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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

TOMS: Luke 12

For an introduction to this series, click here.

March 11, 2007

Jesus begins this chapter with a warning about the Pharisees. Then He adds this: "I tell you my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!" (12:4-5) Then Jesus warns about not being ashamed of Him before men. This is a rare reference in which Luke sounds more like Matthew, with its specific references to the Jewish opposition to Christianity.
Next we have the parable of the rich fool. But the story is introduced with a very interesting situation which I had never realized went along with this story: "Someone in the crowd said to him, 'Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.' But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?' And he said to them, 'Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.'" This makes the parable of the rich fool, the man who said he would tear down his barns and build bigger ones and then he would eat, drink and be merry, in a different light. When we hear warnings about rich people, we never include ourselves. Very few of us consider ourselves rich, not even millionaires. But the fact is that greed is not exclusively a sin of the rich. A person can barely have two pennies to rub together and be greedy, and a billionaire doesn't have to be greedy. Greed is a sinful attitude of the heart, not a measure of wealth.
After telling the parable, Jesus goes into the teaching against worry which Matthew records in the Sermon on the Mount, which includes the "Consider the ravens," and "Consider the lilies." Jesus then warns about being ready for judgment. Whether Jesus is specifically referring to the Rapture, the Second Coming, or simply to the fact of death, the reality is that we all will one day stand in judgment for our actions, and it will likely not come at a time when we are ready for it.
Finally Jesus makes a statement that many have misinterpreted down through the ages: "Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three." (12:51-52, ESV) This statement by Jesus is not an excuse for war, nor is it an excuse for obnoxiousness and selfishness. It is basically a statement of fact. The Gospel by its very nature divides people. The lost world does not understand believers, and many are repulsed by the mention of the name Jesus Christ. But at the same time, don't point to this verse if you find yourself opposed by everyone you know and figure you're in the right. There's a difference between standing for the truth and simple stubbornness and pride. If everyone thinks you're wrong, they might be right.

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