New Defender's Study Bible Notes
12:6 two farthings. See note on Matthew 10:29. Today the value of “two farthings” would be perhaps fifty cents. Also see note on Matthew 5:26.
12:7 more value. The lesson of Job 38–39 is relevant. These chapters describe in detail the providential care of God for His animal creation. Job was concerned that God had forgotten him, but God had reasons for permitting Job’s sufferings of which Job was unaware. No matter what problems may come, we may be confident that God cares and is in control (Romans 8:28).
12:10 shall not be forgiven. On the unforgivable sin, see note on Matthew 12:32.
12:12 shall teach you. This promise applied specifically to the witnessing of the disciples in the period before the New Testament was written. It does not excuse negligence in preparation through study and prayer before such encounters today, but the principle still applies. The indwelling, guiding, energizing Holy Spirit is always there, assuming we have done our part, to speak through us as needed.
12:15 beware of covetousness. Apparently this is a very hard lesson for Christians to learn, especially in lands and times of affluence. The frequency of Biblical warnings about this sin may indicate its seriousness. Note, for example, such Scriptures as Exodus 20:17; Matthew 6:19-34; Acts 5:1-10; Romans 14:17; Ephesians 5:5; I Timothy 6:6-10; and James 5:1-4, among many others.
12:17 bestow my fruits. Instead of “bestowing” his affluence on others in need, he “bestowed” his fruits merely to his barns.
12:18 This will I do. In his monologue, this self-centered rich man (whom God called, “Thou fool”) used the personal pronouns (“I;” “my”) no less than eleven times in three verses (Luke 12:17-19), in addition to addressing himself three times—“soul”, “thou,” “thine.” Thus inordinate self-centeredness leads to eternal folly.
12:20 Thou fool. Those who lay up treasure for themselves and are not rich toward God (Luke 12:21) are insane fools in God’s omniscient judgment. Jesus warned against our calling someone a fool (Greek moros, meaning “stupid”), but He used even a stronger word here (Greek aphron, meaning “insane one;” the word is closely related to the word for “foaming,” aphros). This is, therefore, a very serious and sober warning against self-centered covetousness.
12:21 for himself. See Psalm 49:6-12.
12:32 little flock. Christ’s warnings against individual covetousness apply also to church covetousness. His promised blessings are to the “little flock,” such as the church at Philadelphia, which had “little strength,” but had “kept my word” (Revelation 3:8), not to the church at Laodicea, which boasted that she was “rich, and increased with goods” (Revelation 3:17).
12:33 Sell that ye have. Compare Jesus’ advice to the rich young ruler given in Matthew 19:21. However, this must be balanced against a man’s responsibility to “provide…for his own, and especially for those of his own house” (I Timothy 5:8). We are also to “give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28; see also I John 3:17) and to “sow bountifully” as “a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:6-7). All of this implies that, by faithful labor in the vocation God has given us, we have the wherewithal to do such things, as the Lord provides. Ananias and Sapphira were punished not for retaining part of their possessions, but because they lied about it (Acts 5:1-5). The principle is this: all that we have is of the Lord, and thus must be used in ways that He leads and that honor Him. Our personal needs and wants should be kept minimal, so that more can be used in His service and to meet the needs of others.
12:40 Be ye therefore ready. We are frequently urged to be ready always for the Lord’s return. If we could predict the date of His coming, or if we knew certain other events must transpire first, then such continual readiness would be unnecessary. Note Hebrews 9:28; I John 2:28;.
12:47 many stripes. Since the context surrounding this parable is the judgment at the return of Christ (Luke 12:40, 49), its purpose is clearly to teach that there will somehow be degrees of punishment in hell. Both servants represent lost sinners, and both are punished, with neither saved. The intensity of suffering, however, is inflicted in accordance with degree of sinfulness in relation to degree of light received or truth known. We may not fully understand how this can be, but the righteous “Judge of all the earth” (Genesis 18:25) is well able to “render every man according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6).
12:48 much required. This principle applies to the saved in heaven (I Corinthians 3:11-15) as well as to the unsaved in hell. At “the judgment seat of Christ” (II Corinthians 5:10), all born-again believers will see their work examined to see “what sort it is.” This passage clearly teaches that, for example, those born in Christian homes, in Christian lands, with abundant access to Bibles, churches, and schools, as well as other privileges, will be evaluated more critically than those believers who served the Lord without such advantages.
12:49 fire on the earth. The fire He will send is, first, the fires of division between friends and even family members over Him (Luke 12:51-53) and, ultimately, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thessalonians 1:8).
12:50 baptism. The baptism of which He speaks is His own impending immersion in the sufferings of crucifixion and hell (Matthew 20:18,22).
12:50 accomplished. The sense of His question was: “And what do I wish? I wish it were already kindled.” He had come to accomplish His decease at Jerusalem (Luke 9:31), and He was in great stress to get it done. He knew there was a fiery baptism awaiting Him there, but there was also “joy that was set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2), and a gloriously redeemed “people that shall be born” because “He hath done this” (Psalm 22:31).
12:57 judge ye not. The entire conversation centering on the dangers of covetousness and occupation with earthly things had been initiated by the argument between the two brothers about their inheritance (Luke 12:13). Jesus concludes by returning to their question and insisting they settle this mundane question amicably between themselves (Luke 12:58-59). Otherwise, if they insist on taking the squabble to a judge, one of them may end up in prison. Christians indeed should be able to settle their earthly disputes without going to court (I Corinthians 6:1-8). It is better to lose an argument than to win the argument and lose a brother. The Lord also admonished all His hearers that they were hypocritical by trying to be so knowledgeable about earthly matters while ignoring the spiritual significance of their times (Luke 12:54-56).