YOUR AUTHORIZED VERSION
You know me inside and out, Lord. Speak to my heart the things I need to hear today.
Read Luke 12:1–12
Warnings and Encouragements
12 Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be[a] on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
a Luke 12:1 Or speak to his disciples, saying: “First of all, be
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectAre you “fake news”? Have you ever hidden behind a religious mask instead of living an authentic Christian life?
It’s a massive crowd and Jesus, randomly it seems, addresses the issue of religious hypocrisy. It’s not been an explicit theme in our previous readings although Jesus has gone out of his way to expose hidden antagonisms against him. But this is different. This time he openly challenges a major religious grouping and warns others against their values.
In many ways the Pharisees had more in common with Jesus than other religious parties. They were not connected to the politics and practices of the Temple, believing the institution to be compromised with its associations with the Herods and the Romans. They loved the Bible, taught it faithfully and believed that ordinary people and not just priests could understand it for themselves. And yet, Jesus accuses them of play-acting. Jesus promises a spirituality that will address the fear of death (4), offer assurance of eternal life (8–10) and fill timid believers with the power of the Holy Spirit when called on to give a public account of personal faith (11). Jesus gives us the power to live an authentic life.
Would you live your life differently if all your friends could see you in action 24/7? Are you the same person at church that you are with your spouse or coworkers? What might need to change?
Lord, I turn away from pleasing others and practicing a fake spirituality. Help me to live in the power of the Spirit.