Vol. 19, No. 16 – April 26, 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.
Luke 12:2-9, is 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. We continue with vs. 5.
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 soul 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.
Luke 12:6, “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.” Cf. Mat 10:29.
“Sparrow” is the Noun STROUTHION, στρουθίον that is only used in this narrative, here and Mat 10:29-31, where two are sold for one cent. It was a bird that was considered to have very little value. In our passage “five,” PENTE, are “sold,” POLEO, “for two cents,” DUO ASSARION that was a small copper coin. In these passages, Jesus is contrasting the world’s value system with God’s as noted in the second half of this passage.
“Yet not one of them is forgotten before God,” that uses the Perfect Middle Participle of the Verb EPILANTHANOMAI, ἐπιλανθάνομαι that means, “forget, overlook, or neglect.” In essence it means, “to not recall.” Yet, God has each of us in His very mind consistently.
The point is, if God does not “forget” the sparrows, how much more will He not neglect His people’s needs, especially in the spiritual realm? If God cares so much for the sparrows, how much more does He care for you! The meaning of this is clear, fear and reverence before God results in His constant care and attention. Therefore, God does everything He can to give the truth of His Word to His people and protect them for the hypocrisy of false religion.
Therefore, God will do everything possible to give us the truth of His Word and keep us from the hypocrisy of false teachers and doctrines. Unfortunately, it is people’s negative volition towards God that leads them to false teaching and keeps them there.
Luke 12:7, “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
The “hairs,” THRIX, “of your head,” KAPHALE “are all numbered,” ARITHEMEO, means that God keeps track of every detail of your life and the life of others. He knows exactly when, where, and why someone is acting hypocritical or with integrity. Nothing escapes His notice.
In the analogy of the sparrows, God also knows your every need in life, in both the physical and spiritual realm. As such, He promises to provide for your every need, as our Lord says, “Do not fear (PHOBEO); you are more valuable (DIAPHERO) than many sparrows.” Being more valuable or carrying more weight in God’s eyes than the birds of the air or any other animal, He will care for us and provide what we need, as also noted in Mat 6:26; 10:31; 12:12; Luke 12:24.
Mat 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”
Mat 12:12, “How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Therefore, sparrows, vs. 6, and hairs, vs. 7, are so insignificant that this kind of argument, (from a lesser to a greater), points to the supreme worth of the disciples in God’s eyes, and His love and care for them. And all of this is given to us so that we do not have fear of what people can do to us or say about us, especial the Self-righteous religious leaders who could have us killed. Instead, we are to trust in God for all things and situations.
The fear of God is our holy reverence for the Lord that consists of trembling before His holiness, yet rejoicing in His love. We are not to be afraid of God in His love, but we are to have the utmost respect for who He is and what He can and will do.
The confidence gained from trusting the Lord and being liberated from the bondage of worldly fear enables the believer to become an effective witness for Christ, i.e., “preaching from the roof tops.” As such, we must cultivate fear for God’s coming judgment, and we must cultivate fear of God’s very person.
While death is a part of life in this fallen creation, even the plight of sparrows and the hairs on our head do not escape the compassionate care of our Creator. Consequently, we His disciples, whom He values far more than birds, can rest assured that He will take note of our suffering; whatever it may be. Because, nothing escapes His omniscient attention, not even details about ourselves that we do not even notice. Our loving God and creator cares for each of us worthless birds; yet not one of us is forgotten. Therefore, take courage in Him and walk faithfully each and every day!
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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!