Setting

The previous chapter ends with the vehement response of the scribes and Pharisees to the Lord’s rebuke. This hostile situation leads to Jesus’ teachings in this chapter. He warned the disciples and prepared them for further oppositions. In the second part of this lesson, in response to a man’s request for Jesus to act as an arbitrator, the Lord spoke about material and spiritual wealth, teaching the crowd and the disciples about having the right priorities in life.

Key Verse

(12:5; 12:15; 12:32)

Did You Know...?

1. Divide the inheritance (12:13): The people often consulted rabbis on ethical or legal matters

Outline

  • Facing Hypocrisy and Persecutions
    (12:1-12)
  • Warning against Hypocrisy
    (12:1-3)
  • Do Not Fear
    (12:4-7)
  • Confessing Christ
    (12:8-12)
  • True Riches
    (12:13-21)
  • Do Not Worry
    (12:22-34)

Segment Analysis

  • 12:1-12

    1.

    What is hypocrisy (cf. 11:39-44)?

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  • 2.

    How is hypocrisy like leaven?

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    Its influence spreads (e.g. Gal 2:11-13).

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  • 3.

    Why must the disciples beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees?

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    1. So as to not be influenced by the Pharisees. 2. To be ready to face the persecutions from the hypocrites.

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  • 4a.

    What is the point of verses 2-3?

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    1. The secret sins of hypocrites will be disclosed. 2. The message of of the kingdom will be made known (cf. Mt 10:26-27; Lk 8:17). Since no persecution can conceal the gospel, the disciples should proclaim it fearlessly.

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  • 4b.

    How should we conduct ourselves, knowing that nothing can be concealed?

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  • 5a.

    Why should we fear God instead of men?

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    While men may threaten to harm us physically, only God has power over our eternal destiny.

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  • 5b.

    Why do we often fear men more than we fear God?

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  • 6.

    How should we fear God?

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  • 7.

    What reason does the Lord give in 6-11 for why we need not fear?

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    1. God will never forget us, since He even watches over the sparrows and numbers the hairs of our head. 2. We know that Christ will acknowledge us if we remain faithful to Him. 3. The Holy Spirit will be with us and speak for us at the time of persecution.

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  • 8.

    Have you been in a situation where you felt ashamed to confess Christ’s name?

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  • 9a.

    What does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? (cf. Mt 12:22-32; Mk 3:22-30).

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    Speaking evil of the work of the Holy Spirit. An example of this was attributing the miracle of Christ to the power of Beelzebub.

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  • 9b.

    Why is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit more serious than speaking against the Son of Man?

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    If anyone slanders Jesus based on Jesus’ words, he may still repent later, accept Christ, and receive forgiveness. But if he remains callous and chooses to slander Him even though he has seen the power of God’s Spirit through the works of Jesus, then there is no forgiveness (cf. Heb 10:26).

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  • 12:13-21

    10.

    According to this passage, what is the meaning of covetousness (15)?

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    Seeking after abundance of possessions.

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  • 11a.

    How does the Lord’s teaching in 15 contradict the views of many people today?

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  • 11b.

    How should this teaching redirect your life-goals?

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  • 12.

    Why was the rich man in the parable a fool?

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    His heart was only on his possessions and enjoyment, neglecting his spiritual needs and his duty to serve God. His life was self centered rather than God centered (21). Not only so, he was complacent about his life because of his great wealth. He thought that he had many years ahead of him to enjoy himself, not realizing that his life was to end that very night.

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  • 13.

    What can you do with your life now in order to be “rich toward God”?

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  • 12:22-34

    14.

    What does 23 teach us about our priorities?

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    Rather than being concerned about food and clothing, we should be concerned with what we are doing with our lives and our bodies. Our lives do not consist of external things such as food and clothing (cf. 15). But what we do with our lives and bodies will determine the value of our existence. Therefore we must dedicate our lives and bodies to carry out the Lord’s will. Doing so will make our lives truly meaningful.

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  • 15a.

    List the reasons, according to this paragraph, why we need not worry.

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  • 15b.

    In short, what does it take for us to be worry-free? (cf. 28)

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    Faith in God.

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  • 16.

    Are you worried or anxious about anything in your life right now? Apply this passage to your situation.

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  • 17.

    Explain the meaning of 32.

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    As part of a “little flock,” we may appear vulnerable and helpless. But we are heirs of the Father’s kingdom. Our glorious future and God’s loving providence assure us that we have nothing to fear.

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  • 18.

    How should we seek God’s kingdom? According to this paragraph, what is a concrete way to seek God’s kingdom?

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    To seek God’s kingdom is to give God first place in our hearts by eagerly learning and carrying out His will. Rather than storing up things for ourselves, we ought to obey God’s command to love by giving generously to the needy.

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  • 19.

    Where are your treasure and your heart today? Do you need to change your investments?

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