Luke 12:32-34 and Waldenström's Commentary

by Paul Peter Waldenström and translated by Tommy Carlson

Verse 32 — Fear not1 little flock,2 for it is your father's pleasure3 to give you the kingdom.4

  1. When the disciples looked at their smallness and weakness, they could easily begin to fear that they could go under and never win the kingdom. But, the Lord comforts them.
  2. With that the Lord means that little band of disciples that surrounded him. Later the word would also apply to the believers in general. They are always a little flock, but the Lord is their shepherd (Ps. 23; Is. 34:11f, 23f; John 10; Matt. 26:31).
  3. Verbatim: Your father has conceived pleasure to give, etc. Here is the same word as in Matt 3:17, 12:18.
  4. Namely: God's kingdom. Their hearts were longing for the kingdom and the kingdom they would receive. Note that the lord does not say THE KINGDOM ON A HIGHER PLANE nor THE KINGDOM IN ITS PERFECTION, as some Bible scholars have interpreted the word. No, the kingdom itself is it that he has promised the disciples when it comes. Because the kingdom was and still is something TO COME, which is the reason the Lord taught us to pray about that and say: Your kingdom come. Now it is the time of the congregation; when the Lord comes again, then the kingdom shall come (not PERFECT, but COME).

Verse 33 — Sell1 your possessions and give alms,2 make yourselves3 money purses that do not become old, a treasure that does not come to an end in the heavens, where a thief does not come near it, nor can a moth destroy it (Luke 16:9; Acts 2:45; I Tim. 6:9, 11f)

  1. Regarding verses 33, 34, see Matt 6:19-21.
  2. Here the Lord talks to his disciples whom he shall send out in the world to preach the gospel. They needed, for the sake of their duties, to be completely released from all their earthly cares. Therefore, he requires them to sell all their possessions and to give the money to the poor. That the Lord does not make this a general commandment for all believers is evident in the whole gospel story, in which several wealthy persons appear as believers in Jesus (see Matt. 26:9, 27:57). Compare Acts 5:4 and comments to Matt.* The general commandment for those who have possessions can be read in 1 Tim. 6:17-19.
  3. When you give to OTHERS, you profit YOURSELVES.

Verse 34 — For where your treasure is, there will also your heart be.

*Matt 19:21 — Jesus said to him: If you want to be perfect,1 go away and sell your possessions and give to the poor,2 and you shall receive a treasure in heaven,3 and come here and follow me4 (Matt 6:19; Luke 12:33).

  1. That is to say, such that you, in every respect, do not hold back, but in every way attain that which is required to go into God's kingdom.
  2. In order to crush the man's self-confidence, he places a heavy burden on his weakest side. He thereby wants to show him that he still does not love others as himself. Also note that the Lord does not give a general commandment but gives a special commandment for a special case. But in the foundation to this special commandment lies the general duty, for those who want to be perfect, to completely forsake themselves and completely devote themselves to Christ.
  3. According to another reading: in the heavens. Instead of your perishable treasures you shall receive a non-perishable treasure that shall be preserved for you in heaven until the coming of the kingdom; then you shall receive it. See chapter 5:12; 6:20.
  4. That is to say, become my disciple and companion. Only in connection with this has the former any meaning. In order to go into eternal life in Messiah's kingdom, humankind must be re-created in the fullness of God's likeness, which expresses itself in that one loves God above everything else and others as oneself. Only to those who are like God is given blessedness in God's kingdom. This re-creation humankind itself cannot accomplish. It can only happen by completely leaving oneself to Christ; and for that reason everything must — whatever it is — be offered that stands in the way. In previous cases the earthly possessions were the hand or the foot that had to be cut off (see chapter 6:29f).