Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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.
12:1 He said to his disciples first - But afterward Lu 12:54 to all the people. Mt 16:6.
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.
12:3 Mt 10:27.
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.
12:4 But I say to you, Fear not - Let not the fear of man make you act the hypocrite, or conceal any thing which I have commissioned you to publish.
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.
12:5 Fear him who hath power to cast into hell - Even to his peculiar friends, Christ gives this direction. Therefore the fearing of God as having power to cast into hell, is to be pressed even on true believers.
Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
12:6 Are not five sparrows - But trust as well as fear him.
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
12:7 Mt 10:30.
Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
12:8 And I say to you - If you avoid all hypocrisy, and openly avow my Gospel: The Son of man shall confess you - before the angels - At the last day. Mr 8:38; Lu 9:26.
But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
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.
12:10 And whosoever - As if he had said, Yet the denying me in some degree, may, upon true repentance, be forgiven; but if it rise so high as that of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, it shall never be forgiven, neither is there place for repentance. Mt 12:31; Mr 3:28.
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:
12:11 Take no thought - Be not solicitous about the matter or manner of your defence; nor how to express yourselves. Mt 10:19; Lu 21:12.
For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
12:14 Who made me a judge? - In worldly things. His kingdom is not of this world.
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.
12:15 He said to them - Perhaps to the two brothers, and through them to the people. A man's life - That is, the comfort or happiness of it.
And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
12:17 What shall I do? - The very language of want! Do? Why, lay up treasure in heaven.
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.
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.
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?
12:20 Thou fool - To think of satisfying thy soul with earthly goods! To depend on living many years! Yea, one day! They - The messengers of death, commissioned by God, require thy soul of thee!
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
12:21 Rich toward God - Namely, in faith, and love, and good works.
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.
12:22 Mt 6:25.
The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
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?
And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
12:25 Which of you can add the least measure - It seems, to add one cubit to a thing (which is the phrase in the original) was a kind of proverbial expression for making the least addition to it.
If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
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.
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?
12:28 The grass - The Greek word means all sorts of herbs and flowers.
And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
12:29 Neither be ye of a doubtful mind - The word in the original signifies, any speculations or musings in which the mind fluctuates, or is suspended (like meteors in the air) in an uneasy hesitation.
For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
12:32 It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom - How much more food and raiment? And since ye have such an inheritance, regard not your earthly possessions.
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.
12:33 Sell what ye have - This is a direction, not given to all the multitude: (much less is it a standing rule for all Christians:) neither to the apostles; for they had nothing to sell, having left all before: but to his other disciples, (mentioned Lu 12:22, and Acts 1:15,) especially to the seventy, that they might be free from all worldly entanglements. Mt 6:19.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
12:35 Let your loins be girt - An allusion to the long garments, worn by the eastern nations, which they girded or tucked up about their loins, when they journeyed or were employed in any labour: as also to the lights that servants used to carry at weddings, which were generally in the night.
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.
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.
12:37 He will come and serve them - The meaning is, he will show them his love, in the most condescending and tender manner.
And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
12:38 The Jews frequently divided the night into three watches, to which our Lord seems here to allude.
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.
Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
12:41 Speakest thou this parable to us - Apostles and disciples: Or to all - The people? Does it concern us alone? Or all men?
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?
12:42 Who is that faithful and wise steward - Our Lord's answer manifestly implies, that he had spoken this parable primarily (though not wholly) to the ministers of his word: Whom his lord shall make ruler over his household - For his wisdom and faithfulness.
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
12:43 Happy is that servant - God himself pronounces him wise, faithful, happy! Yet we see, he might fall from all, and perish for ever.
Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
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;
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.
12:46 The Lord will appoint him his portion - His everlasting portion, with the unfaithful - As faithful as he was once, God himself being the Judge!
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.
12:47 And that servant who knew his Lord's will shall be beaten with many stripes - And his having much knowledge will increase, not lessen, his punishment.
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.
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
12:49 I am come to send fire - To spread the fire of heavenly love over all the earth.
But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with - I must suffer first, before I can set up my kingdom. And how I long to fight my way through all!
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to send peace upon earth - That universal peace will be the immediate effect of my coming? Not so, but quite the contrary. Mt 10:34.
For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
12:52 There shall be five in one house, three against two, and two against three - There being an irreconcilable enmity between the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of the world.
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.
12:53 The father against the son - For those who reject me will be implacable toward their very nearest relations who receive me. At this day also is this scripture fulfilled. Now likewise there is no concord between Christ and Belial.
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.
12:54 And he said to the people also - In the preceding verse s he speaks only to his disciples. From the west - In Judea, the west wind, blowing from the sea, usually brought rain: the south wind, blowing from the deserts of Arabia, occasioned sultry heat. Mt 16:2.
And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
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?
12:56 How do ye not discern this season - Of the Messiah's coming, distinguishable by so many surer signs.
Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
12:57 Why even of yourselves, without any external sign, judge ye not what is right? - Why do ye not discern and acknowledge the intrinsic excellence of my doctrine?
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.
12:58 When thou art going - As if he had said, And ye have not a moment to lose. For the executioners of God's vengeance are at hand. And when he hath once delivered you over to them, ye are undone for ever. Mt 5:25.
I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.
12:59 A mite - was about the third part of a farthing sterling.