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Wednesday, November 29th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 12

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-59

Luke 12:1 . There were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people. The Greek is myriads, or ten thousands of people.

Luke 12:5 . Power to cast into hell. The Greek is Gehenna, as on Isaiah 30:33. Matthew 5:22.

Luke 12:6 . Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, two assarions. The assarion was the tenth of a denarion. A farthing, that is, the fourth of a penny, though correct in English, is quite erroneous when applied to the denarion, as in the Greek. Matthew 22:19. Mark 12:15. These coins were introduced among the Jews by the Romans.

Luke 12:10 . To him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven. Other sins might have apologies, but this sin of ascribing the miracles of Christ to the power of Satan, can have no excuse. Nor do we find from the visitations of God on the nation, that the sin of rejecting the Saviour was forgiven. Yet even in this case we must not limit the Holy One of Israel. Matthew 12:31. Mark 3:28. These words are repeated, and it would seem, on another occasion.

Luke 12:13 . Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. A just request, no doubt, but the griping brother, who had resisted all private and public application, it is likely, would have resisted the Saviour also, as the injurious Hebrew resisted Moses. The Lord however would not interfere with the civil authorities, in which he has taught ministers prudence in similar matters. But family robbers, who fall under the contempt of the public, can expect no inheritance in heaven, till repentance shall be attended with restitution.

Luke 12:15 . Beware of covetousness, the foulest vice that can be fostered in the human breast. It enters deep into the heart, and grows and encreases with years. It fixes an evil eye, and extends a griping hand to that which justly belongs to our neighbour. The victim of this passion, whatever may be his pleasure when boasting against the prodigal, is haunted day and night with jealousies and fears, lest those about him should rob him of his hoards. The severest afflictions of his neighbour will not induce him to untie the strings of his gold; when a sovereign is taken from a thousand pounds, it is a thousand pounds no longer. He is severe with the labourers who have reaped his fields, and denies bread to the faithful pastor, who would resound in his ears, that “the covetous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” For once however he does effectual good, and that is the day when he dies.

Luke 12:22 . He said to his disciples take no thought, of a distrustful nature, for your life. Christ, after the case of the covetous man, resumes the thread of his discourse, as will be found with remarks, on Matthew 6:7, Matthew 6:10.

Luke 12:31 . Rather seek ye the kingdom of God. See on Matthew 6:33.

Luke 12:32 . Fear not, little flock. The twelve, and the seventy disciples, who were present, formed but a little flock; but countless multitudes stood behind. The Lord having fortified them against the fears of poverty and persecution, here super-adds the good pleasure of their Father, which is the fountain of grace and glory, and which will withhold no good thing from them that walk uprightly. In the gift of the kingdom of grace in the heart, of blessings in the church, and glory in heaven, all the minor blessings are included.

Luke 12:41 . Peter said, Lord, speakest thou this parable to us, who are ministers, or even to all? In Indian eloquence, we have many instances in which the more attentive hearers will venture to ask the orator a question. Our judges take this liberty on proper occasions.

Luke 12:45-46 . If that servant say in his heart, my lord delayeth his coming. The bad pastor carries in his breast a climax, a congregation of crimes. He hides from the eyes of omniscience, and disregards his Lord’s advent. He embroils himself with dogs in the quarrels and passions of life. He indulges in appetite and desire, and becomes revengeful to all who oppose his pleasure. Now, the Lord of the household will punish him strikingly according to his deserts. He shall be cut off by sudden death, when he is not aware; and being a hypocrite in his profession, the Judge shall consign him to the society of hypocrites. Yea, he shall change his cups and songs to weeping and gnashing of teeth; words indicative of anguish and despair, beyond the powers of language to deplore.

Luke 12:49 . I am come to send fire on the earth. In Matthew 10:34 he said, a sword. His gospel would shake the nations, and be preached amid winds, and storms, and wars, till its regenerating influences should cause wars to cease, persecutions to subside, and the wolf and the lamb to lie down together. This can be effectuated only by the fire of love, and all the graces of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 12:50 . I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished. The Lord Jesus had just spoken of the sufferings of his saints in the narrow prejudices and embittered persecutions of the jews, transporting themselves to outrages beyond natural affection; and he now encourages them by the bloody baptism of death, which he was eager to meet.


We again follow the Redeemer, and hear his didactic words full of grace, and his discourses full of wisdom. All his sayings were pure, and needed neither touch nor polish from the hands of men. The talmud shows us the rabbins of this world, but the gospel is full of the glory of God. Children are sportive and unsettled in their affections and desires, they are fond of the glare of novelty and change. In old age the case is otherwise; men are then fixed in some habitual propensity, whether of piety and wisdom, or whether of drunkenness, covetousness, and other sins. This we find realized in the man whose lands produced an abundant crop; a sensual covetousness absorbed his soul. Now, let it be well observed, that no gross immorality is attached to his character. He defrauded no labourer of his hire, but shed the smiles of employment and labour on all his village. He was therefore applauded for his skill, and regarded as blessed of providence. But see how prosperity embarrassed him. When he saw the golden ear and the teeming crops, he exclaimed, what shall I do? Instead of having a soul as liberal as the gifts of the year, he was distracted with apprehensions of losing much of the gift.

This man totally lost sight of God, of the poor, and of a future world. He sung the sensual requiem, soul take thine ease. Ah, this ease is still the tradesman’s fatal rock; whereas God is providing him punishment, not peace. How deplorable then is the condition of men who rest in the enjoyment of earthly comforts, and turn away their hearts from the Lord and giver of all. Their comforts are sensual, which clog and satiate. The soul is dissatisfied and disgusted with life; it is condemned every day to run the hopeless round, and to be resolved to wring a divine pleasure from sordid joys. Oh what a fatal task! Yet it is a task that mortals would not leave; and being confident of long life, they often leave their will unmade, and open the way for those they did not love to inherit all their wealth.

God is very indignant with men who forget him, neglect the poor, and hoard up riches for themselves. While all the world called this man wise, God called him a fool. Whilst he promised himself a paradise of carnal pleasure for half an age at least, the Lord said, This night shall thy soul be required of thee. How terrible is the arrest of death to a soul totally unprepared! It is dragging it away from the prison of the body, to regions of darkness, in fetters which shall never be loosed from their feet.

So is every one that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God. This then is not a solitary but a common case. Millions by a sensual covetousness, and wicked purposes of life, are preparing for themselves the sudden and unexpected vengeance of Almighty God.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 12". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/luke-12.html. 1835.
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