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Third Millennium Study Bible
Notes on Luke 11:33-12:3

The lamp of the body - Luke 11:33-36

This saying of Christ is covered in detail in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark (below). A one-room home is envisioned. A light covered with a bowl would be useless, but on a stand it would light the whole house. The truth of Jesus' preaching is evident and must not be hidden. The light of Jesus is meant to be placed in a prominent place in the house so that it gives light to everyone. The Christian life is to be one of walking in the light (1 John 1:7).

The second part of Jesus' saying refers to the fact that when the eye is functioning correctly, the body receives the full benefit of the light it takes in, or "is full of light" (cf. Psa. 18:28). Jesus is here speaking metaphorically of one's spiritual perception. The eye is the lamp of the body because it lets light in. This refers to allowing the mind, will, emotions, strength, and body to gather, understand, and respond to what the light reveals. If one's eyes are good, everything can function as it should. The whole being of the person is effected in a godly way! However, if these eyes are defective, the body is, as it were, "full of darkness." Everything is adversely affected. The people seeking a sign did not need more light; they needed to be healed of their blindness (2 Cor. 4:4) - as the Kingdom was already present. What God was doing in Jesus was plain enough.

Woes - Luke 11:37-54

The "woes" are covered in detail in the Gospel of Matthew (below). Hendriksen notes the differences between Luke 11:37-54 and Matthew 23:13-36:

a. Luke 11 records six woes; Matthew records seven.

b. Those reported by Luke were addressed to Pharisees (Luke 11:42-44) and law-experts, scribes (Luke 11:46, 47, 52). Those reported by Matthew, though also directed to the scribes and Pharisees, were addressed "to the crowds and to Christ's disciples."

c. Those found in Luke were spoken somewhat earlier than those found in Matthew (the latter on Tuesday of Passion Week).

d. The six were pronounced in a home, the seven in the temple.

However, there are also similarities:

Luke 11
Matthew 23
Luke 11:39
"but inside full of"
Matthew 23:25
Luke 11:42
"you tithe mint," etc.
Matthew 23:23
Luke 11:43
"you love the chief seat"
Matthew 23:6, 7
Luke 11:46
"heavy burdens"
Matthew 23:4
Luke 11:47, 48
"prophets tombs"
Matthew 23:29-32
Luke 11:49
"some they [you] shall kill"
Matthew 23:34
Luke 11:50, 51
"the blood of Abel"
Matthew 23:35, 36
Luke 11:52
"you not entering"
Matthew 23:13

Yeast of the Pharisees - Luke 12:1-3

This saying of Christ is covered in detail in the Gospel of Mark. The "many thousands" strictly means "ten thousands," but it was used generally of any large number. Jesus' teaching was addressed first to his disciples, although the crowds would also have heard and profited.

Jesus refers to "yeast" which probably means "leaven," an old piece of dough that became a source of yeast as it fermented. People made their own bread and were familiar with the way a little yeast or leaven slowly permeates and transforms a large mass of dough. Jesus elsewhere used the figure of yeast or leaven to illustrate the hidden working of God's Kingdom (Luke 13:21), but here it describes the negative influence of the Pharisees (Mark 8:15).

Hypocrisy can work only when some things are kept hidden. On the judgment day everything will be brought into the open; all hypocrisy will be unmasked and therefore rendered useless.

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