Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: ‘Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
4 ‘I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.5 But I will show you whom you should fear: fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
8 ‘I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
11 ‘When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.’
The parable of the rich fool
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’
14 Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’15 Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’
16 And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.17 He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.”
18 ‘Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.19 And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’”
20 ‘But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
21 ‘This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.’
Do not worry
22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.24 Consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27 ‘Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you – you of little faith!29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
32 ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
35 ‘Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will make them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or towards daybreak.39 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’
41 Peter asked, ‘Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?’
42 The Lord answered, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.45 But suppose the servant says to himself, “My master is taking a long time in coming,” and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk.46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
47 ‘The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Not peace but division
49 ‘I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’
Interpreting the times
54 He said to the crowd: ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, “It’s going to rain,” and it does.55 And when the south wind blows, you say, “It’s going to be hot,” and it is.56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
57 ‘Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.’
As I read through this passage, the first half made me pause and think about living life in a fallen world. It really resonated with me as I saw my daily life and struggles through Jesus’ words.
Verses 1 to 12 remind me how the world keeps chipping away at me with subtle whispers to conform, but Jesus says watch out – what I do in the dark and my impure thoughts will broadcast from the roof tops for all to hear. He says don’t conform to the world, don’t be afraid because our God loves us and He will help us.
Verses 13 to 21 make me think how the world drives us accumulate more and more and to look after ourselves. Jesus reminds us that we cannot take material things with us when we die. We need to lay up heavenly treasures by believing and trusting in our God and working to see the gospel of Jesus brought to all people.
Verses 22 to 34 – God cares for me and loves me and is intimately interested in me! I need to remember this when I feel overwhelmed by whatever situation I face. Whilst the danger or issue may be very real, God loves me. While I may face hard or difficult times now, I have the assurance that through Jesus I will have an eternity with a Heavenly Father who loves me and who has promised that all believers will share in His glorious kingdom.
Thank You Jesus that You are my Lord and Saviour, and that through You everything in my life works out for Your glory and my good. Amen.