12 Meanwhile the crowds grew until thousands upon thousands were milling about and crushing each other. He turned now to his disciples and warned them, “More than anything else, beware of these Pharisees and the way they pretend to be good when they aren’t. But such hypocrisy cannot be hidden forever. 2 It will become as evident as yeast in dough. 3 Whatever they[a] have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be broadcast from the housetops for all to hear!
4 “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of these who want to murder you. They can only kill the body; they have no power over your souls. 5 But I’ll tell you whom to fear—fear God who has the power to kill and then cast into hell.
6 “What is the price of five sparrows? A couple of pennies? Not much more than that. Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7 And he knows the number of hairs on your head! Never fear, you are far more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows.
8 “And I assure you of this: I, the Messiah,[b] will publicly honor you in the presence of God’s angels if you publicly acknowledge me here on earth as your Friend. 9 But I will deny before the angels those who deny me here among men. 10 (Yet those who speak against me[c] may be forgiven—while those who speak against the Holy Spirit shall never be forgiven.)
11 “And when you are brought to trial before these Jewish rulers and authorities in the synagogues, don’t be concerned about what to say in your defense, 12 for the Holy Spirit will give you the right words even as you are standing there.”
13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Sir, please tell my brother to divide my father’s estate with me.”
14 But Jesus replied, “Man, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that? 15 Beware! Don’t always be wishing for what you don’t have. For real life and real living are not related to how rich we are.”
16 Then he gave an illustration: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 In fact, his barns were full to overflowing—he couldn’t get everything in. He thought about his problem, 18 and finally exclaimed, ‘I know—I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones! Then I’ll have room enough. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “Friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Wine, women, and song for you!”’[d]
20 “But God said to him, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. Then who will get it all?’
21 “Yes, every man is a fool who gets rich on earth but not in heaven.”
22 Then turning to his disciples he said, “Don’t worry about whether you have enough food to eat or clothes to wear. 23 For life consists of far more than food and clothes. 24 Look at the ravens—they don’t plant or harvest or have barns to store away their food, and yet they get along all right—for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!
25 “And besides, what’s the use of worrying? What good does it do? Will it add a single day to your life? Of course not! 26 And if worry can’t even do such little things as that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
27 “Look at the lilies! They don’t toil and spin, and yet Solomon in all his glory was not robed as well as they are. 28 And if God provides clothing for the flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, don’t you suppose that he will provide clothing for you, you doubters? 29 And don’t worry about food—what to eat and drink; don’t worry at all that God will provide it for you. 30 All mankind scratches for its daily bread, but your heavenly Father knows your needs. 31 He will always give you all you need from day to day if you will make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.
32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give to those in need. This will fatten your purses in heaven! And the purses of heaven have no rips or holes in them. Your treasures there will never disappear; no thief can steal them; no moth can destroy them. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.
35 “Be prepared—all dressed and ready— 36 for your Lord’s return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 There will be great joy for those who are ready and waiting for his return. He himself will seat them and put on a waiter’s uniform and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come at nine o’clock at night—or even at midnight. But whenever he comes, there will be joy for his servants who are ready!
39 “Everyone would be ready for him if they knew the exact hour of his return—just as they would be ready for a thief if they knew when he was coming. 40 So be ready all the time. For I, the Messiah,[e] will come when least expected.”
41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you talking just to us or to everyone?”
42-44 And the Lord replied, “I’m talking to any faithful, sensible man whose master gives him the responsibility of feeding the other servants. If his master returns and finds that he has done a good job, there will be a reward—his master will put him in charge of all he owns.
45 “But if the man begins to think, ‘My Lord won’t be back for a long time,’ and begins to whip the men and women he is supposed to protect, and to spend his time at drinking parties and in drunkenness— 46 well, his master will return without notice and remove him from his position of trust and assign him to the place of the unfaithful. 47 He will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty he refused to do it.
48 “But anyone who is not aware that he is doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater.
49 “I have come to bring fire to the earth, and, oh, that my task were completed! 50 There is a terrible baptism ahead of me, and how I am pent up until it is accomplished!
51 “Do you think I have come to give peace to the earth? No! Rather, strife and division! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or perhaps the other way around. 53 A father will decide one way about me; his son, the other; mother and daughter will disagree; and the decision of an honored mother-in-law[f] will be spurned by her daughter-in-law.”
54 Then he turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right.
55 “When the south wind blows you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. 56 Hypocrites! You interpret the sky well enough, but you refuse to notice the warnings all around you about the crisis ahead. 57 Why do you refuse to see for yourselves what is right?
58 “If you meet your accuser on the way to court, try to settle the matter before it reaches the judge, lest he sentence you to jail; 59 for if that happens, you won’t be free again until the last penny is paid in full.”
- Luke 12:3 they, literally, “you.”
- Luke 12:8 the Messiah, literally, “the Son of Man.”
- Luke 12:10 me, literally, “the Son of Man.”
- Luke 12:19 Wine, women, and song for you, literally, “Eat, drink, and be merry.”
- Luke 12:40 the Messiah, literally, “the Son of Man.”
- Luke 12:53 the decision of an honored mother-in-law, implied by ancient custom.