12:1 In 1 the mean time, when there were gathered together a an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
(1) The faithful teachers of Godís word, who are appointed by him for his people, must both take good heed of those who corrupt the purity of doctrine with smooth speech, and also take pains through the help of God to set forth sincere doctrine, openly and without fear.
12:4 2 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
(a) Literally, "ten thousand of people", a certain number which is given for an uncertain number.
(2) Although hypocrites have princes to execute their cruelty, yet there is no reason why we should be afraid of them, even by the smallest amount that may be, seeing that they can do nothing except that which pleases God, and God does not will anything that may be against the salvation of his elect.
12:5 But I will b forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
(b) He warns them of dangers that presently hang over their heads, for those that come upon one suddenly make a greater wound.
12:8 3 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
(3) Great is the reward of a constant confession: and horrible is the punishment for denying Christ; yea, it will be impossible to call the punishment back again, if on purpose, both with mouth and heart we blaspheme a known truth.
12:11 4 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and [unto] magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
(4) It is a great and difficult conflict to confess the truth, yet God who can do all things and is almighty will provide strength to the weakest who struggle greatly and do battle in Godís appointed time.
12:13 5 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
(5) For three reasons Christ would not be a judge to divide an inheritance. First, because he would not support and uphold the fleshly opinion that the Jews had of Messiah: secondly, because he wanted to distinguish the civil government from the ecclesiastical: thirdly, to teach us to beware of those which abuse the show of the gospel, and also the name of ministers, for their own private well-being.
12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of c covetousness: for a manís life d consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
(c) By covetousness is meant that greedy desire to get, commonly causing hurt to other men.
12:16 6 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The e ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
(d) God is the author and preserver of manís life; goods are not.
(6) There are none more mad than rich men who depend upon their riches.
12:17 And he f thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
(e) Or rather country, for here is set forth a man that possesses not only a piece of ground, but a whole country, as they do who join house to house, and field to field; (Isaiah 5:8).
(f) Reckoned with himself, which is the characteristic of covetous surly men who spend their life in those trifles.
12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, [and] g be merry.
(g) Be merry and make good cheer.
12:21 So [is] he that layeth up treasure h for himself, and is not rich toward God.
(h) Caring for no man but for himself, and making sure to trust in himself.
12:22 7 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
(7) Earnestly thinking upon the providence of God is a present remedy for this life against the most foolish and wasting worry of men.
12:29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither i be ye of doubtful mind.
(i) A metaphor taken of things that hang in the air, for those that care too much for this worldly life, and rely upon the arm of man, always have wavering and doubtful minds, swaying sometimes this way, and sometimes that way.
12:31 8 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
(8) They will lack nothing who are diligent for the kingdom of heaven.
12:32 9 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Fatherís good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
(9) It is a foolish thing not to look for small things at the hands of him who freely gives us the greatest things.
12:33 10 Sell that ye have, and give k alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
12:35 11 Let your loins be girded about, and [your] lights burning;
(10) A godly bountifulness is a proper way to get true riches.
(k) This is the figure of speech metonymy, for by this word "alms" is meant that compassion and friendliness of a heart that cares tenderly for the misery and poor condition of a man, and shows this feeling by some gift, and has the name given to it in the Greek language of mercy and compassion: and therefore he is said to give alms who gives something to another, and gives to the poor, showing by this that he pities their poor condition.
12:40 12 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
(11) The life of the faithful servants of God in this world is certainly a diligent journey, having the light of the word going before the journey.
12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom [his] lord shall make ruler over his household, to give [them their] l portion of meat in due season?
(12) None need to watch more than they that have some degree of honour in the household of God.
(l) That is, every month the measure of corn that was given to them.
12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes]. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask m the more.
(m) More than the one who did not receive as much.
12:49 13 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
12:54 14 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud n rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
(13) The gospel is the only reason of peace between the godly, and so it is the occasion of great trouble among the wicked.
12:57 15 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
(14) Men who are very quick to see with regard to earthly things are blind with regard to those things which pertain to the heavenly life, and this through their own malice.
(n) Which appears, and gathers itself together in that part of the air.
12:58 When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, [as thou art] in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the o officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.
(15) Men that are blinded with the love of themselves, and therefore are detestable and stubborn, will bear the punishment of their folly.
(o) To him that has to demand and gather the fines from those who were fined at the discretion of the court, people who had wrongly troubled men: moreover, the magistrateís officers make those who are condemned pay what they owe, yea and often if they are obstinate, they not only take the fine, but also imprison them.