Warning Against Hypocrisy
During this time when a crowd of many thousands had gathered together, so that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware for yourselves of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. But nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, and secret that will not be made known. Therefore everything that you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
Fear God Rather Than People
“And I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after these things do not have anything more to do. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear the one who has authority, after the killing, to throw you into hell! Yes, I tell you, fear this one! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered! Do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Acknowledgement of Christ and Persecution of Disciples
“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before people, the Son of Man also will acknowledge him before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before people will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him, but to the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven. But when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you should speak in your own defense or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that same hour what it is necessary to say.”
The Parable of the Rich Landowner Who Was a Fool
Now someone from 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 an arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Watch out and guard yourselves from all greediness, because not even when someone has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And he told a parable to them, saying, “The land of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. And he reasoned to himself, saying, ‘What should I do? For I do not have anywhere I can gather in my crops.’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and I will gather in there all my grain and possessions. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many possessions stored up for many years. Relax, eat, drink, celebrate!”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your life is demanded from you, and the things which you have prepared—whose will they be?’ So is the one who stores up treasure for himself, and who is not rich toward God!”
And he said to his disciples, “For this reason I tell you, do not be anxious for your life, what you will eat, or for your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, that they neither sow nor reap; to them there is neither storeroom nor barn, and God feeds them. How much more are you worth than the birds? And which of you by being anxious is able to add an hour to his life span? If then you are not even able to do a very little thing, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they do not toil or spin, but I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed like one of these. But if God clothes the grass in the field in this way, although it is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he do so for you, you of little faith? And you, do not consider what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not be anxious. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek his kingdom and these things will be added to you.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father is well pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give charitable gifts. Make for yourselves money bags that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven where thief does not approach or moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
On the Alert for the Master’s Return
“You must be prepared for action and your lamps burning. And you, be like people who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that when he comes back and knocks, they can open the door for him immediately. Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he returns! Truly I say to you that he will dress himself for service and have them recline at the table and will come by and serve them. Even if he should come back in the second or in the third watch of the night and find them like this, blessed are they! But understand this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not think he will come.”
A Faithful Slave and an Unfaithful Slave
And Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us, or also for everyone?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful wise manager whom the master will put in charge over his servants to give them their food allowance at the right time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find so doing when he comes back. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave should say to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time to return,’ and he begins to beat the male slaves and the female slaves and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in two and assign his place with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew the will of his master and did not prepare or do according to his will will be given a severe beating. But the one who did not know and did things deserving blows will be given a light beating. And from everyone to whom much has been given, much will be demanded, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will ask him for even more.
Not Peace, But a Sword of Divisiveness
“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish that it had been kindled already! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how I am distressed until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to grant peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! For from now on there will be five in one household, divided three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
The Signs of the Times
And he also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud coming up in the west, you say at once, ‘A rainstorm is coming,’ and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be burning heat,’ and it happens. Hypocrites! You know how to evaluate the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how is it you do not know how to evaluate this present time?
Settle Accounts Quickly
“And why do you not also judge for yourselves what is right? For as you are going with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to come to a settlement with him on the way, so that he will not drag you to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the bailiff, and the bailiff will throw you into prison. I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid back even the last cent!”
Questions for Reflection:
- Have you ever faced the fear of man? What was the situation, and how did you respond to it?
- What would you say life is for? How does your answer compare with what Jesus teaches in today’s chapter?
- Of the trials we will likely face as we follow Jesus, which concerns you most? Does it worry you? How does Jesus expect you to respond to this worry?