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Bible Commentaries
Luke 12

People's New TestamentPeople's NT

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SUMMARY.--The Leaven of the Pharisees. God's Care for His Servants. Confessing Christ. The Two Brothers and the Inheritance. The Rich Fool. The Life More Than Raiment. The Lilies. Watching. The Wise and Faithful Steward. The Baptism of Suffering. Sending Peace on Earth. The Signs of the Times.

Verses 1-5

Many thousands of the multitude. This is one of the passages that show the great impression produced at that time by Christ's teaching. See also Mar 1:33; Mar 2:2; Mar 3:9; Mar 6:31, etc. The discourse that follows is found almost verbatim in Matthew.

Beware of the leaven. The spirit of the Pharisees. There is great danger of religion becoming formal and hypocritical. See note on Mat 16:6.

There is nothing covered. For notes on Luk 12:2-5 see Mat 10:26-28. The flat tops of Eastern houses were the places from whence public proclamations were made.

Verses 6-9

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? See notes on Mat 10:29-33. Sparrows were the cheapest of all birds offered for sale.

Verse 10

Blasphemeth against the Holy Spirit. See notes on Mat 12:31-32.

Verses 11-12

When they bring you unto the synagogues. See notes on Mat 10:19-20.

Verses 13-14

One of the company said. This question concerning the inheritance, and the parable of the Rich Fool that follows, are only found in Luke.

Speak to my brother. The man wished to enlist Christ's moral power for his pecuniary advantage. Whether his brother had wronged him or not is not stated, but the Lord's business was not to gain acres of land and money for men, and hence he replies: Who made me a judge or a divider over you? It was not his mission to look after temporal gains, but to save the souls of men.

Verse 15

Keep yourselves from covetousness. A greedy desire for the goods of this world. A sin of all ages and a besetting sin of our times.

A man's life consisteth not, etc. Comfort, happiness, and, above all, eternal interests, do not depend on the abundance of our goods. Why then should a man give his life to a greedy chase after wealth?

Verses 16-19

He spake a parable. To show that riches do not secure one from evil.

A certain rich man. There is no intimation that his wealth was unjustly secured.

What shall I do? A common perplexity of the rich. They do not know what to do with their surplus wealth, though the needs of humanity call for it.

There will I bestow my goods. In his enlarged storehouses. He will hoard his goods. Here was the beginning of his folly; to hoard his surplus instead of using it for the good of men.

Thou hast much goods laid up for many years. He had the goods, but the years he could not claim. It was a second element of his folly to forget that life is uncertain, and to make no provision for its close.

Take thine ease. Here is the third element of his folly; to attempt to satisfy his soul with food, drink and merriment: to feed that which demands heavenly food on husks.

Verses 20-21

Thou fool. The still, small voice may have said this, as mortal disease attacked him. Men said that he was sagacious, wise; but God said, "Thou fool."

This night. Instead of having many years, this night he shall die, unprepared, and all his goods on which he set his heart be delivered over to others.

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself. He is guilty of folly in the eyes of God. Wisdom requires that we should lay up treasure in heaven.

Verses 22-31

Be not anxious for your life. These verses are found in almost the same words in Mat 6:25-34. See notes there.

Verse 32

Fear not, little flock. The flock is safe only because of the Shepherd's care. The Lord is the Shepherd, and it is his pleasure to give not only food and raiment, but the kingdom to his children.

Verse 33

Sell what ye have. Lay up treasure in heaven. The true way of investing wealth is to consecrate it to good purposes. Better to sell in order to have wherewith to give, than to hoard like the rich fool. See notes on Mat 6:19-21.

Verses 35-46

Let your loins be girded. The long Oriental robe had to be taken up and girded before one was ready to travel. See notes on Mat 24:42-51.

Lights burning. See Mat 25:3-8.

May open unto him immediately. Be ready when the Lord's summons come.

In the second watch. The Jews divided the night into four watches. The second and third covered the midnight hours.

The thief would come. See notes on Mat 24:43-44.

Who then is the faithful and wise steward? See notes on Mat 24:45-51.

Verses 47-48

That servant, which knew his lord's will. This is the wilfully disobedient servant. The man who sins in the face of knowledge is such a servant. His neglect of known duty shall aggravate his punishment.

He that knew not. The man who sinned in ignorance shall have lighter punishment. Certainly degrees of punishment for degrees of guilt are taught. All will not be punished alike.

Verse 49

I am come to cast fire on earth. Conflict and persecution. This was the effect of preaching the gospel. It aroused opposition. See notes on Mat 10:34-37.

If it is already kindled. The conflict had already begun. The enemies were seeking his death.

Verse 50

I have a baptism. Of suffering. That of the cross.

Straitened. Feeling the burden in anticipation.

Verses 51-53

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? See notes on Mat 10:34.

Verses 54-57

When ye see a cloud rising. See notes on Mat 16:2-3.

Why even of yourselves? Why not judge what is right without any external signs?

Verses 58-59

As thou art going with thine adversary. See notes on Mat 5:25-26.

Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 12". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pnt/luke-12.html. 1891.
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