Luke Chapter 12
Posted by adventbiblestudy on December 6, 2014
Luke Chapter 12
Luke 12:1-59 NLTse Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees–their hypocrisy. (2) The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. (3) Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear! (4) “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. (5) But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear. (6) “What is the price of five sparrows–two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. (7) And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. (8) “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. (9) But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. (10) Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (11) “And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, (12) for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.” (13) Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” (14) Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” (15) Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” (16) Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. (17) He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.‘ (18) Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. (19) And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”‘ (20) “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ (21) “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” (22) Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. (23) For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. (24) Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! (25) Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? (26) And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? (27) “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. (28) And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? (29) “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. (30) These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. (31) Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. (32) “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. (33) “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. (34) Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (35) “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, (36) as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. (37) The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! (38) He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready. (39) “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. (40) You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” (41) Peter asked, “Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone?” (42) And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. (43) If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. (44) I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. (45) But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? (46) The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful. (47) “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. (48) But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. (49) “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! (50) I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. (51) Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! (52) From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against–or two in favor and three against. (53) ‘Father will be divided against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.'” (54) Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. (55) When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. (56) You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times. (57) “Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right? (58) When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison. (59) And if that happens, you won’t be free again until you have paid the very last penny.”
Secrets Will Be Made Known
Luke 12:1-3 NLTse Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees–their hypocrisy. (2) The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. (3) Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!
Although verse one sets the pace for the context of this chapter, it hardly seems to fit the story that follows. It almost appears to be out of place. This is a signal to stop and think. By think, I mean pray. This verse sends us back to see how the previous chapter ended. The end of the preceding chapter always leads into the next chapter. In this case, the question is, why are those people stepping on one another?
Also remember, the introduction and summation to chapters establish context and the main theme of the chapter.
When something is unusual, it is time to pay attention.
When God repeats Himself, it is time to pay attention.
There could be a number of reasons. Two of the major reasons why Luke mentioned this was to call attention to the number of people coming to see Jesus. The other reason is of a spiritual nature. To determine the spiritual nature, we have to rely on the Bible to explain the spiritual reasoning. The best place to look is the end of the previous chapter. “What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.” As Jesus was leaving, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees became hostile and tried to provoke him with many questions. They wanted to trap him into saying something they could use against him.(Luke 11:52-54 NLTse).
People can physically step on each other, or they can verbally step on people. Looking back to the end of chapter 11, we see people opposed Jesus. While some wanted to listen and learn, others were filled with doubt. The previous chapter centered on people asking Jesus for a miraculous sign. What He showed them and what He taught was not enough for them.
We can see what a personal matter it is to learn from Jesus. People who saw Jesus teach and heal had doubts. It took a lot more than seeing Jesus to believe. It took a lot more than seeing Jesus cast out demons to believe. It also takes a lot more than going up to people, slapping a piece of paper in their hands and asking them if they believe. To look at evidence recorded in the Bible then thinking a piece of paper has more power than Christ is insane.
Going back to the prayer Jesus taught, it takes a personal experience with Jesus to believe as much as it takes a personal experience with God to see what His Kingdom is. I wonder how many Christians actually have a relationship with God and His Son. If they did, they’d have no problem understanding the message Jesus had to keep repeating in front of live crowds.
Why did Jesus link those Pharisees with the message about to be revealed to the world. Let’s look at a quick list of the first three verses.
People stepped on each other.
Pharisees and their hypocrisy.
All that is secret will be made known to all.
When we ask what details will be made known, scripture shows us those secrets are the type of secrets people don’t want revealed. We have to look at this in context. Jesus explained how to pray. In that prayer, Jesus told us to ask for forgiveness. This is personal between you and God. That is choice number one.
What happens when you don’t pray like Jesus taught? What happens if you don’t ask to be forgiven? What happens when you don’t create the close connection with God shown in that prayer? Those secrets will be revealed. Details people don’t want anyone to know about. The second choice is to ignore Jesus, what He taught, and question everything He’s done. Then one day, everything you want to keep hidden will be revealed.
Don’t Be Afraid
Luke 12:4-7 NLTse “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. (5) But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear. (6) “What is the price of five sparrows–two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. (7) And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
It’s an eerie feeling knowing one day all your sins will be revealed if you decided not to confess them in private with God. We could jump all over the Bible to prove one doctrinal belief on sin or another, but that’s not the type of contextual study we’ve seen and learned. What we need to do is stick with this chapter, continue to look back, and let Luke’s book explain the issues at hand.
Jesus jumped from telling thousands of people everything they’ll try to hide will be known. Jesus followed up that grime news with a word of hope. “Dear friends, don’t be afraid.” Jesus limited that to people trying to kill your body – the physical realm. Those people can’t touch you in the spiritual realm because they don’t understand it.
Remember in chapter 11 how Jesus had to present three warnings before those Pharisees figured out those warnings were for them. The same is true here. People apply that message shouted from the roof tops to a lot of things. But most people don’t pay attention to context. They also ignore the sequence, the order Jesus followed as He tried to teach those people.
Anyone Who Blasphemes the Holy Spirit
Luke 12:8-12 NLTse “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. (9) But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. (10) Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (11) “And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, (12) for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.”
If you don’t see a climax in the sequence Jesus is following, your not paying attention. When people write novels, stories, reports, or lessons, they often build to a climax in the middle of a chapter. Then add details to explain the lesson after the climax. If blasphemy against God’s Spirit is not a climax, I don’t know what is. Once again, let’s list the sequence.
Chapter 11 ended with religious leaders doing all the could to trap Jesus.
Chapter 12 began with a large crowd gathering around Jesus while stepping all over one another.
Then Jesus warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees–their hypocrisy.
Jesus told them their deepest, darkest secrets would one day be known.
Jesus told them not to fear people who only knew how to physically hurt, but to fear God.
Jesus told them not to be afraid because God knows about them and loves them.
This is where Jesus begins a new phase of His message, sort of a new introduction. This is why it contains a climax. This climax centers on two classes of people. One will do anything to put an end to Jesus’ ministry. The others want to listen to Jesus and learn. Any kind of real life experience will tell you, both those groups are minorities. The vast majority of people are some place in the middle.
Some people know about Jesus, but couldn’t care less about Him. He is just not their thing in life. Some people know a little about Jesus, like what they hear, but don’t want to get any closer. Some people know a little bit about Jesus, but think they know everything. Some people know a little about Jesus, but because He is not around, feel they can create their own image. Of course there are some people who want to take advantage of that need to create an image of Christ, and profit from it. Some people have a pretty good idea about what Jesus taught, but they want to sit and wait as long as they can before reacting to those lessons.
There are more ways to look at Jesus and believe in Him as there are people. But few people really know Jesus. Previous chapters showed how Jesus’ disciples misunderstood Him, and some times ignored what He told them. And of course there is the example of that one disciple who betrayed Him. An example like that would not exist if it didn’t teach a much deeper lesson and have a personal effect on millions of people.
The first question we should ask is, what does it take to acknowledge Jesus? Many people like to think it takes little or no effort to be saved. There’s a clear lesson in verse 8. The original Greek word translated acknowledge here, actually means to covenant, be at the same place at the same time together, and communicate. What did you think acknowledge meant? What have you been taught? Do people around you place a simple meaning of nothing more than to know about?
As we can see, the spiritual side of this lesson is just below the surface. But we have to look a little deeper and spend a little more time searching. What did Jesus teach about seeking? Didn’t He promise a door would be opened? Isn’t the soul of acknowledging Christ spending time with Him and getting to really know Him? Isn’t looking deeper into His Word one of those ways of getting to know Him?
I use a free Bible Study program called E-Sword. With this free program, you can add a number of free Bibles. One you have to download is called the KJV+. This is the version containing Strong’s numbers and works with the Strong Concordance, a very important Bible Study tool containing Hebrew and Greek dictionaries. In this example, I looked up the word Herod in the KVJ+, looked at the Strong’s number to find it was the name of four kings in Jerusalem. One of the Bibles you may want to buy is the NLTse (New Living Translation, second edition).
We’ve learned quite a bit from one verse. What about the next verse? What does it mean to deny Jesus? Doesn’t Jesus speak in a much more direct and easy to understand way to people who really need the message? The word translated denies comes from a Greek word meaning to contradict or reject. It goes much deeper than that. It also means to be in a union and to speak. That one Greek word shows how people will group together to contradict and reject Jesus. You would think the word translated denied has a close relationship to the word denies. It does to an extent. But the word denied actually means to utterly deny and separate from.
Jesus repeated the same statement, but used an easier word to understand. Forgiven is the key word repeated. Jesus expected people to ignore Him and speak out against Him. That’s nothing more than human reaction. That never stopped Jesus from reaching out to them. Jesus was and always is ready to forgive them.
Then why are people who blasphemes the Holy Spirit not be forgiven? What’s the difference? The words speaks against and blasphemes mean virtually the same thing. The difference of being forgiven and not must be seen between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Also look at the close association between the set of key words blasphemes is related to. Denies, denied, and against, all led up to blasphemes. It is not only an action to reject God’s Spirit, it is a process that leads to all out denial of the only power that can lead you to salvation.
Although turning against God’s Spirit is often associated as a group effort, going back to follow God’s Spirit is an individual effort. That’s one of the reasons people were stepping all over one another. So many different ideas and opinions confused the simple lesson Jesus was teaching. Isn’t that the way the gospels are taught these days? People take out one little verse, story, lesson, or parable, and tell you what they think it means. They separate it from the chapter it is recorded and instead of allowing God’s Word and His Spirit to explain the spiritual lesson, they reject their help and rely on themselves.
Jesus brought the individual effort to listen to God’s Spirit out in the example of a trial. Are people tried as a group or as individuals? Another detail to think about. When Jesus judges people, will He judge nations, religions, and other groups as one entity, or as individuals?
Jesus used the example of a trial to show people how God’s Spirit will tell them what to say when the time comes in an individual manner. So don’t reply on some corporate message to work. When God has a message for you, He will make it loud and clear and will confirm it. You may not understand a lot about the lessons Jesus taught. You may have a lot of people stepping all over you and confusing you. But when God’s Spirit speaks, you have to listen to Him. Rejecting His voice is, well you saw what Jesus warned about.
Who Made Me Judge
Luke 12:13-14 NLTse Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” (14) Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?”
This is a short lesson. How does it relate to the previous statement about God’s Spirit telling you what to say when you stand trial? What happens when people cannot agree on an estate? They go in front of a judge who makes a decision. The lesson here, the guy who asked the question didn’t listen to Jesus. Just like a lot of people who read this verse time and time again and don’t see the simple relationship.
Jesus just told the man to listen to God’s Spirit. The man ignored what Jesus said. The man rejected the chance to listen to God’s Spirit. The man’s focus was controlled by the promise of a financial gain. Jesus saw that and wanted to use this as an opportunity to introduce a new lesson.
A Fool Stores Up Wealth On Earth
Luke 12:15-30 NLTse Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” (16) Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. (17) He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.‘ (18) Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. (19) And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”‘ (20) “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ (21) “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” (22) Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. (23) For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. (24) Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! (25) Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? (26) And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? (27) “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. (28) And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? (29) “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. (30) These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.
Let’s take a look at this rich farmer and the situation he found himself in. Using Jesus’ introduction, we see the story is about life and the things you own. We can term this in two major categories. The first that comes to mind it greed. Along side that, we can compare generosity.
There seems to be two ways to study the Bible. One jumps around from chapter to chapter and book to book on a sort of hit and miss method looking for an explanation. The other method sticks to the chapter and compares the style the author used and how one story or other lessons in that chapter relate to one another. There were also two ways of crossing the wilderness. The first was a direct course to enter the promised land. The second was to wander around from place to place. Which way are you going to take?
In this study, we will stay with the tried and true method of context. We will rely on what Jesus said, how He built up to this story, and the common threads between those stories. To accomplish this, we show faith in Jesus knowing what He is doing and has been guided by God’s Spirit into a series of events and stories designed to reveal a far greater truth than we could every derive at by jumping around hoping to find an answer that fits our beliefs and those of the world. In this case, the lesson has a lot to do with the way the world conducts business. So we’d better pay attention to the wisdom of Heaven in this series of lessons.
Jesus used a series of key words pointing to business in this world. Measured by how much you own pretty much sums up the direction this world has been going for a long time. Remember, Jesus taught this lesson over 2000 years ago. Things have not changed much since that time.
Other key words such as rich, goods, wealth, and valuable, all relate to another set of key words Jesus repeated, store and stored. Jesus made it easy to see how this lesson evolves around the need to build up wealth. Whatever people have never seems to be enough.
It may take a bit of practice to develop a pattern highlighting key words. I look at it as a fundamental and necessary way for God’s Spirit to slow you down and get you to listen. It’s difficult to thoroughly highlight all the key words in one pass. You have no choice but to go back and forth over scripture to do a complete job. Many people have heard of other texts in the Bible that show us how to study, such as line upon line, and using a churning method of going back and forth over scripture. Now you know what that means.
Since Jesus is the one repeating those terms, we know we have to pay attention to those key words He established with a purpose. Other key words Jesus used are, food, harvest, and feeds. Those are related to another set of key words, cares, care, and concern. At this point, this collection of key words should be churning up stories and lessons in your life. That’s great. That’s God’s Spirit working along side you. As long as those stories, lessons, and examples are related to the main theme in this chapter which is, people stepping on one another, watching out for hypocrisy, and the summation, being dragged in front of a judge and paying the last penny. All of those have one theme in common. They all deal with the way people do business in this world.
Often times, people need to open up their eyes to see how this world operates before they can see or accept a vision and message about Heaven which does not open a door to an all out frontal attack on people and the way they act. None of us is perfect, nor have we been in the past. We all made mistakes, we’ve all compromised, we all attacked or stepped on people in one way or another. We have to remain humble in our message, and we have to be sure, that message came from God. This chapter is showing how Heaven’s normal operating procedure is far different from this world.
I can’t help but share something that happened to me this week. I think it shows how greed spreads like a cancer and controls like a demon. I work as an independent contractor for two companies. I set up a sale for three pieces of equipment to one buyer, who just happened to be a nonprofit organization. That had no bearing on my decision.
The fact of the matter is, the company I work for expects me to generate all my leads, procure sales and advertising agreements on every piece of equipment, handle all the sales calls from potential buyers, show the equipment, and fill in the bill of sale and invoices online. I also gather all the vital information on equipment and load it on their website. Sounds easy. The company maintains the website, and sends the completed invoice and bill of sale to the buyer and seller via email.
On the average, it takes me about 10 calls, which is often visits to a business location, to get one interested seller. That seller may have one piece of equipment to sell, or they may have three or more. I take a day to get all the information on the equipment, look for comparative equipment on the Internet to establish a selling price, and load all the information on their Internet site. Every sale requires days of work on my end. But the company give my less than 30% of any profit we make. That’s one problem.
Another problem came up when I worked with a buyer and gave them a really good price to buy three pieces of equipment. I figured I’d invest less time my end, because I listed all three pieces at the same time, and saved a lot of time because I used the same comps for all three pieces. The company doesn’t have a lot of time invested in the sale. The profit for the company to do the advertising was much better than expected on a single sale, but less than if they sold separately. The seller will get all the money he anticipated, and there is no reason to go back and haggle with him. Which is good.
But my manager disagreed. He told me the company now set minimum profits on all the pieces we advertise. They want to make their money and that is it. He talked my ear off about how my loyalty should lie with the company and not with the sellers I work with. I was taken back. What happened with the adage of volume is better in the long run. And that comment about where my loyalty lies. Don’t I owe loyalty to all parties involved? Since when does the interests of one company take precedence over all other matters?
The worst thing about that discussion was how I’ve seen that manager change over the months. I used to look at him as a faithful, trustworthy man with a heart. He has taken special needs children into his life and opened his home to them. We’ve prayed together for those kids. I thought he would understand the significance of putting deals together that benefit all parties involved and all parties are treated fairly.
I prayed about this and had a thousands issues going through my head. I also looked back at events leading up to this. One of the pastors I worked with did some work on a house for someone. After he finished, the person told him, they were going to get a relative to do the work for free. So they didn’t think they owed the pastor anything for his time and work. But the pastor relies on his home remodeling business to make a living, support his family, and ministry. The pastor asked why they didn’t say anything when they accepted the bid and signed for him to do the work. Then he took what those people wanted to pay, which was a fraction of what they agreed to.
I could see how Christians, much like Jesus, allow people to walk those paths they choose. There’s no reason to complain or worry about such matters. Don’t you think God saw that coming? Don’t you think God knows how to establish blessings as well as curses and who deserves which? Don’t you think God smiles when something like this happens and people like that pastor look up to God and ask why, and what should I learn from this?
I also have a number of other issues that taught me to accept what is offered and turn the other cheek. And one time, I was blessed by someone who gave me far more than expected. But when men set minimum expectations and think their hard and fast rules out weight common sense and time to talk over individual issues with God, something is wrong. Something has to give. Something has to change.
I was really surprised how a set of company owners could put so much pressure on the manager I work with and change him. I can see the message in all of that. Greed changes people and when they are in a position, they will not hesitate to use and change people to do business in a way that benefits themselves, even if it disregards the other parties involved and God.
It seems to be the problem that farmer had in the story Jesus told. If we looked back at those laws of Moses, the religious leaders liked to refer to, there is something about bringing the first of the crops to God. That amounted to 10% of the harvest. Jesus didn’t mention the man being concerned about that. And why stop at 10%? If he had more, why didn’t he share it?
There is another part to that law recorded by Moses. The priests were supposed to share their portion with widows, poor, orphans, and strangers. “Every third year you must offer a special tithe of your crops. In this year of the special tithe you must give your tithes to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, so that they will have enough to eat in your towns. Then you must declare in the presence of the LORD your God, ‘I have taken the sacred gift from my house and have given it to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, just as you commanded me. I have not violated or forgotten any of your commands. (Deuteronomy 26:12-13 NLTse).
Although that law said every third year, wouldn’t God and those people appreciate a gift on any year? The thing that surprised me is, the religious leaders didn’t think about making such a comment. None of them wanted to look beyond what Moses recorded and Jesus taught.
Jesus wanted them to see and understand how God looks over and shows concern for the little things in life. Most of those things people take for granted. They don’t worry about them, but the plants still grow and the birds still sing. Each multiples no matter how much or little thought people give them. It makes me wonder how much worrying the man went through as his crops grew at an unexpected rate.
The man could not have seen the blessing God was preparing for him. There is no indication he planned for such a blessing. Even though his heart was shut out from the thoughts and aspects of helping others, God blessed him beyond his expectations. It was a test.
It took an entire season for that crop to grow and a few days for the man to figure out what to do with them. Once he made the wrong choice, everything was gone in a second. Now what? We can look back a few verses to answer that question. After he died, his relatives had to figure out who got what. We can see that from the man who came to Jesus asking Him to tell his brother to give him a portion of the inheritance. Another example showing how greed grows. The man asking Jesus to settle the inheritance never mentioned what he was going to do with the inheritance he wanted. Was he going to share it, or keep it for himself?
Neither Jesus, nor Luke got into any specific details of what happened with either inheritance. That is one of those personal matters we see shouted from roof tops at the beginning of the chapter. Sort of makes you sit and think for a while. Those matters extend beyond an inheritance.
Where Your Treasure Is
Luke 12:31-34 NLTse Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. (32) “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. (33) “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. (34) Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
My daughter gave me a painting she made of this verse from the KJV. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Luke 12:31 KJV). I have it hanging in my bedroom. It is always something to keep in mind and refer to. Especially when things are not going so well. Which can be most of the time. But remember, God always has a plan. Praise the LORD!!!
Would that farmer have given his excess crops to the poor if someone told him what Jesus told those people the details He followed that story up with? Were those Levites sharing their food with the poor like Moses told them? Or is this world sinking away into a grave of greed on all sides?
Many people speculate and make up their own stories about purses with holes, thieves, and moths, but do the have the impact Jesus taught with? “You fool! You will die this very night.” I don’t know a quicker or more direct way to get to the physical and spiritual point but to get back to the point Jesus taught.
There has to be a minimum thought given to where your treasure lies and is built up. After all, if company owners can declare a minimum profit margin, shouldn’t God be allowed to request a minimum amount of consideration? That’s a personal matter to decide between you and God.
Be Dressed For Service
Luke 12:35-40 NLTse “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, (36) as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. (37) The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! (38) He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready. (39) “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. (40) You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”
Are you eagerly waiting for Jesus’ return? Be honest now. How eager are you? What does it mean to be dressed for service? Jesus just used a treasure to symbolize a reward in Heaven. Jesus didn’t describe any details about that treasure. If you want details, you gotta have a talk with God.
Jesus continued talking about a reward. Then Jesus added another condition to that reward. People need to be servants and they have to be ready. Since treasure and reward are symbols, the part about being dressed and the burning lamp must also be symbols.
The funny thing about this parable, a lot of people look at the word servant as a symbol. Is it? Most people think it points to some one else, or everyone else, but not themselves. Servant is the key word in that parable. As usual, it either points back or forward to other stories that explain what the word servants points to. In this case, when we look back, the only other key word that seems to fit is disciples. Was this restricted to only Jesus’ disciples? Was this parable restricted to only the twelve apostles? Or did this invitation extend to people like the farmer in that parable? He died in one night after he hit it rich.
On the spiritual side, did that invitation extend out to people represented by those sparrows? What about the man looking for riches? The man who asked Jesus to make his brother settle the estate with him. What was that man doing to get ready? What about those people Jesus talked about, who worried about everything. What were they doing to be ready? Or would they miss the master because they were too wrapped up in the world? Kind of reminds me about that parable with the farmer and his seeds.
Remember when you were a kid and were about to run a race? Someone would say, “ready, set, go.” Then everyone would run as fast as they could, even if they couldn’t win the race. Did you give it your best, even if you didn’t win?
Is this race in life run from the Christian side any different? There’s two ways to look at this. The first is running instead of sitting or standing still. What would people think if that ready, set, go was shouted and you stood still? What would your friends think of you? What kind of impression do you make on people when you join God’s team, but you refuse to run? What kind of impression is that?
Clothing takes on too many symbols to try to nail down in this parable and this chapter has so far concentrated on the use and pull of money. It wouldn’t seem right to attempt to plug one meaning of a garment or clothing into this parable.
Once we leave a symbol open like this, it becomes a personal experience. Something to ponder on your own. Imagine if you would, Jesus buying you a shirt. What kind of shirt would you think He’d give you for a gift? How much attention do you think He would pay to your personality to make the right choice. In other words, make a choice you would be happy with.
Keeping your lamp burning looks back to the relationship you have with Jesus. The concept of Jesus shedding light in this world was introduced in chapter 1. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:76-79 KJV).
Luke introduced the concept of the wedding in chapter 5. And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. (Luke 5:34-35 KJV).
Both those signs send us back to review the past. Isn’t that part of a relationship, looking back and remembering the past? Many people collect little mementos to remember special moments. Do you have that kind of relationship with Jesus? It has something to do with that waiting period and being ready.
Then we come to another door opening. Remember the last door Jesus talked about? It was back in chapter 11, when the man knocked on his friend’s door for a long time begging for three loaves of bread to share with another friend who came to visit. Not only does this waiting have to be personal, it has to be shared.
We’re seeing how Jesus is linking those parables and stories in a spiritual way. He is sending us back to review. By reviewing, we’re being prepared…. to be ready. “The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded.” Jesus takes us all the way back to those sparrows in this chapter God cares so much about.
Then Jesus turns to the future for us. He also turned to a lesson He illustrated when He walked with His disciples. Jesus talked about putting on an apron and serving. It’s a promise Jesus gave us in regards to the big banquet we are all invited to. Not everyone will attend. Some will always be too busy with worldly things to accept that invitation. But for those of us who make it to that dinner, we’ll see Jesus serving like He promised.
Jesus also provided that illustration of the Son of God serving at that dinner just before He was arrested by those religious leaders. This is one of the mementos Jesus wanted them to keep and look back on. There is much more going on here than a simple lesson. Jesus us teaching people how to look back, establish a relationship with Him, learn how He communicates, and how He teaches. Jesus is showing His personal side while He is waiting for you to examine your personal side.
A Faithful, Sensible Servant
Luke 12:41-48 NLTse Peter asked, “Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone?” (42) And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. (43) If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. (44) I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. (45) But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? (46) The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful. (47) “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. (48) But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
We’re also reaching a stage in our educational process where answers are provided after Jesus asked them. Don’t teachers involved in advanced education use the same method to teach? It is a way to measure students ability to think on their own. Although our message should always come from Heaven, there is a portion of preparation we need to do on our part, as well as observation. There is a fine balance we need to observe and practice. I’m not sure anyone has the answer.
We see this process repeated time after time in real life as well as examples in both the Old and New Testament. People get into trouble. They face a trial. What do they do? David is a good example. Many times he prayed about the situation. David not only wanted God to solve the problem, the trial brought him closer to God. Of course, we have to pray about the lessons we’re supposed to learn from those trials. This is the phase of education Jesus is taking His disciples through now.
Why did Peter think the message was only for the twelve disciples Jesus chose? What made him think Jesus’ lesson was seclusive or restricted? No wonder Jesus began His answer with the statement about a sensible and faithful servant.
The rest of this story centers on responsibility and the ability to perform a job. We can see why Jesus introduced the ability to make decisions in the last story. Based on the fact Peter was the one who asked the question, who the lesson about the return applied to, showed how people will misunderstand details and the purpose of Jesus’ return.
Let’s look back to that illustration of running a race. No matter who is the fastest, everyone is expected to do their best. From the schoolyard to the Olympics, every runner is expected to do their best from start to finish. No one is embarrassed when doing their best.
Some people may look at this story as a way of getting out of participating in this spiritual race, or can we call it what it is, warfare. It’s not very hard to get caught up in the belief or thought of doing nothing is a fulfillment of faith. This may sound strange, but look at some of the most predominant beliefs today. People want to believe only licensed preachers with special education can work with God. Others use conflicts inside their churches as an excuse. They stand on the sidelines like poor little children crying, “they won’t let me play.” Other people use time as an excuse. That’s never an excuse. If you need time, God can always make more. Then there are 1000 excuses about not knowing enough or not having the ability. God also created those. Claiming a lack of anything shows a lack of faith.
There seems to be no end to excises. So Jesus used a simple illustration to cover all the bases. Jesus used the excuse of a delay. During this delay, Jesus pointed out a few symbols we could have highlighted and compared. What do beating, partying, and getting drunk have in common, or what contrast do they show? Only the leader, the highest ranking servant beat other servants. He was the one with the most responsibility. He partied and got drunk. What he did was created a separation between himself and other servants. A separation we see inside and outside of churches. People in charge beat up on people they think their in charge of. Then of course churches beat up on other churches they claim are inferior. They are drunk on power throwing around their weight like a drunkard.
This shows how the master returns unexpectedly. No one is watching. I’ve heard so many people preach, “we don’t know the time or day Jesus will return.” Of course the other side of the coin is a never ending string of self made prophets predicting one day after the next. So far they’ve all been wrong. But is there a sign of His coming?
Let’s take a look at the story. Those leaders restricted and belittled other servants. If they were waiting for the master to return, why didn’t they watch the road like the father in the story about the prodigal son? If the father in the story could watch, why not the servants in this story?
One of the lessons in this chapter is to think on your own. Now the meaning and context of thinking on your own us taking shape. Even though leaders will try to exercise their authority, Jesus also told us not to fear people only capable of killing the body. Now we can see the connection between that lesson and Jesus’ return. We can’t allow anyone to stop us from thinking on our own, or seeking a personal relationship with God and His Son. That will always be a personal decision.
There is one section in the Bible that clearly tells us, we should clearly hear the completion of one phase of Jesus’ ministry in Heaven. Aaron will wear this robe whenever he ministers before the LORD, and the bells will tinkle as he goes in and out of the LORD’s presence in the Holy Place. If he wears it, he will not die. (Exodus 28:35 NLTse).
The world heard when Jesus entered the Most Holy in Heaven in 1844 to begin the judgment process. If the Bible tells us those bells on the High Priest’s robe are heard when He goes in and comes out, shouldn’t we be listening? Is anyone listening? If leaders don’t want to listen, they have no right to stop members who serve them from looking. But the world accepts that kind of pecking order, as if people can place blame on leaders when they miss something important. Where are we going in this world when leaders don’t want to accept responsibility and members want to pass responsibility off on them? That’s like running a race and once the race starts, runners stand up and argue at the starting line.
As Jesus’ servants, shouldn’t we all know what He wants done and when He wants it done? We can’t use the excuse, we didn’t know what God wanted us to do. It all boils down to listening. For some it will depend on who they listen to.
Jesus opened a new door to understanding. Some people know a lot and some people know little. There’s no denying that fact. But is Jesus going to look at what you know or your ability to listen and learn? If you constantly reject His Spirit– well Jesus covered that in a previous lesson.
This warning applies to physical as well as spiritual gifts. Jesus told the story about the farmer and his barns to cover that aspect. Now Jesus is getting into spiritual aspects of this series of lessons.
Set the World on Fire
Luke 12:49-53 NLTse “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! (50) I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. (51) Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! (52) From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against–or two in favor and three against. (53) ‘Father will be divided against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.'”
It’s not difficult to see division and associated key words are the main theme in this story Jesus told. How does that relate to the large crowd of people stepping all over one another in the introduction? How does this relate to the story Jesus told about Satan being divided?
Jesus said, “if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can his kingdom survive?” Why would Jesus begin talking about dividing people? Is He referring to dividing His servants, or dividing them from the world?
Maybe it’s time to reference another author. Matthew included a story about Jesus separating goats from sheep. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. (Matthew 25:32-33 NLTse). Does this take place only at the end of this world, or is there a type of separation in every generation?
To answer that question, we have to examine the introduction to Matthew 25. “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. (Matthew 25:1-4 NLTse).
The introduction contains a parable showing a separation or contrast between five wise and five foolish bridesmaids. Here is another reference to a wedding. In this story we see one group running out of oil to light their lamps, and another group who though ahead and brought along extra oil. Another reference to thinking on your own. Then why do so many people look at this parable, place themselves in the group of wise bridesmaids as a group or organization, and claim to know the meaning of the parable? When you see Jesus’ references to individual thinking and an individual relationship with Him, the thought of five individual bridesmaids thinking on their own, quickly dispels any reference to a corporate reference to that parable.
What about that terrible baptism of suffering ahead of Jesus? Why did Jesus choose this point in time to interject another reference to what He was going to face in Jerusalem? And why did He place it in this particular order, just before He told that crowd about all that separation? What do the two subjects have in common?
There were number of groups in front of that cross ranging from family and Jesus’ closest friends, to those religious leaders who put Him on that cross. Then there were subgroups in between. Roman guards were among the few who declared Jesus’ title as God’s Son. The question is, where do you rate among those groups? According to Jesus, there are only two groups, two choices. But that’s not to say people from both groups will not be changing sides.
Know How to Interpret the Signs
Luke 12:54-59 NLTse Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. (55) When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. (56) You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times. (57) “Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right? (58) When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison. (59) And if that happens, you won’t be free again until you have paid the very last penny.”
Jesus sums up His entire lesson with simple symbols. One is seeing what the weather will be like and the other a court trail. One led into the other like every lesson led to these. People like to think they can tell the future. That is basically what the majority of Christianity as we know it today is based on. That is what Judaism was based on when Jesus taught. Those religious leaders Jesus encountered thought they knew all the scriptures, particularly the prophecies. Keep in mind, they only had the Old Testament which contains more than 300 prophecies about the Messiah. They got them all wrong. Their batting average was zero.
How often is the weatherman correct in his forecast today? If they hit 50%, they are lucky. Today they have millions of dollars worth of equipment to showcase their talents. And they use every bit if it to impress people. Why? What’s the goal of the weatherman? To attract an audience. What does he do with that audience? The network the weatherman works for sells people things. Most of those things people really don’t need. If you take a step back from church, you can see similarities.
Many churches rely on forecasting the future. They never come close to 50%, but people keep coming back to them. Those preachers are the soothsayers and fortune tellers Moses told his people to avoid. “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the LORD your God will drive them out ahead of you. But you must be blameless before the LORD your God. The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the LORD your God forbids you to do such things.” Moses continued, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. (Deuteronomy 18:9-15 NLTse).
I suppose those preachers try to avoid Deuteronomy 18. If they do refer to that chapter, they’d take out one, maybe two verses and tell you what they want it to mean. But look back at Deuteronomy which proves the point, one little line cannot be separated from the chapter. If you do, you’ll miss 90% of the lesson.
People love to think they have some kind of supernatural power to tell the future. They world has been fascinated by fortune telling long before Moses. This has been and will continue to be one of Satan’s favorite traps he uses to get people to believe a lie, mislead them, and separate people, churches, religions, and nations. Fortune tellers do a great job of serving the enemy. But don’t tell them. Satan has them in such a grip, they all believe, they’re right and the rest of the world is wrong. And they will all fight you with their last dying breath. They all believe their beliefs and faith in the future is what saves them. What a twisted, distorted, iron clad pack of lies.
Jesus pointed them to present times, and did this for a reason. Of course, Jesus was getting nearer to those days in Jerusalem, but He also pointed to today. What do you have in your life to be thankful for? As those birds outside your window sing out praises to God, are you cursing Him because things aren’t going your way? Are you persistently praying for something you feel you should have, something you think you need and deserve?
When Jesus referred to a court, was He referring to judgment day and your trial? What about the accuser? Was Jesus referring to Satan, who wants to strip you of every worldly possession when you turn your life over to Jesus and His Spirit? What did Jesus say about that? He said, give it to him.
Satan will use every means at his disposal to take advantage of people he doesn’t have control over. He’ll use his evil angels and every person in your life he enlisted as an agent. People will take advantage of you at work, in your family, friends, relatives, chance meetings, people in government, and business transactions. Jesus is telling us, not to worry about it. When we have a clear vision of Heaven, none of that matters.
Some people will say, “be as gentle as a dove, but as wise as a snake.” There are a lot of different snakes. Do people want to be like a snake, curled up in a ball, being poked by a stick until they see a chance to strike? All snakes kill to survive. Some strike in self defense. Some as a last resort. Some snakes strike instantly because it’s their nature. But some play dead as a defense. Maybe that’s the type of snake we need to be as wise as. Show people your dead to the world. Tell them about your vision of Heaven and how you’ll one day have riches and see glory far greater than they can imagine.
This goes right back to the message Jesus gave those seventy disciples. Jesus told them to tell people about God’s Kingdom. There are only a few things Satan can’t steal from us. If he can’t take away our vision of Heaven, he can’t take away eternal life.
That farmer, who built bigger barns thought he had a vision of the future, but he was wrong. The man who asked Jesus to tell his brother to divide the estate had his own vision of the future. But Jesus turned him down. Let’s face it. People who work their entire lives storing up riches for the future, are doing it because of their uncertainty. Those are the type of people most concerned about the future. Those are the type of people self proclaimed prophets love to attract.
But people who acknowledge Jesus, don’t worry about the future. Just before Jesus was arrested, at the end of the last day He taught in the temple courtyard, His disciples asked Jesus to tell them about the future. Look at what Jesus told them. He didn’t fill in any details. He didn’t tell them anything they didn’t already know, or anything that wasn’t recorded in scripture. Jesus didn’t want them to rely on knowing anything about the future. Jesus wanted them to rely on a day to day relationship with God’s Spirit. Nothing more. Nothing less. He wanted them to be where their treasure was. Where it was already prepared by God. Where it will be safe and where they would be safe.
This entry was posted on December 6, 2014 at 11:36 pm and is filed under Advanced Studies, Bible Study Methods Explained, Gospel Messages Luke. Tagged: A Faithful, A Fool Stores Up Wealth On Earth, acknowledge in the presence of God's angels, Anyone Who Blasphemes the Holy Spirit, Be Dressed For Service, Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, dominate the thoughts, Don't Be Afraid, God feeds them, Holy Spirit will teach you, how to interpret the present times, Know How to Interpret the Signs, Look at the lilies, Luke Chapter 12, master will return unannounced, reward the servants who are ready, Secrets Will Be Made Known, Seek the Kingdom of God, Sell your possessions, sensible servant, Set the World on Fire, Son of Man will come when least expected, store up treasure for you in heaven, tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where your treasure is, Who Made Me Judge. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.