James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
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.Luke 12:1-59
This chapter, almost entirely original with Luke, consists of four warnings against hypocrisy (Luke 12:1-12), covetousness (Luke 12:13-24), carelessness (Luke 12:25-48), and ignorance (Luke 12:49-59).
HYPOCRISY (Luke 12:1-12)
Note the fearlessness of Christ (Luke 12:1), and in the same verse the typical use of “leaven” in the sense of evil, which is never used otherwise in the Bible. Hypocrisy will not avail in the day of judgment (Luke 12:2-3), and one of its causes, the fear of man (Luke 12:4), is supremely foolish in the light of responsibility to God (Luke 12:5), and in the light of His abounding care for us (Luke 12:6-7). The lesson is that of open acknowledgment of Jesus Christ in order to his acknowledgment of us, (Luke 12:8-10), even though it meant trail and suffering (Luke 12:11-12). The explanation of Luke 12:10 seems to be that one might speak against the Son of Man and do it ignorantly. But it is the office of the Holy Ghost to testify to Christ and make Him known; thus he who rejects that testimony puts himself outside of the pale of salvation and hence, forgiveness.
COVETOUSNESS (Luke 12:13-24)
There is a closer connection in thought between this and the foregoing than appears at first. The disciple might be called a fool who would act according to the foregoing, but the real fool is now brought into view. He is a covetous man (compare Ezekiel 33:31) for that was the animus of him who made this request of Jesus (Luke 12:13-15). The latter was setting forth the heavenly calling, but his questioner thought only of his possessions in the present life. This explains the parable that follows (Luke 12:16-21), and in the light of it all the verses are to be interpreted down to 48, but especially to 34. “Take no thought” (Luke 12:22) means no anxious, worrying thought indicative of a lack of faith and knowledge of God in Christ. The birds of the air and the grass of the field might teach us lessons (Luke 12:24-28). Such a spirit belongs to the world, but not to the family of God (Luke 12:29-34).
CARELESSNESS (Luke 12:35-48)
CARELESSNESS (Luke 12:35-48) is connected with covetousness, for he who is absorbed in the things of earth is not getting prepared for those of heaven, which will be his when the Lord comes again. It is to be noted that He comes before daybreak (Luke 12:38) hence, the need of always watching, and working too (compare Luke 12:42-48 with 1 Corinthians 15:58). The unfaithful disciple, the merely professing Christian will have his portion with the unbelievers.
IGNORANCE (Luke 12:49-59)
IGNORANCE (Luke 12:49-59) is the cause of carelessness. In other words we are not to expect peace and worldly cooperation in the present age but unpopularity and divisions. Happy are we, if warned by our surroundings we take the right course (Luke 12:57) for judgment cometh (Luke 12:58-59). In the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord used similar language, but then as another says, He was pressing on His disciples the importance of reconciliation with an adversary. Here He is teaching the multitudes a similar lesson in view of the judgment, but in both instances we are reminded that there is no mercy for the guilty at the bar of God. “Now is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation.”
1. Name the four warnings of this chapter.
2. Analyze Luke 12:1-12.
3. Why is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost unpardonable?
4. Who is a fool?
5. Periodically considered, when may the Lord be expected?
6. Why should men accept Christ now?