Luke 11:53-12:12

After his stunning take-down of the Pharisees and the lawyers, Jesus isn’t too popular (11:53-54). It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that he takes some time now to encourage his disciples before things start to really heat up. He begins, though, by repeating some of what he said previously – that the problem is hypocrisy (v1). As everything we do in private will be made known (v2-3) it’s probably best that we behave in a way that we wouldn’t mind people seeing alongside what we say.

His pep-talk has four parts. Firstly, (v4-5) we should fear Jesus far more than we fear those who can do no more than speed our bodies. This is fear not in the sense of knee-knocking panic, but in the sense of a healthy awe. It’s so easy to forget, though, when the here and now pushes in around that there is a there and then coming soon. That’s why I need to hear these words of Jesus more. Secondly (v6-7), sparrows are worth pennies but God remembers every one. If he’s gone to the effort of counting every single hair, he’s not going to forget me! Again – I need to hear this more often, not to feel good about myself (because I’m not!) but it’s easier to live differently knowing that God won’t forget it. Thirdly (v8-10), denying Christ will mean I am denied by him before the angels. I take it that this means denying Christ as a life-choice, rather than a Christian who has a bad day. (And I’ve yet to meet anyone who has actually had a fully good day as a Christian!) Worse than speaking against Jesus is blaspheming the Holy Spirit. The best explanation I have heard of this is that it’s refering to seeing the power of the Holy Spirit and then speaking against it, which would be why Mark’s gospel juxtaposes this teaching with the rebuttal of the attack that Jesus can only cast out demons by the power of Satan. They see that it’s amazing power being used for good and still decide it is evil. I don’t know, though, so again put any ideas below; it does seem fairly important, given the consequences! The final thing (v11-12) is a promise that the Holy Spirit will teach the disciples what to say when they need to defend themselves. This comes true again and again in Acts (see Acts 4:8), so I guess that I should trust it. Interestingly, though, the promise is that he will teach “in that very hour” rather than beforehand. I can’t wait until I’m ‘ready’ to evangelise or stand up for Jesus. This passage suggests that the teaching comes as and when necessary – I won’t be ready until I’m in the thick of it.

Heavenly Father, there’s a lot of amazing truth in there and I praise you that you are so caring and loving. But I don’t want to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Let me come back to this passage and these truths often and so capture every moment as a service to Christ rather than myself or the world’s patterns. Amen.


One Response to “Luke 11:53-12:12”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I am glad you are standing for Christ!!

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