Luke 12:1-12 (ESV)
1 In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. 4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. 8 “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, 9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
The multitude around Jesus continued to grow. Thousands came to hear him. The crowd actually grew so large that people were climbing over one another to listen to him teach. But this didn’t change Jesus. He continued to do what he was called to do, knowing that soon his “popularity” would end. He spoke to his disciples and exhorted them to guard against hypocrisy. Then Jesus let his followers know that in time all would be revealed before God. The Lord knows everything that is done, whether out in the open or hidden in secret. He knows not only what we do, but why we do it. And in the judgment, people will have to account for both. Then Jesus added the statement, “Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.” Jesus explained the foolishness of hypocrisy. Why live a double life? The day is coming when even the most private or secret conversations will be brought out into the open. This is good news for the one who has lived a life of integrity, but for the one who has lived hypocritically, more concerned about how he appears before his fellow-man than before God, this will not be a happy experience.
Jesus followed this by warning the disciples again not to live before man or fear man, but instead to fear God. How foolish we must appear before heaven when we chase after the approval and respect of man, who has no real authority compared to God. We often dismiss what we know we should do before the Lord, because we want the people around us to think well of us. And besides all this, Jesus added even another reason to live without hypocrisy. God cares very much for his children. Sparrows were the cheapest item in the marketplace at this time, yet not one sparrow is beneath God’s attention (v. 6). If God cares about sparrows, you have nothing to worry about. As his adopted child, you are well taken care of. Don’t be afraid, but instead live before God and not man. Whose approval are we looking for? Is it the approval of man or the approval of the Lord? God will work everything out in the end. Fearlessly do things God’s way today.