Discerning the Time and Taking Action (Luke 12:54-59)

Submitted by admin on Sun, 2008-06-08 19:16.

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Directing his words to the crowds, Jesus illustrated that they had the capacity to draw sound conclusions on the basis of evidence. Upon seeing a cloud rising in the west, they immediately thought that a rainstorm would come, and it did. This was because the Mediterranean Sea bordered the western coast, and from there the rain-bearing clouds rolled in. Whenever a south wind blew, the people would say that it would get oppressively hot. It would happen, for the hot, dry regions lay to the south. (Luke 12:54, 55; compare the similar thoughts Jesus expressed to the unbelieving Pharisees [Matthew 16:2, 3, according to many extant Greek manuscripts].)

Although the people drew correct conclusions on the basis of appearances relating to the earth and the sky, they did not discern the meaning of the time that had arrived. The Messiah ministered in their midst, teaching and performing works of power. His activity uniquely marked the time. For this reason, Jesus called the people “hypocrites,” for they failed to act according to the evidence and their capacity to evaluate it properly. (Luke 12:56)

He then raised the question, “But why do you not also for yourselves judge [what is] right?” If they could make judgments about other matters, they should have been able to judge rightly concerning him and put their faith in him. (Luke 12:57)

The Son of God then provided an example of sound judgment. While with an accuser on the way to a ruler for judgment, the individual would wisely strive to extricate himself from the dispute. The objective would be to avoid being brought before the judge and then turned over by him to an officer who would enforce imprisonment. Once jailed, the person would have no hope of being released until he had paid the “last lepton” (a coin with the lowest value). In this setting, Jesus’ point about settling a dispute quickly seems to illustrate the importance of making peace with God before the opportunity would no longer be available. (Luke 12:58, 59; the same basic thoughts are also expressed in Matthew 5:25, 26.)