With a huge crowd trampling all over each other, Jesus gives his disciples specific guidelines for dealing with conflict and stress. It looks like Jesus is feeling the strains resulting from his big blow-up against the highbrows.
First thing's first. Jesus tells the gang that the Pharisees are like actors who play a role that's at odds with their actual intentions.
But don't worry, he says. Everything that's concealed will at some point in time become fully public and widely known. The question is when?
Every single private word, conversation, agreement, and plot will in the course of time be published on You Tube, Twitter, and CNN. We may have already reached that age—unclear.
This is not good news for Pharisees, whose basic strategy is hypocrisy, i.e., concealment (12:1; also, 11:53-54).
Jesus tells his "friends" (12:4) not to fear those who have the power to kill nothing other than the body.
Instead, they should direct their fears in the proper direction, namely toward God, who is able to throw them into hell after the body's already a corpse.
Yep, that's the guy to fear.
But Jesus softens this threat with a reassurance of God's care.
Five sparrows have hardly any monetary value, but God remembers every single one of them. That's good news for all of the goldfish the kids win at state fairs.
The same is true for the friends of Jesus. God keeps count of the hairs of their heads. They're worth more than both sparrows and state-fair goldfish, actually.
Whoever's brave enough to fess up his Jesus-obsession in public has the guarantee that Jesus will vouch for him before God's angels. But Jesus-deniers can be sure that Jesus will deny them.
We've heard something like this before in 9:26. The justice-principle here is essentially, what goes around comes around, a.k.a. the lex talionis.
Starting to worry? Have you at some point failed to stand up for what you believe in?
Don't sweat it. Anyone who's spoken ill of the Son of Man may still receive forgiveness.
On the other hand, some people might be in trouble. Anyone who's gone so far as to offend the Holy Spirit has committed an unforgiveable sin (as, for example, in 11:15 perhaps?). Okay, so maybe you should sweat it.
But back to the good news: when the friends of Jesus find themselves on trial before Jewish officers or imperial officials, they shouldn't stress about their defense-speech. After all, they'll have the Holy Spirit on their legal team providing advice about what to say.