Bible kevinroosecomContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Luke 12:57-59

Settle with Your Accuser

 57“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”[a]


As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Luke 12 is a hard-hitting chapter.

Jesus warns against secrets, says that God is to be more feared than man and that we are to acknowledge our Lord openly.

The Parable of the Rich Fool follows, in which Jesus condemns materialism. He says that believers are to put God’s Kingdom first; everything else to satisfy our temporal needs will follow.

Jesus then relates to His disciples the parable of the servants who are unprepared for their master’s return. Similarly, severe punishment awaits those who persist in sin, thinking that they have plenty of time to repent.

The chapter goes on to recount Jesus’s warning that His divine truth will divide families. This continues to be true today:

51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Jesus then rebuked the hypocrisy of many of the people whom He encountered in His ministry. He said they could interpret the weather but were ignoring the greatest blessing they could ever receive — His presence, as God had predestined from the beginning of time. A similar passage can be found in Matthew 16:1-4, which I wrote about in 2010.

Therefore, His question about discerning what is ‘right’ (verse 57) is a call to repentance — now.

To illustrate this, He uses the analogy of appearing in court. Law-abiding people fear this, and rightly so. However, as off-putting as a temporal court is, Jesus tells us God’s court on Judgment Day will be even more so.

This is why He advocates settling with one’s accuser on the way to court (verse 58) — in other words, embrace repentance. Turn away from sin before it’s too late, because, just as those who are convicted for debt are imprisoned until the last penny — lepton, in His time — is paid, those whom God finds guilty of sin will receive a punishment with no reprieve (verse 59).

Matthew Henry’s commentary gives this advice:

let us give diligence to be delivered out of the hands of God as an adversary, into his hands as a Father, and this as we are in the way, which has the chief stress laid upon it here. While we are alive, we are in the way and now is our time, by repentance and faith through Christ (who is the Mediator as well as the magistrate), to get the quarrel made up, while it may be done, before it be too late. Thus was God in Christ reconciling the world to himself, beseeching us to be reconciled.

John MacArthur says:

2 Corinthians 5 talks about that God is in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. He’s provided reconciliation. God wants you to settle out of court and the way you settle is to make peace with Him through His Son, through faith in Christ, whom God made sin for us that we might be made the righteous of God in Him. God punished Him, the just for the unjust, that we might be brought to God. Grace is available. Forgiveness is available. Freedom from sin is available. Freedom from punishment, the hope of eternal life, escape from judgment. You can settle with God out of court. If you don’t, you’ll get to court and you will pay in full down to the last cent. Don’t even be there. Settle your account. Put your trust in Christ. He says to them, “How…how could you waste such an opportunity? You didn’t discern the time and you didn’t discern the threat”…tragedy. Isaiah 55, “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call on Him while He is near.” 2Corinthians 6, “Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation.” Don’t miss it.

In closing, MacArthur also explains how the courts system worked in Jesus’s time. Some of it remains unchanged in certain countries even to this day:

The magistrate is the archonta, the archon, the ruler, the person of power, and this is sort of a preliminary hearing which would occur. You’d go and the guy would lay out his case and the magistrate would then remand the thing to the judge and put him to court …

The judge is just that, kriten, the judge. The constable, proctor is the word, and the constable was the person who had the responsibility to exact the punishment. He is called an exacter of penalties. A proctor, here called a constable, is one who enforced the payment of debt by imprisonment. It’s always been interesting to me. I’ve been in Northern Ireland and I toured with the Northern Ireland Police, who have no small job, and they are called constables and the police are the constabulary. They are the ones who enforce the payment of debts by imprisonment. That’s what they do and that’s exactly what this Greek word means.

Next time: Luke 13:10-17