The Leaven of the Pharisees.* 1Meanwhile, so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot.a He began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven—that is, the hypocrisy—of the Pharisees.
Courage Under Persecution.* 2b “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.c 3Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. 4I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. 5I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna;* yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. 6Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?* Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. 7Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.d 8I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. 9But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.e
Sayings About the Holy Spirit.* 10“Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven.f 11When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities,g do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. 12For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”
Saying Against Greed. 13* Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” 14He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”h 15Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”i
Parable of the Rich Fool. 16Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. 17He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ 18And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods 19j and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’k 20But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ 21Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”*
Dependence on God. 22l He said to [his] disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear. 23For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. 24Notice the ravens: they do not sow or reap; they have neither storehouse nor barn, yet God feeds them. How much more important are you than birds!m 25Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span? 26If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? 27Notice how the flowers grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of them.n 28If God so clothes the grass in the field that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? 29As for you, do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore. 30All the nations of the world seek for these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides. 32Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.o 33Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.p 34For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
Vigilant and Faithful Servants.* 35q “Gird your loins and light your lamps 36and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.r 37Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. 38And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants. 39s Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
41Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” 42And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute [the] food allowance at the proper time? 43Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. 44Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. 45But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’* and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, 46then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. 47That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely;t 48and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.
Jesus: A Cause of Division.* 49“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! 50* There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!u 51Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?v No, I tell you, but rather division.w 52From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”x
Signs of the Times.y 54He also said to the crowds, “When you see [a] cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain—and so it does; 55and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot—and so it is. 56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
Settlement with an Opponent.z 57“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. 59I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”*
* [12:1] See notes on Mk 8:15 and Mt 16:5–12.
* [12:2–9] Luke presents a collection of sayings of Jesus exhorting his followers to acknowledge him and his mission fearlessly and assuring them of God’s protection even in times of persecution. They are paralleled in Mt 10:26–33.
* [12:5] Gehenna: see note on Mt 5:22.
* [12:6] Two small coins: the Roman copper coin, the assarion (Latin as), was worth about one-sixteenth of a denarius (see note on Lk 7:41).
* [12:10–12] The sayings about the holy Spirit are set in the context of fearlessness in the face of persecution (Lk 12:2–9; cf. Mt 12:31–32). The holy Spirit will be presented in Luke’s second volume, the Acts of the Apostles, as the power responsible for the guidance of the Christian mission and the source of courage in the face of persecution.
* [12:13–34] Luke has joined together sayings contrasting those whose focus and trust in life is on material possessions, symbolized here by the rich fool of the parable (Lk 12:16–21), with those who recognize their complete dependence on God (Lk 12:21), those whose radical detachment from material possessions symbolizes their heavenly treasure (Lk 12:33–34).
* [12:21] Rich in what matters to God: literally, “rich for God.”
* [12:35–48] This collection of sayings relates to Luke’s understanding of the end time and the return of Jesus. Luke emphasizes for his readers the importance of being faithful to the instructions of Jesus in the period before the parousia.
* [12:45] My master is delayed in coming: this statement indicates that early Christian expectations for the imminent return of Jesus had undergone some modification. Luke cautions his readers against counting on such a delay and acting irresponsibly. Cf. the similar warning in Mt 24:48.
* [12:49–53] Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom is a refining and purifying fire. His message that meets with acceptance or rejection will be a source of conflict and dissension even within families.
* [12:50] Baptism: i.e., his death.
* [12:59] The last penny: Greek, lepton, a very small amount. Mt 5:26 has for “the last penny” the Greek word kodrantēs (Latin quadrans, “farthing”).
d. [12:7] 12:24; 21:18; Acts 27:34.
e. [12:9] 9:26; Mk 8:38; 2 Tm 2:12.
f. [12:10] Mt 12:31–32; Mk 3:28–29.
g. [12:11–12] 21:12–15; Mt 10:17–20; Mk 13:11.
h. [12:14] Ex 2:14; Acts 7:27.
j. [12:19–21] Mt 6:19–21; 1 Tm 6:17.
n. [12:27] 1 Kgs 10:4–7; 2 Chr 9:3–6.
p. [12:33] 18:22; Mt 6:20–21; Mk 10:21.
r. [12:36] Mt 25:1–13; Mk 13:35–37.
s. [12:39–40] Mt 24:43–44; 1 Thes 5:2.