Summary: A large crowd had got together to hear Christ preach. The scribes and Pharisees were there, but they were looking for something that they could accuse him of. But the people, who were not prejudice against Him and jealous, still admired him...
Jesus Deals With Hypocrisy, Covetousness, Worry...
A large crowd had got together to hear Christ preach. The scribes and Pharisees were there, but they were looking for something that they could accuse him of. But the people, who were not prejudice against Him and jealous, still admired him, followed Him, and gave Him respect.
JESUS WARNS OF THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES
(Luke 12:1) In the mean time, when there were gathered together 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.
This is the period of time when Christ’s ministry peaked. Great crowds of people were following Him. It was at this time He performed so many miracles. There were literally thousands of blind who had their eyes opened, thousands of lame who were made to walk, and thousands of dumb who were made to speak. Christ healed multitudes. In fact, this crowd was so large it was impossible to number them. The people were pushing against one another, and actually some were being trampled. It was a dangerous place to be.
Jesus warns His disciples and then the crowd against the leaven of the Pharisees. Bread was made with leaven which was actually sourdough. A small piece of fermented dough was added to bread dough that caused all the bread dough to slowly rise. In the New Testament, leaven is sometimes used as a word picture for evil influence. Jesus compared the Pharisees’ hypocrisy and corrupt teachings to leaven.
Christ’s disciples were, as far as we know, the best men in the world at that time, yet they needed to be cautioned against hypocrisy. Christ said this to the disciples, so that the crowd could hear it, to let the world know that he would not tolerate hypocrisy; not even in his own disciples.
(Luke 12:2-5) For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 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. But I will 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.
It is sobering to think that everything we have ever spoken will one day be revealed. We must guard our hearts, minds, lips, and hands.
Jesus had a lot to say about hell. These verses tell us that it is a place, that God has the power to cast people into, and that this occurs after this life. The grave does not end it all.
What Jesus is saying here is that evil men cannot do Christ’s disciples any real harm, and therefore they should not be feared since they can only kill the body; for death will only send that body to its rest, and the soul to its joy. God is to be feared more than the most powerful men. If you have Christ you may lay yourself open to the wrath of men, but they can only put you to death (and without God’s permission they cannot do that). But by denying Christ, you will bring upon yourself the wrath of God, who has the power to send you to hell. Martin Luther made the statement, “Fear God and you will have no one else to fear.” When you fear God alone, you don’t need to fear any one else; and you can boldly witness for Christ. You are important to God and precious in His sight, so never fear what people can say or do.
(Luke 12:6-9) Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
The sparrow was often a source of food for the poor. It was considered ceremonially clean and could be eaten by Jews. It was an inexpensive bird, and five sparrows could be sold for two farthings. Jesus emphasized that God remembers even the most insignificant of His creatures. Believers can know with certainty that God cares about them and oversees every facet of their lives. Nothing can ever harm a believer in this life, without the permission of God. Now, child of God, you are of more value than many sparrows, and therefore you may be sure you are not forgotten. "Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (v. 7); and all your sighs and tears numbered.