Are you a hypocrite? Are you greedy? You can find out in today’s reading. Do you worry? Today, Jesus will encourage faith instead of worry. Are you ready for His return? Jesus is coming back and today’s chapter shows us how to be ready. Are you ready for the final judgment? Every person must decide what to do with Jesus before it’s too late. Have you?
Jesus Warns About Hypocrisy / 12:1-12
After denouncing the religious leaders for hypocrisy, Jesus warns his disciples of the same destructive problem.
12:1 Even as Jesus began to infuriate the religious leaders, his popularity continued to grow, for the crowds grew into the thousands. As Jesus watched the huge crowds waiting to hear him, he warned his disciples against hypocrisy—trying to appear good when their heart was far from God. Just as yeast works its way through dough, so a small amount of evil can affect a large group of people. The yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy—could permeate and contaminate society, leading the entire nation astray.
- LIFE APPLICATION – DON’T BE A HYPOCRITE
- Jesus warned against the spread of hypocrisy and its destructive consequences. How do you avoid hypocrisy? Try these suggestions:
- At the start of the day, ask God to lead you one step further—enough to challenge you.
- Get in a small group and talk honestly. Share your life with these people.
- Join a church where people can be who they are, a church that invites diversity in its membership.
- Serve in grateful response to God, and not as a scheme to gain anyone’s approval.
12:2-3 Hypocrisy can happen when certain actions or attitudes are hidden. One day, however, everything will be revealed. The Pharisees could not keep their attitudes hidden forever. Their selfishness would act like “yeast” (12:1), and soon they would expose themselves for what they really were—power-hungry impostors, not devoted religious leaders. The time of this “revelation” could be the final judgment day when the true attitude of these hypocrites will be exposed (see Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 4:5).
- LIFE APPLICATION-HYPOCRISY
- What are the signs of hypocrisy?
- Hypocrisy is knowing the truth but not obeying it.
- Today, like the Pharisees, many people who know the Bible do not let it change their lives. They say they follow Jesus, but they don’t live by his standards. People who live this way are hypocrites. Believers must make sure that their actions match their beliefs
- Hypocrisy is living a self-serving life.
- People desire positions of leadership in the church. It is dangerous when love for the position grows stronger than loyalty to God. Jesus is not against all leadership—church leaders are important—but against leadership that serves itself rather than others.
- Hypocrisy is claiming Christ as Lord without following him.
- Jesus challenged society’s norms. To him, greatness comes from serving—giving of yourself to help others. Service keeps believers aware of others’ needs, and it stops them from focusing only on themselves. Jesus came as a servant. Are you serving
- Hypocrisy reduces faith to rigid rules.
- Do you care more about keeping rules or serving people? Is your faith in Christ or what you do or don’t do, or what denominational tradition you follow?
- Hypocrisy is outward conformity without inner reality.
- Living your Christianity merely as a show for others, but not dealing with real sin inside you is like washing a cup on the outside only. When you are clean on the inside, your cleanliness on the outside won’t be a sham.
12:4-5 Jesus explained that his followers (his dear friends) might face death for their faith in him, but he also told them not to be afraid of people who could kill them or even of death itself. Evil people may be able to kill the body, but they cannot do any more. Jesus knew that fear of opposition or ridicule could weaken their witness for him because the natural human tendency is to cling to peace and comfort, even at the cost of one’s walk with God. Jesus said that there is only one whom all people should fear—God alone. He controls eternal consequences. It is more fearful to disobey God than to face martyrdom.
The word translated hell here is Gehenna. The name was derived from the Valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where children had been sacrificed by fire to the pagan god Molech (see 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:3; Jeremiah 7:31; 32:35).
12:6-7 While Jesus’ followers should “fear” God because of his awesome power, they are not to be afraid of him because they are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows. A person could buy five sparrows for a small amount of money; they were the cheapest type of living food sold in the market. Even so, God does not forget a single one. God loves his people so much that he cares about the smallest details of their lives—down to knowing the number of hairs on their heads. We stand in awe of God not because He will destroy us, but because He who has all power cares! We are important to Him!
- LIFE APPLICATION – WORTHWHILE
- Jesus taught how valuable each person was to God. How does a person assess his or her worth? A student’s worth is measured by grade point average; a pitcher’s by earned run average; a career professional’s by salary; a salesclerk’s by commission.
- God measures your worth with no number, no calculation, no ratio.
- You simply bear God’s image.
- Your life was worth God’s Son.
- Your future is in God’s home.
- Know that you are a person filled with value, known intimately by God, destined for greatness. Shed your silly inferiorities. You are a son or daughter of the Almighty.
12:8-9 God sent his Son to die for people worldwide, and salvation is offered to all people. But individuals still must choose whether or not to accept God’s offer. Jesus clearly explained that anyone who publicly confesses faith in and allegiance to him will find that the Son of Man will openly acknowledge that person in the presence of God’s angels. By contrast, the person who denies any relationship to Jesus will face denial by Jesus in heaven. These words refer to those whose lack of allegiance will be revealed under pressure. Most likely, this does not refer to an incident where lack of courage might cause a believer not to speak up, but rather to a person who totally rejects Christ and lives a life of denial. The astounding statement is that each person’s standing before God is based on his or her relationship to Jesus Christ. This “acknowledgment” involves more than simply a verbal confession. It involves a witness of both word and deed.
- LIFE APPLICATION- DENY OR ACKNOWLEDGE?
- Acknowledging Jesus demands our full allegiance to him. People deny Jesus when they hope that no one will think they are Christians, decide not to speak up for what is right, are silent about their relationship with God, blend into society, or accept their culture’s non-Christian values.
- By contrast, people acknowledge Jesus when they live moral, upright, Christ-honoring lives, look for opportunities to share their faith with others, help others in need, take a stand for justice, love others, acknowledge their loyalty to Christ, and use their lives and resources to carry out his desires rather than their own.
12:10 While 12:8-9 deals with apostasy, 12:10 focuses on people who have not yet come to believe. These words mean that speaking against the person of Jesus can be forgiven because the insult may be based in ignorance of his true identity (before the resurrection, not even Jesus’ disciples completely understood who he was). But anyone who speaks blasphemies against the Holy Spirit—continually rejects the Holy Spirit’s message about Jesus and his convicting influence—will never be forgiven because he is beyond redemptive help. Whoever rejects the prompting of the Holy Spirit removes himself from the only force that can lead anyone to repentance and restoration with God. That act has eternal consequences.
This sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit has worried many sincere Christians. The unforgivable sin means attributing to Satan the work that the Holy Spirit accomplishes. Thus the “unforgivable sin” is deliberate and ongoing rejection of the Holy Spirit’s work and even of God himself. A person who has committed this sin has shut himself off from God so thoroughly that he is unaware of any sin at all. A person who fears having committed this sin shows by his very concern that he has not sinned in this way.
12:11-12 Jesus told the disciples that when (not “if”) they would be brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, they need not worry about what to say in their own defense. They would not be left unprepared—Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would supply the right words at the very moment they were needed. This promise of the Spirit’s help, however, does not compensate for lack of preparation. Remember that these disciples had three years of teaching and practical application. Study God’s word, then God will bring his truths to mind when you most need them, helping you present them in the most effective way.
- LIFE APPLICATION- TIMELY DEFENSE
- Making a public defense of your faith in Christ sounds intimidating. But Jesus assures and advises:
- Don’t worry—this is God’s trial too.
- Don’t bother with a scripted speech—your intelligence is not the issue.
- Take a deep breath, pray, and just be honest about all God has shown you. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Jesus Tells the Parable of the Rich Fool / 12:13-21
Perhaps because of Jesus’ constant insistence on justice (11:42), a person from the crowd asked him to arbitrate a dispute. Instead of addressing the injustice, Jesus exposed the greedy motives of the man and revealed God’s perspective on the foolishness of greed. The simple parable Jesus told describes a person who is solely concerned with himself—his welfare, pleasure, and security. He possessed no gratitude toward God or a willingness to share with those less fortunate. His ingratitude invoked God’s anger and led to the man’s downfall.
12:13 A person in the crowd appealed to Jesus as an authority. He wanted Jesus to settle a dispute over his father’s estate. The Old Testament laws covered most cases (see, for example, Numbers 26–27; 33:54; 36; Deuteronomy 21:17), but sometimes an issue would arise that needed intervention in order to make a decision. Problems like this were often brought to rabbis for them to settle (see 10:38-42).
- LIFE APPLICATION – GREED
- Jesus warned against greed for possessions. Greed keeps track of every tool lent, every dime shared, every overtime minute worked, every check to charity grudgingly written.
- Jesus leads the way to generosity, a rare trait today. As God opens heaven to you, clutch less what you own and share more what you have been given
12:14-15 Jesus used the man’s request as an opportunity to teach his listeners about the pitfalls of being greedy. “Greed” is the excessive and consuming desire to have more possessions or wealth. He explained that the good life has nothing to do with being wealthy; real life is not measured by how much we own. This man apparently thought that the division of the inheritance would solve his problems. But Jesus wanted him to deal with deeper issues.
12:16-18 Jesus proceeded to illustrate his point that life consists of more than wealth and possessions. This story includes a rich man who had a productive year on his farm. He tore down his barns and built bigger ones so that he could store everything. While there was nothing wrong with the man’s rejoicing in his crop or building to make storage, his basic flaw was in focusing completely on his wealth and on his own enjoyment. In Greek, this story includes the word “my” four times and the word “I” eight times. As this story reveals, the man’s joy came from his things—but things do not last forever.
- LIFE APPLICATION – MORE
- The rich man in Jesus’ story died before he could begin to use what was stored in his big barns. Planning for retirement—preparing for life before death—is wise, but neglecting life after death is disastrous. If you accumulate wealth only to enrich yourself, with no concern for helping others, you will enter eternity empty-handed. Jesus challenges his people to think beyond earthbound goals and to use what they have been given for God’s kingdom. Faith, service, and obedience are the way to become rich toward God.
12:19-20 The rich man was concerned for no one else, and he had no care for God. With no eternal perspective, the man’s life was completely focused on the temporal. His goal to take it easy and to eat, drink, and be merry reveals his desire for mere self-indulgence. He thought that, with his barns storing up mountains of wealth for the future, he had everything completely under control. The rich man had made a fatal flaw: he had forgotten to put God at the center of his life. Concerned for no one but himself, when the time came for him to stand before God, he was nothing more than a fool.
- LIFE APPLICATION – FOR THE FUTURE
- Fully funded retirement plans and adequate life insurance are practically synonymous with wise stewardship. Everyone should provide for older age and family survivors.
- At the same time and with the same resolve because life is more than money, God wants you to share generously today with those who are poor. And, should wealth accumulate, never, never put your hope and pride in real estate, insurance, or mutual funds. God should be your security and joy.
12:21 The moral of the story: fools spend all their time storing up earthly wealth but neglect to have a rich relationship with God. The turning point is for whom the treasures are being accumulated. If for oneself, then the evils of wealth will be turned loose. Being rich toward God means using wealth as he provides it to fulfill his priorities. People who are “rich” in this way love God and are filled with a passion to obey and serve him and to give to others. In this way, the “treasures” a person may gain in this life can be gladly handed back over to God for his use in furthering his Kingdom.
Jesus Teaches about Worry / 12:22-34
Luke placed Jesus’ teaching about believers and possessions right after the negative example of the rich fool (12:13-21). Instead of hoarding possessions, believers should give them away. Such generosity builds an eternal inheritance in God’s Kingdom. Believers should completely trust in God’s loving provision for them; this should free them to show generosity.
12:22-23 Jesus continued to highlight the priorities of those who want to follow him. Again, these words were directed not to the crowd in general, but to his disciples. Just as their attitude toward money should differ from the world’s (12:15), so their life view should be different. All the goals and worries in life can be entrusted to the loving heavenly Father who promises to meet every need. The command, don’t worry, does not imply lack of concern, nor does it imply that people should be unwilling to work to supply their own needs and thus have to depend on others. Instead, Jesus was saying that worrying about food and clothing should never take priority over serving God. Worriers immobilize themselves and focus on their worries. They refuse to trust that God can supply their most basic needs.
12:24 Jesus had already explained that God’s care for the sparrows shows that he cares for his people (12:6-7). Here Jesus explained God’s care for people’s basic needs by asking the disciples to look at the ravens. The birds don’t have elaborate farming systems by which to supply food for themselves; God feeds them. God makes sure that the birds, who do no worrying about their food supply, always have food to eat. The raven (or crow) was considered to be “unclean” (Leviticus 11:13-15), yet even unclean animals received God’s care. The conclusion, of course, is that God’s people are far more valuable to him than any birds. God’s children can know that their Father will care for their needs as well.
- LIFE APPLICATION – OVERCOMING WORRY
- Worry can be an important early warning device against foolish risk taking. It can also stunt your joy until you become a worry-impaired invalid. One of the world’s richest men, Howard Hughes, took worry to pathological extremes and died a prisoner in his own bed. He needed, above all, the freedom that Jesus offers. Jesus declared worry to be useless effort. Instead, Christians’ efforts to deal with their circumstances should be more productive. Overcoming worry requires:
- simple trust in God, your heavenly Father. This trust is expressed by praying to him rather than worrying.
- perspective on your problems. This can be gained by developing a strategy for addressing and correcting your problems.
- a support team to help. Find some believers who will pray for you to find wisdom and strength to deal with your worries.
12:25-26 Worry accomplishes nothing; it is wasted effort. While worry cannot add a single moment to a person’s life, it can damage that person’s health, cause the object of worry to consume one’s thoughts, disrupt productivity, negatively affect the way the person treats others, and reduce the ability to trust in God.
12:27-28 Like the ravens who do not store up food for themselves in barns, neither do the lilies work to array themselves. If God feeds the birds and clothes the earth with beauty that surpasses the fine garments of King Solomon, then will God not also clothe his people?
Jesus was not condoning laziness while waiting for God to provide. He wanted his disciples to understand that they should place their lives in God’s hands, refusing to worry about basic needs. It shows little faith to worry over what God has promised to provide.
12:29-30 Eating and drinking are necessary for survival, but God’s people know that life is more than what they eat or drink, more than their clothing or possessions. If they worry about these things, they will find themselves motionless for God, accomplishing nothing for the Kingdom. God’s people are to be different. Believers have an eternal perspective that is focused on the Kingdom to come; they trust their Father to know their needs for their time on the earth.
12:31 Jesus told his disciples to make the Kingdom of God their primary concern. This means to submit to God’s sovereignty today, to work for the future coming of his Kingdom, to represent God here and now, and to seek his rule in our hearts and in the world. So many spend their time worrying about the basics of life, but Jesus says to think about the Kingdom first, and God will give you all you need from day to day. Christ’s promise is not that Kingdom seekers will get everything they desire, but that the necessities for faith and service will be in abundance. When God’s children have their priorities right, they can trust that God will always care for them. They may not become rich, but they will not lack what they need.
- LIFE APPLICATION-THY KINGDOM COME
- Seeking the kingdom of God means making Jesus the Lord and King of your life. He must control every area—your work, play, money, plans, relationships. Is the kingdom only one of your many concerns, or is it central to all you do? Are you holding back any areas of your life from God’s control? As Lord and Creator, he wants to help provide what you need as well as guide how you use what he provides.
12:32 The Kingdom is worth making a priority (12:31), for one day God the Father will give it to those who faithfully follow him. The Kingdom is a certain reality, so God’s people need not be afraid. Fear and worry will be constant companions to those who devote their lives to getting, achieving, and protecting what they have. No bank and no medical plan can protect a person from death or from present harm. Only those whose true treasure is in heaven (12:33-34) can be truly secure. Not only does God promise to give believers his Kingdom, but it is his great happiness to do so. God the Father (12:30) wants to share his Kingdom with them.
12:33-34 Because of their eternal perspective (12:29-30) and because of the future Kingdom they will possess, God’s people are free to give. They can hold their possessions lightly. In fact, they can sell them and give to those in need. In so doing, they will provide for themselves treasure that cannot disappear, for it rests in heaven. Jesus was not telling his followers to sell all their possessions, but rather to sell whatever they could to make giving to the poor possible. This “treasure” in heaven includes, but is not limited to, tithing money. Believers add to it as they bring others to Christ and act out their obedience to God. The “treasure” is the eternal value of whatever is accomplished on earth. Acts of obedience to God, stored in heaven, cannot be stolen nor will they decay. Nothing can affect or change them; they are eternal. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be means that whatever occupies a person’s thoughts and consumes his or her time—that is the person’s “treasure.” The heart will be with the treasure.
- LIFE APPLICATION- MONEY TRAP
- Money seen as an end in itself quickly traps people and cuts them off from both God and the needy. The key to using money wisely is to see how much can be used for God’s purposes, not how much can be accumulated. Does God’s love touch your wallet? Does your money free you to help others? If so, you are storing up lasting treasures in heaven. If your financial goals and possessions hinder you from giving generously, loving others, or serving God, sell what you must to bring your life into perspective. Where do you put your time, money, and energy? What do you think about most? How should you change the way you use your resources in order to reflect kingdom values more accurately?
Jesus Warns about Preparing for His Coming / 12:35-48
The teaching about the end times in Luke does not entail a detailed description of what will occur, but it portrays a secure conviction that the Son of Man will return in judgment. This knowledge should motivate Christians to be faithful servants or stewards, to do what God has commanded them to do, and to use their talents and resources effectively.
12:35-38 Because of the certainty of the Kingdom coming and because it would be coming in the future, waiting for it requires both faith and vigilance. God’s people must be dressed for service and well prepared. Faithful servants would stay awake while waiting for their master’s return from the wedding feast. They are dressed so that they can do service for him should he require it. No matter how late the master may come, the servants are prepared to open the door immediately upon his arrival. In the same way, God’s people must be awaiting his arrival so they too can welcome him the moment he arrives. Servants who are ready and waiting for the master’s arrival will be rewarded. The master will be so pleased upon his arrival that he will serve them. Such a reversal of roles likely will not happen in the world, but in God’s Kingdom such a welcome will await those who were ready.
12:39-40 This story describes the need for constant vigilance as believers await the Kingdom. A homeowner does not know when a burglar is coming to break into the house; if the homeowner did, he would be ready and would not permit it to happen. Likewise, God’s people must be ready all the time. Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man and left no doubt that he would be the one who will come when least expected (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 16:15). God’s people should be ready and waiting.
Christ’s return at an unexpected time is not a trick by which God hopes to catch his people off guard. In fact, God is delaying his return so that more people will have the opportunity to follow him (see 2 Peter 3:9). Before Christ’s return, believers have time to live out their beliefs and to reflect Jesus’ love as they relate to others. Christians have time to bring more people with them into the Kingdom.
- LIFE APPLICATION READY AND WAITING
- To be ready for Christ’s coming means living in two worlds: one, the world of time and space where God’s people care for God’s creation; the other, a world made new at Jesus’ coming for which the preparation includes prayer, worship, and Bible study. How can we be ready for Christ’s return? People who are ready are not hypocritical, but sincere (12:1); not fearful, but ready to witness (12:4-9); not worried, but trusting (12:25-26); not greedy, but generous (12:33-34); not lazy, but diligent (12:37). May your life be more like Christ’s so that when he comes, you will be ready to greet him joyfully.
12:41-42 Peter wondered to whom Jesus was addressing the previous parable about being prepared for the Kingdom’s arrival. Perhaps Peter was wondering about the disciples’ responsibilities. They still did not understand what this Kingdom would be like. Peter wondered what their roles would be in comparison with the crowds in general.
Jesus answered Peter’s question with another question that focused the disciples’ attention on what it meant to be put in charge, and what their roles should be as leaders. They should be like a faithful, sensible servant, left in charge by the master. In this story, there is one faithful servant (12:42-44) and three unfaithful ones (12:45-48).
12:43-44 The master is Jesus, who would leave his servants in his household (the earth) to serve while he would be gone. All the servants must work, although some are given more responsibility and thus more accountability (12:48). Those servants who have done a good job when the master returns will have a reward and be given more responsibility.
- LIFE APPLICATION- HEAVENLY REWARDS
- Jesus promises a reward for those who have been faithful to the Master. While people sometimes experience immediate and material rewards for their obedience to God, this is not always the case. If so, they would be tempted to boast about their achievements and do good only for what they get. Jesus said that if they look for rewards now, they will lose them later (see Mark 8:36). Christians’ heavenly rewards will be the most accurate reflection of what they have done on earth, and the rewards will be far greater than anyone can imagine. So serve God faithfully in the responsibilities he has given you.
12:45-46 However, with the master gone, a slave might think to himself that he can do as he likes, taking advantage of his position of authority. The master would return unannounced, catch him in the act, and banish him for being irresponsible to his task in the master’s absence. The words with the unfaithful probably pictures the end-time judgment, wherein the faithful enter God’s Kingdom and the unfaithful are sent away (Matthew 25:31-46).
- LIFE APPLICATION – RESPONSIBLE
- Jesus has told his followers how to live until he comes: they must watch for him, work diligently, and obey his commands. The more resources, talents, and understanding a person has, the more that person is responsible to use them effectively. God will not hold people responsible for gifts he has not given them, but all believers have enough gifts and duties to keep them busy until Jesus comes.
12:47-48 Those who fail to do their duty can expect punishment. More responsibility, and thus more severe punishment, however, will come to those who knew their duty but refused to do it. Those who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Each person is responsible to seek out God’s will and to obey; however, God will demand more from those who have been given many gifts and entrusted with much responsibility for the Kingdom. Clearly, leadership in God’s Kingdom—no matter how small or large one’s responsibilities in comparison to others—is taken very seriously by God. Those placed in positions where they will guide, influence, and care for others have been given much, and therefore much more is required for their moral, spiritual, and ethical lives. They must show themselves to be examples and must stay close to the Lord so he can guide them. Their responsibilities involve the eternal destinies of others—a job description that should cause them to be ever vigilant and watchful of God’s will.
Jesus Warns about Coming Division / 12:49-53
These verses introduce a section in which Jesus calls the Jews to accept him before their time runs out (12:54–13:8). It is a quick summary of Jesus’ earthly mission. Jesus came to earth to bring division, not peace. That is because Jesus confronts everyone with a choice. Will you side with him? There is no middle ground (11:23).
12:49-50 Fire stands for God’s judgment and the coming of the Holy Spirit (see 3:16-17 for more on Jesus’ baptism being one of Spirit and fire). Judgment is coming, and Jesus is the one to bring it. Jesus’ arrival has caused upset and division among people across the centuries. No one can sit on the fence about Jesus; decisions have to be made to believe or not to believe, inevitably dividing even families (see 12:51-53). Jesus wished that his task were already completed, meaning that he desired that God’s purpose for the earth already be fulfilled. Judgment would come through Jesus and after that he would reign. But Jesus waits for God’s timing.
Here Jesus anticipated the outworking of God’s plan through a terrible baptism, which here refers to his coming suffering at the cross. Despite Jesus’ distress, he knows that through it the work of salvation can begin in people’s hearts.
12:51-53 Jesus promises peace, but it is not the kind of peace the world gives or tries to give (John 14:27). Peace on earth, universal peace, will not come until Jesus’ second coming when evil is destroyed and he reigns forever. Instead, Jesus’ first coming and the time now as believers await his return is a time of strife and division between God’s forces and Satan’s forces. There is no middle ground with Jesus. Because he demands a response, family groups may be torn apart when some choose to follow him and others refuse to do so. Loyalties must be declared and commitments made, sometimes to the point of severing relationships with those who reject Jesus or who try to substitute him with someone else.
- LIFE APPLICATION- FAMILY LOYALTY
- In many parts of the world, becoming a Christian means severing all ties with family. Sometimes, these families have conspired with the government in the person’s death sentence. In more tolerant countries, families may deeply resent converts, shunning them and disinheriting them.
In all circumstances, Jesus is Lord. Every other relationship comes after that. Are you willing to risk your family’s disapproval in order to follow the Lord?
Jesus Warns about the Future Crisis / 12:54-59
“Hypocrites!” With this harsh word, Jesus tried to startle his listeners to the urgency of their plight, which was terrible. But Jesus, God’s only Son, was offering them a way out—the free gift of salvation to all who believe in him. In effect, Jesus was saying, “Wake up! Destruction is around the corner. Come to me for salvation.”
12:54-56 Jesus turned back to the crowd and spoke to them. For most of recorded history, the world’s principal occupation has been farming. Farmers depend directly on the weather for their livelihood. They need just the right amounts of sun and rain to make a living. Such people were skilled at interpreting natural signs. The people knew that clouds forming in the west over the Mediterranean Sea would bring rain. Wind blowing in from the desert to the south would bring hot weather. People interpreted these signs and then prepared themselves accordingly.
But these same people were ignoring the signs of the coming Kingdom. Thus Jesus said, “You hypocrites!” Jesus was announcing an earthshaking event that would be much more important than the year’s crops—the coming of God’s Kingdom. Like a rainstorm or a sunny day, there were signs that the Kingdom would soon arrive. While people could successfully discern the signs of the weather by watching the sky and predicting fair weather or storms, they were intentionally ignoring the signs of the times.
12:57-59 With the signs of the Kingdom around them and as Jesus stood among them, he asked his listeners, “Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right?” Why weren’t they taking advantage of this opportunity to make peace with God? They ought to do so, for waiting could be disastrous, just as the man on his way to court would be wise to settle the matter beforehand. In Jesus’ day, a person who couldn’t pay a debt would be thrown in jail. How much better to attempt to settle the matter on the way to court (under Roman law, the plaintiff went with the defendant to court) than to wait for the judge’s verdict to be handed down.
God’s judgment is irreversible. Each person must decide what to do about Jesus. That decision should be made now.
Until tomorrow, Darrell
Sources: Life Application Bible Commentary, Life Application Concise New Testament Commentary, New American Commentary, Teacher’s Commentary
For more information about The Ridge Fellowship or Darrell Koop see www.ridgefellowship.com