Fear God, Not People
1 Meanwhile,tn The phrase ἐν οἷς (en Jois) can be translated “meanwhile.” when many thousands of the crowd had gathered so that they were trampling on one another, Jesustn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. began to speak first to his disciples, “Be on your guard againsttn According to L&N 27.59, “to pay attention to, to keep on the lookout for, to be alert for, to be on your guard against.” This is another Lukan present imperative calling for constant vigilance. the yeast of the Pharisees,sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17. which is hypocrisy.sn The pursuit of popularity can lead to hypocrisy, if one is not careful.
2 Nothing is hiddentn Or “concealed.” that will not be revealed,sn I.e., be revealed by God. The passive voice verbs here (“be revealed,” be made known”) see the revelation as coming from God. The text is both a warning about bad things being revealed and an encouragement that good things will be made known, though the stress with the images of darkness and what is hidden in vv. 2-3 is on the attempt to conceal. and nothing is secret that will not be made known.
3 So thentn Or “because.” Understanding this verse as a result of v. 2 is a slightly better reading of the context. Knowing what is coming should impact our behavior now. whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whisperedtn Grk “spoken in the ear,” an idiom. The contemporary expression is “whispered.” in private roomssn The term translated private rooms refers to the inner room of a house, normally without any windows opening outside, the most private location possible (BDAG 988 s.v. ταμεῖον 2). will be proclaimed from the housetops.tn The expression “proclaimed from the housetops” is an idiom for proclaiming something publicly (L&N 7.51). Roofs of many first century Jewish houses in Judea and Galilee were flat and had access either from outside or from within the house. Something shouted from atop a house would be heard by everyone in the street below.
4 “Itn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body,sn Judaism had a similar exhortation in 4 Macc 13:14-15. and after that have nothing more they can do.
5 But I will warntn Grk “will show,” but in this reflective context such a demonstration is a warning or exhortation. you whom you should fear: Fear the one who, after the killing,sn The actual performer of the killing is not here specified. It could be understood to be God (so NASB, NRSV) but it could simply emphasize that, after a killing has taken place, it is God who casts the person into hell. has authority to throw youtn The direct object (“you”) is understood. into hell.sn The word translated hell is “Gehenna” (γέεννα, geenna), a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew words ge hinnom (“Valley of Hinnom”). This was the valley along the south side of Jerusalem. In OT times it was used for human sacrifices to the pagan god Molech (cf. Jer 7:31; 19:5-6; 32:35), and it came to be used as a place where human excrement and rubbish were disposed of and burned. In the intertestamental period, it came to be used symbolically as the place of divine punishment (cf. 1 En. 27:2, 90:26; 4 Ezra 7:36). Yes, I tell you, fear him!
6 Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies?sn The pennies refer to the assarion, a small Roman copper coin. One of them was worth one sixteenth of a denarius or less than a half hour’s average wage. Sparrows were the cheapest thing sold in the market. God knows about even the most financially insignificant things; see Isa 49:15. Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.
7 In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid;sn Do not be afraid. One should respect and show reverence to God (v. 5), but need not fear his tender care. you are more valuable than many sparrows.
8 “Itn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. tell you, whoever acknowledgestn Or “confesses.” me before men,tn Although this is a generic reference and includes both males and females, in this context “men” has been retained because of the wordplay with the Son of Man and the contrast with the angels. The same is true of the occurrence of “men” in v. 9. the Son of Man will also acknowledgesn This acknowledgment will take place at the judgment. Of course, the Son of Man is a reference to Jesus as it has been throughout the Gospel. On Jesus and judgment, see 22:69; Acts 10:42-43; 17:31. before God’s angels.
9 But the one who denies me before men will be denied before God’s angels.
10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the person who blasphemes against the Holy Spiritsn Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit probably refers to a total rejection of the testimony that the Spirit gives to Jesus and the plan of God. This is not so much a sin of the moment as of one’s entire life, an obstinate rejection of God’s message and testimony. Cf. Matt 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-30. will not be forgiven.tn Grk “it will not be forgiven the person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit.”
11 But when they bring you before the synagogues,sn The saying looks at persecution both from a Jewish context as the mention of synagogues suggests, and from a Gentile one as the reference to the rulers and the authorities suggests.sn See the note on synagogues in 4:15. thetn Grk “and the,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more. rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you should make your defensetn Grk “about how or what you should say in your defense,” but this is redundant with the following clause, “or what you should say.” or what you should say,
12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that momenttn Grk “in that very hour” (an idiom). what you must say.”tn Grk “what it is necessary to say.”
The Parable of the Rich Landowner
13 Thentn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. someone from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tellsn Tell my brother. In 1st century Jewish culture, a figure like a rabbi was often asked to mediate disputes, except that here mediation was not requested, but representation. my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14 But Jesustn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. said to him, “Man,tn This term of address can be harsh or gentle depending on the context (BDAG 82 s.v. ἄνθρωπος 8). Here it is a rebuke. who made me a judge or arbitrator between you two?”tn The pronoun ὑμᾶς (Jumas) is plural, referring to both the man and his brother; thus the translation “you two.”
15 Thentn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. he said to them, “Watch out and guard yourself fromtn See L&N 13.154 for this use of the middle voice of φυλάσσω (fulassw) in this verse. all types of greed,tn Or “avarice,” “covetousness.” Note the warning covers more than money and gets at the root attitude – the strong desire to acquire more and more possessions and experiences. because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
16 He thentn Grk “And he.” Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the connection to the preceding statement. told them a parable:tn Grk “a parable, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated here. “The land of a certain rich man producedtn Or “yielded a plentiful harvest.” an abundant crop,
17 sotn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate that this is a result of the preceding statement. he thought to himself,tn Grk “to himself, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated here. ‘What should I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’sn I have nowhere to store my crops. The thinking here is prudent in terms of recognizing the problem. The issue in the parable will be the rich man’s solution, particularly the arrogance reflected in v. 19.
18 Thentn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. he said, ‘Isn Note how often the first person pronoun is present in these verses. The farmer is totally self absorbed. will do this: I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
19 And I will say to myself,tn Grk “to my soul,” which is repeated as a vocative in the following statement, but is left untranslated as redundant. “You have plenty of goods stored up for many years; relax, eat, drink, celebrate!”’
20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your lifetn Grk “your soul,” but ψυχή (yuch) is frequently used of one’s physical life. It clearly has that meaning in this context. will be demanded back fromtn Or “required back.” This term, ἀπαιτέω (apaitew), has an economic feel to it and is often used of a debt being called in for repayment (BDAG 96 s.v. 1). you, but who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’tn Grk “the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” The words “for yourself” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.
21 So it is with the one who stores up riches for himself,sn It is selfishness that is rebuked here, in the accumulation of riches for himself. Recall the emphasis on the first person pronouns throughout the parable. but is not rich toward God.”
Exhortation Not to Worry
22 Thentn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. Jesus’ remarks to the disciples are an application of the point made in the previous parable. Jesustn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. said to histc αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) is lacking in Ì45vid,75 B 1241 c e. Although the addition of clarifying pronouns is a known scribal alteration, in this case it is probably better to view the dropping of the pronoun as the alteration in light of its minimal attestation. disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worrytn Or “do not be anxious.” about yourtc Most mss (Ì45 Ψ 070 Ë13 33 Ï) supply the pronoun ὑμῶν (Jumwn, “your”) here, although several important and early witnesses omit it (Ì75 א A B D L Q W Θ Ë1 700 2542 al lat). Externally, the shorter reading is superior. Internally, the pronoun looks to be a scribal clarification. In context the article can be translated as a possessive pronoun anyway (ExSyn 215), as it has been done for this translation. life, what you will eat, or about yourtc Some mss (B 070 Ë13 33 1424 al) supply the pronoun ὑμῶν (Jumwn, “your”) here, although the witnesses for the omission are early, important, and varied (Ì45vid,75 א A D L Q W Θ Ψ Ë1 Ï lat). See previous tc note for more discussion. body, what you will wear.
23 For there is more to life than food, and more to the body than clothing.
24 Consider the ravens:tn Or “crows.” Crows and ravens belong to the same family of birds. English uses “crow” as a general word for the family. Palestine has several indigenous members of the crow family. They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feedstn Or “God gives them food to eat.” L&N 23.6 has both “to provide food for” and “to give food to someone to eat.” them. How much more valuable are you than the birds!
25 And which of you by worryingtn Or “by being anxious.” can add an hour to his life?tn Or “a cubit to his height.” A cubit (πῆχυς, phcu") can measure length (normally about 45 cm or 18 inches) or time (a small unit, “hour” is usually used [BDAG 812 s.v.] although “day” has been suggested [L&N 67.151]). The term ἡλικία (Jhlikia) is ambiguous in the same way as πῆχυς. Most scholars take the term to describe age or length of life here, although a few refer it to bodily stature (see BDAG 435-36 s.v. 1.a for discussion). Worry about length of life seems a more natural figure than worry about height. However, the point either way is clear: Worrying adds nothing to life span or height.
26 So iftn This is a first class condition in the Greek text. you cannot do such a very little thing as this, why do you worry abouttn Or “why are you anxious for.” the rest?
27 Consider how the flowerstn Traditionally, “lilies.” According to L&N 3.32, “Though traditionally κρίνον has been regarded as a type of lily, scholars have suggested several other possible types of flowers, including an anemone, a poppy, a gladiolus, and a rather inconspicuous type of daisy.” In view of the uncertainty, the more generic “flowers” has been used in the translation. grow; they do not worktn Traditionally, “toil.” Although it might be argued that “work hard” would be a more precise translation of κοπιάω (kopiaw) here, the line in English scans better in terms of cadence with a single syllable. or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these!
28 And iftn This is a first class condition in the Greek text. this is how God clothes the wild grass,tn Grk “grass in the field.” which is heretn Grk “which is in the field today.” today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven,tn Grk “into the oven.” The expanded translation “into the fire to heat the oven” has been used to avoid misunderstanding; most items put into modern ovens are put there to be baked, not burned.sn The oven was most likely a rounded clay oven used for baking bread, which was heated by burning wood and dried grass. how much moresn The phrase how much more is a typical form of rabbinic argumentation, from the lesser to the greater. If God cares for the little things, surely he will care for the more important things. will he clothe you, you people of little faith!
29 Sotn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate a conclusion drawn from the previous illustrations. do not be overly concerned abouttn Grk “do not seek,” but this could be misunderstood to mean that people should make no attempt to obtain their food. The translation “do not be overly concerned” attempts to reflect the force of the original. what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not worry about such things.tn The words “about such things” have been supplied to qualify the meaning; the phrase relates to obtaining food and drink mentioned in the previous clause.
30 For all the nations of the world pursuetn Grk “seek.” these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
31 Instead, pursuetn Grk “seek,” but in the sense of the previous verses. histc Most mss (Ì45 A D1 Q W Θ 070 Ë1,13 33 Ï lat sy) read τοῦ θεοῦ (tou qeou, “of God”) instead of αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”; found in א B D* L Ψ 579 892 pc co). But such a clarifying reading is suspect. αὐτοῦ is superior on both internal and external grounds. Ì75 includes neither and as such would support the translation above since the article alone can often be translated as a possessive pronoun. kingdom,sn His (that is, God’s) kingdom is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21. and these things will be given to you as well.
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleasedtn Or perhaps, “your Father chooses.” to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell your possessionssn The call to sell your possessions is a call to a lack of attachment to the earth and a generosity as a result. and give to the poor.tn Grk “give alms,” but this term is not in common use today. Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out – a treasure in heaventn Grk “in the heavens.” that never decreases,tn Or “an unfailing treasure in heaven,” or “an inexhaustible treasure in heaven.” where no thief approaches and no mothtn The term σής (shs) refers to moths in general. It is specifically the larvae of moths that destroy clothing by eating holes in it (L&N 4.49; BDAG 922 s.v.). See Jas 5:2, which mentions “moth-eaten” clothing. destroys.
34 For where your treasuresn Seeking heavenly treasure means serving others and honoring God by doing so; see Luke 6:35-36. is, there your heart will be also.
Call to Faithful Stewardship
35 “Get dressed for servicetn Grk “Let your loins be girded,” an idiom referring to the practice of tucking the ends of the long cloak (outer garment) into the belt to shorten it in preparation for activities like running, etc. and keep your lamps burning;sn Keep your lamps burning means to be ready at all times.
36 be like peopletn That is, like slaves (who are mentioned later, vv. 37-38), although the term ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") is used here. Since in this context it appears generic rather than gender-specific, the translation “people” is employed. waiting for their master to come back from the wedding celebration,sn An ancient wedding celebration could last for days (Tob 11:18). so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.
37 Blessed are those slavestn See the note on the word “slave” in 7:2. whom their master finds alerttn Or “watching”; Grk “awake,” but in context this is not just being awake but alert and looking out. when he returns! I tell you the truth,tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.” he will dress himself to serve,tn See v. 35 (same verb). have them take their place at the table,tn Grk “have them recline at table,” as 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away. and will cometn The participle παρελθών (parelqwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. and wait on them!sn He…will come and wait on them is a reversal of expectation, but shows that what Jesus asks for he is willing to do as well; see John 13:5 and 15:18-27, although those instances merely foreshadow what is in view here.
38 Even if he comes in the second or third watch of the nightsn The second or third watch of the night would be between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. on a Roman schedule and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on a Jewish schedule. Luke uses the four-watch schedule of the Romans in Acts 12:4, so that is more probable here. Regardless of the precise times of the watches, however, it is clear that the late-night watches when a person is least alert are in view here. and finds them alert,tn Grk “finds (them) thus”; but this has been clarified in the translation by referring to the status (“alert”) mentioned in v. 37. blessed are those slaves!tn Grk “blessed are they”; the referent (the watchful slaves, v. 37) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thiefsn On Jesus pictured as a returning thief, see 1 Thess 5:2, 4; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:15. was coming, he would not have lettc Most mss (א1 A B L Q W Θ Ψ 070 Ë1,13 33 Ï lat syp,h sams bo) read “he would have watched and not let” here, but this looks like an assimilation to Matt 24:43. The alliance of two important and early mss along with a few others (Ì75 א* [D] e i sys,c samss), coupled with much stronger internal evidence, suggests that the shorter reading is authentic. his house be broken into.
40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”sn Jesus made clear that his coming could not be timed, and suggested it might take some time – so long, in fact, that some would not be looking for him any longer (at an hour when you do not expect him).
41 Thentn Grk “And Peter.” Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the connection to the preceding statement. Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?”sn Is the parable only for disciples (us) or for all humanity (everyone)? Or does Peter mean for disciples (us) or for the crowd (everyone)? The fact that unfaithful slaves are mentioned in v. 46 looks to a warning that includes a broad audience, though it is quality of service that is addressed. This means the parable focuses on those who are associated with Jesus.
42 The Lord replied,tn Grk “And the Lord said.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. “Who then is the faithful and wise manager,tn Or “administrator,” “steward” (L&N 37.39). whom the master puts in charge of his household servants,tn This term, θεραπεία (qerapeia), describes the group of servants working in a particular household (L&N 46.6). to give them their allowance of food at the proper time?
43 Blessed is that slavetn See the note on the word “slave” in 7:2. whom his master finds at worktn That is, doing his job, doing what he is supposed to be doing. when he returns.
44 I tell you the truth,tn Grk “Truly (ἀληθῶς, alhqw"), I say to you.” the mastertn Grk “he”; the referent (the master) has been specified in the translation for clarity. See also Luke 19:11-27. will put him in charge of all his possessions.
45 But iftn In the Greek text this is a third class condition that for all practical purposes is a hypothetical condition (note the translation of the following verb “should say”). thattn The term “that” (ἐκεῖνος, ekeino") is used as a catchword to list out, in the form of a number of hypothetical circumstances, what the possible responses of “that” servant could be. He could be faithful (vv. 43-44) or totally unfaithful (vv. 45-46). He does not complete his master’s will with knowledge (v. 47) or from ignorance (v 48). These differences are indicated by the different levels of punishment in vv. 46-48. slave should say to himself,tn Grk “should say in his heart.” ‘My master is delayedtn Or “is taking a long time.” in returning,’ and he begins to beatsn The slave’s action in beginning to beat the other slaves was not only a failure to carry out what was commanded but involved doing the exact reverse. the othertn The word “other” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. slaves, both men and women,tn Grk “the menservants and the maidservants.” The term here, used in both masculine and feminine grammatical forms, is παῖς (pais), which can refer to a slave, but also to a slave who is a personal servant, and thus regarded kindly (L&N 87.77). and to eat, drink, and get drunk,
46 then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, and will cut him in two,tn The verb διχοτομέω (dicotomew) means to cut an object into two parts (L&N 19.19). This is an extremely severe punishment compared to the other two later punishments. To translate it simply as “punish” is too mild. If taken literally this servant is dismembered, although it is possible to view the stated punishment as hyperbole (L&N 38.12). and assign him a place with the unfaithful.tn Or “unbelieving.” Here the translation employs the slightly more ambiguous “unfaithful,” which creates a link with the point of the parable – faithfulness versus unfaithfulness in servants. The example of this verse must be taken together with the examples of vv. 47-48 as part of a scale of reactions with the most disobedient response coming here. The fact that this servant is placed in a distinct group, unlike the one in vv. 47-48, also suggests ultimate exclusion. This is the hypocrite of Matt 24:51.
47 Thattn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or do what his master askedtn Grk “or do according to his will”; the referent (the master) has been specified in the translation for clarity. This example deals with the slave who knew what the command was and yet failed to complete it. will receive a severe beating.
48 But the one who did not know his master’s willtn Grk “did not know”; the phrase “his master’s will” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the contemporary English reader. and did things worthy of punishmenttn Grk “blows.” will receive a light beating.tn Grk “will receive few (blows).” From everyone who has been given much, much will be required,tn Grk “required from him”; but the words “from him” are redundant in English and have not been translated. and from the one who has been entrusted with much,sn Entrusted with much. To be gifted with precious responsibility is something that requires faithfulness. even more will be asked.tn Grk “they will ask even more.”
Not Peace, but Division
49 “I have comesn This mission statement, “I have come to bring fire on the earth,” looks to the purging and division Jesus causes: See Luke 3:9, 17; 9:54; 17:29 for fire, 5:32; 7:34; 9:58; 12:51 for the topic of mission. to bringtn Grk “cast.” For βάλλω (ballw) in the sense of causing a state or condition, see L&N 13.14. fire on the earth – and how I wish it were already kindled!
50 I have a baptismsn The figure of the baptism is variously interpreted, as some see a reference (1) to martyrdom or (2) to inundation with God’s judgment. The OT background, however, suggests the latter sense: Jesus is about to be uniquely inundated with God’s judgment as he is rejected, persecuted, and killed (Ps 18:4, 16; 42:7; 69:1-2; Isa 8:7-8; 30:27-28; Jonah 2:3-6). to undergo,tn Grk “to be baptized with.” and how distressed I am until it is finished!
51 Do you think I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!tn Or “hostility.” This term pictures dissension and hostility (BDAG 234 s.v. διαμερισμός).
52 For from now onsn From now on is a popular phrase in Luke: 1:48; 5:10; 22:18, 69; see Mic 7:6. there will be five in one household divided, three against two and two against three.
53 They will be divided,tn There is dispute whether this phrase belongs to the end of v. 52 or begins v. 53. Given the shift of object, a connection to v. 53 is slightly preferred. 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.”
Reading the Signs
54 Jesustn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here καί (kai) has been translated as “also” and δέ (de) has not been translated. also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west,sn A cloud rising in the west refers to moisture coming from the Mediterranean Sea. you say at once, ‘A rainstormtn The term ὄμβρος (ombro") refers to heavy rain, such as in a thunderstorm (L&N 14.12). is coming,’ and it does.
55 And when you see the south windsn The south wind comes from the desert, and thus brings scorching heat. blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and there is.
56 You hypocrites!sn In Luke, the term hypocrites occurs here, in 6:42, and in 13:15. You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how can you not know howtc Most mss (Ì45 A W Ψ Ë1,13 Ï lat) have a syntax here that reflects a slightly different rhetorical question: “but how do you not interpret the present time?” The reading behind the translation, however, has overall superior support: Ì75 א B L Θ 33 892 1241 pc. to interpret the present time?
Clear the Debts
57 “Andtn Jesus calls for some personal reflection. However, this unit probably does connect to the previous one – thus the translation of δέ (de) here as “And” – to make a good spiritual assessment, thus calling for application to the spiritual, rather than personal, realm. why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?
58 As you are going with your accuser before the magistrate,sn The term magistrate (ἄρχων, arcwn) refers to an official who, under the authority of the government, serves as judge in legal cases (see L&N 56.29). make an effort to settle with him on the way, so that he will not drag you before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer,sn The officer (πράκτωρ, praktwr) was a civil official who functioned like a bailiff and was in charge of debtor’s prison. The use of the term, however, does not automatically demand a Hellenistic setting (BDAG 859 s.v.; K. H. Rengstorf, TDNT 8:539; C. Maurer, TDNT 6:642). and the officer throw you into prison.
59 I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid the very last cent!”tn Here the English word “cent” is used as opposed to the parallel in Matt 5:26 where “penny” appears, since the Greek word there is different and refers to a different but similar coin.sn This cent was a lepton, the smallest coin available. It was copper or bronze, worth one-half of a quadrans or 1/128 of a denarius. The parallel in Matt 5:26 mentions the quadrans instead of the lepton. The illustration refers to the debt one owes God and being sure to settle with him in the right time, before it is too late. Some interpreters, however, consider it to be like Matt 5:26, which has similar imagery but a completely different context.