Harmony of the Gospels

Jesus Deals With Hypocrisy, Covetousness, Worry and Alertness
(Micah 7:6) Luke 12:1-59

A large crowd had got together to hear Christ preach.  The scribes and Pharisees were there, but they were looking for something that they could accuse him of.  But the people, who were not prejudice against Him and jealous, still admired him, followed Him, and gave Him respect.



(Luke 12:1) In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

This is the period of time when Christ’s ministry peaked.  Great crowds of people were following Him.  It was at this time He performed so many miracles.  There were literally thousands of blind who had their eyes opened, thousands of lame who were made to walk, and thousands of dumb who were made to speak.  Christ healed multitudes.  In fact, this crowd was so large it was impossible to number them.  The people were pushing against one another, and actually some were being trampled.  It was a dangerous place to be.

Jesus warns His disciples and then the crowd against the leaven of the Pharisees.  Bread was made with leaven which was actually sourdough.  A small piece of fermented dough was added to bread dough that caused all the bread dough to slowly rise.  In the New Testament, leaven is sometimes used as a word picture for evil influence.  Jesus compared the Pharisees’ hypocrisy and corrupt teachings to leaven.
Christ’s disciples were, as far as we know, the best men in the world at that time, yet they needed to be cautioned against hypocrisy.  Christ said this to the disciples, so that the crowd could hear it, to let the world know that he would not tolerate hypocrisy; not even in his own disciples.

(Luke 12:2-5) For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.  Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.  And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

It is sobering to think that everything we have ever spoken will one day be revealed.  We must guard our hearts, minds, lips, and hands.

Jesus had a lot to say about hell.  These verses tell us that it is a place, that God has the power to cast people into, and that this occurs after this life.  The grave does not end it all.

What Jesus is saying here is that evil men cannot do Christ’s disciples any real harm, and therefore they should not be feared since they can only kill the body; for death will only send that body to its rest, and the soul to its joy.  God is to be feared more than the most powerful men.  If you have Christ you may lay yourself open to the wrath of men, but they can only put you to death (and without God’s permission they cannot do that).  But by denying Christ, you will bring upon yourself the wrath of God, who has the power to send you to hell.  Martin Luther made the statement, “Fear God and you will have no one else to fear.”  When you fear God alone, you don’t need to fear any one else; and you can boldly witness for Christ.  You are important to God and precious in His sight, so never fear what people can say or do.

(Luke 12:6-9) Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.  Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

The sparrow was often a source of food for the poor.  It was considered ceremonially clean and could be eaten by Jews. It was an inexpensive bird, and five sparrows could be sold for two farthings.  Jesus emphasized that God remembers even the most insignificant of His creatures. Believers can know with certainty that God cares about them and oversees every facet of their lives.  Nothing can ever harm a believer in this life, without the permission of God.  Now, child of God, you are of more value than many sparrows, and therefore you may be sure you are not forgotten.  "Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (v. 7); and all your sighs and tears numbered.

You will be owned or disowned by Christ, on the Judgment Day, according to how you now own or disown Him.   We are to confess Christ before men, and whatever we may lose or suffer for our witness, will be rewarded in heaven, and on the Judgment Day Christ will confess you before the angels of God.  But those who will not confess Him before men and cowardly desert the truth, what ever they may gain by it, will be lost at the Judgement, because Christ will deny them before the angels of God.  Christ will not know them, and will not show them any favor, but will instead turn them over to everlasting terror and contempt.

(Luke 12:10) And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit could refer to the sin of seeing the Holy Spirit’s working, and openly opposing it, such as attributing the miracles Christ performed to the power of Satan (cf. Lk 10:15).  Or it could refer to an act which shows a person to be in a state of sin in which there is a willful, determined opposition to the power of the Holy Ghost.  Jesus accuses no one of such sin, but sternly warns against anyone committing such a sin.  How do you avoid such a predicament?  Do not harden your hearts!  Believe God, and trust Christ as your Savior and Lord.

Jesus is saying here, that anyone who blasphemes the Holy Ghost or opposes His work in the world will be denied the privilege of the forgiveness of sins. You may shake off the dust of your feet against those that do so, for they have forfeited the right of repentance.

(Luke 12:11-12) And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Jesus warned that believers would be persecuted, but He also held out assurance that He would provide a guide in that day of trouble.  Jesus presented that guide, the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, in His role as Teacher.  Throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, the Holy Spirit empowered believers.  At times He equipped them with extraordinary wisdom and strength.  Jesus emphasized the Holy Spirit as the Helper, giving assistance and delivering power at the very hour it was needed.

What Jesus is saying is, "When they bring you into the synagogues, before the religious rulers, before the Jewish courts, or before magistrates and powerful men, to be examined about your doctrine, what it is, and how you prove it, don’t worry about how you are going to answer.’’  The Holy Ghost, who is the Spirit of wisdom, will teach you what you ought to say, and how to say it.’’

(Luke 12:13-14) And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.  And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

Imagine being so greedy that you would interrupt a sermon to ask for help to get more money!  The weeds were certainly growing in that man’s heart (Matt. 13:22).  We all need a certain amount of money to live, but money is not a guarantee of security.  If anything, it creates a false confidence that leads to foolishness.

Some people think that this unidentified man wanted to do his brother wrong, and that he wanted Christ to assist him.  The law gave the elder brother a double portion of the estate (Deut, 21:16, 17).  He wanted Christ to alter that law, and to divide the inheritance equally between the two brothers.  I suspect that this was the case, because Christ warns against covetousness, a desire of having more, more than God in His wisdom has allotted us. This man didn’t desire what was rightfully his, but his was a sinful desire of getting more than his own.

Jesus asked, “Who made me a judge?”   Jesus Christ took no honor or power, to himself, except what was given him by the Father (Heb. 5:5).  Whatever he did, he could tell by what authority he did it, and who gave him that authority.  Now this tells us something about Christ’s kingdom. It is a spiritual kingdom, and not of this world.  It does not interfere with civil powers, nor take the authority of governments out of their hands.  As far as civil power is concerned, Christianity leaves the matter as he found it.

(Luke 12:15) And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Covetousness is the selfish desire to have what another person owns; usually material possessions.  It indicates the presence of ruthless greed, the all-consuming lust to own more, and it is a sin.  It is a sin which we need to constantly watch out for.  The reason that Jesus gives for this caution is: “For a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth;” that is, "our happiness and comfort do not depend upon our having a great deal of the wealth of this world.’’

Jesus gives the following parable to show the foolishness of a person who covets what others have and their misery when they die.  The parable gives us the life and death of a rich man, and leaves us to judge whether he was a happy man.



(Luke 12:16-17) And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

Jesus is giving us a look inside the heart of a man that was blessed with abundance.  We are told what he “thought within himself.”  But, our God knows whatever we think within ourselves, and we are accountable to him for it. He is both an observer and judge of the thoughts and intents of the heart. We are making a mistake if we imagine that our thoughts are hid from Him.

When the rich man saw that he had an extraordinary crop, instead of thanking God for it, he upsets himself with this thought, “What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?”   He speaks like someone who has suffered a great loss, and now he doesn’t know what to do. Worry is the frequent result of having an abundance of this world’s things.  The more men have, the more they tend to worry over it, and the more anxious they are to keep what they have and to add to it.

(Luke 12:18-21) And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Jesus spoke the parable of the rich fool to a young inheritance seeker (vs. 13).  There are more parables dealing with money than with any other subject.  This is probably because there are so many snares and temptations that besiege those who possess and/or seek to acquire money.  The warning contained in this story is that of providing amply for the physical aspects of life, while ignoring preparations for the life to come. Wealth cannot secure one’s salvation, but it can be used for heavenly good.

This man had gathered all his treasures on earth but had stored none in heaven.  The same idea is expressed in this epitaph:

Here lies John Racket
In his wooden jacket.
He kept neither horses or mules.
He lived like a hog.
He died like a dog.
And left all his money to fools.

Our Lord called the man in this parable a fool, but notice what kind of man he was, apparently.  All outward appearances indicate that he was a good man.  He was a law-abiding citizen.  He was a good neighbor.  He was living a good life in suburbia in the best residential area of the city.  He was not a wicked man or a member of the Mafia.  He was not involved in crooked politics.  He was not engaged in shady business.  He was not an alcoholic or keeping a woman on the side.  This man seems to be all right; yet our Lord called him a fool.  Why?  This man gave all of his thought to himself, and he was covetous.

I had a little tea party
This afternoon at three.
‘Twas very small—
Three guests in all

Just I, myself, and me.
Myself ate all the sandwiches,
While I drank all the tea.
‘Twas also I who ate the pie
And passed the cake to Me.

This is the way many people live.  The parable of the rich fool is one of the most cutting stories in the Word of God.  The philosophy of the world today is “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”  Our Lord said, “That’s the problem, that’s what makes a man a fool.”  If you live as though this life is all there is, you will live just for self, and as though there is nothing beyond death, you are a fool.

(Luke 12:22-24) And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.  The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.  Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

Our Lord tells His disciples to “Take no thought for your life.”  They had left everything to follow Christ; therefore there was no danger of them becoming covetous in the same manner as the rich man in the previous parable. But He warns them against another type of covetousness which is a temptation for those who own little of the world’s goods; that is, worry about having the bare necessities of life.  He said, "Take no thought for your life;” for preserving it, or if it is in danger, or for food or clothing, what you will eat or what you will put on.’’   It is an encouragement for them to cast all their cares upon God.  He has given us life and a body, and therefore we may leave it up to him to provide food for the maintenance of that life, and clothing for the protection of that body.

(Luke 12:25-27) And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?  If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?  Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

It doesn’t do us any good to worry, and therefore it is foolish to do it.  "Which of you by taking thought can add to his stature one cubit,” or one inch?   Or can we add to our age one year or one hour?  Now if you are not able to do the little things, you should realize that it is not in your power to change your height.  Why should you worry yourselves about those things, which are out of your control?  Those are the things that must be left in the hands of our loving God.

God, who provides for the inferior creatures, may be depended upon to provide for good Christians. Trust God for food, for he feeds the ravens; they neither sow nor reap, and they don’t plan ahead to provide for themselves, and yet they are fed, and never die for lack of it.  Now consider how much better you are than the birds; than the ravens. Trust God for clothing, for he clothes the lilies.  They toil not, they spin not, and yet, as the flower grows up, it appears wonderfully beautified.  Now, if God has so clothed the flowers, which are only around for a short time, won’t He also see that you are clothed?’’ For example: When Israel was in the wilderness, He also took care for their clothing; and it lasted for 40 years.

(Luke 12:28) If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

This is not meant to encourage laziness.  Birds cannot build barns: flowers cannot spin.  But man can.  God intends him to use the ability He gave him—but not to live as if the use of these abilities is all there is to life.

(Luke 12:29-31)  And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.  For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 

Christians must not have an excessive desire for the things of this world, even necessary things.  They should not seek their food, but instead ask God for it day by day.  They are not to make themselves like the children of this world. "All these things do the nations of the world seek after.”  They take care of their body only, and not their soul.   They are concerned for this world only, and not for the heavenly world, and because they don’t have an all-sufficient God to supply the food and drink they need, they worry about those things.  But, Christians don’t have to worry about the necessities of life, for they have a Father in heaven that does and will take care of them: "Your Father knows that you have need of these things, and considers it, and will supply your needs according to his riches in glory.”

A Christian has better things in life to pursue: “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.”   God knows that you need certain things, and He will provide for His children.  Our job is to keep on growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and our Almighty God.  And God will keep the promises He has made to us in His Word.

(Luke 12:32-34) Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Christ’s flock in this world is little and feeble, but He has some comforting words for them: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  God has a kingdom in store for all that belong to Christ’s little flock, and a crown of glory (1 Pt. 5:4), and a throne of power (Rev. 3:21), and unsearchable riches. "Fear not, because you will not want for any thing that is good for you; for, if it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom, you do not need to question if He will care for you in the kingdom."

Jesus directed them to use their time on earth to invest in the kingdom, by laying up their treasure in heaven.  Those who have done this can rest assured of a home in the kingdom of heaven.  It is a good idea to hold loosely to the things of this world, because they can all be taken away in a very short time.  But, when you invest in heavenly things they are safe, since they can’t be touched by thieves, rust or moths.  Spend your time doing good works, for our good works will follow us and God will not forget them.  These will be treasures in heaven that will enrich us for eternity. Now if you have laid up treasure in heaven you will think about it there and yearn to be there to enjoy it. But, if your hearts are devoted to earthly treasure it is proper to worry, because when you leave this world your treasure will remain.



(Luke 12:35-40) Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.  Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.  And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.  And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.  Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Although this parable primarily applies to Israel and the Second Coming of Christ to set up His kingdom on earth, the principle applies to the church as we anticipate His coming at the Rapture.

In the Orient a groom had a wedding supper with his friends and then went to claim his bride at her home.  The servants of the groom were expected to be dressed for work and have their lamps lighted for the return procession.  The attitude of the believer to the return of Christ is to be one of readiness, having “the loins…girded”—doing all we can for Him, and living in expectation of His return.

When the figure changes from the “bridegroom” to the “thief,” it is to emphasize the element of an unexpected appearance.  Paul used the same figure of speech for Christ’s Second Coming in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 which says, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”  However, the Lord does not come as a thief to Rapture the church.  Rather we shall rise to meet Him in the air.

We are God’s servants, and He expects us to be faithfully doing our work when Jesus Christ returns.  But when we stop looking for His coming, loving it (2 Tim. 4:8), and longing for it (Rev. 22:20), our hearts get cold, and we get worldly.  The Lord will deal with careless servants when He returns, so we had better be ready.



(Luke 12:41-43) Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?  And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

This is one of the outstanding parables that teach our responsibility in light of our Lord’s coming.  Again, this parable is primarily for Israel, but the principle applies to us as believers, as we anticipate the Rapture.  Many people feel that the Lord is coming soon, so they are waiting instead of working.  We should work as though the Lord was not coming for another thousand years.  Let’s quit all this business of trying to set a date for His coming and get ready.  The blessed hope is the coming of Christ, and we should be filling our “hope chests” with works that one day we can lay at His feet.

(Luke 12:44-46) Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.  But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

This parable addressed the delay of Jesus’ return. He described a faithful, watching servant (on guard duty), who grew weary of waiting for the master to return. The servant became lax in his watching and allowed the influence of the world to sway him from his responsibility. This parable would have special meaning for believers in the early church, for many expected Jesus to return in their own lifetimes and they were in danger of growing weary in their expectations.

If that servant began to be irritable and wicked, he will be called to account, and severely punished. “He saith in his heart, My Lord delays his coming.”  Christ’s patience is very often misinterpreted as Him being delayed, and that can discourage His people.  God has set the time for Christ’s return and it will not be delayed.  He is working on God’s timetable, not ours.

This parable teaches an important lesson.  Skepticism about the Lord’s coming produces laziness in ones conduct.  We are to live expecting Him to return.  Our lives are to be lived as if the Lord will appear in the next moment, and we will have to give account of ourselves to Him.

(Luke 12:47:48) And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.  For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

The fact that there will be degrees of punishment is taught here.  The torment of hell will not be uniformly felt.  The light one possesses, helps determine how responsible one is. Some will be found guiltier than others, but no lost man can claim innocence in that day.

Maybe our Lord will not come today or tomorrow, but He is going to come.  Our tendency is to let things slip because He has not yet appeared.  We feel like we get by with things, but in reality we get by with nothing.  In that day when He comes, we will be judged.  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2  Cor. 5:10).  Who is “we?”  We Christians are to appear before the judgment seat of Christ.  Our judgment will not determine whether or not we will be saved.  This will not be a criminal court, but a circuit court where our property will be in danger.  He will judge us in order to see if we are worthy or not to receive rewards.  There will be degrees of reward for believers just as there will be degrees of punishment for the unbeliever.



(Luke 12:49) I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

“I am come to send fire on the earth.”   Some understand this to mean the preaching of the gospel, and the pouring out of the Spirit, which is a holy fire.  Christ came to refine the world, to burn up its chaff, and it was already kindled.  The gospel had already begun to be preached.  This fire was already kindled in the hate of the carnal Jews for Christ and his followers.

Even at this hour when the world is experiencing the deepest darkness we’ve had in 2000 years, the Lord Jesus Christ is being blasphemed!  The fire has been thrown out on the earth today.

(Luke 12:50-53) But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!  Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth?  I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.  The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

When Jesus said, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with,” He is referring to those things that He must undergo (see also Mk 10:38–39), including His own coming death.  He knew what he had to undergo, and that it was necessary for Him to do it.  He calls his sufferings a baptism.  It is a baptism, not a deluge; He must be dipped in them, not drowned in them.  He longed for the time when he would suffer and die, since that would hasten the time for His return to the Father.

Christ is the ultimate divider.  What men decide regarding Christ determines their ultimate destiny, and also draws the barrier lines between men. He tells those about him that they will find that the effect of the preaching of the gospel will be division.  The gospel was designed, if used properly, to unite people in holy love, that is, if everyone would receive it.  But there are multitudes that will not receive it, and will in fact oppose it.  That will cause division that will reach into private families.   “The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father,” when one of them turns to Christ and the other does not.  The one that continues in unbelief will be aggravated by the witnessing of the believer and will hate and persecute the believer.  Even mothers and daughters will fall out about religion.  We find in Acts that, wherever the gospel was preached, persecution was stirred up. Therefore, no disciples of Christ should promise themselves peace upon earth, for they are sent forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.


(Luke 12:54-56) And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.  And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.  Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

Jesus now turns from teaching His disciples to teaching the people.  They were weather-wise, and by observing the winds and clouds could foresee when there would be rain and when there would be hot weather.  Even in regard to changes of the weather God gives warning to us as to what is coming.  They were able to interpret the signs of changes in weather, but they could not discern this time, the time they were living in. They did not understand that now is the time, according to the indications given in the Old-Testament prophecies, for the Messiah to appear, and that, He was the Messiah.

Jesus declared that signs were clearly visible relative to His ministry, yet men refused to heed them.  Such men must bear the responsibility for their own destruction under such circumstances. 

(Luke 12:57-59) Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?  When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.  I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.

We need to realize and recognize what type of world we are living in.  Man thinks he is big enough and good enough to bring peace on the earth.  This is a fallacy—there will never be peace.  The United Nations was formed to bring peace and keep peace on earth, but it has failed.  We need to realize that until Christ returns there can never be real peace.

 There are 5 websites by this author:

http://harmonyofthegospels.yolasite.com (Life of Christ)

http://teachingsermonsforpastorsandlaymen.yolasite.com (sermons)

http://theepistlesofpaul.yolasite.com (Titus and Jude)

http://paulsepistletotheromans.yolasite.com (Romans)

http://theperiodofthejudges.yolasite.com (Judges)


Please review them and use them as the Lord leads you.

May God bless His precious word!!

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