I. Preface: The Method and Purpose of Writing, Luke 1:1-4.
II. The Identification of the Son of Man with Men, Luke 1:5-4:13.
III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
IV. The Repudiation of the Son of Man by Men, Luke 9:51-19:27.
A. Rejection by Samaritans, Luke 9:51-56.
B. Rejection by Worldly Men, Luke 9:57-62.
C. Commissioning of the Seventy, Luke 10:1-24.
D. Rejection by a Lawyer, (Parable of the Good Samaritan), Luke 10:25-37.
E. Reception at Bethany, (Martha’s protest), Luke 10:38-42.
F. Instruction on Prayer, Luke 11:1-13.
1. The Lord’s Prayer Template, vs. 1-4.
2. Instruction for Persistence in your Requests to God, vs. 4-13.
a. Rejection by the Nation, Luke 11:14-36.
b. The Divided Kingdom, vs 14-26.
c. Observers of the Word are the Blessed Ones, vs. 27-28.
G. Prophecy of Judgment against the Nation, vs. 29-36.
a. Jonah a sign of Jesus as the Messiah, vs. 29-30.
b. Various Judges against that Generation in the Judgment, vs. 31-32.
c. The Lamp Analogy; Encouragement to Believe, vs. 33-36.
H. Rejection by Pharisees and Lawyers, Luke 11:37-54.
1. Rebuke of the Pharisees’ Unbelief, vs. 37-44.
2. Rebuke of the Lawyers’ Unbelief, vs. 45-52.
3. The Plotted Revenge of the Pharisees and Lawyers, vs. 53-54.
I. Instruction in the Light of Rejection, Luke 12:1-19:27.
1. Concerning hypocrisy, Luke 12:1-12.
2. Concerning covetousness, Luke 12:13-34.
3. Concerning faithfulness, Luke 12:35-48.
4. Concerning division and signs, Luke 12:49-59.
a. The Gospel of Jesus Christ will have a dividing nature on family members, vs. 49-53.
b. A rebuke of those who cannot discern the time of the First Advent of the Christ, vs. 54-56.
c. A final warning of condemnation against those who reject the Savior, vs. 57-59.
5. Concerning repentance, Luke 13:1-9.
a. Two historical object lessons of discipline in comparison, vs. 1-5.
b. The parable of a fig tree that did not produce fruit, vs. 6-9.
6. Concerning hypocrisy, Luke 13:10-17.
a. Mocked for healing a woman on the Sabbath, vs. 10-17.
7. Concerning the kingdom, Luke 13:18-35.
a. Two object lessons to describe the Kingdom of God, vs. 18-21.
b. Enter through the narrow gate or be rejected, vs. 22-30.
c. Lamenting over Jerusalem for her rejection of the Messiah, vs. 31-35.
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a. Two historical object lessons of discipline in comparison, vs. 1-5.
b. The parable of a fig tree that did not produce fruit, vs. 6-9.
One of the first things to note about this chapter is the three main characters that Jesus is up against, Pilate, the Pharisees, and Herod. It appears that Jesus was warned about Pilate and Herod wanting to harm Him, and we know that the Pharisees were plotting against Him. Nevertheless, Jesus kept moving forward in His ministry undeterred and unwavering. Just because these enemies want to harm Him did not deter Him from completing the mission God the Father gave to His Son. In faith, Jesus kept going forward in the Plan of God for His life, just as we should in our spiritual walk with God.
a. Two historical object lessons of discipline in comparison, vs. 1-5.
Here, Luke say this discussion took place “on the same occasion,” KAIROS, or “at the same time,” as the discourse of Luke 12:54-59, in which Jesus warned the crowds about the coming final judgment. Using the image of a debtor walking to court with his lender, Jesus urged everyone to seek mercy. He said, in effect, “All of you are indebted to Me because of your sin; admit your inability to pay and ask Me for forgiveness. Seek mercy now because justice is coming soon!” That same theme of indebtedness to God is woven in these two storylines.
In the first object lesson, we have Jesus being told about Pontius, PONTIOS, Pilate, PILATOS, killing worshippers in Galilee, vs. 1-3. There are no extra Biblical writings about this event, not even in the writings of Josephus, and it is only mentioned here in Scripture. But, it would have been in keeping with his character since we do have accounts in Josephus telling of other occasions of the slaughter of defenseless Jews who dared to protest his policies, Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 2.9.2-4, 169–177; Antiquities, 18.3.1-2, 55–62; 18.4.1, 85–87.
This is the second time Pilate is noted in Luke’s Gospel, (see Luke 3:1, for the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry). The other gospels only mention Pilate in the crucifixion story of Jesus, as does Luke.
We can only assume that this event had recently occurred and must have happened after Jesus’ departure from Galilee. Because Jesus was from Galilee, these men must have thought it to be important to Jesus and that possibly He should be cautious about angering Pilate too.
Now, because we have no other information about this event, Pilate’s motivation in murdering these Galileans is not known. Perhaps because he was at odds with Herod prior to the time of Jesus’ trial, and he saw these Galileans as pawns through which he could anger Herod, Luke 23:12. Whatever his reason, Pilate’s soldiers murdered these men, (i.e., “mingled their blood,” MIGNUMI HAIMA), with the blood of their “sacrifices,” THUSIA, while they were worshiping God.
This would have been viewed by the Jews as one of the most significant forms of blaspheming God, and a very serious breach of the relationship between Rome and Israel. Possibly, the Jews expected a political, military Messiah who would establish a Jewish world empire and then hold Rome accountable for its sins. In reporting Pilate’s evil deed, the people wanted to know how Jesus would handle this foreign-policy crisis. Nevertheless, Jesus applies this event not as blaspheme against God, therefore stirring the attitude of “let’s go get those Romans and overthrow them,” but as an indictment against the worshippers, according to religious Jewish tradition.
We can also see this event being told to Jesus in the sense of, “Look how bad Pilate is compared to us.” Isn’t he the really bad one and not us? Yet, Jesus does not operate on religious tradition and uses this event as a counter argument to their traditional thought that if a tragedy like this occurred, the victims must have been wicked sinners and deserved it, cf. John 9, and the perpetrators are really evil too!
On another plain, most people believed, as they do today, that good things happen to good people and bad things happen as a result of sin. So, when bad things happened to good people, they were confused and wonder if the good people are actually bad?
That is why in vs. 2, He states, “And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate?’” Again, that was the popular thought of Jewish culture, as we also see in the story of Job and his friends condemning him because of the bad things that were happening to him. Yet, once again, Jesus brushed aside the foreign-policy or social justice question to address the deeper spiritual issue.
“Suffered” is the Perfect, Active, Indicative of the Verb PASCHO, πάσχω that means, “experience suffering or endure / undergo punishment.”
Jesus is making the point that everyone who suffers is not suffering because of sin or evil in their lives, although that is a cause of it from time to time. Instead, Jesus is teaching the point that everyone has sin and needs a Savior. In fact, the Savior would be a “suffering servant,” even though He had no sin of His own.
Luke 9:22, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.”
Luke 24:46, “And He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day”.”
Luke 13:3, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
“I tell you no,” uses the Adverb OUCHI that means, “no, not so, by no means, etc.” Here, our Lord is saying that earthly suffering and accidents should not be given a judgmental connotation. Just because some endure hardship or suffering does not make them out to be a “loser,” or “sinner,” who deserves what they are getting because of their actions, even though that can be the case sometimes.
In the Scriptures, there is the whole doctrine of what we call “underserved suffering,” or “suffering for blessing,” which God allows that believer to go through in order to refine their spiritual walk. As such, when we go through any form of suffering, both deserved and undeserved, we can turn it so that it is suffering for blessing because we rebound and continue to walk in fellowship with God in the faith rest-life, as we endure.
In the wisdom of our Lord, He tells them that these men did not die because they were worse sinners than everyone else, yet He tells them, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Here, “unless” is a third class conditional “if statement,” (if and maybe you will and maybe you will not), with the Conjunction EAN and the negative Participle ME that renders it to be like a first class if of negation, (if and you do not). Therefore, unless is the translation that gives the warning that it is something they absolutely need to do.
The thing they need to do is “repent,” which is the Present, Active, Subjunctive of the Verb METANOEO, μετανοέω that means, “to repent, change one’s mind, or be converted.” This is what every unbeliever must do to avoid eternal condemnation. They need to change their thinking about Jesus and view Him as their Savior. That is what these Pharisees had to do, just as all unbelievers have to do, in order to avoid “perishing,” the Future, Active, Indicative of the Verb APOLLUMI, “destroy, ruin, kill, be lost, perish, etc.” Here, Jesus is using the earthly example of several men who lost their lives at the hand of Pontius Pilate, with the greater severity of losing their souls to the Lake of Fire forever in the phrase, “you will all likewise.”
The vital issue is true repentance toward God, which means believe in His Son as your Savior, which will be repeated again in vs. 5, because of its importance, without which everyone would perish eternally.
Therefore, as the Jews of the first century believed that all suffering was a result of God’s judgment on sin, the Scripture teaches that God allows temporal disasters to happen for various reasons, one of which is to lead people to repentance, i.e., to believe upon Jesus as their Savior. Although God may punish some sin with suffering, it is often a testing or learning process. Nevertheless, if people do not repent, the judgment of God will be against them and they will suffer in the Lake of Fire for all of eternity.
Because, traditional Jewish belief taught that good people succeeded in life, and the wicked suffer, as catastrophe indicated the victims as wicked. Jesus refused to interpret these two contemporary tragedies within that viewpoint. As such, He gives us a second example, a double emphasis of the point in vs. 4-5.
Luke 13:4, “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?”
In this tragedy, eighteen people were killed when the tower in Siloam fell on them. Siloam is only otherwise mentioned in John 9:7, 11, for the pool where Jesus sent a blind man to wash the clay Jesus put on his eyes. This pool was in the southeast of Jerusalem and the tower may have been part of the wall of Jerusalem. The pool received the water from the spring Gihon, which was led by an underground aqueduct into the city. When the man was obedient to the Word, he was healed of his blindness. This is a similar scene, as in related fashion to vs. 1-3, from the usage of the Greek Words in both of these sections. Therefore, we have a related theme of those who were blind that Jesus healed, so that they could see. This is the analogy of repentance, to turn spiritual blindness about who the Messiah / Savior is into sight, where they would come to know Jesus and believe in Him as their Savior.
As for this incident of the tower falling in Siloam, it too is obscure from other writings. It most likely was situated on the Ophel ridge above the pool, (Josephus Wars of the Jews 5.4.2). This incident may have been a recent one and well known to His listeners. People may have been talking about it around the time the men in vs. 1, reported to Jesus about Pilate slaying the worshippers in Galilee.
Here, the NASB translator say that Jesus calls these victims “culprits,” which is a derogatory word that actually in the Greek is the Noun OPHEILETES, ὀφειλέτης that means, “debtor, one who is obligated, one who is guilty (or) at fault, or a transgressor.” This may be the derivative of the name for the ridge by the pool.
In this section, and elsewhere, Jesus used the word “debtor” and “sinner,” (as in vs. 2, HAMARTOLOS), as near equivalents, especially in parallel constructions, thus conveying the sense of individual sinful fault and failing.
Now, in the first example, people died for doing something righteous while their murderer, Pilate, continued to prosper. In the second example, moral certainty becomes even more confused, as this was a tragic accident.
So, once again, He is debunking the traditional thought of sinful guilt as being the reason tragedy occurs, especially as He compares them to “all the men who live in Jerusalem.” In other words, these sinners who had the tower fall on them are no worse or deserving than those who live in Jerusalem who are also sinners.
Remember, Jesus was not saying the Galileans and the victims of the tower collapse were not sinners. He was only making the point that they were no worse than other Galileans or Jerusalemites who had not experienced such tragedy.
“Jesus insisted that our reasoning must remain consistent. We can’t say in one instance, “Those depraved sinners had it coming!” then, in another, ask, “Why do the good suffer while the wicked prosper?” Either God is sovereign over all, or He is not. Either God is just, or He is not. However we choose to explain the continuing presence of evil and suffering in the world, we must apply it consistently. Jesus’ response to both hypothetical answers is identical: “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish,” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary)
Luke 13:5, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
The only difference in the construction of this passage in the Greek, compared to vs. 3, is for the word “likewise.” In vs. 3, it is the Adverb HOMOIOS that means, “likewise, in the same way, similarly, or so.” In vs. 5, it is the synonym HOSAUTOS, that also means, “likewise or in the same way.” This adverb sets up a comparison to what was previously stated in this section, bringing the two examples together as being of the same principle.
Repentance is a turning from sin and unbelief to Christ and His salvation. Anyone who does not make that change of direction will be condemned. It does not matter if a person is the best moral man in the world or the worst reprobate; eternal death awaits, if he does not turn to Christ. The death of those who do not repent will not necessarily be violent, but they will die as surely as the others, and then experience the Second Death, which is the Lake of Fire.
“People are killed either deliberately as in the case of the Galileans or accidentally as in the case of the victims of the tower. Neither case implied that the persons involved were worse than others who lived their lives free of such violence and died of old age in a comfortable bed. The central lesson in both illustrations is that repentance is an absolute must. Time should not be spent trying to find fault with others who seem to be having a difficult time, as though God was especially punishing them. Instead, each person must turn from sin to Christ.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary.)
We could all die in an unexpected instant, either intentionally or accidentally, just as these people did. The only way to be prepared for that possibility is to be repentant before the Lord. As such, Jesus warned the self-righteous to repent before they faced even worse tragedy at the final judgment, which is the point of the next illustration in vs. 6-9.
Luke 13:6, “And He began telling this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any’.”
Here, we have a “parable,” PARABOLE, of a “fig tree,” SUKE, συκῆ, the fruit-producing tree that was common throughout the area of Palestine. This is not the more famous story of the fig tree found in Mat 21:18-22; Mark 11:13-14, 20-21, but is of the same analogy. In those passages, our Lord cursed the tree in analogy to the judgment that would come to Israel and Jerusalem for their rejection of the Messiah. Our Lord used that opportunity to also teach the apostles and us about faith and prayer, and the great things we can accomplish with them.
Fig tree analogies are used quite often in the OT, cf. Judges 9:7-15; Isa 34:4; Jer 8:13; 24:1-10. When baring fruit, it was a symbol of faithfulness resulting in prosperity blessings from God, but when barren, it represented a lack of faith with resultant Divine discipline. This carries over to the NT, where we see it used in the latter analogy.
NT passages where the fig tree is used include:
- Being a sign of our Lord’s imminent return in Mat 24:32; Mark 13:28; Luke 21:29-33.
- The place where Jesus saw Nathaniel prior to calling him to be a disciple and apostle, John 1:48-50. This is an analogy of seeing fruit come from the fig tree, as Nathaniel went on to be an effective Apostle of the Church.
- The fig tree is used in analogy to speak of true Divine Good production when we walk by the Spirit as opposed to walking by the flesh/sin, James 3:12. When we walk by the flesh, we cannot produce Divine Good.
- It is used in analogy under the Sixth Seal Judgement during the Tribulation, of the great events that will shake the earth as a result of Divine judgment, Rev 6:12-17, cf. Isa 34:4.
“Vineyard,” AMPELON, is also used in the synoptic Gospels to represent the place of spiritual growth that should produce the Fruit of the Spirit / Divine Good. It is only used outside of the synoptic Gospels in 1 Cor 9:7, that speaks about the Pastor/Teacher being able to earn a living from His Divine Good production, which is faithfully teaching within a local church.
In our passage, it represents God’s planting /creation of people here on earth, i.e., “which had been planted (PHUTEUO) in his vineyard.” Cf. Mat 15:13; 21:33; Mark 12:1; Luke 20:9. In 1 Cor 3:6-8, Paul used PHUTEUO figuratively to describe his work, (Diving Good production), as an evangelist. He had planted spiritual seed among the Corinthians.
Because God is the Creator of all mankind, He has Divine authority over them. With that authority, He inspects the lives of every member of the human race, “and he came looking,” ZETEO, “seek, look for, wish for, desire, or inquire into or about.” We noted this word in Chapters 11-12. Here, God is inspecting the lives of people to see if there is any, “fruit on it,” KARPOS that literally means “fruit, produce, result, or outcome,” and is used figuratively for Diving Good production, i.e., “the fruit of the Spirit,” Gal 5:22-23.
When our Lord inspected the lives of these people, (the fig trees), for Divine Good production, He, “did not find any,” OUK HEURISKO. In this parable, the reason He did not find any fruit is because they were unbelievers. As we will see from the context of the rest of this parable and chapter, it means they are unbelievers.
Nevertheless, the believer is also mandated to produce Diving Good, Gal 5:22-23, which is also a demonstration that they are a believer, especially one going forward inside the Plan of God, John 15:8; James 2:18, 20.
John 15:8, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
James 2:18, “But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works”.”
James 2:20, “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?”
In regard to the unbeliever, they cannot be saved by their works and cannot produce any Divine Good (fruit), because they are spiritually dead and without the indwelling or filling of God the Holy Spirit.
Luke 13:7, “And he said to the vineyard-keeper, “Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?””
“Vineyard-keeper or vinedresser,” is the Noun AMPELOURGOS, ἀμπελουργός. It is derived from AMPELOS, “vine,” and ERGON, “work.” It is only used here in Scripture. The more popular word is GEORGOS as used in Mat 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:10-16; John 15:1. AMPELOURGOS is used to place more emphasis on the work or worker.
“For three years,” TREIS ETOS, is analogous to the time of Jesus Christ’s ministry here on earth. Therefore, we see Jesus as the Vinedresser, in this analogy, and the owner of the vineyard is God the Father. With that, Jesus inspected the people and nation of Israel for Divine Good during His First Advent ministry, i.e., “looking (ZETEO) for fruit (KARPOS) on this fig tree (SUKE).”
Unfortunately, when Jesus looked for signs of faith and belief, He was left, “without finding any,” OUK HEURISKO. This means that they did not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior / Messiah, and had no Divine Good production.
As a result, the vineyard owner, (God the Father), command the vinedresser, (Jesus Christ), to “Cut it down!” EKKOPTO AUTOS in the Aorist, Active, Imperative mood of command.
Next, we see the exasperation of the Father, “Why does it even use up the ground?’” In the Greek, it uses the Adverb HINATI, “Why?, or For what reason?,’ and the Present, Active, Indicative of the Verb KATARGEO, καταργέω that means, “make idle or useless, waste, abolish, cease, do away with, or destroy.” Another way to say this is, “why does it waste the ground it is planted on.” God is lamenting over Israel’s non-production as a client nation
This exasperated comment also gives a comparison of the unproductive plant versus the productive plant. Our Lord desires that we all come to have faith in Him for salvation and produce “much fruit,” John 12:24; 15:5, 8.
John 12:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
John 15:8, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
Yet, if there is no fruit, He desires to cut down the unproductive tree and plant a productive one in its place.
This is analogues to God the Father wanting to bring His Divine judgment against the nation of Israel at this time, and replace it with a more productive people or nation. Israel was designed to be the “client nation” unto God that would not only believe in Him and faithfully walk with Him, but would also go out into the world and make disciples for God producing “fruit.” But, because they failed in that mission and chose their own way over God’s way, demonstrated in the rejection of the Messiah / Savior / King – Jesus Christ, God desired to remove them from that privilege and responsibility, so that He could bring in another client nation unto Him.
Luke 13:8, “And he answered and said to him, “Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer”.”
Here, we see the intercessory nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, Rom 8:34, as the vinedresser responds to the vineyard owner’s command. Here, Jesus is pleading or asking for the wrath of God to hold off for one more season, until the vinedresser is able to tend to the tree one more time. This is analogues to Jesus completing His mission in service towards Israel and all of mankind, where He would finish the Plan that God the Father established for Him, which culminated at the Cross, paying for our sins, and being raised on the Third day. Jesus is saying, “Wait until I complete my mission.”
“Dig around it,” is the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive of the Verb SKAPTO, σκάπτω that is used only by Luke in Luke 6:48, here, and 16:3. In the first use, it is the man who dug his foundation on The Rock, which is Jesus Christ.
Luke 6:48, “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.”
“And put in fertilizer,” uses the Noun KAPRION, only used here in the NT, which is a variant of KAPRIA that is only used in Luke 14:35, that means, “dung, manure, or manure pile,” which was and is a common fertilizer for plants and trees. It represents Jesus’ ministry and teaching that should cause people to come to have faith in Him as their Savior, and lead to spiritual growth for the believer.
Luke 13:9, “And if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.”
“And if it bears fruit,” KAN MEN POIEO KARPOS, is constructed to intensify the meaning. KAN is a crasis of KAI and EAN for “and if,” which is a third class “if” statement of potential with the underlying meaning of, maybe it will and maybe it will not. Then we have the Verb POIEO, in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive, with the Noun KARPOS that means, “produce or bear fruit.” The Conjunction MEN adds emphasis too, like “indeed,” but here translated, “Fine!” It assumes the positive that they will produce fruit. So, we could translate this “and if indeed it produces fruit, maybe it will and maybe it will not.”
“Next year,” is the construction EIS HO MELLO that means, “to be about, to be destined, or likely to.” It indicates that something is about to be done with a strong probability in the present or the future. Both this and in vs. 8, “year,” ETOS, are speaking about one more year for an opportunity for the people to wake up and realize that Jesus is the Savior.
This is analogues to one more generation. As we know, God gave Israel one more generation, (40 years), to repent before He would bring His judgment against them. In 70 A.D., that time frame was up and Rome overthrew the Jews in Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. This officially ended, or better paused, their status as a client nation unto God. From that point forward, God has used Gentile nations as His client nation to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
This also shows God’s patience or longsuffering, as He is willing to wait before bringing His judgment against a person or nation.
That was the Protasis of the “if” statement. The Apodosis or the “then” statement is, “but if not, cut it down,”
“But if not” is DE EI with the Negative Participle MEGE, which renders this a Second Class “if” statement meaning, “if and it is not true.” The thing that is not true is that the tree produces fruit. In other words, the tree does not produce fruit. MEGE can be translated “otherwise.” Therefore, we could say, “if the tree produces fruit, fine, otherwise, cut it down.”
“Cut it down,” is the same phrase as in vs. 7, but in the Future, Active, Indicative of the Verb EKKOPTO, ἐκκόπτω that means, “cut out, cut down, or cut off,” with AUTOS.
This reminds us of Luke 3:9, “Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Cf. Mat 3:10; 7:19. As Jesus gets closer to the completion of His ministry, this sentiment gets more intensified by God.
Mat 7:19, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
It signifies the potential for the removal of Israel as a client nation unto to God, because of their rejection of Jesus Christ as their Messiah / King / Savior. As we know, they did not repent and God allowed the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., with the dispersion of the Jews, ending their client nation status, which ushered in the Gentile client nations.
See Rom 11:17-24, regarding the natural (Israel) olive tree and branches compared to the wild (Gentile) branches.
The point is that the people of Jerusalem had had numerous opportunities to hear, believe, and obey the truth. Yet, they had failed to do so. If they would not produce Divine Fruit, the punitive Divine Judgment of God would come upon them. Isa 5:1-7, similarly prophesied this about Jerusalem. That prophecy was fulfilled when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Jesus seems to indicate that the prophecy is about to repeat itself with the difference in the analogy being the fig tree within the vineyard instead of the vineyard by itself.
“Jesus is teaching that God is patient. He waits for people to repent. If God had not been patient, man would not have left the Garden of Eden alive. He showed patience in waiting 120 years after He spoke to Noah before He sent the Flood. He was patient with Lot in Sodom, and with Israel when Moses interceded on behalf of the nation after the making of the golden calf. However, God’s longsuffering does come to an end in the judgment that falls upon those who fail to repent in the time given them.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary).
In addition, Israel had been unfaithful much of the time of her existence, even though she was given more than all of the other nations. This unfaithfulness was now manifesting and culminating itself once again in the trait of rejecting Jesus as the Messiah / Savior / King. God knew there were other people in the world who would receive His Son as their Savior. Therefore, why let Jerusalem’s pretentiousness stand in the way of the Gentiles who would bear the fruit of repentance?
This statement reveals two truths: 1) God is merciful and longsuffering. He postpones judgment; 2) People receive second chances to believe and repent, but only in this life.
If the message of Christ’s death and resurrection, (as taught and prophesied in the Law, Prophets, and Poetical books of the Hebrew Bible), did not bring the necessary repentance, then nothing would produce the expected fruit from Israel. Therefore, God’s punitive judgment would then be brought upon His people.
This same warning is for every generation of every client nation unto God. Past success, grace, and blessings, does not mean future blessings and status. Each generation is accountable to God for its own, and therefore, each generation must be faithful towards God to maintain His Divine benevolence towards them. If they do not, He says, “Why waste these blessings on them. Let Me destroy them and give these blessings to others who will be productive with what they have been given.”
“The life we have been given is not that long. It’s really a commercial spot for the life that is to come. The life we’ve been given is a stewardship entrusted to us. We should not use this life to store up treasure in this world, but instead we should send treasure ahead to glory. We are to be rich toward God in our service to Him and to one another. That’s what life is for. That is how we get through this thing called life. It’s how we lay hold of that life that really is life.” (Christ-Centered Exposition – Exalting Jesus in Luke).
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a. Mocked for healing a woman on the Sabbath, vs. 10-17.
Luke 13:10, “And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.”
As was Jesus’ custom, He would attend a local “synagogue,” SYNAGOGE, and “teach,” DIDASKO, the word of God on the “Sabbath,” SABBATON, Luke 4:15; 31; 6:6. The timeframe of this event is unknown, and unique to Luke.
SABBATON is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew word SHABBATH, which was derived from the verb SAVATH, “to cease.” “Sabbath” referred to the day when all work ceased, cf. Lev 23:32; Deut 5:15; 2 Chron 36:21, which became the issue here for the Pharisees. It was the 4th of the 10 Commandments that memorialized God’s grace in freeing them from captivity in Egypt. Observing the Sabbath was also analogous to God’s rest in the work of His creation, cf. Gen 2:3f. No work was to be done on the 7th day of each week. The Israelite Sabbath was a unique institution in the ancient Near East that testified to the covenant relationship they had with God, Ex 31:12-17; Jer 17:19-27; Ezek 20:12-21.
Luke 13:11, “And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all.”
On this Sabbath day, a “woman,” GUNE, was there who was “ill,” ASTHENEIA, Luke 5:15; 8:2, also in vs. 13, for “18 years,” DEKAOKTO ETOS. DEKAOKTO is only used here and vs. 4, for the number of those killed at the falling of the tower of Siloam. The number 18 signifies “bondage” in Scripture.
This sick was “caused by a spirit,” ECHO PNEUMA, meaning demonic. We do not know if she was demon possessed but that is very likely. Nevertheless, she was bound by a demon with this sickness.
This woman’s infliction caused her to be “bent double” SUNKUPTO, συγκύπτω “to be bent over, bent double, or bowed down.” It is only used here in the NT. It is used here in contrast ANAKUPTO “to unbend, raise oneself up, stand straight,” in the next statement, “and could not straighten up at all,” which in the Greek is KAI ME DUNAMAI ANAKUPTO EIS HO PANTELES. PANTELES means, “completely, perfectly or absolutely” She was absolutely unable to stand up straight, regardless of the effort or even if she tried.
Luke 13:12, “When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness”.”
Jesus, “saw” EIDON, her and “called her over,” PROSHONEO that means, “to call to someone, speak to, or address.” Notice that she did not come to Jesus first looking for Him, although that might be why she was at the synagogue that day. But the emphasis is, Jesus provided healing to her even when she did not ask for it.
After calling to her, Jesus said to her, “Woman, (GUNE), you are freed from your sickness, (ASTHENIA)”.” “Freed” is the Perfect, Passive, Indicative of the Verb APOLUO, ἀπολύω that means, “release, let go, send away, etc.” It is a word that can also be used to mean “you have been redeemed.” That is the backdrop here. Her healing also brought or confirmed the redemption / salvation of her soul.
This invitation must have come as a tremendous shock to the woman who had not asked for any help. Even if she had come with the intention of asking for it, she had not done so as yet. The only thing she had done was respond positively to Jesus when He called her; (i.e., she responded positively to the Word of God / Gospel of Jesus Christ).
The Word of our Lord is unique, since what happened here is both an exorcism and a healing. Being “set free” is the same word used in Jesus’ parable of a servant in great debt to his master. The lord of that servant, “was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt,” Mat 18:27. Here, the woman was set free from the binding demonic spirit and healed of her physical handicap, in demonstration of the salvation of her soul.
Luke 13:13, “And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God.”
After declaring she was released from her demon induced illness, Jesus, “He laid His hands on her,” EPITITHEMI CHEIR AUTE. “Laying on of hands,” shows identification with the Plan of God and the provision provided by Jesus to heal her / forgive her sins.
“And immediately she was made erect again,” PARACHREMA ANORTHOO. PARACHREMA means, “immediately, instantly, or at once,” In all of its NT occurrences, it is used to describe the miraculous “immediacy” of the manifestations of God’s supernatural power. For healing it is used in Luke 1:64; 4:39; 5:25; 8:44, 47; Acts 3:7; 9:18. Therefore, this miracle was instantaneous and complete. It was accomplished by the power of God.
ANORTHOO in the Aorist, Passive, Indicative means, she received the action of being “straighten up, restored, or strengthened,” by God/Jesus. The power of Christ did it for her. Therefore, being “healed immediately,” shows how we are forgiven of our sins immediately at the moment we believe in Jesus as our Savior, with the result of eternal salvation.
As a result of seeing the manifestation of God’s power in her life, she “began glorifying God,” DOXAZO, “ascribe glory to, honor, or praise,” THEOS, “God.” The woman certainly recognized it was God’s doing. She praised Him for His goodness and mercy. One would think that would be the reaction of all who were present. But unfortunately, it was not! Nevertheless, in response to God’s healing / forgiveness of our sins, we should glorify Him!
Therefore, we have the miracle Jesus performed by exorcising a demon from this woman that had been causing her an illness that had her doubled over for 18 years. He performed this miracle on a Sabbath day, which was objectionable to the synagogue officer.
Luke 13:14, “But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day”.”
Here, we have a “synagogue official,” ARCHISUNAGOGOS, ἀρχισυνάγωγος “ruler of a synagogue or presiding officer.”
In the Greek, this passage begins with “in response,” APOKRINO that means, “answer or reply.” Interestingly, no one asked him a question. But, due to his “indignation,” AGANAKTEO, ἀγανακτέω that means, “be indignant or angry,” he felt it necessary to instruct the crowd in contrast to what Jesus was doing.
In this, we see the woman who was healed by Jesus praising God, yet the legalistic arrogant Pharisee is angered because Jesus performed this miracle. And, his anger was while they were “in Church.” This is the epitome of hypocrisy.
In Luke 8:49-56, we noted a synagogue official’s daughter being raised from the dead by Jesus that led her parents to “be amazed,” at what Jesus had done.
Luke 8:49, “While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore”.”
But here, this official is enraged towards Jesus for healing a woman who was suffering for 18 years. The reason for his anger was that Jesus healed her on the Sabbath, where apparently, this man thought that “healing” someone was work being performed, which was forbidden on the Sabbath. Well, if Jesus were a doctor you could say, yes, He is working. But, being God, He was doing what comes naturally.
As a result of this man’s anger He began, “saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days, (HEX HEMERAS), in which work, (ERGAZOMAI), should be done, (DEI, “is necessary, must, or should”); so come, (ERCHOMAI), during them and get healed, (THERAPEUO), and not, (ME), on the Sabbath day”.”
This legalist reiterated what the law states, but has the absolute wrong application for it. Remember in vs. 12, Jesus “freed” APOLUO, this woman from her bondage. Well, what this official states is like saying, “Come to church on Sunday, but do not get saved on that day. Come get saved on the other 6 days out of the week.” Isn’t coming to church about being healed? Apparently, to this man it was not. That reminds us of Jesus’ statement, “Those who are well do not need a physician,” Luke 5:31. Because of their legalism, they are blinded to the fact that they are ill with sin, and need healing of their sins, which is what Jesus is demonstrating through this woman.
The response of the synagogue official to the miracle which took place illustrates how hardened they were toward the works of God. They paid more attention to what they considered wrong, than to the good being done by Jesus. He had a critical mind rather than a mind characterized by love for his fellow human beings. The insensitivity of the ruler of the synagogue shows how difficult it would be for the Jewish leaders to make the necessary change in their thinking, (repent), to escape God’s judgment on their unbelief. The saddest part of the whole thing is that the ruler undoubtedly felt he was right in his criticism. He was unconscious of his hypocrisy and pretense.
Luke 13:15, “But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him?”
Jesus has His “response,” APOKRINO, by calling not just this man, but potentially the whole crowd, for believing in what the official had just stated, “hypocrites,” HUPOKRITES.
Then He gives an object lesson, so that they could understand, “Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him?”
“Untie,” is the root of the word Jesus used for “freed,” which is LUO that means, “to loose, untie, set free, etc.” The thing they would “set free,” was a lower creation, i.e., ox and donkey’s, BOUS and ONOS.
Jesus uses the ox and donkey in the next chapter for a similar analogy, Luke 14:5, “And He said to them, “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?””
As you may know, the ox is one of the sacrificial animals prescribed under the Law. Therefore, you can see all the analogies associate with it. On the other hand, the donkey was not a prescribed sacrifice under the Law, but was a sacrificial animal in the Gentile world. From a Gentile perspective, the ancient texts from Mari in northern Mesopotamia, from about the same time period as Abraham, say that parties entering into a covenant would seal the agreement by cutting a donkey in half and then walking between the severed pieces. In Genesis 15, God had Abraham cut several animals in half, (a heifer, female goat, ram, turtledove, and pigeon, but not a donkey), and then God walked through it, (as a pot of fire and flaming torch), and afterwards made a covenant with Abraham.
The donkey has a rich representation in the OT from Abraham, to Balaam, to Samson, to Jesus, and in the NT too, as Jesus rode into Jerusalem prior to His sacrifice on the Donkey. And, being the “beast of burden,” it represented Jesus paying for our sins. Other than in Luke’s two passages noted above, the donkey is only otherwise used for the story line of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the Sunday before He was crucified, as prophesied in Zech 9:9. Therefore, we see the ox and donkey as representative of both sacrifices and covenants for both the Jews and Gentiles. In addition, under the Law, in Deut 22:10, the yoking together of an ox and donkey was forbidden by the Law. And, as Paul applied it in 2 Cor 6:14-18, it means that the believer and unbeliever should not be tied together in various unions.
With all this imagery, Jesus has freed or untied this woman, who is now a believer, from the unbelieving demonic illness that bound her for 18 years.
Here, the place of bondage for the ox and donkey is the “stall,” (PHATNE, “manger, stall, or feeding trough,” only used by Luke in Luke 2:7, 12, 16, for our Lord’s birth narrative, and here). This represents Jesus becoming a lower creation when He took on humanity to join with His deity in hypostatic union, so that He could go to the Cross and be sacrificed for our sins, cf. Heb 2:7-9; Phil 2:5-8; 2 Cor 8:9. It is symbolic of Jesus being bound to the flesh during His incarnation.
Phil 2:5-9, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but laid aside His privileges, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.”
After untying the animals, they “led them,” APAGO, which is also used in various places of the gospels for when Jesus was led to His trials and crucifixion, Mat 26:57; 27:2, 31; Mark 14:53; 15:16; Luke 22:66; 23:26; John 18:13; 19:16. Cf. Mat 7:13-14.
Mat 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
The place Jesus says they led these animals was, “to water,” which in the Greek is actually POTIZO, ποτίζω that means, “give to drink, cause someone to drink; to water (something).” This too is especially used in the Crucifixion scene in Mat 27:48; Mark 15:36, after Jesus had completed the work for the forgiveness of our sins.
It is also used for our instruction to provide the unbeliever with the Gospel and the believer with the Word of God for refreshment in their lives, Mat 10:42; 25:35-42; Mark 9:41; Rom 12:20; 1 Cor 3:2-8; 12:13.”
Mat 10:42, “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
Therefore, if it is right to do good for an ox or an ass, i.e., lower creations, on the Sabbath, it is also right to do good for a human being on the Sabbath by the Lord.
Luke 13:16, “And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?””
In this passage, Jesus brings it back to the Covenant reality; the covenant that Jesus made with Abraham hundreds of years before there even was the Law, by saying, “this woman, a daughter (THUGATER) of Abraham as she is.” Cf. Luke 19:9.
Then He states her infirmity, “Whom Satan, (SATANAS, “adversary”), has bound, (DEO, “bind, tie, or forbid”), for eighteen long years.”
Next comes the grace and mercy principle that they should have been applying, rather than their self-righteous legalism, “Should she not have been released, (DEI OUK LUO), from this bond, (APO HO DESMOS), on the Sabbath day, (HO HEMERA HO SABBATON)?”
“Bond,” here is the Noun DESMOS, δεσμός that means, “bond, imprisonment, shackled,” and sometimes “ligament.”
We previously noted this type of demonic bondage in Luke 8:29, “For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.” Cf. Mark 7:35
Therefore, Jesus says in essence, “Is this day any different from others that we should not let free those who are under the bondage of sin and Satan?” “This entire incident brought Jesus into conflict, not only with the ruler of the synagogue, but with Satan himself. Satan works to bind people continually to himself. Jesus would not be restrained by the letter of the Law in confronting and defeating Satan. Christ’s disciples must confront Satan continually also,” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary.)
Luke 13:17, “As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him.”
“All His opponents,” uses PAS AUTOS and the Present, Passive Deponent, Participle, Nominative, Plural of the Verb ANTIKEIMAI, ἀντίκειμαι that means, “to be set against or be opposed.” It is a compound Word form ANTI, “against,” and KEIMAI, “to be laid, to be set.” Here, it is a substantival Participle to identify the opponents or adversaries of Jesus, as it does elsewhere of the believer, Luke 21:15; 1 Cor 16:9; Gal 5:17; Phil 1:28; 2 Thes 2:4; 1 Tim 1:10; 5:14.
With His wisdom, mercy, grace, and love, Jesus “humiliated” His opponents. “Humiliate” is the Verb KATAISCHUNO, καταισχύνω that means, “put to shame, dishonor, or disgrace.”
Rom 9:33, “Just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed”.” Cf. Rom 10:11; 1 Peter 2:6; Isa 8:14; 28:16.
Jesus did not say these things to simply humiliate this man, but that he, and all those listening, would come to repentance. Repentance would have been a much more profitable response for the ruler and his followers.
Yet, demonstrating His grace, mercy, and love through this miracle and His teaching, did cause many of the people to turn / repent and instead of accusing Him, as they began to “rejoice, (CHAIRO), over all the glorious things, (ENDOXOS), being done by Him.”
Therefore, we see that whenever Jesus cast out a demon there was always some arrogant, self‑righteous, person standing around to challenge the exorcism by Jesus, Mat 12:22‑28. Nevertheless, Jesus would use these situations to teach valuable lessons about the Kingdom of God, while putting the opponents to shame due to their unbelief and lack of true knowledge of the Word of God.
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Click here for (Part 2 of 2) – The Gospel of Luke Chapter 13: LUKE 13:18-35