Outline Chapter 13 (Part 2):
VI. The Repudiation of the Son of Man by Men, Luke 9:51-19:27.
I. Instruction in the Light of Rejection, Luke 12:1-19:27.
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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The first illustrates the humble beginnings of something great, vs. 18-19; the second, its inevitable transformation of the world, vs. 20-21.
The first is found in vs. 18-19, that speaks of the Kingdom of God being like a mustard seed. This is paralleled in Mat 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32.
Luke 13:18, “So He was saying, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it?””
Jesus is asking Himself a question to provide an opportunity to speak about what the “Kingdom of God,” BASILEIA THEOS, “is like,” (the Present, Active, Indicative of the Verb EIMI with the Noun HOMOIOS), and what to “compare,” (the Future, Active, Indicative of the Verb HOMOIOO), it to.
The parallel passage is:
Mark 4:30, “And He said, “How shall we picture (HOMOIOO) the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it?””
Luke 13:19, “It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and THE BIRDS OF THE AIR NESTED IN ITS BRANCHES”.”
Jesus then chose a parable of a “mustard seed,” SINAPI KUKKOS, “kernel, grain, or seed.” SINAPI is used only in this parable in Mat 13:31; Mark 4:31, and here, and in analogy to the faith we should have, showing that exercising even the smallest faith will have great results, Mat 17:20; Luke 17:6.
Luke 17:6, “And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you”.”
Mat 17:20, “And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you”.”
The image of a seed is the most fitting symbol of potential. In our passage, the mustard seed is used in comparison to the Kingdom of God. It is one of the smallest of all seeds, yet produces a larger plant than most. As the man sowed the mustard seed in his own “garden,” KEPOS, and it “grew,” AUXANO, “grow, increase, or become greater,” it “became a tree,” GINOMAI DENDRON.
“And THE BIRDS OF THE AIR NESTED IN ITS BRANCHES.” In the Greek it reads, KAI HO PETEINON, “birds,” HO HOURANOS, “heaven or sky,” KATASKENOO, “live or dwell,” EN AUTOS HO KLADOS, “in its branches, shoots, or twigs.”
This is a quote from Ezek 17:23, that reads, “On the high mountain of Israel I will plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and become a stately cedar. And birds of every kind will nest under it; they will nest in the shade of its branches.”
Ezekiel is speaking about God keeping His promise of the Davidic line, even after the Babylonian conquest. It is a picture of Jesus Christ, the son of David, coming to restore the people and nation of Israel and providing salvation for the entire world, i.e., “birds of every kind.” In that Messianic prophecy, we see God’s provisions for all to enter into His Kingdom. As Jesus uses this quote in this parable, He is identifying the prophecy as being fulfilled in Him, with the emphasis on the provision to provide everyone a place in the Kingdom of God.
Therefore, from seed to tree, speaks of Jesus coming into the world and taking on humanity in the form of a child, and growing to a man who would go to the Cross and pay for the sins of the entire world. Cf. Phil 2:5-11.
“Nested in its branches,” is the fact that some people will have positive volition towards Jesus and believe upon Him for their salvation, with the result of being entered into the eternal Kingdom of God / heaven. Those who believe upon Jesus have an eternal abode in heaven. They will KATASKENOO, live or dwell, in heaven forever. This word is only used in this narrative in Mat 13:22; Mark 4:32; Luke 13:19, and in Acts 2:26, which is a quote from Psa 16:8-11. It is a prophecy of our Lord’s resurrection that leads us all to have great joy and hope in life, knowing we are eternally secure.
Acts 2:26, “Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will live in hope.”
The parallel passages are:
Mat 13:31-32, “He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. 32and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES”.”
Mark 4:32, “Yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR can NEST UNDER ITS SHADE.”
Matthew and Mark emphasize the smallness of the mustard seed and underscored Jesus’ words regarding the growth of the Kingdom. Luke places more emphasis on the branches of the mature tree and the birds that found shelter and sustenance there. He is emphasizing the results of repentance and the place they will have to dwell in for all of eternity. It starts with sowing the little seed called the gospel of Jesus Christ, but results in an enormous tree called the Kingdom of God where the Family of God will reside peacefully in heaven for all of eternity.
Remember, the Kingdom of God is both spiritual and earthly. Spiritually, the unbeliever becomes a part of God’s Kingdom by believing in His Son for salvation. Earthly, the Kingdom of God will one day reside on planet earth when Jesus sits upon His throne during the Millennial reign and then in the New Jerusalem, Psa 2; Isa 2; 9:6-7; 11:1-5; Jer 33:14-26; Dan 7; Micah 5:2-15.
Isa 9:6-7, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”
Isa 11:1, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.”
At the Second Coming of the Lord, the Kingdom of God will fully reside on the earth. Evil will be vanquished, the earth will enjoy peace, justice, tranquility, and fulfillment. With the removal of the curse, there will be complete communion between creation and Creator, Rev 19:11-20:6.
“Not unlike a seed falling to the ground, the literal kingdom of God came to earth in the person of its King, Jesus Christ. Like a seed, however, there is a delay between its planting and its fulfillment. A seed goes into the ground, and from the perspective above the soil, nothing happens. Eventually, however, something insignificant in size becomes something magnificent. In secret, potential yields to actuality.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary)
Therefore, Jesus used this illustration for the greatness of the Kingdom of God that is also found in OT, in which a tree gives refuge to birds, Judge 9:15; Psa 104:12-13; Ezek 17:22-24; 31:3-14.
Within 40 or so years from our Lord’s resurrection, the gospel had reached every major city of the Roman Empire, along with innumerable towns and villages. But by the end of the 2nd Century the gospel of Jesus Christ had reached the entire known world.
Vs. 20-21, give us a second analogy as to what the Kingdom of God is like. This is paralleled in Mat 13:33.
Luke 13:20, “And again He said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?” 21It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”
Mat 13:33, “He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened”.”
Jesus opens this parable the same way He did the previous one, with a rhetorical question, which He answers.
“Leaven,” is the Noun ZUME that means, “leaven, yeast, or ferment.” In classical Greek the word is used for fermenting grain. In both Roman and Hebrew writings, leaven was also a metaphor for defilement, impurity, or sin. Though this is the predominant use of the term, it was occasionally used positively as when rabbis saw the Torah as leaven that leads a person to God.
Interestingly, our narrative in Mat 13:33; Luke 13:20-21, is the only time this word is used in the positive sense. All the other occurrences are the negative sense, with warnings not to have false doctrines or sin in your life. Jesus particularly used it in regard to the false teachings of religion, cf. Mat 16:6, 11-12; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1; 1 Cor 5:6-8; Gal 5:9.
In the positive sense, as here, it means that the kingdom of God will grow. It is not used to emphasize a gradual conversion but to emphasize the inevitable transformation.
“Hid in three pecks of flour,” uses TREIS for “three” and three words that are only used in this narrative by Matthew and Luke, ENKRUPTO, “put in or hide,” SATON, “seah,” (a measure for grain, one-third of an ephah or bath, which is 22 liters), and ALEURON, “meal, fine meal, or wheat flour.” This would be the proper amount of dough to use when preparing bread for a family or larger group; it is the same amount prepared by Sarah in Gen 18:6. The point is only a small amount of yeast is needed to make a large quantity of dough rise.
“Until it was all leavened,” is HEOS HOS HOLOS, “whole, complete, entire,” and ZUMOO in the Aorist, Passive, Indicative that means, “to ferment or leaven.”
Gal 5:9, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.”
Yeast must be inside, and it works quietly and unseen. Again, here in the positive sense, the application of the Kingdom’s growth is obvious. When a little of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is placed in the world, many will come to believe and enter the Kingdom of God. Like leaven in dough, the Kingdom of God changes believers from the inside out with the promise of complete transformation. This begins for the believer while we are here on earth, and will culminate in our resurrection bodies in the eternal state. It is inevitable, meaning it is only a matter of time.
Therefore, Jesus likened the leaven to the Word of God / Gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember Rom 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” As the Word of God is planted in the hearts of people, it swells the kingdom of God as those people respond to the Word.
“The early growth of the Kingdom is set forth in the Book of Acts. Wherever the Church in Acts is portrayed as growing, one sees the preaching of the gospel was the direct cause of that growth. The kingdom of God, or the Church, still grows the same way today. The Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, is the marching orders given to the Church to plant the seed and infuse the leaven, thus causing the growth.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary).
Therefore, the first parable taught that the kingdom of God grows outward and upward. It starts small, like a mustard seed, but grows and stretches like a mighty tree so that the birds are able to nest in its branches.
The second parable teaches that the kingdom of God grows inward and through. It is like yeast. You cannot see it, but it is there working on the inside, working its way through the entire batch of dough. Likewise, the kingdom of God grows in visible and invisible ways.
In Luke 17:20-21, when the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them saying, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; no one will say, ‘Look here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For you see, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
When Jesus preaches the gospel of the kingdom, He is speaking of the reign and rule of God that breaks into the world and breaks the power of Satan. It frees all who had been held hostage by the devil’s power and breaks into believers’ very being, setting us free. Remember, it is a kingdom where the rule of Satan is broken and the work of God spreads inwardly, outwardly, and upwardly. Christ renews all things. His sacrifice not only saves sinners, it also renews the cosmos. There is no kingdom apart from Jesus’ sacrifice, but because of His sacrifice there is so much more opened to those who believe.
Finally, these two parables of the kingdom give us a picture of the kingdom’s spread. It’s growing, sometimes visibly and sometimes invisibly. It means we should not measure our success by what we see. The Lord may give us great numbers in a great harvest, or He may be kneading yeast into the dough in ways we cannot see. It also means we will one day see all the branching success of God’s kingdom. We can do our work with faith and confidence because we know the kingdom grows even if we cannot see it yet. Remember, the devil has no power to challenge Christ. The Christian view is not a dualistic philosophy with equal rival powers tugging it out. No. Christ comes into the world to break the back of Satan’s schemes. In Christ, we are winning the battle. Let us take heart and do the work of spreading the Gospel with confident joy!
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Luke used the two previous images, (mustard seed and leaven), to introduce two incidents, vs. 22-30, and vs. 31-35, each foreshadowing future difficulties.
Luke 13:22-24, “He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem. 23And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them.”
In vs. 23, the person rightly addressed Jesus as “Lord,” KURIOS, which is equivalent to the Hebrew YHWH, sometimes pronounced Jehovah, which is the name of God. Therefore, using the name “Lord” in addressing Jesus identifies Him as God.
The question asked was “Are there just a few who are being saved?” “Few,” is the contrasting Adjective OLIGOS, ὀλίγος that means, “little, small, short, or few.” It is typically used in a contrast between small and large, little and great, or few and many, as in our passage. We noted this in Luke 10:2, “And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest”.”
This person wanted to know if others would be saved and if so how many? He asked if only a small number of people would be saved by the Christ, most likely including himself. Jesus answered the question by challenging this person, and all, to confront their own personal spiritual condition.
“Saved,” is the Present, Passive, Participle, Nominative, Plural of the Verb SOZO, σῴζω that means, “save, keep safe, preserve, rescue, or make well.” In this passage, it has to do with the Kingdom of God and one’s eternal salvation. It is used throughout the NT for salvation, including past salvation, which is the day one believes in Jesus as their Savior and receive eternal life.
John 10:9, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Rom 5:9-10, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
Rom 10:9, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Acts 2:21, “AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” Cf. Joel 2:32; Rom 10:13.
Rom 10:13, “For “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED”.”
1 Cor 1:18, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Cor 1:21, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
Heb 7:25, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
Eph 2:5, “Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”
Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Faith is the only system of perception, which is totally apart from any human merit, (cf., rationalism and empiricism). In faith, only the object of faith has merit, and in salvation the object of our faith must be the Lord Jesus Christ. How much faith does it take to be saved? Just a little bit more than no faith at all, as little as a mustard seed, the smallest seed on the earth, Luke 13:18-19. Therefore, salvation is by grace through faith, 2 Tim 1:9.
2 Tim 1:9, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”
As a matter of grace, salvation is entirely the work of God. It is the work of the Father in judging our sins, the work of the Son in being judged for our sins, and the work of the Holy Spirit in common and efficacious grace, to teach us the gospel and make our faith in it effective for salvation. This is why the way of salvation is faith in Jesus Christ, and faith alone with no works added to it.
In the early church, there were false teachers of false doctrines as to how one would be saved, just as there continues to be today, cf. Acts 15:1; 2 Tim 3:1-15.
Acts 15:1, “Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
They tried to apply the Law to the means of their salvation, which was a system of works for salvation that in fact does not save anyone, Rom 3:20-22, 28; 4:2-5, 14; Gal 2:16.
Rom 3:20-22, “Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for through the Law is the knowledge of sin. But now, apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets (OT), even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe.”
Rom 3:28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.”
Rom 4:14, “For if those who by means of the Law are heirs, then faith has been made void, and the promises have been canceled.”
Gal 2:16, “Nevertheless, knowing that a (spiritually dead) person is not justified by the works of the Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; because by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified.”
Today, many continue to teach a system of works for salvation that is a false concept and false doctrine.
The reason works cannot save you is that the Holy Spirit can only make faith, and faith alone, effective for salvation! Why? Because, if human works are added, the faith is no longer simply trusting in Christ, it is trusting in SELF. Self cannot save self. Only Christ has the power and merit to save us. Works added to faith in Christ are dead works, and the Holy Spirit does not make dead works effective for salvation. Therefore, if someone added any works when they believed in Jesus Christ, they were not saved at that point. If they added anything to faith, God the Holy Spirit will not touch it, and so there is no efficacious grace. Either it is by faith and grace or it is not.
Rom 4:2-5, “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 4Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”
That is why the true doctrine of salvation is through the narrow door / gate of faith through Jesus Christ alone, Acts 15:11; 16:30-31; Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7.
Acts 15:11, “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”
Acts 16:30-31, “And after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household”.”
Titus 3:4-7, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Luke 13:24, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
“Strive,” is the Present, Middle Deponent, Imperative of Command, Second Person, Plural of the verb AGONIZOMAI, ἀγωνίζομαι that means, “strive, contend, or enter a contest.” He is saying in response to the question, “You all strive.”
In the Greek language, AGONIZOMAI was used as a legal term for continuing and winning a case, a military term regarding the battle to be fought, and in athletics as a term regarding the contest in the public games that one enters into so that they can contend for victory. In Hellenistic Judaism, the idea of a contest might be used metaphorically to refer to the struggle which a godly person has to go through in this world. Some define it as, “to strain every nerve to the uttermost towards the goal.” This is where we get our English word “agonize” from. It suggests that a person puts forth special effort to reach the goal.
Here, it means that the unbeliever must pay special attention, focus, and concentration on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as to the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, so that they can receive salvation.
It is used 8 times, (the number of new things and resurrection), in the NT. Its first use is in Luke’s gospel, and only Luke uses it regarding salvation through Christ. As such, that is the backdrop of all the other usages in the NT. John used it when Jesus spoke of His Kingdom in Heaven to Pontius Pilate, John 18:36.
John 18:36, “Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm”.”
All the other usages have to do with post salvation living, and striving to live the unique Christian life of the Church Age, 1 Cor 9:25; Col 1:29; 4:12; 1 Tim 4:10; 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7.
1 Tim 4:10, “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.”
The thing Jesus is commanding the unbelievers to do is strive “to enter,” (EISERCHOMAI), “through,” (DIA), “the narrow door,” (HO STENOS THURA). STENOS is only used in this narrative here and 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.”
In Luke’s gospel, some manuscripts have PULE here translated as “gate.” That is the more popular saying from Matthew’s account, and it seems Luke’s gospel had a change in some ancient manuscripts to PULE, in order to align better with Matthew’s gospel. But that is not necessary because the meaning is the same either way. Salvation is found by having faith alone in Christ alone. Cf. John 10:1-10; 14:6; 20:31.
John 10:9, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
John 14:6, “Jesus said to him (Thomas), “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me”.”
John 20:31, “But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
In the second half of this verse, “For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
“For many will seek,” HOTI POLUS ZETEO, ζητέω in the Future, Active, Indicative that means, “seek, look for, wish for, desire, or inquire into or about.” “To enter,” EISERCHOMAI once again, “and will not be able,” KAI OUK ISCHUO, in the future, Active, Indicative that means, “not be strong, able, forceful, or prevail.” ISCHUO ties in with AGONIZOMAI, (strive), above, saying they are not able to win, that is gain salvation under their own power and strength.
ISCHUO is one of several Greek words for power or ability. Although DUNAMAI is the more common term for “ability,” ISCHUO is more forceful and stronger. Therefore, using ISCHUO here places more emphasis on the power one possesses than with DUNAMAI. By using ISCHUO, it indicates that by our own human power and resources we are “not able, without power and resources” to save ourselves. This tells us once again, that we cannot be saved by our human good works, Eph 2:8-9. We do not have the strength or force to prevail in achieving our salvation. But through faith in Jesus Christ, “the narrow door,” God gives us salvation. Therefore, through the non-meritorious act of faith alone in Christ alone, we are saved.
This tells us that through faith in Jesus Christ we share in His strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict that He won upon the Cross. Yet, if we do not have faith alone in Christ alone, we do not prevail, i.e., share in His victory.
Why would anyone seeking to enter the Kingdom be ruled out by God? There are a number of possible reasons:
- Some will want to enter on their own terms. This was a barrier faced by the religious teachers of Jesus’ day. Their idea of salvation was to get God to conform to their idea of religion.
- Some will try to enter the Kingdom by their good works, not realizing that man’s good works are nothing more than filthy rags in God’s sight, Isa 64:6.
- Some will miss out because they have a false view of the nature of God. They believe that because God is love, He will let everyone in.
- Some will lose out because they procrastinate. Once death has come, there is no second chance for salvation. This is the topic of the following verses, vs. 25-30.
There are many more reasons why, as they are the wide gate and the broad roads that lead to destruction.
“Jesus never offered people the message, “Look, just be sincere. Simply adhere to the religion of your choice and think positively about God. Look deep within yourself to find the good and accentuate the positive; that’s good enough for God, and He’ll let you into heaven when you die.” On the contrary, to enter heaven, one must approach the approved entrance, which usually remained open during daylight hours and was closed at night.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary).
Therefore, there is one way, and one way only, by which anyone is saved, and that is through faith in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. This includes that the Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins upon the Cross, died, was buried and rose on the third day, ascended into heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. If you believe that, you are saved and will be part of the eternal Kingdom of God. That is the narrow door, whereas anything else is part of the wide door and broad road that leads to eternal destruction.
Luke 13:25, “Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from’.”
This is a metaphor regarding the judgment of God, most likely Jesus Christ, towards the unbeliever who has rejected Him as their Savior during their life time here on earth. A similar “shutting of the door,” is found in the parable of the 10 Virgins, Mat 25:10. The door being shut here is the narrow door of faith in Jesus as their Savior.
“Head of the house,” is the Noun OIKODESPOTES, οἰκοδεσπότης, a compound of OIKOS, “house,” and DESPOTES, “ruler,” that means, “master of a house, or head of a household.” It is only used in the synoptic gospels. Luke used this word in Luke 13:39, and will again in 14:21; 22:11. Mark uses it once in Mark 14:14; and Matthew more than the others, uses it 7 times, Mat 10:25; 13:27, 52; 20:1, 11; 21:33; 24:43.
By analogy, the Master of the House is God, who at some point in time will end the opportunity for everyone’s’ salvation. There is also a subtle reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the words “gets up,” EGEIRO, in the Greek that can be used for “to raise or resurrect” someone. Therefore, this is speaking of a time period post Christ’s resurrection, when the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict had been won. Subsequent to Jesus’ resurrection, He ascended to heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. As such, Jesus is now enthroned and ready to judge.
“Shuts the door,” APOKLEIO HO THURA, speaks to the head of the house closing the door for the night after the family has come in. It speaks to the time when God will gather all believers into heaven, after which no others will be able to enter, as the door will be shut.
This imagery and analogy is also seen in Noah’s Ark, where after the believing family had entered, the door was shut. Then, when the judgment of rain came upon the unbelievers of the earth, they could not enter the Ark. The door could not be opened up for them, Gen 7:6-16.
Gen 7:16, “Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the LORD closed it, (the door to the Ark), behind him.”
This is also seen in the “law of cleaning leprosy from a house.” Once the door of the infected house was shut, no one could enter, and the disease within the house was torn down and thrown outside the city in an unclean place, Lev 14:33-55. This scene even represents the 7-year Tribulation and Millennial reign as time periods of inspection, to see if the disease continues or not, i.e., unbelief continues or not.
Therefore, because the unbeliever did not enter through the “narrow door” of faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, that door will one day be closed to them, never to be opened to them again. This occurs towards the unbeliever upon their death, the 2nd Advent of Jesus, or the end of the Millennial Reign, depending on which time period they lived in.
As stated above, this same analogy is also used in Mat 25:10-11, (the Parable of the 10 Virgins), regarding the five who did not have oil in their lamps, (i.e., unbelievers that were not prepared for the coming of the Bridegroom).
As such, “shutting the door” is a picture of finality. As here, and in Mat 25:10, Jesus is saying there was a time and opportunity when the door was open. Yet, now it is shut and no one can open it, cf. Rev 3:7. Our lives here on earth are the time and place for us to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior. If someone does not do that during their life time here on earth, the door will be shut for them forever, never to be reopened or offered again. There are no second chances in the eternal state.
“Begin to” uses ARCHO that means, “rule, begin, or reign.” This is an interesting play on words, as it typically is translated for power and authority, or rulership. Therefore, we see that these individuals saw themselves as their own authority, rather than accepting the authority of Jesus Christ over their souls and lives. Because of their self-righteous arrogance, they did not need a Savior.
With that self-centered authority, they were “standing outside,” HISTEMI, “stand, stand firm, place firmly, establish, set, or confirm,” EXO, “out, outside, or without.” Therefore, in this metaphor, with their self-righteous arrogance, they have established themselves outside of the plan and will of God regarding their salvation, by not entering the narrow door of Jesus Christ.
Having firmly established themselves outside of God’s Plan for salvation, when they realize the consequences of their rejection of the Messiah, they “knock at the door,” KROUO THURA, trying to gain entrance into the family household, i.e., the Kingdom of God / heaven.
Not only will they knock at the door, but they call out too, “saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’” This uses KURIOS for Lord, which may indicate they now believe that Jesus is Lord, but at this time it is too late. “Open to us,” ANOIGO HEMEIS, where ANOIGO is in the Aorist, Active, Imperative of Request or Entreaty. They are pleading with the Lord to open the gate of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Unfortunately, as we have seen and noted throughout this gospel, there are no second chances. Once someone leaves planet earth, their fate is sealed as either being a believer who gains entrance into the Kingdom of God or an unbeliever who does not.
For the unbeliever, Jesus’ reply will be, “Then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from’.”
The reply, OUK OIDA HUMEIS POTHEN EIMI, was a traditional one towards a stranger who may have been knocking on a door in the middle of the night. It indicates the rejection of them by not allowing them entrance into the household. This phrase is also used in vs. 27. Elsewhere, we have a more direct reply, “I do not know you,” Mat 7:21-23; 25:12.
Mat 25:12, “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you’.”
This indicates there was no family relationship between the head of the household, (i.e., God), and the one knocking at the door, (i.e., the unbeliever). Because of having no relationship, due to the unbeliever’s rejection of Jesus as their Savior, they will be barred from entrance to the Kingdom of God. The Lord will tell them He never had a relationship with them, even though they thought they had one with Him.
Unlike the exclusion above of not entering through the narrow door, the exclusion here is that they came too late. This speaks of wasted opportunity here on earth, and the fact that “there are no unbelievers in hell.” In other words, they only truly came to recognize Jesus as Savior after they left planet earth. At that time, it is too late.
“Many people put off the invitation of Christ to enter the Kingdom through Him. The old adage, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” is a true statement. The door is closed to the individual when physical death occurs. At the end of time, the door to the Kingdom will be forever closed by God.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
Luke 13:26, “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’.”
“Then you will begin to say,” speaks of the defense some will make to try to justify their entrance into the Kingdom. When it is too late, these people will be pleading with Jesus, coming up with all kinds of stories and excuses, trying to justify themselves.
“Eating and drinking in your presence,” speak of a relationship these unbelievers thought they had with the Lord. “And you taught in our streets,” means they even listened to Jesus teach in their town or village. Interestingly, “streets” is the Adjective PLATEIA that means, “a street or wide road,” which is the feminine form of the related Adjective PLATUS used in Mat 7:13, for the “wide gate and broad way that leads to destruction.”
Therefore, the “teaching, DIDASKO, in our streets,” indicates the “broad way” of false doctrines that people believe will give them entrance into the Kingdom of God. They either were listening to false doctrines and believing them, or they did not truly receive the truth of God’s Word when it was taught to them. Either way, they stayed in their self-righteous unbelief.
Therefore, in the crowd were some people who listened to Jesus and had eaten meals with Him. Because of this, they felt their association with Him was assurance of friendship and therefore He would grant them salvation. They failed to recognize that their salvation depended upon their becoming new creatures in Christ based on having faith in Jesus as their Savior. They failed to realize there had to be an inward change of attitude towards the Christ.
It is no different today, as some people feel that going to church services and hearing the words of Jesus will, in and of itself, make them acceptable to Him. Such is not the case. The individual must be born again.
Luke 13:27, “And He will say, “I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers’.”
Regardless of their pleas, Jesus will deny them entrance into the Kingdom, because they truly did not have a relationship with Him, as He stated in vs. 25. This is another doubling of a statement, which points to the importance and significance of the statement.
Next, we see the judgment pronounced on these unbelievers, “depart from Me,” which is the Aorist, Active, Imperative for Command, of the Verb APHISTEMI¸ ἀφίστημι that can mean, “cause to revolt, mislead, lead away, withdraw from, abstain from, depart, desert, or fall away.” This word emphasizes the unbelievers’ rebellion against the true knowledge of Jesus Christ that rightly leads Him to command them to depart from His presences, i.e., the Kingdom of God.
This is in comparison and contrast to HISTEMI used in vs. 25, for “standing outside.” Because they took a stand outside the home of Jesus, they must depart from His presence.
Jesus then identifies them for who they truly are, “all you evildoers,” PAS ERGATES, “workman, laborer, or doer,” ADIKIA, “injustice, unjust, wrong, wrongdoing, or wickedness.” The notion of unrighteousness, injustice, and wickedness are the primary meanings. Therefore, we see that the works that these unbelievers performed are not good enough for entrance into the Kingdom, and are in fact considered to be evil. Cf. Psa 6:8a; Mat 7:23; 25:41.
Psa 6:8a, “Depart from me, all you who do iniquity.” The Hebrew word for “iniquity,” is AWEN, אָוֶן that means, “sin, iniquity, evil, wickedness, or idolatry.”
Mat 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’.”
Matthew, writing to a predominantly Jewish audience, where Luke was writing to a predominantly Gentile audience, uses “practice lawlessness,” ERGAZOMAI, “work, be active, do accomplish, carry out, or perform,” with ANOMIA, “lawlessness, sin, or without the law.” It means, things counter to the Law of God, which represents sin.
Therefore, “workers of iniquity” explain why Christ will not save these people. They have never turned from their wicked ways. Jesus knows the heart and the motivation of each life. Only the person who has openly confessed Jesus as Lord and repented of his sins will be recognized as being washed in the Blood that takes away sin.
In addition, we are warned to steer clear of these types, especially those who are teaching false doctrines to others, 2 Cor 11:13; Phil 3:2.
2 Cor 11:13, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.”
Phil 3:2, “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision.”
Yet, we are to be workers of righteousness, especially those who are teaching others, which can only occur after we have believed that Jesus is our Savior, 2 Tim 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
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Luke 13:28, “In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out.”
In the first half of this verse, “in that place,” we have the location as to where these unbelievers will depart to, which finally will be the Eternal Lake of Fire / Hell.
“In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” uses the Adverb of location, EKEI, “there or in that place,” that represents the Lake of Fire, along with the Future, Middle Deponent, Indicative of the Verb EIMI for “will be,” to indicate the future torment they will endure that is noted in two metaphors.
First we have, “weeping,” which is the Noun KLAUTHMOS, “weeping, lamentation, crying, bitter weeping, or wailing,” and secondly we have, “gnashing of teeth,” that uses the Nouns BRUGMOS, “grinding, gnashing, grating (of teeth),” with the Plural of HO ODOUS, “of the teeth.”
This type of weeping, KLAUTHMOS, denotes the complete absence of happiness and the absolute presence of despair. This despair, along with the rage of being condemned forever in a place of torment, produces a literal and continual gnashing of the teeth.
We noted this phrase when studying Luke 12:46, where the wicked slave, unbeliever, is “assigned a place with the unbelievers,” which is the Lake of Fire, cf. Mat 24:51.
In the parallel passage to Luke 12:42-46, the wicked slave, (i.e., unbeliever), will be condemned to the Lake of Fire along with all the hypocrites, (i.e., false teachers of a false gospel and false doctrines), where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, Mat 24:51, “And will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
In Luke 12:46, we noted that this phrase is also associated with the “outer darkness,” that is an analogy for the Lake of Fire, Mat 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; also known as the “furnace of fire,” Mat 13:42, 50. In both of these descriptions, there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” in that place.
Marveling at the faith of the Roman Centurion in comparison to the lack of faith in Israel, Jesus said in Mat 8:11-12, “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
In Mat 22:12-14, the parable of the Wedding Feast, Jesus gave an analogy of someone who was invited to the feast, but was not prepared for it, which represents he did not believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, “And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”
In Mat 25:30, the parable of the Talents given for investment, for the one who did not use what was given to him, (i.e., the gospel of Jesus Christ), they will be cast into the Lake of Fire, “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
In each reference, the unbeliever will be experiencing “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” which represents great sorrow along with great anger and bitterness. It speaks to the torment and remorse of the wicked in the future life, along with their continued obstinacy towards accepting Jesus as Savior, (i.e., God’s plan for salvation). And remember, there are no second chances!
Therefore, “weeping and gnashing of teeth” are signs which express great sorrow, anguish, and rage. This negative emotion and mental attitude will be exacerbated by the fact that they will be 1) “shut out of a place where they have been openly invited to attend.” 2) Seeing their forefathers and fellow countrymen enjoying the place and fare that they now cannot.
It is an awful thing to be outside. “Outside the door of the house where patriarchs and prophets feast, shall the excluded weep and gnash their teeth, all the more because they think they have a right, as belonging to the chosen race, to be within.” (Expositor’s Greek Testament).
The second factor, “when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God,” is specifically pointing to the Jewish person’s rejection of Jesus Christ compared to their forefather’s acceptance. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the bloodline for the people of Israel, and the prophets speak to the writers of the Hebrew Bible and God’s people. As we have noted, the true prophets of God were many times persecuted by the religious order, Luke 11:47; Acts 7:52; Rom 11:3; 1 Thes 2:15.
Luke 11:47, “Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them.”
Acts 7:52, “Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.”
Rom 11:3, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” Cf. Elijah’s statement in 1 Kings 19:10, 14.
1 Thes 2:15, “Who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men.”
The Jews of Jesus’ day boasted about their ancestry, being descended from Abraham. They prided themselves that the prophets were their ancestors too. Yet, they did not walk in the ways of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or the prophets any more than they did in the way of Jesus and His teaching. With this backdrop, we see that this torment in the Lake of Fire, is made even worse because of the occupants’ ability to see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets enjoying the bliss of paradise in the Kingdom of God.
Therefore, thinking that by bloodline they had a one way ticket into the Kingdom of God, yet being told they could not enter, and seeing their other relatives in the Kingdom and enjoying it, will result in great anguish and sorrow for the Jewish unbelievers, as well as all Gentile unbelievers, that is described by “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Therefore, as a result of their rejection of Jesus Christ as their Savior / Messiah / King, Jesus said, “But yourselves being thrown out,” which uses DE, the contrasting Conjunction “but,” with the Present, Middle, Participle of the Verb EKBALLO, “thrown out, driven out, or sent out,” with the Adverb EXO that once again means, “out, outside, without, etc.” As such, “thrown out outside,” is a double emphasis of the judgment of Jesus Christ upon them, as well as an indicator of the place to which they are being thrown, “outside,” (i.e., the outer darkness, Lake of Fire), that also means outside the Kingdom of God. Because they stood outside of the narrow door and did not enter through faith, vs. 25, they will be thrown outside of the Kingdom of God into the outer darkness, the Lake of Fire, where there will be perpetual mental anguish described by weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Luke 13:29, “And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God.”
Not only will it be mental torment to see their fellow countrymen in the Kingdom of God that they are barred from, but they will also see many Gentile peoples in the Kingdom as well.
This passage emphasizes the vastness of those who will be in the Kingdom of heaven and where they have come from. The parallel in Mat 8:11, only uses “east and west,” ANTOLE, which means, “east,” or “rising of a star, the rising of the sun,” i.e., “the morning star,” and DUSME that means, “west,” or “the setting of the sun.” Yet, Luke takes it even further by adding, “north,” BORRHAS, and “south,” NOTOS.
In other words, people from around the globe will be gathered together in the Kingdom of God, which first emphasizes the Gentile peoples, but also includes the Jewish people, especially after the great diaspora.
The Israelites prided themselves on being the chosen race, but Jesus tells them that all the peoples of the world, Gentiles and Jews, will be in the Kingdom that they thought was their own. This would further exasperate the ones who rejected Christ to weep and gnash their teeth.
“Recline at the table,” only uses the Future, Passive, Indicative of the Verb ANAKLINO that means, “reclining,” with the undertone of “at the Messianic banquet,” (e.g., Mat 8:11), which also gives us imagery of the marriage supper of the Lamb in Rev 19:9, 17.
Therefore, the believer has accepted the invitation to attend the wedding feast, while the unbeliever has rejected it and will be longingly viewing it without participation.
Luke 13:30, “And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.”
Finally, we have one of the great principles of the faith-rest life, “Some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.” Here, we have a play on the words ESCHATOS, “last,” and PROTOS “first,” with juxtaposition.
As it is applied here, it refers to Jews as the first who become last, and to Gentiles as the last who become first. Here again, Jesus is provoking the mental attitude of the unbelieving Jews of His day who thought they had a special relationship with God and His Kingdom purely because of their bloodline. But Jesus is emphasizing that it is not bloodline that saves you, it is faith alone in Christ alone.
This is the teaching that led Paul to emphasize in Romans 9, that “true Israel,” are not those of the bloodline of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but those who are of the bloodline and who also believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior / Messiah / King.
Rom 9:6-7, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, …”
Romans 9:30-33, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33just 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”.”
This further emphasizes what Jesus just said about the Gentile peoples, as the Jews thought they were first among God’s people, yet they would be last, due to their rejection of Him. And, those who the Jews thought would be last, especially Romans, would be first in the Kingdom of God, because of their faith in Jesus as their Savior.
Therefore, the distinction between first and last is not one of degree, but absolute, (i.e., some will be within the Kingdom of God, while others will be without the Kingdom of God).
This comparison also tells us that those who seem like they are losers according to the world’s standards of success and achievement will actually be exalted in the Kingdom of God. While those who seem like they are giants here on earth, will actually not even be in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we are to take courage that even if we are not thought of as “heroes” from the world’s perspective, in God’s eye’s we are valiant warriors to be exalted, because we consistently walk in His will.
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Luke 13:31, “Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, “Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You”.”
“Just at that time,” EN AUTOS HO HORA, “in the same hour,” tells us this occurred right after the previous episode of the man asking Jesus, “Are just a few being saved,” and Jesus responding with the parable of the shut door with description of the mental anguish and suffering in the Lake of Fire for the unbeliever.
Here, “some Pharisees,” TIS PHARISAIOS, “approached,” PROSERCHOMAI, “came to, approached, etc.,” Jesus to warn Him about Herod seeking “to kill,” APOKTEINO, Him. This Herod is Herod the Tetrarch of Galilee that we noted in Luke 3:1, who killed John the Baptist, Luke 9:7-9.
In this warning, they entreated Jesus to “go away, leave here,” with the Aorist, Active, Imperative, of EXERCHOMAI, “go out, depart, etc.,” and the Present, Active, Imperative of POREUOMIA, “to go, depart,” with the Adverb ENTEUTHEN, “from here.” Luke used ENTEUTHEN, ἐντεῦθεν previously in Luke 4:9, for the third of Satan’s three temptations of Jesus.
Luke 4:9, “And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.”
This temptation tested Jesus’ relationship to His own Deity, as the first and second tested His relationship with the Holy Spirit and God the Father, respectfully.
Therefore, we see that this “warning” was a form of temptation toward Jesus to have “fear, worry, anxiety, etc.,” because of a political leader potentially threatening Him, just as in vs. 1. But Jesus would not fall for it!
Having been warned about Pilate and Herod in this chapter, it is setting the stage for what would come, leading up to His crucifixion.
We might assume that these Pharisees were part of the believing ones, because they did not want to see Jesus being persecuted at the hands of Herod. On the other hand, they might have been unbelieving ones who were already conspiring against Him, trying to get rid of Him. Maybe this was a way to do that. Some believe these who came to tell Him about Herod’s plot to kill Him were possibly envoys of Herod. Nevertheless, Jesus does not give in to their threatening warning or Herod’s threat, and instead uses it as a teaching moment.
“Jesus was in Herod’s jurisdiction since Herod had responsibility for the affairs of Galilee and Peraea. Herod lacked the courage to kill Jesus because of His popularity with the people. Herod had killed John earlier, but Jesus had a much greater following than John. Herod may have sent the Pharisees to warn Jesus to leave the area so that he would not be responsible to the Romans for any large crowd disturbances. The Pharisees themselves may have wanted Jesus to leave the area because they could not deal with Him very well in either Galilee or Peraea, but in Jerusalem they could seize Him more easily.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
Luke 13:32, “And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal’”.”
Jesus’ response to them was to “go,” POREUOMAI once again, but in the Aorist, Passive, Participle, Nominative, with “and tell,” in the Aorist, Active, Imperative of Command, “that fox,” HO ALOPEX, which is only used here and Mat 8:20; Luke 9:58, for an analogy of Jesus’ plight of not having a home to lay His head.
Mat 8:20, “Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head”.”
In those passages, it was used for a literal fox, yet in our passage, it is used metaphorically to describe Herod as a sly, crafty, and deceptive person, along with the insignificance of His power, cf. Neh 4:3. Jesus called Herod a fox because he was so sly in getting the Pharisees to do his bidding under the cover of working behind His back. Therefore, in calling Herod a “fox,” Jesus was calling him both a crooked man and a small man. This seems to be the only time Jesus used a derogatory term for a person. “That fox” also carries the connotation of contempt.
Jesus then speaks to His power and authority as He “casts out demons,” EKBALLO DAIMONION, and “performs cures,” APOTELEO, “bring to completion, perform, perfect, etc.,” with the Noun IASIS, “healing or cure,” only used here and Acts 4:22, 30. Therefore, He “performs healings.”
Then, Jesus added some emphasis, “today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal,” SEMERON KAI AURION KAI HO TRITOS TELEIOO.
Interestingly, Jesus has a play on words with APOTELEO, for the healings He completes/perfects and the mission of ministry, with the word TELEIOO, ελειόω that means, “make perfect, complete, finish, accomplish, bring to completion, or perfect.” It is most often used in its generic sense of “finish, complete,” or “bring to completion.” “In some texts the idea of completion means to be successful in a task such as a battle or war. In other texts the word is used biologically with the meaning to allow fruit to ripen to maturity.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary).
Here, it is a metaphor for a reference to the completion of the work of salvation by Jesus when He would arrive in Jerusalem, vs. 33. Therefore, by identifying His important and authoritative work of completely healing people, He spoke of how that would be accomplish, when upon the Cross He would pay for the sins of the world and then be buried three days and nights, and rise on the “third day,” when the task would be completed and perfected for all time.
With the Present, Middle, Indicative of TELEIOO, Jesus is saying He will complete the mission that God sent Him to accomplish. That is much more important and authoritative than anything Herod had done, was doing, or would do.
Luke 13:33, “Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem.”
“Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day,” PLEN, “however, but, etc.,” DEI, “it is necessary, must, should, etc.,” SEMERON KAI AURION KAI HO ECHO, with the Present, Middle, Infinitive of POREUOMAI once again for, “to go, depart, travel, journey, etc.”
Jesus was speaking of His mission to get to Jerusalem to accomplish God’s Plan of Salvation through His death and resurrection.
Then, He throws a little dig or insult in by saying, “for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem,” HOTI OUK with the Present, Middle Deponent, Indicative of the Verb ENDECHOMAI, “be possible or allowed,” only used here in the NT, with PROPHETES APOLLUMI, “be destroyed, ruined, killed, perish, etc.,” EXO HIEROUSALEM.
With EXO, “outside,” we have a play on the word from these passages. Just as the unbeliever stood “outside” of the narrow door, (Jesus Christ), and did not enter, (believe for salvation), they will be cast “outside” the Kingdom of God into the Lake of Fire. Here, Jesus is prophesizing that He, like the prophets before Him, cannot be killed “outside” of Jerusalem by those who have rejected Him. Inside of Jerusalem the narrow door for salvation would be establish through His Cross that allows the believer entrance into the Kingdom of God and keeps the unbeliever outside of it.
As we noted above in Luke 11:47; Acts 7:52; Rom 11:3; 1 Thes 2:15, the Pharisees like there evil forefathers, killed the prophets, just as they would kill Jesus in Jerusalem. It would not be Herod who would kill Jesus, but the Pharisees.
“Jesus sent a message that put all evil forces on notice. He said, in effect, “You cannot stop, alter, interrupt, or ignore the objective God has sent Me to achieve. I will continue to battle evil during the time I have left, and I will keep My appointment with the cross in Jerusalem.” And in so doing, He intended to culminate Jerusalem’s lengthy history of killing God’s messengers. At the end of a long line of martyred prophets stood the invincible Word of God incarnate.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary)
Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!”
Verses 34-35, are paralleled in Mat 23:37-38.
Here, Jesus laments over Jerusalem: HIEROUSALEM HIEROUSALEM HO APOKTEINO, “to kill,” HO PROPHETES KAI LITHOBOLEO, “to pelt with stones, kill by stoning, or stone,” HO APOSTELLO in the Perfect, Passive, Participle, Nominative, “those sent,” PROS AUTE, “to her.”
Once again, Jesus refers to the forefathers of this current generation who killed the prophets God sent to them in order to warn them to repent from their apostasy. Instead of heeding the warnings and exalting God and His prophets, they killed them and stayed in their rebellion against God.
“From the time of Solomon to the time of Christ the prophets had known rejection and met with death in Jerusalem when they stood up for God. Jesus’ Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (Matthew 21:33-41) shows the treatment given Him by those to whom He was sent.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary).
Jesus then speaks of His desire from eternity past to save the people of Israel in this idiom, “How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings.”
“How often,” is the interrogative Adverb POSAKIS, “How often? or How many times?” It is only used here and in the parallel verse of Mat 23:37, and in Mat 18:21 for Peter’s question of “how often do we forgive those who sin against us?”
Next, Jesus indicates His great “desire,” THELO, “to gather together,” EPISUNAGO, “your children,” HO TEKNON. God Jesus always desired to have all the people of Israel saved and in Heaven with Him, rather than having them toil sinfully here on earth.
The analogy to this gathering is, “just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,” HOS TROPOS, “character, conduct, manner, way, etc.,” ORNIS, “hen,” AUTE, “her,” HO NOSSIA, “brood of young birds or chicks,” only used here, HUPO HO PTERUX, “under the wing.”
Even though this was God’s / Jesus’ desire for the people of Israel, by offering them the Kingdom of God, over and over again, due to their unbelief, Jesus states, “And you would not have it!” KAI OUK THELO in the Aorist, Active, Indicative in the emphatic use. In other words, “they would not wish or desire it.”
This is their rejection of God’s plan of salvation for their lives; the rejection of His offer to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. “The people of Jerusalem stubbornly resisted the pleading of God. Samuel, the prophet, in rebuking King Saul for his stubbornness, likened the sin of stubbornness to idolatry (1 Samuel 15:23). Stubbornness is a sin that sets self up as God. For this reason God would destroy even the city where His temple stood as a portrayal of His presence.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
Luke 13:35, “Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, “BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’”
Due to their rejection of the Messiah / Savior, Jesus prophesizes a judgment upon them, “Behold, your house is left to you desolate,” EIDON, HUMEIS HO OIKOS, “your house,” APHIEMO, “let go, leave behind, or left,” which is also the word used for the “forgiveness” of sins, which they did not accept, HUMEIS in the Dative case, “to you.”
“Desolate,” EREMOS, is actually not in the Greek of this passage, but is in Matthew’s so it should be in italics. It means, “desolate, abandoned, desert, or solitary (place).” It speaks of the destruction Jerusalem would face in 70 A.D.
Then, Jesus predicts His triumphal entry and Second Advent, “I say to you, you will not see Me” that uses a double negative OUK ME, for “absolutely not,” with EIDON for “see Me.”
“Until the time comes when you say, “BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” that quotes Psa 118. EULOGEO HO ERCHOMAI EN ONOMA KURIOS
The last part is a quote from Psa 118:26, that shows us the people of Israel knowing this prophecy, when the people of Jerusalem shouted these words during our Lord’s Triumphal entry into the city on “Palm Sunday,” Mat 21:9; Luke 19:38, only to shout “crucify Him,” several days later. Matthew adds “Hosanna to the Son of David” before it, and “Hosanna in the highest after it.”
“Judaism of Jesus’ day had adopted hosanna as a cultic cry, and it had messianic/eschatological overtones. When the people cried “Hosanna!” to Jesus (“he who comes in the name of the Lord” [Matthew 23:39, NIV]) as He entered Jerusalem, this was a messianic proclamation. The “Coming One” was already recognized as a messianic title (Zechariah 9:9).” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
As such, in order to be blessed, they had to truly believe in Jesus as the promised Messiah / Savior. Even though they shouted the words, they truly did not believe them in their heart for salvation. As a result, they rejected their Messiah, as sent by God, and remained in their rebellion and apostasy. Therefore, in Divine judgment for their apostasy, God would destroy the temple in 70 A.D. and disperse the chosen people, while moving to the Gentiles to carry on His salvation work.
This is why it is stated about Jesus upon His arrival in Jerusalem on “Palm Sunday,” in Luke 19:41, “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it.” He lamented with a heavy heart over the people whom He came for as one of their own, because He was being rejected by them, and knowing God’s judgment towards them as a result.
Yet, knowing all this, Jesus was not frightened, scared, or wavering from fulfilling the mission that God the Father had set out for Him, because He also knew that many in Israel and throughout the world would believe upon Him for salvation and enter into the Kingdom of God. We too, must have this type of fortitude and perseverance when facing the challenges of witnessing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because the end results will far outweigh the difficulties endured along the way.
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