for this week: Prov 27:17 Iron
sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
We continue our study of
the book of Luke this week as we continue in chapter 13. In
chapter 12, we studied about how we should be always waiting and
looking for the Lord’s return. We studied about the parable of the
Steward and his servants. This week we begin with the call to
I. A Call to
National and Individual Repentance
13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the
Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
13:2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these
Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they
suffered such things?
13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise
The first five
verses contain a solemn warning based on two events which had taken
place recently in Palestine. Pilate had put some Galileans to death
and mingled their blood with their sacrifices. It may have been
that those that reported this to Jesus were Galilaeans and very
concerned about this. They probably thought that God saw some
great wickedness in them, a wickedness greater than the normal
person. Many of them were slain, and they perceived that this was
the reason God allowed this to happen. Jesus warns all of his
hearers that the judgment of God is hanging over all unrepentant
men. Only if we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ will we
not face the judgment which will cause all there to perish. We
need to warn others of the judgment that faces the lost man or
woman. Today we have so little concern about the things of God.
13:4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and
slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt
13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise
violence involved in the first 3 verses in the record of the
Galileans being slain, but this incident in verse 4 was an
accident. The tower fell and killed people. Jesus says that those
18 who died were not sinners above all men. Perhaps this tower was
not properly built, and it fell due to poor construction. Whatever
the reason, it did fall and kill those beneath it. Jesus warns
them that these were no worse men than others who may not have
repented of their sins.
The call to
repentance is not heard much in our day. But it is still needful
and a requirement of God to come unto him. Repent means a change
of mind; it is not just a change of viewpoint. Repentance is a
change of mind which results in a complete change of attitude.
When a man or woman is in rebellion towards God, and they come to
Christ with faith and repentance, he or she determines to no longer
walk in the way from which they came but to walk in the newness of
life that Jesus gives us in our new birth. We will not desire to
walk in the old paths, but now desire to do things God’s way. With
this total change, we have what makes up true repentance. We are
sorry for where we have come and what we have done, and we walk away
determined to do things right from this day forth.
In Acts 17:30 we
are told that God commands men everywhere to repent.
17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now
commandeth all men every where to repent:
13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree
planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and
13:7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these
three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none:
cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
13:8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year
also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
13:9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou
shalt cut it down.
This is the
parable of the fig tree. It depicts how Israel failed to honor God
with their lives and how patient God had been with them. The fig
tree planted in the vineyard typifies the Jewish nation in the land
of Palestine. Of course the dresser of the fig tree depicts the
Lord. For 3 years Jesus had ministered to Israel, but there were
very few who heard him and truly turned to Him for salvation. The
fig tree was spared at this time but in the middle of the fourth
year of our Lord’s ministry the Jews rose up against Him and the
Romans led Him to Calvary and crucified him. There was no national
repentance, and as a result the fig tree was cut down, and the Jews
were scattered throughout the world.
made these comments about the fig tree:
1. The advantages which
this fig-tree had. It was planted in a vineyard, in better
soil, and where it had more care taken of it and more pains taken
with it, than other fig-trees had, that commonly grew, not in
vineyards (Those are for vines), but by the way-side, Mt.
21:19. This fig-tree belonged to a certain man, that owned
it, and was at expense upon it. Note, The church of God is his
vineyard, distinguished from the common, and fenced about, Isa.
5:1, 2. We are fig-trees planted in this vineyard by our
baptism; we have a place and a name in the visible church, and this
is our privilege and happiness. It is a distinguishing favour: he
has not dealt so with other nations.
2. The owner’s
expectation from it: He came, and sought fruit thereon, and
he had reason to expect it. He did not send, but came
himself, intimating his desire to find fruit. Christ came into this
world, came to his own, to the Jews, seeking fruit. Note, The
God of heaven requires and expects fruit from those that have
a place in his vineyard. He has his eye upon those that
enjoy the gospel, to see whether they live up to it; he
seeks evidences of their getting good by the means of grace they
enjoy. Leaves will not serve, crying, Lord, Lord; blossoms
will not serve, beginning well and promising fair; there must be
fruit. Our thoughts, words, and actions must be according to the
gospel, light and love.
3. The disappointment
of his expectation: He found none, none at all, not one fig.
Note, It is sad to think how many enjoy the privileges of the
gospel, and yet do nothing at all to the honour of God, nor to
answer the end of his entrusting them with those privileges; and it
is a disappointment to him and a grief to the Spirit of his grace.
II. The Woman
Loosed from her Infirmity
13:10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.
13:11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of
infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no
wise lift up herself.
13:12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto
her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
13:13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made
straight, and glorified God.
Jesus was often
found teaching in the synagogues. While he is teaching, this
certain woman who had an infirmity came to him. Jesus knew how
long she had been suffering (18 years) and she was so sick she could
not even lift up herself. Jesus realized she was helpless in her
condition, and showed compassion on her and healed her of her
sickness. It says after he laid his hands on her, she immediately
was made straight and glorified the Lord. If you are here today
and don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, he has compassion on
you. And if you will but come and place your faith in Him, you can
be forever healed of your lost condition. Just as this woman was
made whole at His touch, the sinner is made whole when he or she
turns to Christ for salvation. This woman knew who had healed her,
and it says in verse 13 that she glorified God.
13:14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation,
because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the
people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them
therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.
13:15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth
not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the
stall, and lead him away to watering?
You would have
thought that everyone would have rejoiced that was present that this
woman was healed of this infirmity of 18 years. Perhaps some were
happy, but the ruler of the synagogue was filled with indignation.
To him, it was profane to interrupt a sacred service. Rather than
speak directly to Jesus, he turns to the people and says “There are
six days in which men ought to work; in them therefore come and be
healed, but not on the Sabbath day.” Jesus speaks direct to him and
calls him a hypocrite. He asks “Doth not each one of you on the
sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to
watering?” Of course they did. We need to be careful to not get
so wrapped up in our religious services that we forget that our
reason for life is to serve others. Jesus was always about doing
good, Sabbath Day included.
13:16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom
Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond
on the sabbath day?
13:17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were
ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things
that were done by him.
that this woman was a daughter of Abraham. All descendants of
Israel came from Abraham in whom God richly blessed. We that know
Jesus as Lord and Savior are children of Abraham also.
3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put
3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor
free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ
3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs
according to the promise.
Jesus traces the
woman’s infirmity back to Satan. Sickness never comes to us
directly from God who is pure and without corruption. But God
allows things to come into our lives for various reasons. Sickness
is always related either directly or indirectly to sin. That isn’t
to say that a sickness comes because we commit a certain sin in our
life, but sin is the cause of infirmity. If Adam and Eve had never
sinned and fallen from their holy state in which they were created,
there would have been no sickness. Satan had bound this woman for
18 years. When Jesus answered them, it says they were all
ashamed. Then they rejoiced at what God had done for the woman.
Parable of the Mustard Seed
13:18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and
whereunto shall I resemble it?
13:19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and
cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the
fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
Jesus likens the
kingdom of God unto a mustard seed. It is small but it grows and
becomes a large plant. The kingdom of God here speaks of all
Christendom. (That is all professed Christians.) Note that the
mustard plant became a tree which is contrary to a normal mustard
plant. The fowls of the air lodging in the tree are false teachers
who have perverted the truth.
IV. Parable of
13:20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of
13:21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three
measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
As we have
mentioned several times, leaven always speak of evil or sin. We
find that the woman hid the leaven in the meal. The woman speaks
of the Papacy, and generally, to all corrupters of God’s Word.
V. Teachings on
the Way to Jerusalem
13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and
journeying toward Jerusalem.
13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved?
And he said unto them,
13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto
you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
As Jesus went
through the cities and villages, he was constantly teaching the
people. One asks about how many would there be that were saved.
Jesus did not tell us that we can be saved by our efforts, but he
warns that there is only one way to be saved, and that is through
Jesus Christ. When we are given the open door unto salvation, we
need to take it. Once that door is closed, there will be no
13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut
to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the
door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say
unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
13:26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy
presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are;
depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
Here is the
warning about the door being opened and then shut. He says to these
“I know you not.” Those who don’t come to Christ for salvation
will not find a way of entering into heaven. Having eaten or drank
in Christ’s presence will not be enough. One must repent and
13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall
see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the
kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
13:29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and
from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the
kingdom of God.
13:30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there
are first which shall be last.
that one day we will know those men of the Old Testament when we
come before God one day. He says you will see Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, and all the prophets. Jesus was speaking to those who heard
His words (and to us) and told how they would see the fathers of
Israel and the prophets they held in their hands and professed to
cherish. While knowing them, they failed to recognize the Redeemer
who God sent to deliver them. Because of this they would be shout
out in the darkness. Israel was the first but now shall be last.
J. Vernon McGee
Why this question was
asked is difficult to discern. Perhaps it was sincere. The charisma
of Christ drew the multitudes, but they soon discovered that it cost
to follow Him. There were those coming and going all the time. As He
approached Jerusalem this last time it was noticeable. There came a
day when it was written, “And they all forsook him, and fled” (Mark
14:50). He made it abundantly clear that it would cost to
follow Him. That we in our sophisticated and soft affluency think
otherwise is heresy!
Since this was a
speculative question, Jesus did not answer it directly. He is saying
to this man, “Make sure you are saved.” In the rest of this
brief discourse, the Lord made it clear that many will be saved who
are not sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
13:31 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto
him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.
13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I
cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third
day I shall be perfected.
pretended to be interested in saving the life of Jesus, but they did
not understand that no one could take it from Him. He willingly
laid down his life on the cross that we might have salvation.
Lament over Jerusalem
13:33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day
following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and
stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have
gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under
her wings, and ye would not!
13:35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I
say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall
say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Jesus so desired
that the nation of Israel turn to Him. He uses the illustration of
how a hen takes care of her baby chicks when a storm is
approaching. He tells them that Jerusalem had been set aside and
is no longer in the place of a favored people. Then he tells them
that their house will be left desolate and that all who will come in
his name will be blessed.
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4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day.
e-mail at: email@example.com
Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will
Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible,
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.
McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file],
electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas
Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.