Vol. 19, No. 15 – April 19, 2020
I. Instruction in the Light of Rejection, Luke 12:1-19:27.
1. Concerning hypocrisy, Luke 12:1-12.
2. Concerning covetousness, Luke 12:13-34.
3. Concerning faithfulness, Luke 12:35-48.
4. Concerning division and signs, Luke 12:49-59.
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1. Concerning hypocrisy, Luke 12:1-12.
These final teachings of Jesus before He arrived at the Cross includes in Chapter 12, four mandates:
a. Beware of living as a hypocrite, vs. 1-3.
b. Do not fear physical pain; fear God, vs. 4-7.
c. Confess the Son of Man openly, boldly, and freely, vs. 8-10.
d. Do not become distracted about defending yourself; God will stand in your defense, vs. 11-12.
a. Beware of living as a hypocrite, vs. 1-3.
Luke 12:1, “Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
“Under these circumstances,” means while the Pharisees and Scribes hunted Jesus down like a wild animal, He continued to reprove and rebuke them, but He changes His audience first to the disciples and then to people.
“Many thousands” is the Noun MURIAS the means, “myriad, (ten thousand), a vast number, or innumerable.” From this we see that Jesus’ popularity was increasing tremendously. On this occasion there were so many people that they began to “step upon one another,” the Verb KATAPATEO, καταπατέω that means, “trample on, tread underfoot, or treat with disdain.” This term is only used five times in the NT, Mat 5:13; 7:6; Luke 8:5; 12:1; Heb 10:29. In each of its other usages, it has a negative connotation of rejection. So, here it seems like the crowds were getting a bit restless and harming one another either physically or with their words. We could say they were “tripping over each other,” and the mob mentality of chaos was ensuing.
As we have seen time and time again, Jesus is not impressed with numbers. We know this because the Lord never preaches to please crowds, and He often leaves the crowds to be with His small group of disciples. That is what Jesus does here, as upon seeing the raucous in the crowds, He turned to His disciples and gives them a command to “beware,” which is the Present, Active, Imperative of the Verb PPROSECHO, προσέχω that is a command to, “be attentive, give heed to, be concerned about, etc.” The thing He is warning them about is the “leaven of the Pharisees,” ZUME HO PHARISAIOS.
ZUME is the Greek word for what we call “yeast” or that which “ferments.” It is used literally in the NT, and figuratively for defilement, impurity, sin, and evil, or sometimes for good as in Mat 13:33. Its backdrop is found in the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the OT, Ex 12:18-20; 13:6f.; Num 28:16f.
In our passage, as in Mat 16:6, 11-12; Mark 8:15, Jesus is warning the disciples against the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod. As you may know, yeast (leaven) causes things to rise. Leaven is an expanding agent; its nature is to grow. Likewise, as you add it to a lump of dough it will eventually affect the entire loaf. So here, instead of a growth that led to spiritual maturity, the Pharisees’ leaven, (false teaching and doctrines), was based on hypocrisy and led to spiritual immaturity and the destruction of true spiritual vitality.
So here, leaven stands for false teaching, hypocrisy, and irreligious living. A sinner or a false teacher can spread defilement through an entire community. So, just as a Jewish household at times took strict precautions to remove every particle of leaven from the house, likewise Christians should remove false teachers, false doctrines, and sin from their lives.
Mat 16:6, 11-12, “And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”… 11“How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
In our passage, it is a warning against the false teachings of the Pharisees which Jesus calls “hypocrisy,” HUPOKRISIS that means, “hypocrisy, pretense, or insincerity.” It is from HUPO, “by,” and KRINO, “judge.” It was used in ancient Greek for actors “playing a part on stage,” and assumed the meaning of “pretense,” which is the unreality and deception associated with acting.
“The hypocrite is one who, consciously or unconsciously, has sacrificed truth to appearance: he is more taken up with what people think of him than with the actual state of his soul; he is so busy living up to his reputation that he has no time to be himself; he must always be justifying himself to others, to himself, or to God,” (Caird, Pelican New Testament Commentaries, Luke, p. 160).
In its Biblical use, Howard Marshall notes, “HUPOKRISIS is usually concerned with inconsistency between actions, or between (hidden or partially hidden) motives and (overt) actions. Generally speaking, the inconsistency is between something that can be regarded as good and something else that can be regarded as evil. Several times the aim of the outward actions seems to be simply to gain applause, but in a significant number of cases it is fair to conclude that there is an element of deceit, in that a person pretends to be doing something when he is really doing something else, or is doing something that is apparently good but that springs from false motives, such as the desire to gain human applause rather than Divine approval, or to take advantage of other people by acquiring a false reputation for trustworthiness.” (I. Howard Marshall, Honorary Research Professor of New Testament, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, “Who is a Hypocrite”)
Therefore, HUPOKRISIS generally characterizes a form of behavior that shows a clash either,
a) Between a person’s professed desire to please God and behavior that is inconsistent with it, or
b) Between a person’s hidden evil intentions and his or her appearance of holiness or virtue.
As such, hypocrites try to conceal their true identity and their secret sins by wearing a “mask.” That was the main problem with the Pharisees. Externally their conduct may seem very pious and upright, but it is all an act. The hypocrite is never the person he or she pretends to be. Regarding the Pharisees, any “righteousness” they had was merely superficial and external pomp which served to disguise their true nature. Cf. Mat 23:28; Mark 12:15; Gal 2:13; 1 Tim 4:1-2; 1 Peter 2:1.
Mat 23:28, “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Mark 12:15, ““Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at”.”
Gal 2:13, “The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.”
1 Tim 4:1-2, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.”
1 Peter 2:1, “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”
As such, hypocrisy is saying one thing but doing another. It is living a double life. It is moral inconsistency. It is when people praise God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. Therefore, we are to be on guard against the hypocrites that pervasively, gradually, and unperceptively seek to lead you away from your true relationship with God. And we are to guard ourselves from becoming hypocrites regarding our relationship with God.
In addition, hypocrisy is not only lying, but it is folly, because the problem with hypocrisy is that it spreads like yeast that affects the entire loaf, 1 Cor 5:6, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.” This form of folly does not go unrevealed by God, because truth will always come to the surface.
Turning to vs. 2-9, we see that they are paralleled in Mat 10:26-33. In vs. 2-7, our Lord instructs us to not be worried about the self-righteous hypocrites who could harm us, but instead trust whole-heartedly in God.
Luke 12:2, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”
This verse is a similar warning that Jesus gave in Luke 8:17; Mat 10:26; Mark 4:22, where all things will come to light.
Mat 10:26, “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.”
Mark 4:22, “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.”
Luke 8:17, “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
This is our Lord’s logical reasoning for why we should not be hypocrites in our relationship with God or in life in general. The fact is, one day all will be judged by God, and the false heart, false doctrines, and false teachings will be revealed for what they are, while the truth will become evident also.
“Covered up,” is the Perfect, Passive, Participle of SUNKALUPTO that means, “to cover completely,” and is only used here in the NT. It is an emphatic Verb that carries the idea of secrecy and disguise. Here, Jesus says that these hidden or disguised things, (the false teachings of the Pharisees), will be “revealed,” APOKALUPTO that means, “to reveal, uncover, or disclose.” In other words, the falsehoods of false teachers will be exposed one day.
The double emphasis is seen using KRUPTOS, “hidden, secret, or concealed,” and GINOSKO, “made known, made aware, perceived, understood, etc.” Eventually all false teaching will be exposed for what it is and all false hearts will be revealed too. Therefore, it is folly and futile to think that you can put on a façade before God regarding your relationship with Him. It is a waste of time and effort. As the saying goes, “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.” You can whitewash a tomb, but it still has dead man’s bones in it.
As such, we should always strive to be honest and forthright with integrity within our souls, and make sure we are listening to the truth of God’s Word rather than the falsehoods of man-made religion or any other cosmic viewpoint that is counter to the Word of God, because the fact is, you cannot get away with falsehoods, lies, and deceptions, eventually it will all be under the bright and illuminating light of God’s holy and righteous judgment. Therefore, that which man or religion tries to “cover up, will be revealed,” and that which they try to “hide, will be made known.”
Luke 12:3, “Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.”
Here, our Lord triples and quadruples down on the analogy of the falsehoods of the Pharisees being revealed, as they will be shown for what they are; lies, falsehoods, and evil. Or Lord goes from things covered and hidden to words spoken under false pretenses and secrecy.
“Said in the dark,” the Aorist, Active, Indicative construction of EIPON EN HO SKOTOS, with the Future, Passive, Indicative construction of, “will be heard in the light,” AKOUO EN HO PHOS.
This first analogy compares saying and hearing with dark and light. Dark or darkness is a metaphor for evil, sin, wickedness, and evil scheming. It is a form of covering as it were, because things are not illuminated when they are in darkness. In fact, darkness is the absence of light. Light on the other hand, is a metaphor for holiness and righteousness, the things of God. Therefore, secrets and dark corners conceal sin and give cover to evil intentions and the wicked schemes or plans of man that one day will be heard in the light of God’s holy and righteous judgment.
Then we have “what you have whispered in the inner rooms.” The Greek literally says, “What you spoke in the ear in the private rooms,” that uses, the Noun TAMEION for “inner room, hidden or secret room.” “Speaking in the ear,” is analogous to a whisper, a quiet and subtle form of persuasion, gaining the confidence of the unsuspecting. A whisper can be both a persuasive action towards the one you are whispering to, and a secret sharing of an evil scheme against another. In both cases, it is a subtle influencing of falsehoods that will be revealed by God for all to see and know as it, “will be proclaimed upon the housetops,” KERUSSO EPI HO DOMA. KERUSSO means, making a public announcement or proclamation. So, whatever falsehoods are said privately, will be known to all for what they are; lies and hypocrisy. In the end, when the Messiah returns in power to eradicate evil, hypocrisy will have proved futile, and truth will eventually expose sin.
Rom 2:16, “On the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”
Therefore, we are told to be on guard against the pervasive, gradual, imperceptible spread of hypocrisy, which had corrupted the Pharisees, because, “one day our lives will be shown on the big screen of God’s judgment. It will be a split screen. On one side will be the life we showed the world. On the other side will be the life we tried to hide. If they are the same, then we have integrity. We are true disciples—true to God, true to self, and true to others. But if the two screens show different pictures, then we will be condemned as hypocrites. It will be shouted from the rooftop of heaven. So we have to ask ourselves—every one of us who claims to be a disciple: Am I a hypocrite? Do I fear God’s judgment? Fearing the searching, all-seeing judgment of God is the first step in cultivating the fear of the Lord.” (Christ-Centered Exposition).
“When the kingdom of God comes, however, everything will be exposed to the light of divine truth. All secrets will be revealed, every heart exposed to open examination, all intentions presented for public scrutiny. If one lives the life of a phony, it will become known.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary).
The second mandate of Chapter 12 is:
b. Do not fear physical pain; fear God, vs. 4-7.
Luke 12:4, “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.”
“My Friends,” PHILOS, “friend or loved ones,” addresses His disciples and believers. This is the intimate relationship the disciple of Jesus has with Him from His perspective, and is antithetical to the hostility and hatred of the Pharisees toward Him and His disciples.
“Do not be afraid,” is the Greek negative ME with the Aorist, Passive, Subjunctive of the Verb PHOBEO that in this context is a command that means do not, “fear, be afraid, become terrified, etc.”
The ones we are not to fear are, “those who kill the body,” APOKTEINO HO SOMA. This is speaking about those who persecute you all the way to physical death because of your faith in God and Jesus; as Jesus was facing in a few days from now.
The reason you do not fear them is because “after that they have no more that they can do.” In other words, they can torture and kill the body, but they have no power over your eternal soul and spirit.
It is not comforting to know people can torture you and kill you, until you understand the temporal nature of their actions, especially compared to the eternal actions of God, as noted next.
Luke 12:5, “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!”
Jesus is reminding them of the One who does have power over their bodies, souls, and spirits; God. He points to the One to whom true fear, respect, reverence, and awe is to be offered.
Instead of “I warn you” this could read, “I will show you,” as it uses the Future, Active, Indicative of the Verb HUPODEIKNUMI, ὑποδείκνυμι that means, “show plainly, point out, give direction, warn, set forth, or inform.” Luke uses it five times in Luke 3:7; 6:47; 12:5; Act 9:16; 20:35. It is only otherwise used by Matthew once in Mat 3:7. Its use in Classical Greek includes, “to show by tracing out, to set a pattern or example, to teach, to indicate, to give a glimpse of, to indicate one’s will, intimate, lay out information, report, bring to the notice of, produce evidence, etc.” Because of the graveness of this topic “whom to fear,” we see this as a warning from Christ.
Then, Jesus tells them who they truly should “fear,” PHOBEO, which is used three times in this verse. It is used in both its negative sense as above, and its positive sense of “respect, reverence, and worship,” where the negative aspect of being afraid takes the lead meaning. That is because God is the One who has “authority,” EXOUSIA, “authority to rule and power to do something,” which is to cast you into “hell,” GEHENNA, γέεννα, “Gehenna or hell.” This is the only time Luke uses this term. James uses it once also, James 3:6, Matthew uses it 7 times, and Mark 3 times, Mark 9:43-47.
Gehenna is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew words for “Valley of Hinnom”, (GE HINNOM), a ravine to the south and southwest of Jerusalem. It was a place that had been used for infant sacrifices to the God Molech, 2 Chron 28:3; 33:6, Jer 32:35, and therefore was repulsive to the Jews. Josiah attempted to prevent its use in this way in 2 Kings 23:10, but apparently its reputation continued. In addition, Jeremiah labeled it as a place of future judgment, Jer 7:32; 19:6.
The idea of a place, of which this valley was an analogy, for punishment after death was developed in the intertestamental period. Therefore, it symbolizes God’s eternal judgment and punishment of the unbeliever. As a place of punishment for both the body and soul, Gehenna differs from Hades, which is only a temporary place of punishment. Thus, Gehenna refers to the Eternal Lake of Fire, the place of final judgment, Rev 20:13-15.
“Originally geenna, or gehenna, was the name of a valley south of Jerusalem. Gê Hinnōm (Hebrew) equals Hinnom Valley (cf. Joshua 15:8; 18:16). Thus the Greek word has its origin in this Hebrew expression (cf. Aramaic gê Hinnām). The valley itself was the site of child sacrifice during the time of King Ahab and Manasseh. There children were sacrificed to Molech. King Josiah declared the place unclean, and later it was referred to as the place of the dead. The form Gaienna is found in the Septuagint of Joshua 18:16, but it is not found in secular Greek writings. In the Old Testament the Valley of Hinnom was, to some extent, viewed as a symbol of Israel’s apostasy from or rejection of God. As stated above, it was a site where offerings and sacrifices were made to Molech (2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 32:35). As a result of this association with apostasy, both the place and the word became associated with God’s punishment and judgment (Jeremiah 7:32; 19:6). Later Judaism associated God’s judgment of His people with the Valley of Hinnom.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary).
As such, Jesus teaches the reality of hell unambiguously, and His second command is: Do not be afraid of people and what they can do to you, because their ability to cause harm is temporal. Instead, fear God, who can and will hold people accountable for their sins for all of eternity.
“God, as the only perfectly righteous being in the universe, has the sole authority to judge sin and then condemn the sinner. The religious leaders in Jerusalem had claimed that right and exercised it liberally to maintain their hold on power, but they had no moral authority. Because Jesus shares real authority with the Father, He could speak against their hypocrisy with confidence.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary).
This also reminds us that when someone is killed because of their relationship with Christ, they are called a martyr and will receive the Crown of Martyrdom at the BEMA judgment seat of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, we are told that God has the ultimate power over any person. God has made the flesh and the spirit of man, and He alone has the authority, (EXOUSIA), to decree eternal damnation. Satan was never given this “power;” in fact, he too will be judged and sentenced to the same eternal punishment facing those who reject God. That is why Heb 10:31 states, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
As such, Jesus does not guarantee protection from death but affirms that:
1) God alone controls the final destiny of men, and people should “fear” Him rather than those who can merely inflict physical death, vs. 5.
2) God is intimately aware of all that befalls us.
In concluding this section, we are given a call to assurance as we will see next week in the upcoming verses.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!