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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 12

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1 Trode one upon another indicates the extent of influence that Jesus was having through his teaching. On another occasion (Mat 16:6-12) Jesus warned his disciples against the leaven of the Pharisees, and afterward they had to have it explained. In this instance lie specifies that he means the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Thayer defines the original for leaven by the single word "leaven." He then explains his application as follows: "It is applied to that which, though small in quantity, yet by its influence thoroughly pervades a thing; either in a good sense, . . . or in a bad sense."

Verse 2

2 The persecutors perform their evil work in an underhanded and cowardly manner. But their deeds will finally be exposed and all false accusations be disproved.9

Verse 3

3 See the comments on Mat 10:27 for this verse.

Verse 4

4 Men can cause physical death but can do nothing against the soul of the man who serves God with a righteous life.

Verse 5

5 God is the one who can cast the entire being into hell, hence our conduct should be such that He will not regard us as deserving that awful doom. The full definition of the word hell is quoted at Mat 5:30.

Verse 6

6 The thought is that God is mindful of everything He has created, even to the comparatively unimportant case of the sparrow. He certainly will not overlook the being made in His image.

Verse 7

7 The thought in the preceding verse is continued in this. Each hair (a small portion of man's being) is counted by the Creator, which denotes that the whole person is of more value than the sparrows.

Verse 8

9 See the comments on Luk 9:26.

Verse 10

0 This refers to what is commonly referred to as the "unpardonable" sin. For a full discussion of this subject see the comments at Mat 12:24-32.

Verse 11

1 This does not mean they were to be unconcerned about the matter, but they were not to be planning what they were going to say.

Verse 12

2 The reason for the preceding verse is shown here. The Holy Ghost was to dictate the speeches as the case demanded, hence it would be in the same hour.

Verse 13

3 The subject of personal rights is an important one, but not one that should be regarded as worthy of absorbing the main interests of a man's life; certainly not worthy of claiming the attention of the busy Son of man, who was here in the interests of the kingdom of heaven and the salvation of the souls of men.

Verse 14

4 Jesus rebuked the man by this question which amounted to the refusal to "take the case" as a wise judge might say if asked to interfere in an outside affair.

Verse 15

5 A man with only a proper interest in his temporal possessions would not have thought of disrupting the work of Jesus by the subject. Therefore the Lord accused him of covetousness, and told him that the things a man possesses do not constitute the main part of his life.

Verse 16

6 Jesus frequently emphasized his lessons by telling a story that was adapted to the case. The man in the present instance had an unusually large crop.

Verse 17

7 The yield was so great that his graneries were not sufficient.

Verse 18

8 It was necessary to build larger facilities for the crops.

Verse 19

9 Up to this point there was nothing wrong in what the farmer did and said, for it is not only right but necessary to care for the product of the soil that it may not be wasted. But his mistake was in the use he was proposing to make of his crops. He thought to relax and live an indolent and luxurious manner of life, as if that were the main purpose of the good things of nature.

Verse 20

0 Soul is from PSUCHE (Psyche), and Thayer's first definition is, "Breath, i. e., the breath of life; the vital force," and he adds by way of explanation, "which animates the body and shows itself in breathing." The verse does not necessarily mean that God performed a special act to take the man's life from him because of his selfishness. But the uncertainty of this life is a result of the edict of God after the sin of the first man. It was in that sense that God took the rich man's life from him that night.

Verse 21

1 So is he verifies my comments on the preceding verse, and shows that no special miracle was done to punish the farmer. The lesson of Jesus applies to all men who hoard their riches, or who trust in them for selfish enjoyment (1Ti 6:17-19.)

Verse 22

3 See the comments on Mat 6:25.

Verse 24

4 This is explained at Mat 6:26.

Verse 25

6 Undue anxiety will not add the slightest amount to one's size, hence it is useless to be concerned to the extent of unreasonable worry about life.

Verse 27

7 See the comments on this thought at Mat 6:29.

Verse 28

8 God's care for comparatively unimportant things such as the flowers, and hence His greater care for man, is the lesson of the verse. (See Mat 6:30.)

Verse 29

9 Seek ye not means not to be overanxious about it.

Verse 30

0 The nations of the world have only the temporal things in mind, but the disciples of Christ should make such interests secondary.

Verse 31

1 This is commented upon at Mat 6:33.

Verse 32

2 Little is from MIKROS, which Thayer defines, "small, little," and at our verse he explains it to mean, "of quantity, i. e., number or amount." Jesus was speaking especially to his apostles who were only twelve in number, hence would constitute the little flock. The promise that the Father would give them the kingdom proves that it was not yet in their possession at that time, and hence was still in the future although near ("at hand").

Verse 33

4 See the comments at Mat 6:19-21.

Verse 35

5 Loins be girded is an allusion to the practice of soldiers who put a belt around their body as a brace for their strength. (See Eph 6:14.) Lights burning is a figurative admonition to be prepared. (See Mat 25:1-13.)

Verse 36

6 In the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25) the waiting was for the lord to come to the wedding. In this one the waiting is for him to return from it. The lesson is the same in both, which is the necessity of being prepared.

Verse 37

7 If a servant is watching he will not be caught with surprise, but will be ready to open the door to let him in. The happy bridegroom will regale his faithful servants by serving them with the wedding feast.

Verse 38

8 The second and third watches were at nine and twelve o'clock. If the servants do not go to sleep, they will be ready for their lord when he gets back home.

Verse 39

9 This verse is given for the same purpose as the preceding one; the necessity of watching. Incidentally, however, another lesson is taught here. Jesus speaks favorably of this householder who would resist having his house attacked. But the only way he could do so would be to oppose force with force, which shows it is right to use force if necessary in defending one's home and family.

Verse 40

0 This verse is the lesson of the preceding ones.

Verse 41

1 Much of the teaching of Jesus was to the apostles only, hence Peter asked for the application of the parable.

Verse 42

2 Instead of a direct answer, Jesus replied in a manner that made it apply to all who profess to be his servants. The activities described per tain to some customs in connection with weddings, but the point is in reference to the favors that Jesus will bestow on his faithful servants when he comes back to the earth.

Verse 43

4 This is still figurative as in the preceding verse.

Verse 45

6 This paragraph is explained at Mat 24:48-51.

Verse 47

8 It would be impractical not to consider these two verses in one paragraph. A popular notion is that it teaches different degrees of punishment after the judgment. By the process of elimination we know it cannot mean that. The ones on the left of the judge (Mat 25:45) were guilty of only neglecting their service to needy disciples, yet they are to be cast into the same fire that is prepared for the devil and his angels. So if the mildest and strongest classes of evil will get the same punishment, it is foolish to talk about "degrees" for any of the intervening classes. The Bible speaks of but one Gehenna; one lake of fire; one hell; into which the devil and his angels and all other unsaved persons will be cast after the judgment. Being beaten with many or few stripes has nothing to do with the punishment after the judgment, but refers to the judgment itself. Jesus makes his own application of the figurative stripes and begins it with the word for. Then he says unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required. Nothing said about what will be given to the man after the judgment, but it is what was already given to him before the judgment. Upon the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of the servant in making the required use of these goods (talents) will depend the decision as to which of the TWO sides (not several) he will be assigned at the judgment. After that is done, only one sentence will be pronounced upon all in whatever group a man is placed.

Verse 49

9 Fire is from PUB. Thayer defines it in this place by, "dissension," and he explains the definition to be because "fire disorganizes and sunders things joined together and compact." Robinson says the word symbolizes "strife and disunion." These definitions and comments agree with the statements of Jesus in verses soon to follow. He does not mean that he wished people to be divided among themselves, but he did come to bring the teaching he knew would cause the dissension. Already kindled. Even as Jesus was speaking, there were conflicts among the people over his doctrine.

Verse 50

0 It might be asked why Jesus would persist in his teaching when he knew it would bring opposition: this verse answers that question. Baptism is used figuratively and refers to the sufferings he was destined to experience in order to fulfill the scripture (Mat 26:54). That is why he says how am I straitened (made completely to suffer), (according to the predictions), until it (the baptism of suffering) be accomplished.

Verse 51

1 Jesus continues the same line of thought but is more literal or direct in his language. Not that his motive was to cause division just for the sake of division, but he did mean to put his teaching out among people although it was bound to bring division.

Verse 52

2 House means household and it was destined to be divided.

Verse 53

3 The division was not to come between comparative strangers only, but the closest of relatives would be arrayed against each other. That would be because a father would accept the truth while his son would not, and so on through other relatives.

Verse 54

5 Jesus referred the Jews to their own study of the conditions in nature, in which they professed to know how to figure out the future by present signs.

Verse 56

6 The signs of the times were as clearly portrayed in the Scriptures as were the weather signs, yet they pretended there was nothing on record to indicate the work and purposes of Jesus.

Verse 57

7 Right is from DIKAIOS and Thayer's definition at this place is, "rendering to each his due; passing Just judgment on others." Robinson gives virtually the same definition. The verse reflects on the three preceding this one. If they would treat the teaching of the Scripture with the same reasoning and fairness they did the weather signs, they would be able of themselves to decide their duty without any miraculous signs from Jesus.

Verse 58

9. See the comments at Mat 5:25-26.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Luke 12". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/luke-12.html. 1952.
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