As Luke 12 opens, Jesus has just left the dinner with the Pharisees at the end of chapter 11, and he tells His disciples to beware the leaven of the Pharisees. This refers not only to their hypocrisy, but to their teachings and influence as well. But He is warning them (and us) against hypocrisy and the damage it can do to their reputations and the church He is building in verses 2-3 when He says:
“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”
Jesus then tells them not to fear those that kill the body. This is a very real and relevant admonition, and He knows that His apostles will all find themselves in positions for that sort of fear to be a real threat. But the One He says they should fear is God, who can cast into hell. He emphasizes God’s omnipotence by pointing out how cheap five sparrows can be bought – yet not one of them is forgotten by God, who even numbers the hairs on your head.
The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded by angels, by Giaquinto, 1750s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In verses 8-12, Jesus is preparing His disciples for “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of what they will encounter in spreading the gospel. Those that acknowledge Him before men will be acknowledged by Jesus before God. Those who deny Him, will be denied before God. Anyone who speaks a word against Him will be forgiven. But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven (found also in Matthew 12:31-32).
It is important to understand what is being said here. Many people have believed that because they have said something irreverent about the Holy Spirit, they can never be forgiven, and are thus condemned. The very fact that they fear that to be true proves that it is false! This is best explained by a couple of quotes from Burton Coffman and Anthony Lee Ash. Coffman said:
“The three dispensations of God’s grace are in view here. Blaspheming
God in the patriarchal period, or Christ as the culmination of the
Mosaic period, or the Holy Spirit in the age of the gospel were in the
ascending order of seriousness. “The Holy Spirit with his teachings is
the last that God has to offer man; and, if one blasphemes the Holy
Spirit by rejecting the New Testament, there is no chance for
Perhaps better stated by Ash, who said:
“One could reject Jesus during his personal ministry and still accept him by accepting Spirit-inspired preaching. But reject the latter and there would be no further overture from God”
It is the rejection of the Holy Spirit that makes forgiveness impossible, for without accepting this gift, there is no way for the heart to be opened to God’s word and the truth. The fact is that forgiveness is freely given to all those who desire to do the will of God.
Verses 11-12 were for his disciples. Notice that He says “When…” not “If…” “they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Jesus knew this was going to happen to them. He did everything He could to prepare them for every eventuality because He knew what they would face.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.