Hypocrites! You Know How to Interpret the Weather, but Don't Know How to Interpret the Present Time

Luke 12: 54-59

DIG: In what way are they hypocrites? What does the term present time mean? If their culture believed that it was the responsibility of the Great Sanhedrin to identify the Messiah, why would they still be held responsible for rejecting Jesus? What current practice at that time was used as an illustration to make peace with God before it was too late? What would it cost them if they refused to repent?

REFLECT: How can you tell if it is your faith that strains a relationship, or if it is the way you express your faith? What signs in your own life indicate how you’re doing? Using a weather map to describe your spiritual life, what does it forecast? What will it cost you, a friend, or a loved one, you or they refuse to repent?

After Jesus spoke directly to His talmidim, He turned His attention to the crowd. Christ now gave those who were rejecting Him a tender, yet stern, warning of the danger that confronted them. The fire that Christ had come to bring on the earth (Luke 12:49) would involve judgment. Those who rejected Him would be brought under severe divine discipline In view of impending judgment, Yeshua again urged the nation to seek reconciliation with the Judge in order to escape His judgment. The things He had spoken to His apostles had a wider application in Israel’s relationship to her Messiah.

Yeshua said to the crowd: When you see a cloud rising in the west (moisture-laden air coming from the Mediterranean Sea), immediately you say, “It’s going to rain,” and it does. And when the south wind blows (a sirocco blowing from the desert from the south-southwest), you say, “It’s going to be hot,” and it is (Luke 12:54-55). The people had learned to determine whether a day would be clear or rainy, or hot or cool, by studying the clouds and the wind. They were able to interpret the signs in the heavens to determine the course of the weather.

Hypocrites! 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 (Luke 12:56)? The Greek word for time here is kairon, and in the New Covenant it frequently refers to a specific time appointed by ADONAI. The Kingdom of God had come and the Meshiach was offering salvation through faith. Although Jesus refused to perform signs and wonders for the crowds after His rejection by the Sanhedrin, His actions were nevertheless signs for those with open hearts. This was the same accusation that the Master had made against the religious leaders earlier (see Fv – The Pharisees and Sadducees ask for a Sign).

The Lord held the nation responsible for that revelation. Even though their culture at that time believed that the decision to identify the true Messiah (there had been many false messiah’s over the years) was the responsibility of the Great Sanhedrin (see Lg – The Great Sanhedrin), neither the nation, nor individuals could escape the consequence of their actions. Ezekiel had said: The one who sins is the one who will die (Ezk 18:1-32). Their stubborn refusal to believe would not not be overlooked.

Therefore, Yeshua urged His listeners to read these signs and act while there was still time to do so. He used the illustration of a court of law to drive home the point that they need to avoid being sentenced by a righteous Judge. An obviously guilty party in a legal dispute will settle out of court if he or she is wise. Likewise, a guilty man or woman approaching the inevitable judgment of ADONAI should settle account with the Creator. Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right (Luke 12:57)?

Luke was a Gentile and his intended audience was largely Gentiles. Therefore, he may have changed the illustration here from a Jewish setting, which could have been settled by a Torah-teacher (Luke 12:13-14), to a Hellenistic one, which would have been settled by a judge, in order to better reflect the kind of situation his readers might face.

As 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 (Greek praktor, a technical term for the office of the Roman judicial system who was in charge of the debtor’s prison), and the officer throw you into debtor’s prison (Luke 12:58). When any adversary was led away to the magistrate, he would make every effort to come to an agreement with him before he was dragged before the judge for punishment.1048 For without a proper sacrifice to offer for their sins, their debt would be far too great, and their putrid works far too insufficient.

God’s Kingdom has come! Make peace now with God, the Judge, while there is still time! In this way Christ urged them to be reconciled to Himself since He had been appointed by ADONAI as Judge (John 5:27). Judgment would fall on that generation unless they were reconciled to Him. When judgment came, it would be too late to seek reconciliation (see Mt – The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple on Tisha B'Av in 70 AD). Therefore, Jesus warned the nation: I will tell you something, you won’t ever get out until you have paid the last penny, or leptos, the smallest Jewish copper coin used in Palestine (Luke 12:59). For the last penny in that judgment, as the next file will show (Luke 13:1-9)would be nothing less than their lives. They must repent!

Heavenly Father, in Your mercy You have redeemed us and opened heaven for us. By Your Spirit, help us recognize the signs of Your love and power. Show us how to respond to Your gracious invitation to life.


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