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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.’ ”

Luke 13:22. Journeying towards Jerusalem. It is uncertain whether Luke speaks only of one journey, or means that, while Christ walked throughout Judea, and visited each part of it for the purpose of teaching, he was wont to go up to Jerusalem at the festivals. The former clause, certainly, appears to describe that course of life which Christ invariably pursued, from the time that he began to discharge the office which had been committed to him by the Father. To make the latter clause agree with this, the meaning will be, that, when the festivals were at hand, he attended, along with others, 226226     “Sa coustume estoit de se trouver;” — “his custom was to be present.” the holy assemblies.

Luke 13:23. And one saith to him Although Matthew relates this answer, as if it were immediately connected with other sentences taken out of our Lord’s sermons, yet I rather think that the occasion of its being spoken arose out of the present question. The reason why the question was put appears to have been, that Christ, who declared himself to be the author of life, could with difficulty collect a small number of disciples. It might appear, that a small band of men was to be saved, and that the whole church was going to ruin: for the whole of that nation, among whom the doctrine of Christ made no great progress, and by whom it was universally rejected, had been adopted by God as the heir of life. A similar doubt steals upon us, when we look at the melancholy condition of the world. “‘The greater part of men pursue a life which is utterly at variance with the Gospel. What is the meaning of this?” For this reason Christ, directing his discourse to all, exhorted them to strive to enter by the narrow gate These words were intended to withdraw his people from a foolish curiosity, by which many are retarded and involved, when they look around to see if any companions are joining them, as if they were unwilling to be saved but in a crowd. When he bids them strive, or labor, he conveys the information, that it is impossible to obtain eternal life without great and appalling difficulties. Let believers, therefore, give their earnest attention to this object, instead of indulging in excessive curiosity about the vast number of those who are going astray.

24. For many will seek to enter This was added, that we might not be deceived by a vain hope, as if the multitude of our companions would be of any avail to us. The flesh is willing to flatter itself, and many who now give themselves every indulgence, promise to themselves an easy entrance into life. Thus men practice mutual deception on each other, and fall asleep in wicked indifference. To shake off from his own people those flattering hopes, Christ declares that those who calculate that their possession of life is already certain, will be shut out.473473     Our author appears to have become apprehensive that this language was ambiguous, and, lest it might be interpreted differently from what he intended, he has taken care to insert in the French Version an explanatory clause: “que ceux qui se font accroire qu'ils sont desia tout asseurez de la vie eternelle, et cheminent a leur plaisir sans souci, en seront rejettez;” —”that those who make themselves believe that they are already perfectly assured of eternal life, and walk on at their pleasure without concern, will be excluded from it.” — Ed.

Luke 13:25. And when the master of the house shall have arisen Though these words, as I hinted a little before, were spoken on a different and later occasion, I have chosen to pay more regard to the doctrine than to the time: for it is no slight assistance to the understanding to read, in immediate connection, those passages which are closely related in meaning. As Christ had declared that to many, who shall desire to enter into heaven, the door will not be open, he now asserts, that they gain nothing by occupying a place in the church because God will at length arise in judgment, and shut out from his kingdom those who now lay claim to a place in his family. He employs the comparison of the master of a house, who, having learned that some wicked and dissolute persons among his own domestics steal out unperceived during the night, and expose the house to thieves, rises and shuts the door, and does not allow those night-prowlers to enter, who have been wandering through the public streets at unseasonable hours. By these words he warns us, that we must avail ourselves of the opportunity, while it is offered: for so long as the Lord invites us to himself, the door is, as it were, open, that we may enter into the kingdom of heaven: but the greater part do not deign to move a step. Christ therefore threatens, that the door will at length be shut, and that those who are looking for companions are in danger of being refused admission.

26. Thou hast taught in our streets Christ expressly states, that it will be of no advantage to the Jews, that he approached near to them, and permitted them to enjoy familiar intercourse with him, if, when called, they do not answer at the appointed day. But he does not follow out his comparison: for, after having spoken about the master of a house, he now states, without a figure, that he is himself the judge; and indeed the words, thou hast taught in our streets, can apply to no one but himself. We now perceive his design, which was, to warn the Jews not to allow themselves to lose, by their own neglect, the salvation which it is in their power to obtain.

28. When you shall see Abraham The Jews bore no resemblance to the holy fathers, and had no right to boast of being descended from them: yet nothing was more customary than to abuse the title of the Church.474474     “Et avoyent tousjours en la bouche le titre d'Eglise, duquel ils abu- soyent;” — “and had always in their mouth the title of Church, which they abused.” Christ here assures them, that a bastard race, which has departed from the faith and piety of the fathers, has “no inheritance in the kingdom of God,” (Ephesians 5:5.) There is a silent but implied reproof, that those who were desirous to have companions in seeking salvation, did not endeavor to associate themselves with Abraham, and the prophets, and the holy fathers, instead of looking around among their contemporaries, who had degenerated greatly from their example into innumerable corruptions. “If you neglect (says he) to enter by the strait gate, because you are kept back by the great number of those who are going astray, do you not see that you are separated from the number of believers, and become involved with unbelievers?” If the aspect of the world now dazzles your eyes, the last day will cure you of this folly, but it will be too late: for you shall then know that you, and others like you, are excluded from the kingdom of God, and have no part with Abraham

29. And they shall come from the east He now draws a larger illustration from the fact, that the Jews, who reckoned themselves the only lawful heirs of God, were to be rejected, and that the Gentiles were to be substituted in their room, and obtain the life which was promised to Abraham and his posterity. He contrasts the Gentiles with them, in order to excite them to faith by a holy jealousy: as Paul writes, that

“it will be a distinguished honor of his ministry, if he excite any of his nation and blood to such an emulations,”
(Romans 11:13,14.)

The Jews must have been stung by it: for they had an inordinate love of themselves, and proudly despised God and his gifts. But as we shall, ere long, meet with this sentence again in the Gospel by Matthew I now glance at it more slightly.

30. And, lo, they are last who shall be first The same words, as we shall elsewhere see, were frequently employed by Christ, but in a different sense, (Matthew 19:30; 20:16; Mark 10:31.) All that he intended here was, to throw down the vain confidence of the Jews, who, having been chosen by God in preference to all the rest of the world, trusted to this distinction, and imagined that God was in a manner bound to them. For this reason, Christ threatens that their condition will soon be changed; that the Gentiles, who were at that time cast off, would obtain the first rank; and that the Jews, deprived of their honor, would not even occupy the farthest corner in the Church.475475     “Ne tiendront pas mesme le dernier reng, ou quelque petit coin en l'Eglise;” — “will not hold even the lowest rank, or some small corner in the Church.”

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