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Watching For Christ's Return (Luke 12)

The Parable Of The Rich Fool (Luke 12:15-21)

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Luke 12

Jesus repeats the teaching of the sermon on the mount
In the mean time, when the many thousands of the crowd were gathered together, so much so that they trod one upon another, he began to say to his disciples first of all: Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But there is nothing covered up that shall not be revealed, and hid that shall not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
   4 And I say to you my friends, do not be afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you about whom you shall fear. Fear Him, who after He has killed has power to cast you into Gehenna. Yes, I say to you, fear Him!
   6 Are not five sparrows sold for two very small coins? And not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not! You are of more value than many sparrows.
   8 And I say to you, every one who shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God. 9 But he that denies me in the presence of men shall be denied in the presence of the angels of God.
   10 And everyone who shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him, but to him that blasphemes against the Holy Spirit it shall not be forgiven.
   11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you shall answer, or what you shall say. 12 For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in that very hour what you should say.
   13 And one out of the crowd said to him: Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me. 14 But he said to him: Man! Who made me a judge or a divider over you? 15 And he said to them: Take heed and keep yourselves from all covetousness. For a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. 16 And he spoke a parable to them, saying: The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully. 17 And he reasoned within himself, saying: What shall I do, because I do not have anywhere to store my crops? 18 And he said: This will I do. I will pull down my barns and build greater ones, and there will I store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul: Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry. 20 But God said to him: You foolish one, this night is your soul required from you, and the things which you have prepared, whose shall they be? 21 So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God.
   22 And he said to his disciples: Therefore I say to you, do not be anxious for life, what you shall eat. Nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. 23 For the life is more than the food, and the body more than the clothing. 24 Consider the ravens, how they do not sow nor reap. They have no store nor barn, but God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to the measure of his life? 26 If then you are not able to do even that which is least, why are you anxious concerning the rest?
   27 Consider the lilies, how they grow. They do not toil, nor do they spin. Yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. 28 But if God does so clothe the grass in the field, which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more shall he clothe you, O you of little faith? 29 And do not seek what you shall eat and what you shall drink, neither be of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, but your Father knows you have need of these things. 31 Seek His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.
   32 Fear not little flock. For it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell that which you have and give alms. Make for yourselves purses which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief draws near nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Readiness for Christ’s return
   35 Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants, whom the master when he comes shall find awake. Truly I say to you, that he shall dress himself for service and make them sit down to eat, and shall come and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch and if in the third and find them waiting, so blessed are they. 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake, and not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also- be  ready. For in the hour you do not expect- the Son of Man comes.
   41 And Peter said: Lord, are you telling this parable for aimed at us, or to everyone? 42 And the Lord said: Who then is the faithful and wise steward whom his master shall set over his household to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his master, when he comes, shall find so doing. 44 Of a truth I say to you, that he will set him over all that he has. 45 But if that servant shall say in his heart: My lord delays his coming, and shall begin to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and to be drunk, 46 the master of that servant shall come in a day when he does not expect, and at an hour he does not know, and shall cut him into pieces and put him with the unbelievers.
   47 And that servant, who knew his master's will and did not prepare or did not do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that did not know and did things worthy of stripes, he shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whom much is given, of him shall much be required, and to whom people commit much, of him will they ask the more.
   49 I came to cast fire upon the earth, yet it is already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and great is my distress until it be accomplished! 51 Do you think that I came to give peace in the earth? I tell you no, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They shall be divided, father against son and son against father. Mother against daughter and daughter against her mother. Mother in law against her daughter in law and daughter in law against her mother in law.
   54 And he said to the crowds: Also, When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, Here comes a shower- and so it comes to pass. 55 And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, There will be a scorching heat- and it comes to pass. 56 You hypocrites, you know how to interpret the signs of the earth and the sky, but how is it you do not know how to interpret this time?
   57 And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 For as you are going with your adversary before the magistrate, on the way give diligence to be rid of him. Lest he drag you to the judge and the judge shall deliver you to the officer, and the officer shall throw you into prison. 59 I say to you, you shall never get out, until you have paid the very last coin.



12:1 Hypocrisy is like leaven (yeast). Once one person starts being hypocritical, others tend to be; it spreads easily and has a huge effect, just as leaven does on bread. Jesus taught “first of all”, most importantly, to beware of hypocrisy. We need to ask ourselves daily whether we are being hypocritical; because it’s so important not to be. All will be revealed anyway (:2,3)- at the day of judgment.

12:7 God sees and knows absolutely everything- even within the animal creation. Let’s live with that awareness, that He is so intensely watching. Knowing this shouldn’t frighten us but rather encourage us- “fear not!”.

12:19 The ‘soul’ here refers to the self; Jesus piercingly analyzes the self-talk of materialistic people. It’s our self-talk that we need to watch; what are the conversations that we carry on with ourselves as we walk, travel, prepare food… ? The words “I”, “my” and “soul” occur often in this story- circle them in your Bible. The man was totally self-centred.

12:30 God knows our basic need for food and clothing and will provide, as He did for Israel after their ‘baptism’ in the Red Sea and journey through the wilderness. Their shoes didn’t get worn out, and He gave them bread and water daily. David says he never saw the children of the righteous begging bread (Ps. 37:25). We must really believe this promise.

12:33 Jesus was speaking to poor people when He said this. The poor can easily assume that all Christ’s teaching about wealth and generosity are for the attention of rich Christians only. But this is not the case. The poor, too, are asked to be radically generous.

12:35 An allusion to the night of Israel’s Passover exodus from Egypt. We are to have that same intensity, aware that Jesus could return at any moment.

12:36 How immediately we respond to the knowledge that Christ has returned will affect our eternal future, as in Mt. 25:10. If we are longing for His return and have a light hold on our material life, we will be ready to go immediately with joy and no regrets. The more we posess, the harder this will be.

12:37 Another unreal element in the parables- the Master would never come and serve His servants. But Jesus will do so- because He will be so pleased that they were watching and eager for His return. At the marriage supper of the Lamb, when Jesus again will eat and drink with us (Mt. 26:29), He will come and serve us. His loving servanthood is a characteristic that He has even now; it wasn’t just how He was when on earth. He will always be the same as He was then (Heb. 13:8).

12:49 The judgment of God is likened to fire; but that fire is kindled, the match is set to it, by human beings. God’s judgment is only confirming sinful people in what they themselves have chosen.

12:51 Jesus ‘came’ to send judgment (v. 49); and He came to send division within families. Such division is therefore His judgment upon them; but they will have kindled that fire themselves by their own rejection of His message of peace.