Bible Study in Luke's Gospel
Chapter 12 22- 59
vv.22-34 Jesus turned from the crowds to His closer disciples most of whom were poor. Had one or more of them shown anxiety? Jesus didn't advocate thoughtlessness. The challenge concerns our hearts (cardia v.34),our thinking, feeling, desires, endeavours and these will be right with Christ-centred prayer.
v.23 Clothes were a form of wealth. This is really all about moral values?
vv.24-28 Jesus is telling them that God's economics yield more profit than man's. The Creator provides for wildlife; people sin by coveting far more than they need. v.24 These may be crows (unclean birds) rather than ravens(1)
v.25 Geldenhuys, Morris and other scholars discuss whether the addition is to height or span of life; recent translators adopt the latter.
v.27,28 Scarlet anemones rather than lilies(2) Are plants more attractive than human clothing? Wood was scarce but grass was plentiful and used as fuel.
v.30 Pagan and Divine values compete for our time, energy and resources.
v.32 The only 'little flock' used in NT. Jesus told His disciples that God was their Father and they have rightly accepted that privilege ever since. It is Father's pleasure to give us gifts. We do not have to wring them out of Him but we can neglect them. How do we accumulate treasure in heaven?
vv.35-48 The word here for servant is 'doulos' and every true disciple is a slave and accountable to the Lord. Obedient slaves toil for a reward but will the rewards all be the same? Is ignorance regarded as a 'sin'? James 4.17
v.42 Oikonomos - often translated 'steward' which can be specific to a particular job or generally used among the believers as in 1 Peter 4.10 and NRSV translates 'manager' in this text(3) And what is the beating? How would we like the Master to find us? So what should we be doing?
vv.37,43 'Blessed are the alert' ‑ another beatitude?
v.41 Why did Peter ask a question? To whom does 'all' refer? Had Jesus already spoken a parable? Does Jesus answer with another question? He gives a lot of detail in the story related here - why? This becomes more understandable if we know something of a first century middle eastern household. Often the steward had been a slave. Is this a parable and what does it mean for us? What was the failure of the slave? How much did the treatment of other slaves have to do with it? How much do the parables of Matthew 25 parallel this one? How much do the words of Cain echo here? (Gen. 4.9)(4) And does the parable in any way reflect what has happened in the history of the Church? Campbell Morgan insists that there must be a mutual ministry among the douloi. How much do we need to consider discipline and judgment? What is the difference between the last two phrases of v.48?
vv.49-59 Is there connection with the previous section? What did Jesus mean by 'fire'? Is it judgment? Did Jesus set the world on fire with the cross? It is certainly a challenge. Was God's judgment borne by the Saviour? Was this fire of the Gospel like that which was shut up in Jeremiah's bones and for which he was weary with waiting?
The 'Prince of Peace' says that He did not bring peace? What did He mean when He said He would set members of the same family against each other? Jesus returns to the theme of watchfulness - but for what are we watching? Jesus spoke about signs or signals. What were His signals and how does that compare with the signs for which we look? We look for signs but we are not prophets. He does not say it's wrong to know the weather signs nor be a weather forecaster. Jesus said that they should recognise the signs of the times so what were those signs? Were they 'signs' or 'signals' that the Kingdom was at hand'? Was the prophecy read in the synagogue at Nazareth, (Luke 4, Isaiah 61) anything to do with it? What of Jesus' answer to John the Baptist question, should we look for someone else?
v 57 Finally, Jesus speaks of reconciliation. They are similar to Jesus' words recorded in Matthew 5.21-26 when the topic was anger and the offering of acceptable worship. Are the various people connected with punishment literal or figurative? Is there any connection here with 1 Cor.6.
(1) Morris - Luke Commentary
(2) Barclay Daily Study Bible- Luke
(3) Vine - Expository Dictionary of NT Words
(4) Campbell Morgain - Parables and Metaphors of our Lord.