The Agora
Bible Commentary

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Luke 13

Luk 13:1

Was this disturbance part of Barabbas' insurrection (cp Luk 23:18,19)? Or, the incident of Pilate's financing aqueducts out of Temple treasury, then disguising soldiers as Temple worshipers, in order to massacre innocent and guilty alike to quell Temple riots (WGos 751)?

"But Pilate undertook to bring a current of water to Jerusalem, and did it with the sacred money, and derived the origin of the stream from the distance of two hundred furlongs. However, the Jews were not pleased with what had been done about this water; and many ten thousands of the people got together, and made a clamor against him, and insisted that he should leave off that design. Some of them also used reproaches, and abused the man, as crowds of such people usually do. So he habited a great number of his soldiers in their habit, who carried daggers under their garments, and sent them to a place where they might surround them. So he bid the Jews himself go away; but they boldly casting reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; who laid upon them much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not; nor did they spare them in the least: and since the people were unarmed, and were caught by men prepared for what they were about, there were a great number of them slain by this means, and others of them ran away wounded. And thus an end was put to this sedition" (Jos Ant 18:3:2).

WHOSE BLOOD PILATE HAD MIXED WITH THEIR SACRIFICES: What of Christ, whose own blood WAS the sacrifice at the hands of Pilate? 'Do you think that Christ was a worse sinner than all Galilieans? No!'

Luk 13:3

UNLESS YOU REPENT: A key requirement: Mat 3:2,10-12; Luk 24:47; Acts 2:38-40; 3:19; Rev 2:21,22.

YOU TOO WILL ALL PERISH: Many did, in 70 AD, amidst the sacrifices of the Temple.

Luk 13:4

Neither would the towers and walls of the Holy City be sufficient protection for the Jews in AD 70; instead, those towers would topple over upon them! Ct Pro 18:10: the name of Lord is the only truly strong tower (cp Jdg 9:51).

Luk 13:6

FIG TREE: Sym Israel: Mat 21:19; 24:32; Mic 7:1; Hos 9:10; Joe 1:7; Jer 24; Psa 80; Rev 6:13.

DID NOT FIND ANY FRUIT: As in 2Pe 1:8. Cp actual incident in Mar 11:13.

WHY SHOULD IT USE UP THE SOIL?: 'Don't just stand there taking up space!'

Luk 13:7

THREE YEARS: Period of Christ's ministry to this point. This also matches Lev 19:23: for three years the fruit of the tree was forbidden, but after three years the tree was expected to bring forth fruit which could be harvested and used. This suggests that the moment of reckoning for Israel has come: "Where is the 'fruit'?"

Luk 13:8

ONE MORE YEAR: The final year of Christ's ministry.

Luk 13:9

This statement is directed toward the "man" of v 6 (who repr God), not the caretaker of v 7 (who repr Christ).

Luk 13:10

This is the only occasion during last year of Christ's ministry that Christ taught in synagogue, and even this was poss contrived as a trap (cp Luk 14:1).

Luk 13:11

"Demoniacs" suffered from: blindness, dumbness (Mat 12:22; Luk 11:14), insanity, schizophrenia (Mar 3:21; 5:1-5; Joh 10:20), epilepsy (Mar 9:17-27), and arthritis (Luk 13:11-17).

BENT OVER: Cp Isa 45: crooked made straight, to the glory of God.

Luk 13:13

PRAISED: Continuous tense.

Luk 13:14

Four occasions in Luke where there is conflict about Jesus performing miracles, etc on the Sabbath: Luke 6:2,9; 13:14; 14:3.

The punctilious attitude of the "ruler of the synagogue" contrasts with that of the Lord, who recognizes the hypocrisy of such an attitude (v 15). We can often cloud hypocrisy with the respectability of formality and an adherence to traditions and rules.

Luk 13:16

DAUGHTER OF ABRAHAM: See Luk 13:25,28; 19:9; Joh 8:33,39.

WHOM SATAN HAS KEPT BOUND FOR EIGHTEEN YEARS: Rather like the two occasions when Israel was in bondage in the time of the Judges: Jdg 3:14; 10:8.

ON THE SABBATH DAY: The most appropriate day for healing. This day, Christ loosed her burden and gave her rest.

Luk 13:18

// Mat 13:31-33.

Luk 13:19

MUSTARD: The "tree" of Israel would be cut down (v 9). But the "mustard seed" apostasy sown in its place (cp Mat 13:31-33n) would be no better.

IN HIS GARDEN: The gospel, first preached in God's own nation.

Luk 13:21

YEAST: Or leaven, used negatively: Luk 12:1; 1Co 5:7,8; Gal 5:9; cp 2Th 2:11.

ALL THROUGH THE DOUGH: The whole was leavened, but only "few" (v 23) will be saved. Thus the leaven not same as "gospel".

Luk 13:22

AS HE MADE HIS WAY TO JERUSALEM: In two different ways! He may have been traveling toward Jerusalem in a literal sense, but esp was he going there in his spiritual journey! Cp Luk 9:51,53; 13:22,33; 17:11; 18:31; 19:28.

Luk 13:23

ARE ONLY A FEW PEOPLE GOING TO BE SAVED?: That is, 'you are not making many converts, are you?'

Luk 13:24

On the approach to Jerusalem, a narrow road leads up, into city. A broad road leads down, to Gehenna (PM 41,42).

WILL NOT BE ABLE (TO ENTER): Put last phrase of v 24 together with first phrase of v 25: "will not be able to enter when the Master rises up!"

Luk 13:25

AND CLOSES THE DOOR: "No other door is so tightly closed as this" (HAW). Cp parable of virgins: Mat 25:10-12.

Luk 13:26

WE ATE AND DRANK WITH YOU: Participation in Memorial supper.

YOU TAUGHT IN OUR STREETS: That is, 'I have taught in your name...'

Luk 13:27

I DON'T KNOW YOU: "I tell you the truth, I don't know you" (Mat 25:12).

WHERE YOU COME FROM: Certainly not from Abraham! Cp vv 16,28.

AWAY FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS!: "Away from me, all you who do evil" (Psa 6:8).

Luk 13:29

// Gen 13:14. This is an interesting twist. In Genesis we hear God telling Abraham (cp v 28 here) that He will give him the land in all directions, as far as he can see, as an eternal inheritance. Abraham is promised all the land, "north, south, east and west"... AND a great multiplying of his seed! Notice how this is echoed in the NT, when Jesus says: "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God" (Luk 13:28,29). But in the gospels, Jesus seems to "interpret" this promise (ie, the east, west, north, south allusion) to mean -- not only 'your borders will be extended in all directions', but especially 'people (Gentiles!) will come to you (and God's kingdom) from all directions'!

There seem, then, to be two different (but related) ways in which the promises to Abraham will be fulfilled: (1) the obvious one: the expansion of Abraham's "territories" outward, to cover the whole earth (Rom 4:13), and (2) the people of those territories coming inward, to Abraham and His God! Either way, the same result is achieved.

Luk 13:30

THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE LAST WHO WILL BE FIRST, AND FIRST WHO WILL BE LAST: "Do not take your salvation for granted... At our baptism, we do not step onto a smooth, effortless moving sidewalk that will automatically carry us comfortably into the Kingdom, though many act as though they assume this is so. Rather we stand at the foot of a steep and rugged hill, and there is no ski-lift. That hill is our probation: the 'working out of our salvation with fear and trembling.' God knows the height and degree of difficulty of our hill, and He knows the lifespan before us that He has given us to climb it. We shall need ALL that time, and all the available help He has provided and promised in so many ways. How long is it since your baptism? How far up the hill of God have you faithfully climbed? There are tempting but fatal relaxing places along the way, among them that deceptive worldly conceit called 'retirement.' Are you in one of them? The day draws on, and the top is still above you" (GVG).

"Why is it that the last shall be first? What is it that makes this so difficult to accept? The answer came in the form of an ugly little dog. Sophie has taken over our hearts and in many respects our house. She is not particularly pretty (one ear stands up and one lies down, and she has patches of hair that inexplicably shoot up like a lion's mane); nor does she have any pedigree. She is, however, a good little dog and clearly loves us. She follows me wherever I go all over the house. She can't stand to be away from me. When I do go away and come into the house, I receive a greeting of a king. When I walk into the house, this little dog is celebrating like this is the most miraculous thing that has even happened -- her master came home!

"Isn't this a little how God views us? Let's face it, we don't provide God with a whole lot of value. He doesn't really 'need' us any more than I 'need' my dog. What we do provide Him is love, devotion and faithfulness. When Jesus comes back, will we celebrate like my dog celebrates when I come home? Or will we be like the bad dog who has spent the day chewing the sofa cushion, and then slinks off to hide? Do we follow our Master wherever He will lead us? Do we obey commands? Is our love demonstrative to Jesus in the way my dog's love is to me?...

"Many of the qualities we attribute to great men -- intelligence, boldness, speaking abilities, education, beauty, wealth, etc -- mean absolutely nothing to God. In fact, these attributes can impede our service to God if they translate into pride. God loves us because we love Him (even though He loved us first!), and even if we are like ugly little dogs!

" 'Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things -- and the things that are not -- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him' (1Co 1:26-29)" (KT).

Luk 13:31

Cp Jezebel's threat against Elijah (1Ki 19:2) and Amaziah/Jeroboam II against Amos (Amo 7:10-17).

HEROD WANTS TO KILL YOU: Prob a false rumor (cp Luk 9:7-9; 23:8). Had Christ heeded it, it would have hastened his visit to Jerusalem (where arrest was imminent), it would have ended his embarrassing stay in Perea, and it would have betrayed fear on his part.

Luk 13:32

'Herod cannot touch me. I will continue my healings a while longer (2nd day, 3rd day) and then I will die -- but in my own way and in the right place.'

GO TELL THAT FOX: "Fox" here is fem, poss ref to Herodias, the real power behind the throne. "You little fox, go and tell that bigger fox!"

FOX: Cp Lam 5:18; Song 2:15.

TODAY AND TOMORROW: Cp expression, Exo 4:10; 1Sa 19:7; Gen 31:2; Jos 3:4. A colloquial expression, sig indefinite time.

THIRD DAY: Gen 22:4: Isaac, on Mt Moriah (next to Jerusalem)

I WILL REACH MY GOAL: The cross in Jerusalem. Sw Heb 2:10; 5:9; 10:14; 12:23; Joh 17:23. Sig "consecrated", as priest.

Luk 13:34


AS A HEN GATHERS HER CHICKS UNDER HER WINGS: Cp thought, Isa 31:5: God "passing over" and sheltering Jerusalem.

Luk 13:35

Cited from Psa 118:26.

YOUR HOUSE: Previously called "My Father's house" (Luk 2:49; John 2:16), but no more!

DESOLATE: "But if you do not obey these commands, declares the LORD, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin" (Jer 22:5). As at Passover, when Egypt was left desolate of its firstborn. Now Jerusalem is pictured as God's firstborn, but unsprinkled with the blood of Christ the lamb of God. So, when the avenging Roman "angel" comes, he will not spare her! Cp Eze 10:19; 11:23; Psa 69:22,25.

The blindness of Israel will be the rule until the time of Christ's return: Rom 11:25-27; Zec 12:10. A set time for Israel's punishment: Psa 102:13.

Previous Index Next