Those who make not religion a mere cloak, but have a saving faith in Christ, can set at defiance all the opposing forces of the world, knowing that having given Him first place in their lives, they are safe in Him. They need not take anxious thought for the things of this life nor dread even the killing of the body, which can only send them to their rest and eternal joy with Christ the sooner. Let them therefore sit loose to the world, living in hourly hope of His glorious return.
1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
13 ¶ And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
22 ¶ And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
31 ¶ But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
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.
38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
41 ¶ Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
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;
46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
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.
49 ¶ I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
54 ¶ And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
58 ¶ When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.
59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.
Luke 12:1-15 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 12:16-21 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 12:22-41 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 12:42-48 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 12:49-59 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 12:1-12 – The Secret of Fearlessness
The program of this paragraph seems dark. The leaven of evil always at work; the body tortured and killed; confession difficult, denial easy; the trials before synagogues and rulers; the anxiety of witnessing a good confession. The Lord never hesitated in stating the heavy tribulation through which His disciples must come to the Kingdom.
But what infinite compensations! Not forgotten by God; our hairs numbered; confessed before the angels; taught how to speak; all sin forgiven! With such comforts, who of us need fear, except only the power of Satan! What infinite sympathy and care our Father has for us! He knows our sorrows, marks every lurch of the boat, and will supply His gracious comfort and help. Why should we flinch before a world in arms, so long as the Son of man stands for us, as He did for Stephen, at “the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55)? The outward man may decay, but the inward man is renewed day by day. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Luke 12:11—Take ye no thought.
So often through this discourse the Lord refers to anxiety. “Take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer” (Luke 12:11). “Which of you with taking thought can add?” (Luke 12:25). “Why take ye thought?” (Luke 12:26). There must have been a great strain on the crowds who listened to Him; and there was every likelihood of the strain becoming even greater for his disciples as the years passed on. So, also, the characteristic of our age is anxious strain.
But the heart of Jesus was always at peace. His life was calm amid the storms of life; as the coralisland, with its fronded palms and lagoons of still water, is peaceful amid the storm-tossed ocean, because of the protection of its reef. The surf breaks there, but does not intrude further. The secrets of Jesus were the perpetual presence of God in his sold, and his never-faltering faith in the loving, careful providence of God in all the experiences of his chequered life.
Can we not have this? We may if we are willing to pay the price. If we will resign or surrender our will utterly to Him; if we will tear down every vail that might hide his face, and throw open our whole being to his indwelling and use; if we will cease scheming, planning, devising, and fall back on the absolute care and arrangements of God; if we will learn to reckon on God as absolutely as on any resourceful human friend; if we will dare to believe that God holds Himself responsible for the sustenance and equipment for duty of all who absolutely seek his glory—then:
“Our lives shall be full of sunshine,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold up their tents like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.” —Our Daily Homily
Luke 12:13-21 – The Doom of the Money Lover
Our Lord did not come into our world as an earthly judge, adjusting differences between man and man. He lays down great principles, obedience to which will bring heaven into human lives. One of the greatest of these is here enunciated in Luke 12:15. Covetousness is as much a temptation of the poor man who is wronged as of his rich oppressor; and love for money will inevitably, in poor and rich, becloud the vision and disturb the inner peace. The worth of a man cannot be computed by the amount that stands to his credit. Not what you have but what you are! That is your value in the eyes of God. Some men live to get; see to it that you live to be.
It is absurd to suppose that the soul can take its ease, just because its barns are bursting with goods. Goods are not good! The soul cannot live on corn! Merriment cannot come to a heart that is smitten by remorse and shadowed by the remonstrances of an evil conscience! Besides, we cannot take with us our possessions when we cross the river. We can only take our character—our things pass into other hands. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Luke 12:13 – The requests we make of God interpret our character. They show us as we are. God reads our character in our prayers. What we love best, what we covet most, that gives the key to our hearts. (Cuyler)
Luke 12:20 – God called him a fool in his last hour, and he who dies a fool is a fool forever. (Talmage)
Luke 12:22-34 – The Cure for Anxious Care
Notice this contrast between two kinds of men: the one cares for himself, is anxious for this life, worries about food and clothes and standing a cubit higher in the estimate of his fellows; the other is content to fill the niche and do the work assigned him by the Father. And he performs his life-task, not for the remuneration it will bring, but for the “well done” of God (Matthew 25:21, 23) —sure that all which is needed, whether for his soul or body, will be provided by Him who gave him being. The Father knows thy varied need, trust Him!
Do not think of God as grudging! It is your Father’s good pleasure to give. Nothing delights Him more than to be able to “give good things to them that ask him” (Matthew 7:11). For Him also “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Remember that the best investments are those we store, not in banks, etc., but in the lives of others: for God Himself guarantees the interest. —Through the Bible Day by Day
In these words we read the future destinies of the world. When an Alexander arises and hurries through the world, snatching crowns on the right hand and on the left, and threatening to take unto himself all sublunary power, the people of God are told to fear not; the kingdom is for them, not him. So too when a Julius Caesar grasps at the sceptre of universal dominion. And when a Napoleon appears on the scene, they calmly wait to see him and his kingdom vanish. For they have looked with Daniel on the image that expressed beforehand the vicissitudes of the world from the Babylonian dominion down to the time when dominion is given unto the Son of Man, and by Him to the saints of the Most High. “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Psalm 37:11). Not only is there for them an inheritance reserved in heaven; but thrones shall come down from heaven and be set upon the earth; and they shall sit thereon. “And we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10).
Who are these unmanifested kings and priests? They are now a little company of sheep; a little flock; willing to be inglorious, poor, weak, despised, rejected; fitting themselves to be all that is great and excellent and powerful, by their willingness to be nothing. (Bowen)
Luke 12:35-48 – Ever on the Watch
The Lord leads our thoughts on to His advent, when He will call His servants to account. The day may pass into the evening, the evening into the night, and the night may even begin to wear away to the morning, but the faithful servants keep their watch. Their loins are girt to serve, and the house is radiant with their trimmed lights. Presently He comes, and He raises His slaves to sit at His table! They are henceforth His friends—and His highly honored friends—whom He serves with His own hands. The grandeur of the reward seems to have been too much for Peter to grasp, Luke 12:41. Surely it couldn’t be for all. Yes, said our Lord in effect, to all who are faithful to their possibilities and use their position and gifts for others.
How abrupt and awful the contrast in Luke 12:45-48! The greater our responsibility, the greater our condemnation, if we fail. Retribution is the inevitable penalty of infidelity to trust; but it will be precisely proportioned to our knowledge of the Lord’s will. There are degrees or grades in retribution as in glory. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Luke 12:49-59 – The Great Divider
As Prometheus, in the old Greek fable, brought fire from above in a reed, so Christ brought the fire of the Holy Spirit in the frail lantern of His humanity. But, first, He had to pass through a baptism of tears and blood. He was under pressure to enter it, because impatient to get through with it. Here was the prelude of Calvary. And what was true of our Lord must be true of His Church. Always the sword, always strife, always division, where the gospel begins to ferment like leaven in human hearts.
The signs of the time pointed to a climax of Hebrew history, for which most of His contemporaries were unprepared. The sands in God’s hour-glass were running out. This was the great requirement of the hour–get right with God. The warning is applicable to us all, but it was specially spoken of the brief interval which, like the silence that precedes a thunder storm, preceded the fall of Jerusalem. —Through the Bible Day by Day