Online Bible studies in the Christian New Testament - Luke 12 Bible study

Open Witness


12:1 Meanwhile, when many thousands of the crowd had gathered so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to

his disciples, "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.


In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.


The crowds that gathered around Jesus increased to such a large one that they stepping on each other.   Jesus turned first to His disciples to warn them to watch out for the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.   For there were those among them to would pretend to believe in order to trap them.


12:2-3 Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing is secret that will not be made known. So then whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops.


For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.  Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.


Therefore He tells them that those things which have been revealed to them by Him and spoken of among them will be openly made known. Those things they speak of Him in secret, behind closed doors, will be openly declared so that all will hear and know the Goods News, the gospel, that has been entrusted to them (John 20:19 and Acts 2:1-14).


12:4-7 I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more they can do. But I will warn you whom you should fear: Fear the one who, after the killing, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Aren't five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.


Jesus calls his discilpes his friends (John 15:15) We are of more value ot God than the rest of His creation, yet He takes care even of sparrows. God cares for us so completely that our hairs themselves are numbered. They are not to fear what men might do them for all they can do is to kill the body (Psalm 118:6). There is only one whom they should have a fear of and that is God for He alone is able to destroy both body and soul and has the power to cast into hell.


12:8-9 I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before God's angels. But the one who denies me before men will be denied before God's angels.


Whoever openly gives witness to the confession of His faith and that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Saviour before all men He will also acknowledge and own them before the angels of God.   But whoever denies and disowns Jesus Christ will  be disowned before the angels of God.


12:10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.


And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.


12:11-12 But when they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you should make your defense or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you must say.


When charges are made against the disciples for proclaiming the words and teachings of Jesus Christ and are brought before the synagogues, the magistrates and authorities they are not to worry or prepare what they will answer to the charges.   The Holy Spirit will teach them in that very hour of need what to say.




12:13-14 Then someone from the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." But Jesus said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator between you two?"


A man in the crowd comes to Jesus wanting Him to tell his brother to share the inheritance with Him. The Lord Jesus Christ tells the man that He has not been appointed a judge in affairs between of men.


12:15 Then he said to them, "Watch out and guard yourself from all types of greed, because one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."


Jesus takes this opportunity to warn the people about covetousness which would seem to suggest that the man who had come to him was coveting something that was not his right to have. Life is not about having a lot of material possessions.


12:16 He then told them a parable: "The land of a certain rich man produced an abundant crop.


To illustrate this point Jesus tells them a parable about a very rich man whose field had produced an abundant crop.


12:17-18 So he thought to himself, 'What should I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' Then he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.


He had such a great harvest that he didn't have enough barns to store it all in so he decided to pull down his old barns and build bigger ones so that he could store all his goods in.


12:19 And I will say to myself, "You have plenty of goods stored up for many years; relax, eat, drink, celebrate!" '


In the pride of his heart he told himself that now he had enough wealth stored up that would last him for many years he could take it easy and spent the rest of his life in eating, drinking and making making merry.   He thought that he would live long enough to do this.


12:20 But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded back from you, but who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'


God calls such a man who lays up treasure for himself on earth and thinks that life is only a matter of food and drink and earthly pleasures, a fool. God spoke to this man and told that this very night he would die (Job 27:8 and James 4:14). After he has gone who get all the wealth that he has left behind ?


12:21 So it is with the one who stores up riches for himself, but is not rich toward God."


That is how it will be for everyone who hoards up wealth for himself but neglects God and has no relationship with Him


God Knows and Cares


12:22-23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For there is more to life than food, and more to the body than clothing.


After telling this parable Jesus turns to His disciples to let them know why they should not seek after the things of this world or worry about whether they will have enough food to eat or clothes to wear. Although food feeds the body and maintains its well being life is more than that. The body is not the clothes that is worn, it is more than that (Deut. 8:3 and Luke 4:4).


12:24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds!


Take for example the ravens they do not sow seed nor reap an harvest, they do not have barns to store their food in; yet God feeds them. Of how much greater value are Gods people.


12:25-26 And which of you by worrying can add an hour to his life? So if you cannot do such a very little thing as this, why do you worry about the rest?


No one can add one inch to their height so why worry about it.   If we cannot do even this little thing what's the point of worrying about the bigger things.


12:27 Consider how the flowers grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these!


Take a look at how the lilies grow; they don't work or make their clothes; yet Solomon in all his greatness and wealth was not as dressed as beautiful as they are.


12:28 And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, how much more will he clothe you, you people of little faith!


If God cares so much for flowers that he clothes them although they last for only a short time how much more does He care and provides for His own; even though you have so little faith.


12:29 So do not be overly concerned about what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not worry about such things.


Do not then worry about what to eat or drink worry about such things.


12:30 For all the nations of the world pursue these things, and your Father knows that you need them.


The minds of unbelievers all over the world are filled with these things, their lives consist of them. But God our Father knows that we need these things and will therefore provide.


12:31 Instead, pursue his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.


As we desire and seek after the things of the Kingdom of God those that we need God will give to us.


12:32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleased to give you the kingdom.


Do not be filled with alarm or taken with fear flock of God for Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd and it is the God the Father delight to give to you all that pertains to the Kingdom.


12:33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out — a treasure in heaven that never decreases, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.


If you are a property owner and have great possessions sell them and give the proceeds to the poor (Acts 4:34).   This will store up eternal treasure for you in the purse of heaven which will never wear out and is safe from any thief and no moth will destroy.


12:34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


If our hearts desire is to seek and obtain the treasure of heaven then this is where our hearts will be centered (Col. 3:1-2).


Be Ready for Christ's Return


12:35 Get dressed for service and keep your lamps burning.


Continuing His discourse  with the crowds He exhorts them to be ever ready for when He returns in glory.   First of all He tells them to be girded about with the truth of the Word of God ready to serve (Ephesians 6:14).   Keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit so that your lives are always a light, a witness to be seen of all men.


12:36  Be like people waiting for their master to come back from the wedding celebration, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.


Be like servants who wait at the door ready to immediately open and receive their master when he returns and knocks to be let in.   So be ready to receive Christ the bridegroom of the Church ( see parable of the ten virgins Matthew 25:1).


12:37 Blessed are those slaves whom their master finds alert when he returns! I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, have them take their place at the table, and will come and wait on them!


Those faithful servants, believers, who are ready and watching for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ shall be blessed indeed. For these He will be ready and willing to serve them at His banqueting table (John 13:4-5).


12:38 Even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night and finds them alert, blessed are those slaves!


Jesus may come at anytime in the middle of the night or just before the dawn no matter when those that are watching, waiting and ready will be blessed.


12:39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.


Be sure of this that if a householder knew what time a thief would come to break in and steal he would be ready and watching for him in order to stop him breaking in.


12:40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.


Even so must the disciples of Jesus be ready for His return for He will come at a time that they will not expect Him.


12:41 Then Peter said, "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?"


Peter who had been listening keenly to what the Lord had been saying asked Jesus if He was speaking only to the disciples or all the people.


12:42 The Lord replied, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his household servants, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time?


In reply Jesus asks him who does he think is that faithful and wise steward whom the Lord has appointed to take charge of His household to make sure that they are fed. He did not directly answer Peter's question but let Peter gather from His reply whom He meant.   It is the disciples, apostles, that He has appointed to be responsible for feeding His people with the Word of God (John 21:15-17).


12:43 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds at work when he returns.


When He returns if Jesus Christ finds that disciple has remained true and faithful in doing that which He has asked of them then he will be blessed.


12:44 I tell you the truth, the master will put him in charge of all his possessions.


Jesus Christ will of a truth make that disciple in charge of all He owns.


12:45-46 But if that slave should say to himself, 'My master is delayed in returning,' and he begins to beat the other slaves, both men and women, and to eat, drink, and get drunk, then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, and will cut him in two, and assign him a place with the unfaithful.


However, if a disciple says to himself the Lord is not coming yet and begins to think that He is slack concerning His promise and begins to lord it over God's people and to live a loose life. The Lord will come at a time when he is not looking or expecting Him and will punish and cut him off and he shall have his portion with the unbelievers.


12:47 That servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or do what his master asked will receive a severe beating.


The disciple who knows the will of the Lord but does not heed it or prepared to do according to His will shall be severely punished.


12:48 But the one who did not know his master's will and did things worthy of punishment will receive a light beating. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked.


Someone who does not know the will of the Lord and does something wrong will receive only a light punishment.   When someone has receive a greater understanding of the Word of God much more will be required of them.   When someone has been much entrusted with the things of God more will be required of them.


Christ Divides


12:49 I have come to bring fire on the earth — and how I wish it were already kindled!


Taken in the context of the following verses Jesus uses the word fire here to mean discord, contention. He came to give His life on the cross as a sacrifice for sin there would be those who accept Him as their Lord and Saviour and those who would reject Him. It is this fact that would cause contention in the world. This had not yet happened although Jesus was already causing division among the Jews therefore He says that he wished that it was already so.


12:50 I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is finished!


The baptism He refers to here is not water baptism for He had already been baptised in water by John. Neither is it the baptism of the Holy Spirit for The Spirit had already descended and remained upon Him at His water baptism. Jesus means the terrible sufferings that He would go through in taking our sins upon Himself bearing them in His own body upon the cross. Until this is accomplished He bears this heavy burden that He has to fulfil His Father's will (Luke 22:42).


12:51 Do you think I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!


Although Jesus is the "Prince of Peace" and the angels at His birth proclaimed "Peace on earth" it was not the peace of the ending of conflict that was meant but the peace of reconciliation between man and God that He would bring about through His death on the cross. Therefore He says that He has not come to bring peace on earth but rather division.


12:52 For from now on there will be five in one household divided, three against two and two against three.


From His time onward families would be split apart: three against two and two against three, believers and unbelievers.


12:53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."


A father will be against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter in law and daughter-in-law against mother-in law.


Discerning the Times


12:54-55 Jesus also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, 'A rainstorm is coming,' and it does. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, 'There will be scorching heat,' and there is.


Turning to the crowds Jesus tells them that when they see clouds beginning to form in the west they say they know it is going to rain, and so it does.   When the wind blows from the south they know that it will be very hot, and it is.


12:56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how can you not know how to interpret the present time?


He calls them "hypocrites", playactors for they know how to read the weather signs of the earth and sky yet they pretend or do not want to understand or accept the scriptures that show that He is the Messiah.


12:57 And why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?


They cannot even decide for themselves that which is true.


12:58 As you are going with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, so that he will not drag you before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.


For instance when you go with your accuser before the magistrates do your best to settle your account with him before you get there so that you are not brought before the judge and thrown into prison.  This would seem to refer to a person who is rightly accused of a wrong done but will do anything to get away with it instead of owning up that he/she is in the wrong.   Like those who are determined not to believe and accept that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Saviour.


12:59 I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid the very last cent!"


Such a person will never be set free because they will not be able to pay the price.  If they do not accept that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for their sin upon the cross and accept Him as their Lord and Saviour they will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).


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