Fear God, Not People
12:1 Meanwhile,1 when many thousands of the crowd had gathered so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus2 began to speak first to his disciples, “Be on your guard against3 the yeast of the Pharisees,4 which is hypocrisy.5 12:2 Nothing is hidden6 that will not be revealed,7 and nothing is secret that will not be made known. 12:3 So then8 whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered9 in private rooms10 will be proclaimed from the housetops.11
12:4 “I12 tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body,13 and after that have nothing more they can do. 12:5 But I will warn14 you whom you should fear: Fear the one who, after the killing,15 has authority to throw you16 into hell.17 Yes, I tell you, fear him! 12:6 Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies?18 Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 12:7 In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid;19 you are more valuable than many sparrows.
12:8 “I20 tell you, whoever acknowledges21 me before men,22 the Son of Man will also acknowledge23 before God’s angels. 12:9 But the one who denies me before men will be denied before God’s angels. 12:10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit24 will not be forgiven.25 12:11 But when they bring you before the synagogues,26 the27 rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you should make your defense28 or what you should say, 12:12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment29 what you must say.”30
The Parable of the Rich Landowner
12:13 Then31 someone from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell32 my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 12:14 But Jesus33 said to him, “Man,34 who made me a judge or arbitrator between you two?”35 12:15 Then36 he said to them, “Watch out and guard yourself from37 all types of greed,38 because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 12:16 He then39 told them a parable:40 “The land of a certain rich man produced41 an abundant crop, 12:17 so42 he thought to himself,43 ‘What should I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’44 12:18 Then45 he said, ‘I46 will do this: I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 12:19 And I will say to myself,47 “You have plenty of goods stored up for many years; relax, eat, drink, celebrate!”’ 12:20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life48 will be demanded back from49 you, but who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’50 12:21 So it is with the one who stores up riches for himself,51 but is not rich toward God.”
Exhortation Not to Worry
12:22 Then52 Jesus53 said to his54 disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry55 about your56 life, what you will eat, or about your57 body, what you will wear. 12:23 For there is more to life than food, and more to the body than clothing. 12:24 Consider the ravens:58 They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds59 them. How much more valuable are you than the birds! 12:25 And which of you by worrying60 can add an hour to his life?61 12:26 So if62 you cannot do such a very little thing as this, why do you worry about63 the rest? 12:27 Consider how the flowers64 grow; they do not work65 or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! 12:28 And if66 this is how God clothes the wild grass,67 which is here68 today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven,69 how much more70 will he clothe you, you people of little faith! 12:29 So71 do not be overly concerned about72 what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not worry about such things.73 12:30 For all the nations of the world pursue74 these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 12:31 Instead, pursue75 his76 kingdom,77 and these things will be given to you as well.
12:32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleased78 to give you the kingdom. 12:33 Sell your possessions79 and give to the poor.80 Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out – a treasure in heaven81 that never decreases,82 where no thief approaches and no moth83 destroys. 12:34 For where your treasure84 is, there your heart will be also.
Call to Faithful Stewardship
12:35 “Get dressed for service85 and keep your lamps burning;86 12:36 be like people87 waiting for their master to come back from the wedding celebration,88 so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 12:37 Blessed are those slaves89 whom their master finds alert90 when he returns! I tell you the truth,91 he will dress himself to serve,92 have them take their place at the table,93 and will come94 and wait on them!95 12:38 Even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night96 and finds them alert,97 blessed are those slaves!98 12:39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief99 was coming, he would not have let100 his house be broken into. 12:40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”101
12:41 Then102 Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?”103 12:42 The Lord replied,104 “Who then is the faithful and wise manager,105 whom the master puts in charge of his household servants,106 to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? 12:43 Blessed is that slave107 whom his master finds at work108 when he returns. 12:44 I tell you the truth,109 the master110 will put him in charge of all his possessions. 12:45 But if111 that112 slave should say to himself,113 ‘My master is delayed114 in returning,’ and he begins to beat115 the other116 slaves, both men and women,117 and to eat, drink, and get drunk, 12:46 then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, and will cut him in two,118 and assign him a place with the unfaithful.119 12:47 That120 servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or do what his master asked121 will receive a severe beating. 12:48 But the one who did not know his master’s will122 and did things worthy of punishment123 will receive a light beating.124 From everyone who has been given much, much will be required,125 and from the one who has been entrusted with much,126 even more will be asked.127
Not Peace, but Division
12:49 “I have come128 to bring129 fire on the earth – and how I wish it were already kindled! 12:50 I have a baptism130 to undergo,131 and how distressed I am until it is finished! 12:51 Do you think I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!132 12:52 For from now on133 there will be five in one household divided, three against two and two against three. 12:53 They will be divided,134 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.”
Reading the Signs
12:54 Jesus135 also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west,136 you say at once, ‘A rainstorm137 is coming,’ and it does. 12:55 And when you see the south wind138 blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and there is. 12:56 You hypocrites!139 You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how can you not know how140 to interpret the present time?
Clear the Debts
12:57 “And141 why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 12:58 As you are going with your accuser before the magistrate,142 make an effort to settle with him on the way, so that he will not drag you before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer,143 and the officer throw you into prison. 12:59 I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid the very last cent!”144