The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant, Luke, Chapter 12

Analysis: Luke, Chapter 12

Luke chapter 12 occupies a central position in Luke's Gospel, presenting a series of teachings by Jesus that touch upon themes critical to understanding Christian discipleship in the context of the impending Kingdom of God. This chapter is a rich tapestry of instruction on how to live in anticipation of God's kingdom, addressing issues like hypocrisy, fear, materialism, vigilance, and the cost of following Jesus. Through these teachings, Luke underscores the historical reality of Jesus' ministry while delving into the theological implications of His message for both the first-century audience and contemporary readers.

The chapter begins with a caution against hypocrisy, symbolized by the "leaven of the Pharisees" (Luke 12:1). Jesus' warning to avoid hypocrisy serves as a foundational call to authenticity in the life of a disciple. This teaching, set against the backdrop of large crowds, underscores the importance Jesus places on sincerity and transparency in one's faith journey, emphasizing that true discipleship is marked by integrity both in public and in private. "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed" (Luke 12:2), Jesus declares, challenging believers to live lives of unfeigned faithfulness to God's commands.

Following this, Jesus addresses the disciples' fear of persecution, urging them to fear God rather than human adversaries (Luke 12:4-7). This section reassures believers of their value to God, who is sovereign over life and death, and who intimately knows and cares for His creation. "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God" (Luke 12:6), Jesus says, highlighting the Father's providential care even in the face of potential suffering for the sake of the Gospel.

The parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) confronts the issue of greed and misplaced trust in material wealth. Through the story of a man who stores up earthly wealth but neglects his relationship with God, Jesus teaches that true life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. This parable serves as a critique of materialism and a call to pursue "treasure in heaven" (Luke 12:33), thereby laying up treasures that have eternal significance.

Central to the chapter is Jesus' teaching on vigilance and readiness for the coming of the Kingdom of God (Luke 12:35-48). The metaphors of watchful servants awaiting their master's return from a wedding banquet and a homeowner vigilant against a thief underscore the necessity of constant preparedness for Jesus' return. This teaching not only instills a sense of urgency and expectation regarding the eschaton but also emphasizes the importance of faithful stewardship and obedience in the interim.

Lastly, Jesus speaks of the division His message will bring (Luke 12:49-53), illustrating the radical nature of discipleship that may lead to conflict and division, even among close family relationships. This section highlights the cost of following Jesus, demanding a commitment that transcends earthly ties and prioritizes allegiance to Christ above all else.

In conclusion, Luke chapter 12 is a compelling exposition on the demands and expectations of discipleship in light of the coming Kingdom of God. It challenges readers to examine their lives in areas of integrity, trust in God, material possessions, readiness for Christ's return, and commitment to His mission. Through these teachings, Luke presents a vision of Christian discipleship that is at once challenging and comforting, calling believers to a life of radical faithfulness and trust in God's providential care. This chapter, therefore, holds significant historical and theological importance, offering timeless guidance for navigating the complexities of living faithfully as followers of Christ.

The Scripture: Luke, Chapter 12

Luke Chapter 12 (KJV)

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.

2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:

9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

11 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:

12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

22 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.

23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?

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 portion of meat in due season?

43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

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 the more.

49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

54 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.

55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.

56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?

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 officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.

59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.

A Letter to Jesus: Luke, Chapter 12

Dear Jesus,

As I've spent time reflecting on Luke chapter 12, I've found myself deeply challenged and comforted by Your words. This chapter feels like a direct conversation from You, addressing the fears, concerns, and questions that I wrestle with in my daily life. Each teaching and parable You share seems to peel back the layers of our human condition, exposing the core of what it means to truly follow You.

Your warning against hypocrisy, using the metaphor of the "leaven of the Pharisees, " strikes a chord with me (Luke 12:1). It's a stark reminder of how easy it is to live a life of outward religiosity while neglecting the purity and sincerity of heart that You desire. Your call to integrity, both in public and in secret, challenges me to examine my own life for inconsistencies and to strive for a faith that is genuine and transparent before both God and man.

The encouragement not to fear those who can kill the body but cannot harm the soul is both timely and timeless (Luke 12:4-7). In a world where fear often seems to be the driving force behind so many decisions, Your words remind me that my ultimate allegiance and trust should be in God alone, the One who values me more than I can comprehend. The imagery of God's intimate knowledge of us, down to the number of hairs on our head, is profoundly comforting.

Your parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) serves as a powerful critique of the materialism and greed that so often consume our lives. It's a sobering reminder that life's true value isn't found in possessions or wealth but in being "rich toward God. " This challenges me to consider where my treasure truly lies and to invest in what is eternal rather than temporal.

The call to be ready for Your return, illustrated through the parables of the watchful servants and the faithful steward, emphasizes the importance of living in constant expectation of Your kingdom (Luke 12:35-48). It's a sobering yet hopeful reminder that our time here is temporary and that we should live in a way that reflects our anticipation of Your coming kingdom. This challenges me to consider the focus of my daily living and to prioritize faithfulness and service to You above all else.

Lastly, Your honest words about the division that following You may bring (Luke 12:49-53) are both difficult and necessary to hear. They remind me that the path of discipleship is not always one of peace and comfort but often requires difficult choices and sacrifices, even in our closest relationships.

In reflecting on Luke chapter 12, I am struck by the depth of Your wisdom and the breadth of Your care for us. You address the most profound concerns of our hearts—our fear, our hypocrisy, our greed—and guide us towards living a life that is anchored in faith, hope, and love. Help me, Lord, to live in light of Your teachings, to seek first Your kingdom, and to walk in the way of integrity, generosity, readiness, and faithfulness.

With a heart full of gratitude and a desire to follow You more closely,

Your ever loving disciple, Michael.

Summary: Luke, Chapter 12

Luke chapter 12 delves into a series of teachings by Jesus that address a variety of topics central to Christian discipleship, including hypocrisy, fear and anxiety, greed, readiness, and faithful service. This chapter is rich in theological significance, offering guidance on how to live in anticipation of the Kingdom of God while navigating the challenges of the present world.

The chapter begins with Jesus warning against the "leaven of the Pharisees, " which is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1). This admonition highlights the importance of sincerity and integrity in the life of a disciple. Jesus emphasizes that true discipleship involves transparency before God and people, acknowledging that everything concealed will be revealed. This teaching underscores the call to authentic living in accordance with God's truth, free from the pretense that characterized the Pharisees.

Following this, Jesus addresses the issue of fear and anxiety, particularly in the context of persecution (Luke 12:4-7). He encourages His followers not to fear those who can kill the body but have no power over the soul. Instead, they are to fear God, who cares for them intimately, as shown in His knowledge of the number of hairs on their head. This passage reassures believers of their value to God and the ultimate security found in Him, encouraging a perspective that prioritizes eternal realities over temporal threats.

The parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) confronts the sin of greed and the folly of placing one's security in material wealth. Jesus warns against all kinds of greed, illustrating through the parable that life's true essence does not consist in an abundance of possessions. The rich fool's mistake was to store up treasures for himself but not be "rich toward God. " This teaching challenges believers to consider their priorities and to invest in what has eternal value.

Subsequently, Jesus teaches on readiness and watchfulness in anticipation of the Kingdom of God (Luke 12:35-48). Through parables, He emphasizes the importance of being prepared for His return, living in a manner consistent with His teachings, and being faithful stewards of what He has entrusted to His followers. These teachings underscore the urgency of living with an eternal perspective, being active in service, and faithful in discipleship as we await the Lord's coming.

Lastly, Jesus discusses the divisions that His message will bring (Luke 12:49-53), highlighting that the commitment to follow Him may result in conflict, even within families. This stark reality underscores the cost of discipleship, calling believers to a commitment that transcends even the closest earthly relationships.

In summary, Luke chapter 12 provides profound theological insights into living as disciples of Christ in the present age. It addresses the need for authenticity, trust in God's care, wise stewardship of resources, readiness for Christ's return, and the cost of discipleship. These teachings collectively guide believers in navigating the complexities of life with faith, hope, and love, firmly anchored in the anticipation of God's Kingdom.

Interpretation: Luke, Chapter 12

Luke chapter 12 offers a comprehensive guide on discipleship, focusing on the internal disposition of the believer and their external expressions of faith in the face of societal pressures, materialism, and the eschatological reality of Jesus' return. The chapter traverses a wide range of themes, all integral to understanding what it means to live in the Kingdom of God, both in anticipation of its full realization and in the present moment.

Against Hypocrisy

The chapter begins with a warning against hypocrisy, symbolized by the "leaven of the Pharisees" (Luke 12:1). Jesus' call to integrity is profound, emphasizing that true discipleship is marked by consistency between one's public persona and private life. This teaching challenges believers to examine their hearts and live transparently, recognizing that God's omniscience renders all things visible to Him, thereby underscoring the futility and danger of hypocrisy.

Fear and Anxiety

Jesus addresses the natural human tendencies toward fear and anxiety, particularly about persecution and material needs (Luke 12:4-7, 22-31). By prioritizing the fear of God over the fear of man, Jesus points to a reverence for God that acknowledges His ultimate authority and loving care. The command not to worry about life's basic needs shifts the believer's focus from earthly concerns to the Father's provision, encouraging trust in God's attentive care for His creation.

Parable of the Rich Fool

The parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) confronts the issue of greed and misplaced trust in material wealth. This narrative illustrates the folly of finding security in possessions rather than in a rich relationship with God. Jesus' teaching here is a call to spiritual vigilance, reminding believers that life's true value is found in eternal treasures rather than temporal accumulations.

Readiness for the Kingdom

The exhortations to readiness and faithfulness (Luke 12:35-48) emphasize living in constant anticipation of Jesus' return. The metaphors of watchful servants highlight the importance of active waiting—living in a way that reflects the values of the Kingdom of God here and now, even as we look forward to its full realization. This section challenges believers to steward their lives and resources wisely, acting justly, and serving diligently in light of the coming judgment.


Lastly, Jesus speaks of the division His message will bring (Luke 12:49-53), acknowledging the cost of discipleship. This stark reality underscores the transformative and oftentimes disruptive power of the Gospel, which can sever even the closest of ties. Jesus' message here is not one of despair but of realistic expectation, preparing His followers for the challenges of aligning with His kingdom in a world that often stands in opposition.


Luke chapter 12 provides a rich tapestry of teachings that together form a comprehensive picture of Christian discipleship. This chapter calls believers to authentic living, grounded in trust and reverence for God, wise stewardship of resources, readiness for the Lord's return, and resilience in the face of division and opposition. It serves as a reminder that discipleship involves a radical reorientation of priorities and values, centered on the Kingdom of God and characterized by faith, hope, and love. Through these teachings, Jesus invites His followers into a deeper, more genuine relationship with Him, marked by a commitment to living out the values of His kingdom in every aspect of life.

A Letter to a Friend: Luke, Chapter 12

Dear Jesus,

As I reflect on Luke chapter 12, I find myself drawn into the depth of its teachings and the profound insights it offers. In the opening verses, you speak about the importance of readiness for your return, likening it to servants eagerly awaiting their master's arrival. You emphasize the blessedness of those who are found watching and ready when you come, highlighting the reward of being prepared and faithful.

In the parable of the faithful steward, you underscore the significance of wise and faithful stewardship. You commend the servant who is found faithfully carrying out his responsibilities upon your return, promising to elevate him to a position of greater authority. Conversely, you warn against complacency and negligence, cautioning that those who fail to fulfill their duties will face severe consequences.

You speak about the division that your message will bring, challenging the notion that your coming will necessarily bring peace. Instead, you proclaim that your message will bring division even within families, highlighting the profound impact of your teachings on human relationships and society at large.

You rebuke the people for their inability to discern the signs of the times, comparing their ability to interpret earthly phenomena to their lack of spiritual discernment. You urge them to seek righteousness and reconciliation with their adversaries, warning them of the consequences of ignoring their spiritual state.

Throughout this chapter, your words resonate with authority and urgency, calling your listeners to radical obedience, unwavering faith, and readiness for your coming. Your teachings challenge us to examine our hearts, prioritize spiritual matters, and live with a sense of urgency in light of your imminent return.

As I meditate on these verses, I am reminded of the importance of being vigilant, faithful, and discerning in my walk with you. Your words continue to challenge and inspire me to live a life that is pleasing to you, anticipating your return with hope and expectation.

Thank you, Jesus, for the timeless wisdom and truth contained in your teachings. May your words continue to shape and transform my life as I seek to follow you faithfully each day.

With love and gratitude, Michael