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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Luke 12

 

 

Verses 1-12

Jesus Instructs Disciples on Persecutions in Service ( Matthew 10:19-20; Matthew 10:28-33; Matthew 12:32) - Jesus Christ has now entered a phase in His life where persecutions will begin to challenge His public ministry. He will serve as our example of how to serve the Lord in the midst of persecutions. In Luke 12:1-12 Jesus first warns His disciples about hypocrisy ( Luke 12:1-3) and then He exhorts them to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom without fearing man ( Luke 12:4-12). He tells the disciples not to fear men, but to fear God who will give them the words to say by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 12:1 — "he began to say unto his disciples first of all"- Comments - The phrase "first of all" in Luke 12:2 implies that Jesus will later address the multitudes. Jesus will speak directly to His disciples in Luke 12:1-12; then, He addresses the multitudes about covetousness in Luke 12:13-21 when he responds to a person's question. Jesus will speak directly again to His disciples in Luke 12:22-40, when He teaches them to avoid the cares of this world and seek first the Kingdom of God, being ready for His Second Coming. Peter then asks Jesus if He were addressing the disciples or the crowds ( Luke 12:41). Jesus responds to Peter ( Luke 12:42-53) then addresses the crowd again ( Luke 12:54-59).

Luke 12:1 — "Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy" - Comments - Jesus was careful not to come against the Mosaic Law. He did this by making a clear distinction between the Law and the traditions of the religious leaders, who had perverted the Law.

Luke 12:2Comments - Hypocrisy is the covering up of that which is real by covering it with something that is false. The Pharisees were covering up their wicked hearts by coving themselves with religious traditions.

Luke 12:4Comments - Hypocrisy among the religious sects was made up of a brotherhood of men attempting to pleas one another. Therefore, Jesus addresses the root of hypocrisy, which is fear of man. The only remedy for hypocrisy is the fear of God.

Luke 12:6Comments - God as Creator is watching over every aspect of His marvelous creation. However, He has given man dominion over the earth. This means God allows man to do on earth according to his own human will. God does intervene on occasions in order to accomplish His overall divine plan of redemption; but He does allow man to make his own decisions, which often harm much of earth's natural beauties.

Luke 12:8Comments - Once a man overcomes the fear of his fellow man and stops trying to please them with a lifestyle of hypocrisy, he is now able to serve the Lord from a sincere heart. His fear of God compels him to divine service, but such service is often met with persecution from those who are still bound in hypocrisy and the fear of men. Against such adversity, Jesus now assures His disciples that God in Heaven is watching over every event in the lives of His servants and is concerned about him and will intervene in his daily affairs.

Luke 12:10Comments - The Jews had accused Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub ( Luke 11:15). Therefore, He is explaining the consequences of blaspheming against the Holy Ghost, when the Jews committed in their accusations against Jesus.

Luke 11:15, "But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils."

Luke 12:12Comments - We may think that John 14-16 is the first time that Jesus taught His disciples about the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit. However, we find two instances in Luke's Gospel where Jesus taught them about the work of the Spirit in their lives before His Passion.

Luke 11:13, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

Luke 12:12, "For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say."


Verses 1-59

Jesus Teaches on Faithfulness and Stewardship - In Luke 12:1-12 Jesus instruct His disciples on how to deal with persecution in Christian service. He then corrects a person in the crowd who asks for part of his inheritance ( Luke 12:13-21) by telling him a parable of the rich fool. He then turns to His disciples and exhorts them on this same issue ( Luke 12:22-53). He finishes this subject by rebuking the people for not being able to judge the times that they were in during Jesus' earthly ministry ( Luke 12:54-59).

Outline- Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus Instructs Disciples on Persecutions in Service — Luke 12:1-12

2. Jesus Corrects a Person over Covetousness — Luke 12:13-21

3. Jesus Warns His Disciples About Covetousness — Luke 12:22-53

4. Jesus Rebukes the People For Their Hypocrisy — Luke 12:54-59


Verses 13-21

Jesus Corrects a Person over Covetousness - In Luke 12:13-21 Jesus is asked by a person in the crowd to judge between him and his brother over an inheritance. He corrects this person by dealing with the covetousness of his heart. The remedy for covetousness that Jesus gives him is to fear the Lord because of His impending judgment.

The Parable of the Rich Fool - Jesus Christ told this parable because someone from the crowd asked Jesus to help him recover a portion of an inheritance that rightfully belonged to him. Jesus responded by telling him a parable that taught about the dangers of covetousness because Jesus knew the heart of the person asking the question.

This parable tells the story of a man who worked hard to achieve great wealth but died suddenly and did not get to enjoy that for which he had worked so hard. How many people do we know that have worked hard in life at the expense of costing them their health in order to acquired wealth and died soon after retirement and did not get to enjoy it. Wealth gained by human achievement brings more stress than it does peace. This stress shortens a person's life. But when we serve the Lord and let His blessings abound in our lives, we have peace while enjoying the wealth. A person can be wealthy without covetousness as was Abraham and Job.

Luke 12:20 — "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee" - Word Study on "shall be required of thee" - Strong says the Greek word απαιτέ ω (G 523) means, "to demand back." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 2times in the Old Testament. In the KJV, it is translated, "ask again 1, requite 1."

God gives us life and He takes it away. God gives man his life in order to be a steward of it, for one day, each person will have to give an account of how he has used this gift of life. He requires an account of this life on the Day of Judgment. We see this day of reckoning in the Parable of the Talents ( Matthew 25:14-30).

Matthew 25:19, "After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them."

Comments - It is God who speaks and commands the soul to leave the body.

Luke 12:20 — "then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided" - Comments - The transfer of an inheritance can be very unpredictable, even when planned. In Africa the brothers of the deceased man often come and take their dead brother's possessions, even the home, leaving the widow and children destitute. In the U.S. siblings often squabble over the inheritance, selling the assets for cash to pay off debts or squandering it, while the material possessions are transferred into the hands of strangers.

Luke 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.


Verses 22-53

Jesus Warns His Disciples About Covetousness and Exhorts Them to Seek First the Kingdom of God - After Jesus corrects a person in the crowd who asks for part of his inheritance ( Luke 12:13-21) by telling him a parable of the rich fool He then turns to His disciples and exhorts them on this same issue ( Luke 12:22-53). He will finish this subject by rebuking the people for not being able to judge the times that they were in during Jesus' earthly ministry ( Luke 12:54-59).

Outline- Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus Speaks Seeking the Kingdom First — Luke 12:22-34

2. The Parable of the Watchful and the Careless Servants — Luke 12:35-48

3. Jesus Came to Bring Division — Luke 12:49-53

Luke 12:22-34 — Jesus Speaks on the Cares of this World and Seeking the Kingdom First ( Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 6:19-21) - In Luke 12:22-34 Jesus turns to His disciples and warns them about the cares and anxieties of this life. He exhorts them to seek first the Kingdom of God and know that their Heavenly Father will watch over them.

Although this passage of Scripture is also found in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus probably taught it on many occasions during His public ministry, so this passage cannot be considered out of place relative to its position in the Sermon on the Mount.

Luke 12:31-32Comments- The Kingdom of God- It is God"s pleasure to give His children the things of the Kingdom. These include many things, such as good health, prosperity, etc. However, being saved does not mean that we automatically get all these things from God. We have to learn to walk by faith in many areas of our lives in order to receive God"s blessings of the kingdom in each area. Although God is pleased to let us have them, we must possess them by faith.

Luke 12:35-48 — The Parable of the Watchful and the Careless Servants ( Matthew 24:45-51) - In Luke 12:35-48 Jesus tells a parable about faithfulness and watchfulness for the Lord's Coming.

Luke 12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

Luke 12:35Comments- The figurative phrase "let your loins be girded about" implies that a person be in a state of readiness. Regarding the phrase "your lights burning," we may compare it to the Parable of the Ten Virgins ( Matthew 25:1-13), where Frances Roberts says that the lamp represents the Word of God, while the oil represents the Holy Spirit that illuminates the Word and the fire of the lamp represents the fire of testimony that goes forth from those who witness to others of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and in particular of the Second Coming of Christ. 230] Thus, Jesus is describing a person in Luke 12:35 who is ready and looking for Christ's Return while proclaiming to others to prepare themselves for this eminent event.

230] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 159.

Luke 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

Luke 12:37Comments - My wife and I served as missionaries in Uganda, East Africa for thirteen years. We hired security guards to protect our residence. They were posted at the entrance gate and opened and closed it for us as we came in and out. If they left their post unattended, we were disturbed when we need to leave or enter. We felt that they were doing their job well when they were at their post. My wife would reward these faithful guards by giving them food, clothing, and various gifts.

Luke 12:39Comments- We not only should be living our lives in cleanness of heart ready for Jesus' return, but we should also be ready for the thief, or the devil, when he comes.

Luke 12:41Comments - In Luke 12:41 Peter asks Jesus if the Parable of the Watchful Servants ( Luke 12:35-40) was for them or for the people. If for them, then he would like Jesus to give the disciples an explanation. Jesus gave the disciples special attention in His teachings by explaining His parables. For example, Jesus explained to the meaning of the Parable of the Sower while hiding it from the people ( Luke 8:9-10). Therefore, they were not sure if the Parable of the Watchful Servants ( Luke 12:35-40) was intended as a teaching for them or for the people. Peter may have been requesting Jesus to interpret it for them. If we look back, we find that Jesus was now addressing the disciples specifically ( Luke 12:22); Jesus has just commented about "letting your loins be girded about, and your lights burning" ( Luke 12:35), which is similar to the teaching Jesus gave the disciples when He sent out them by twos to preach the Gospel. Therefore, Jesus will answer Peter by explaining how all men will be judged according to the proportion with which God has entrusted each human, both believers and not believers. Everyone has a certain level of responsibility before God.

Luke 8:9-10, "And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand."

As believers progress in the service of the Lord, God reveals deeper things to mature ministers of the Gospel regarding their offices and responsibilities, things not reveals to younger ministers. However, these older ministers now carry a greater weight of responsibility in the ministry that is not yet carried by the younger servants of God.

Luke 12:44Comments - Luke 12:44 shows that if a man will be faithful with a few responsibilities that God has given him, then God will entrust with him more.

Luke 16:10, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."

Luke 12:45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

Luke 12:45Word Study on "drunken" - Strong says the Greek word "drunken" ( μεθύσκω) (G 3182) mean, "to intoxicate." Vine says this Greek word describes the process or state of becoming μεθύω (G 3184), which means, "to drink to intoxication." (Strong) This word is used three times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "be drunken 2, drunk 1." Each use of the word is in reference to being intoxicated with alcohol ( Luke 12:45, Ephesians 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:7).

Luke 12:45, "But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;"

Ephesians 5:18, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;"

1 Thessalonians 5:7, "For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night."

Luke 12:47Comments - This parable addresses all people, both the multitudes and the disciples. The apostles would represent those who knew the Lord's will.

Luke 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Luke 12:47-48Comments - The Differing Levels of Accountability for the Servants- This parable addresses all people, both the multitudes and the disciples. The apostles would represent those who knew the Lord's will, while the multitudes would represent those who did not know His will.

Luke 12:49-53 — Jesus Came to Bring Division ( Matthew 10:34-36) - In Luke 12:49-53 Jesus addresses the issue of division that the disciples will experience when they faithfully serve the Lord. Jesus Christ has entered into a season of persecutions, culminating in His Passion ( Luke 53-54).

Luke 11:53-54, "And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things: Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him."

Luke 12:49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

Luke 12:49Comments - Many scholars believe Jesus is referring to the Gospel as a refining fire that purges the world and bring divisions between the believers and nonbelievers. In the preceding Parable of the Watchful and the Careless Servants ( Luke 12:35-48), Jesus addresses divine judgment. The preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will kindle a fire across the nations of the earth that blesses its recipients and judges its opponents with damnation ( 2 Corinthians 2:15-16). The fire has already been kindled with the increased persecutions against Jesus, which will lead to His Passion, or "baptism," as He mentions in the next verse.

2 Corinthians 2:15-16, "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?"

The phrase "send fire on the earth" reminds us of the fire coming down and consuming Elijah's sacrifice upon Mount Carmel ( 1 Kings 18:38) and the fire coming down and consuming the soldiers who were sent to bring Elijah to King Ahaziah ( 1 Kings 18:38, 2 Kings 1:12; 2 Kings 1:14).

1 Kings 18:38, "Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench."

2 Kings 1:12, "And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty."

2 Kings 1:14, "Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight."

Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

Luke 12:50Comments - Perhaps Luke 12:50 better explains the phrases in Mark 10:38-39 regarding baptism. Within the context of this passage in the Gospels, the word "baptism" refers to His death, burial and resurrection experience.

Mark 10:38-39, "But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:"

Luke 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

Luke 12:51Comments- In the parallel passage in Matthew's Gospel ( Matthew 10:34) Jesus says that He has come to bring a sword instead of division mentioned in Luke's Gospel. While the wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles will be torn down uniting both people, the Kingdom of God will have its division with the kingdom of Satan and those people under its bondage.

Matthew 10:34, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

Ephesians 2:14, "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;"

Luke 12:52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

Luke 12:52Comments -With the spread of the Gospel, there will be a spiritual division, and no longer a racial division (Jews and Gentiles, Greek and barbarian). This division will penetrate each race of peoples down to the smallest social unit, which is the family. Individuals of the same biological blood will find themselves separated from their loved ones because of their stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, believers divided from non-believers, faithful servants divided from unfaithful servants, who are mentioned in the previous parable.


Verses 54-59

Jesus Rebukes the People For Their Hypocrisy - In Luke 12:54-59 Jesus turns to the people and rebukes them for their hypocrisy. They were not able to judge the times that they were living in ( Luke 12:54-56) and they were not being willing to make peace with their accusers ( Luke 12:57-59). This is Jesus' closing remarks in response to the individual in the crowd who asked Jesus to arbitrate his inheritance. He summarizes by telling them that they can judge events in nature, yet they cannot judge righteously among themselves on moral matters.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Discerning the Times — Luke 12:54-56

2. Making Peace with Your Adversaries — Luke 12:57-59

Luke 12:54-56 — Discerning the Times ( Matthew 16:2-3) - In Luke 12:54-56 Jesus rebukes the people for not being able to judge the times that they were living in while being able to judge the natural world around them.

Luke 12:54Comments- To the west of Israel is the Mediterranean Sea, which brings moisture with its rain clouds.

Luke 12:55Comments- To the south of Israel is the Arabian Desert, which brings heat with its hot, dry winds.

Luke 12:57-59 — Making Peace with Your Adversaries ( Matthew 5:25-26) - In Luke 12:57-59 Jesus continues His rebuke to the people for their unwillingness to make peace with one another instead of dragging each other to court. This statement is made within the context of Luke 12:13-59 in which He was asked to be an arbitrator between an inheritance of two brothers.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Luke 12:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/luke-12.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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