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Repent or Perish
At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’ ”
Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman
10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? 19It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
The Parable of the Yeast
20 And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? 21It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
The Narrow Door
22 Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them, 24“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. 25When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then in reply he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27But he will say, ‘I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out. 29Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. 30Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
The Lament over Jerusalem
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 34Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”
Lu 13:1-9. The Lesson, "REPENT OR Perish," Suggested by Two Recent Incidents, and Illustrated by the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree.
1-3. Galileans—possibly the followers of Judas of Galilee, who, some twenty years before this, taught that Jews should not pay tribute to the Romans, and of whom we learn, from Ac 5:37, that he drew after him a multitude of followers, who on his being slain were all dispersed. About this time that party would be at its height, and if Pilate caused this detachment of them to be waylaid and put to death as they were offering their sacrifices at one of the festivals, that would be "mingling their blood with their sacrifices" [Grotius, Webster and Wilkinson, but doubted by De Wette, Meyer, Alford, &c.]. News of this being brought to our Lord, to draw out His views of such, and whether it was not a judgment of Heaven, He simply points them to the practical view of the matter: "These men are not signal examples of divine vengeance, as ye suppose; but every impenitent sinner—ye yourselves, except ye repent—shall be like monuments of the judgment of Heaven, and in a more awful sense." The reference here to the impending destruction of Jerusalem is far from exhausting our Lord's weighty words; they manifestly point to a "perdition" of a more awful kind—future, personal, remediless.
4, 5. tower in Siloam—probably one of the towers of the city wall, near the pool of Siloam. Of its fall nothing is known.
vineyard—a spot selected for its fertility, separated from the surrounding fields, and cultivated with special care, with a view solely to fruit.
7. three years—a long enough trial for a fig tree, and so denoting probably just a sufficient period of culture for spiritual fruit. The supposed allusion to the duration of our Lord's ministry is precarious.
cut it down—indignant language.
cumbereth—not only doing no good, but wasting ground.
8. he answering, &c.—Christ, as Intercessor, loath to see it cut down so long as there was any hope (see Lu 13:34).
dig, &c.—loosen the earth about it and enrich it with manure; pointing to changes of method in the divine treatment of the impenitent, in order to freshen spiritual culture.
Lu 13:10-17. Woman of Eighteen Year's Infirmity Healed on the Sabbath.
11. spirit of infirmity—Compare Lu 13:17, "whom Satan hath bound." From this it is probable, though not certain, that her protracted infirmity was the effect of some milder form of possession; yet she was "a daughter of Abraham," in the same gracious sense, no doubt, as Zaccheus, after his conversion, was "a son of Abraham" (Lu 19:9).
12, 13. said … Woman … and laid—both at once.
14. with indignation—not so much at the sabbath violation as at the glorification of Christ. (Compare Mt 21:15) [Trench].
said to the people—"Not daring directly to find fault with the Lord, he seeks circuitously to reach Him through the people, who were more under his influence, and whom he feared less" [Trench].
15. the Lord—(See on Lu 10:1).
hypocrite!—How "the faithful and true Witness" tears off the masks which men wear!
16. ought not, &c.—How gloriously the Lord vindicates the superior claims of this woman, in consideration of the sadness and long duration of her suffering, and of her dignity notwithstanding, as an heir of the promise!
Lu 13:18-30. Miscellaneous Teachings.
18-21. mustard seed … leaven—(See on Mr 4:30-32). The parable of "the Leaven" sets forth, perhaps, rather the inward growth of the kingdom, while "the Mustard Seed" seems to point chiefly to the outward. It being a woman's work to knead, it seems a refinement to say that "the woman" here represents the Church, as the instrument of depositing the leaven. Nor does it yield much satisfaction to understand the "three measures of meal" of that threefold division of our nature into "spirit, soul, and body," (alluded to in 1Th 5:23) or of the threefold partition of the world among the three sons of Noah (Ge 10:32), as some do. It yields more real satisfaction to see in this brief parable just the all-penetrating and assimilating quality of the Gospel, by virtue of which it will yet mould all institutions and tribes of men, and exhibit over the whole earth one "Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ." (See on Re 11:15).
23. Lord, &c.—one of those curious questions by talking of which some flatter themselves they are religious.
said unto them—the multitude; taking no notice of the man or his question, save as furnishing the occasion of a solemn warning not to trifle with so momentous a matter as "salvation."
24. Strive—The word signifies to "contend" as for the mastery, to "struggle," expressive of the difficulty of being saved, as if one would have to force his way in.
for many … will seek—"desire," that is, with a mere wish or slothful endeavor.
and shall not be able—because it must be made a life-and-death struggle.
25. master of the house is risen up and hath shut to the door—awfully sublime and vivid picture! At present he is represented as in a sitting posture, as if calmly looking on to see who will "strive," while entrance is practicable, and who will merely "seek" to enter in. But this is to have an end, by the great Master of the house Himself rising and shutting the door, after which there will be no admittance.
eaten and drunk, &c.—We have sat with Thee at the same table. (See on Mt 7:22).
taught in our streets—Do we not remember listening in our own streets to Thy teaching? Surely we are not to be denied admittance?
27. But he shall say, &c.—(See on Mt 7:23). No nearness of external communion with Christ will avail at the great day, in place of that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. Observe the style which Christ intimates that He will then assume, that of absolute Disposer of men's eternal destinies, and contrast it with His "despised and rejected" condition at that time.
Lu 13:31-35. Message to Herod.
31. and depart hence—and "go forward," push on. He was on His way out of Perea, east of Jordan, and in Herod's dominions, "journeying towards Jerusalem" (Lu 13:22). Haunted by guilty fears, probably, Herod wanted to get rid of Him (see on Mr 6:14), and seems, from our Lord's answer, to have sent these Pharisees, under pretense of a friendly hint, to persuade Him that the sooner He got beyond Herod's jurisdiction the better it would be for His own safety. Our Lord saw through both of them, and sends the cunning ruler a message couched in dignified and befitting irony.
32. that fox—that crafty, cruel enemy of God's innocent servants.
Behold, I cast out devils and I do cures—that is, "Plot on and ply thy wiles; I also have My plans; My works of mercy are nearing completion, but some yet remain; I have work for to-day and to-morrow too, and the third day; by that time I shall be where his jurisdiction reaches not; the guilt of My blood shall not lie at his door; that dark deed is reserved for others." He does not say, I preach the Gospel—that would have made little impression upon Herod—in the light of the merciful character of Christ's actions the malice of Herod's snares is laid bare [Bengel].
to-day, to-morrow, the third day—remarkable language expressive of successive steps of His work yet remaining, the calm deliberateness with which He meant to go through with them, one after another, to the last, unmoved by Herod's threat, yet the rapid march with which they were now hastening to completion. (Compare Lu 22:37).
I shall be perfected—I finish my course, I attain completion.
33. it cannot be that a prophet, &c.—"It would never do that," &c.—awful severity of satire this upon "the bloody city!" "He seeks to kill me, does he? Ah! I must be out of Herod's jurisdiction for that. Go tell him I neither fly from him nor fear him, but Jerusalem is the prophets' slaughter-house."