New International Reader's Version

Luke 12:1-59

Jesus Gives Words of Warning and Hope

1During that time a crowd of many thousands had gathered. There were so many people that they were stepping on one another. Jesus spoke first to his disciples. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees,” he said. “They just pretend to be godly. 2Everything that is secret will be brought out into the open. Everything that is hidden will be uncovered. 3What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight. What you have whispered to someone behind closed doors will be shouted from the rooftops.

4“My friends, listen to me. Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body but can’t do any more than that. 5I will show you whom you should be afraid of. Be afraid of the one who has the authority to throw you into hell after you have been killed. Yes, I tell you, be afraid of him. 6Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? But God does not forget even one of them. 7In fact, he even counts every hair on your head! So don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.

8“What about someone who says in front of others that he knows me? I tell you, the Son of Man will say in front of God’s angels that he knows that person. 9But what about someone who says in front of others that he doesn’t know me? I, the Son of Man, will say in front of God’s angels that I don’t know him. 10Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But anyone who speaks evil things against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

11“You will be brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities. But do not worry about how to stand up for yourselves or what to say. 12The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

The Story of the Rich Fool

13Someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “tell my brother to divide the family property with me.”

14Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge or umpire between you?” 15Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has.”

16Then Jesus told them a story. He said, “A certain rich man’s land produced a very large crop. 17He thought to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have any place to store my crops.’

18“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. I will store my extra grain in them. 19I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain stored away for many years. Take life easy. Eat, drink and have a good time.” ’

20“But God said to him, ‘You foolish man! Tonight I will take your life away from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21“That is how it will be for whoever stores things away for themselves but is not rich in the sight of God.”

Do Not Worry

22Then Jesus spoke to his disciples. He said, “I tell you, do not worry. Don’t worry about your life and what you will eat. And don’t worry about your body and what you will wear. 23There is more to life than eating. There are more important things for the body than clothes. 24Think about the ravens. They don’t plant or gather crops. They don’t have any barns at all. But God feeds them. You are worth much more than birds! 25Can you add even one hour to your life by worrying? 26You can’t do that very little thing. So why worry about the rest?

27“Think about how the wild flowers grow. They don’t work or make clothing. But here is what I tell you. Not even Solomon in his royal robes was dressed like one of those flowers. 28If that is how God dresses the wild grass, how much better will he dress you! After all, the grass is here only today. Tomorrow it is thrown into the fire. Your faith is so small! 29Don’t spend time thinking about what you will eat or drink. Don’t worry about it. 30People who are ungodly run after all those things. Your Father knows that you need them. 31But put God’s kingdom first. Then those other things will also be given to you.

32“Little flock, do not be afraid. Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell what you own. Give to those who are poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out. Store up riches in heaven that will never be used up. There, no thief can come near it. There, no moth can destroy it. 34Your heart will be where your riches are.

Be Ready

35“Be dressed and ready to serve. Keep your lamps burning. 36Be like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding dinner. When he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once. 37It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready when he comes. What I’m about to tell you is true. The master will then dress himself so he can serve them. He will have them take their places at the table. And he will come and wait on them. 38It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready. It will even be good if he comes in the middle of the night or toward morning. 39But here is what you must understand. Suppose the owner of the house knew at what hour the robber was coming. He would not have let his house be broken into. 40You also must be ready. The Son of Man will come at an hour when you don’t expect him.”

41Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this story to us, or to everyone?”

42The Lord answered, “Suppose a master puts one of his servants in charge of his other servants. The servant’s job is to give them the food they are to receive at the right time. The master wants a faithful and wise manager for this. 43It will be good for the servant if the master finds him doing his job when the master returns. 44What I’m about to tell you is true. The master will put that servant in charge of everything he owns. 45But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time to come back.’ Suppose that servant begins to beat the other servants, both men and women. Suppose he feeds himself. And suppose he drinks until he gets drunk. 46The master of that servant will come back on a day the servant doesn’t expect him. The master will return at an hour the servant doesn’t know. Then the master will cut him to pieces. He will send the servant to the place where unbelievers go.

47“Suppose a servant knows the master’s wishes. But the servant doesn’t get ready and doesn’t do what the master wants. Then that servant will receive a heavy beating. 48But suppose the servant does not know his master’s wishes. And suppose the servant does things for which he should be punished. He will receive a lighter beating. Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. Even more will be asked of the person who is supposed to take care of much.

Jesus Will Separate People From One Another

49“I have come to bring fire on the earth. How I wish the fire had already started! 50But I have a baptism of suffering to go through. And I must go through it. 51Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you. I have come to separate people. 52From now on there will be five members in a family, each one against the other. There will be three against two and two against three. 53They will be separated. Father will turn against son and son against father. Mother will turn against daughter and daughter against mother. Mother-in-law will turn against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Understanding the Meaning of What Is Happening

54Jesus spoke to the crowd. He said, “You see a cloud rising in the west. Right away you say, ‘It’s going to rain.’ And it does. 55The south wind blows. So you say, ‘It’s going to be hot.’ And it is. 56You pretenders! You know how to understand the appearance of the earth and the sky. Why can’t you understand the meaning of what is happening right now?

57“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58Suppose someone has a claim against you, and you are on your way to court. Try hard to settle the matter on the way. If you don’t, that person may drag you off to the judge. The judge may turn you over to the officer. And the officer may throw you into prison. 59I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the very last penny!”

New International Version

Luke 12:1-59

Warnings and Encouragements

1Meanwhile, 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: “Be12:1 Or speak to his disciples, saying: “First of all, be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3What 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. 5But 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. 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7Indeed, 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. 9But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. 10And 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, 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

The Parable of the Rich Fool

13Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

16And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’

20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Do Not Worry

22Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life12:25 Or single cubit to your height? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Watchfulness

35“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

41Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

42The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

47“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Not Peace but Division

49“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Interpreting the Times

54He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

57“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”