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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.’ ”

It deserves our attention, that Christ gives the designation, daughter of Abraham, to one whose body had been enslaved by Satan during eighteen years. She was so called, not only in reference to her lineage, as all the Jews without exception gloried in this title, but because she was one of the true and actual members of the Church. Here we perceive also what Paul tells us, that some are

delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus,
(1 Corinthians 5:5.)

And the length of time points out to us that, though the Lord does not immediately relieve our distresses, yet we ought not to despair.

It is difficult to ascertain the precise time when this happened, farther than that Christ was at that time residing in Galilee, as during the whole period of his public calling he remained longer there than in any other place. Certain persons, wishing to be considered as his friends, advise him that, if he wishes to be in safety, he should go beyond the boundaries of Herod’s jurisdiction. In what manner those who gave that advice were affected towards him we have no means of knowing; but I am strongly inclined to conjecture, that they attempted to drive him to some other place, because they saw that the greater part of the people in that place were attached to Christ, so that the Gospel was generally received. We must observe who those advisers were. Luke says that they were some of the Pharisees Now we know that that sect was not so favorable to Christ as to make it probable that those men were anxious about his life. What then? Their design was, to awaken in him such fears as would drive him to some place of concealment; for they expected that, in a short time, his authority would decline, and that his whole doctrine would vanish away. But we must also direct our attention to the first originator and contriver of this scheme, Satan; for, as he endeavored at that time to interrupt the progress of the Gospel, by terrifying the Son of God, so he constantly invents and hatches up new grounds of alarm, to strike the ministers of Christ with dismay, and to constrain them to turn aside.

32. Go, tell that fox It is certain, that the person here spoken of is Herod Antipas. Though he had throughout the character of a fox, and was as remarkable for servility as for cunning, I do not think that the term, fox, is intended to refer generally to the cunning of his whole life, but rather to the insidious methods by which he labored to undermine the doctrine of the Gospel, when he did not venture to attack it openly. Christ tells him that, with all his craftiness, he will gain nothing by his schemes. “Whatever artifices he may devise,” says Christ, “today and tomorrow I will discharge the office which God has enjoined upon me; and when I shall have reached the end of my course, I shall then be offered in sacrifice.” That we may perceive more clearly the meaning of the words, Christ acknowledges, in the former part of his message, that on the third day—that is, within a very short time—he must die; and in this way shows, that he could not be deterred from his duty by any fear of death, to which he advanced boldly, with fixed purpose of mind.

33. It does not usually happen, etc. He next adds, that it is an idle bugbear, which is held out by false and hypocritical advisers; because there is no danger of death anywhere else than at Jerusalem. In this second clause he sharply attacks the Pharisees. “Is it you, who — I foresee — will be my executioners, that advise me to beware of Herod?” The reproof extends, indeed, much farther; for he says, not only that preparations had been made for his own death in Jerusalem, but that it might be said to have been, for a long period, a den of robbers, in which almost all the prophets had been murdered. Many had, no doubt, been slain in other places, and particularly at the time when that cruel fury, 282282     “Cette cruelle diablesse;” — “that cruel female devil.” Jezebel, (1 Kings 19:2,) raged against them; but because in no other place had the prophets, at any time, been fiercely tormented, Christ justly brings this reproach against the ungodly inhabitants of the holy city.

It usually happened that the prophets were slain there; because not only was it the source of all the ungodliness which spread over the whole of Judea, but it was also the field on which God trained his prophets. 283283     “Auquel Dieu a voulu que ses Prophetes ayent soustenu de grans combats et rudes alarmes;” — “on which God determined that his Prophets should sustain powerful combats and fierce alarms.” We know that the more brightly the light of doctrine shines, so as to press more closely on wicked men, they are driven to a greater pitch of madness. What a dreadful example was it, that a place which had been chosen to be the sanctuary of divine worship, and the residence of the Law and of heavenly wisdom, should be polluted not by one or another murder,, but by a regular butchery of the prophets! It undoubtedly shows how obstinate is the rebellion of the world in rejecting sound doctrine.

The exclamation which immediately follows in Luke, (13:34,) appears to be connected in such a manner, as if Christ had taken occasion from the present occurrence to inveigh, at this time, against Jerusalem But for my own part, I rather think, that Luke, having said that Jerusalem had been formerly stained by the blood of the prophets, nay, had been, through an uninterrupted succession of many ages, the slaughter-place, where the prophets were cruelly and wickedly put to death, immediately inserts, according to his custom, a statement which harmonized with that discourse. We have seen, on former occasions, that it is by no means unusual with him to introduce into one place a collection of Christ’s sayings, which were uttered at various times.

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