; under the guidance of your own consciences enlightened by God’s word.
Judge-what is right ; make a true judgment respecting the signs of the times and my claims to be the Messiah. Why not do this before you are summoned to God’s judgment-seat to have him decide the question against you?
When thou goest with thine adversary ; literally, For when thou goest with thine adversary; the word "for" connecting this verse immediately with the preceding. Under the figure of a man summoned by his adversary to appear before the magistrate, our Lord, in concluding this series of addresses, solemnly warns his hearers to be reconciled to God, who is both their adversary and their judge, while they are on the way to his judgment-seat, by acknowledging the claims of his Son Jesus Christ. Thus they can obtain pardon and eternal life; but if they refuse this, at God’s bar the very last mite will be demanded of them; and as they will have nothing to pay, they must lie in the prison of despair for ever.
Give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him ; by acknowledging of thyself his just claims, and satisfying them. This will be judging of one’s self what is right.
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 12". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26