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Bible Commentaries
Luke 13

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-24

57-59 Compare Mat_5:25-26 ; Pro_25:8 .

1 There is a strong natural tendency to connect calamity with sin. Hardly any great disaster occurs but someone seeks to justify it on the ground that the victims must have been extraordinary sinners. Job's friends reasoned thus. In their minds his calamities must have been occasioned by some secret offenses, and were sent as a punishment for his wrong doing. Now, while sin often does entail suffering in this life, much of it does not. And suffering is not sent simply as a punishment for sin, but also as a means by which God reveals Himself. Job was vindicated by God, yet he abhorred himself. Through his trials he was led to a greater blessing and a closer knowledge of God than could otherwise be. He had heard of Him before; now he saw Him ( Job_42:5 ). Let us not judge those who suffer, as though they deserved what they endure. God is not now judging or sentencing His creatures. That is past for believers and future for unbelievers. In the great white throne judgment those who appear before it will be dealt with according to their sins. Then it will be possible to deduce their delinquency from the character and severity of their sentence. But all such reasoning is foolish now. The Galileans whom Pilate killed were no worse than others of their kind, and the tower of Siloam did not fall on the most vicious in Jerusalem.

1 Compare Act_5:37 .

2 Compare Joh_9:2-3 .

4 Compare Neh_3:15 ; Joh_9:7 .

6-9 Compare Isa_5:1-7 ; Mat_21:19 .

6 For three years John and the Lord sought to find fruit from Israel as a nation. Little did Israel think that their rejection of His proclamation was dooming all their national aspirations. The same truth is taught in the cursing of the fig tree ( Mat_21:19 ; Mar_11:13 ), which, indeed, may stand for the hewing down. The next miracle shows Him still laboring in a final effort to produce fruit.

10 Israel's doom is figured by a soulless tree; her deliverance is shown by the restoration of the infirm woman. This recognizes the reason for Israel's weakness, which was the possession of a spirit at variance with God. The ruler of the synagogue displayed this same spirit, so that, in a sense, the physical plight of the woman becomes his in spirit. He, like the whole nation, was opposing the Lord and His work, in a pretended zeal for God's law. The moral effect of the miracle seems to have kept the chief of the synagogue from forbidding the Lord to work, so he turns to the people and forbids them to come to be cured. He was blind to the great truth that salvation is of God, when man cannot work, hence is far more fitting on the Sabbath than during the week.

14 Compare Mat_12:9-10 .

15 Compare Luk_14:3-6 ; Mat_12:11-12 .

16 A significant note is sounded when our Lord terms the infirm woman a daughter of Abraham. It suggests that she had faith, and that the salvation which it prefigured will be confined to those who have the faith of their great forefather Abraham.

18-19 Compare Mat_13:31-32 ; Mar_4:30-32 .

18 As both birds ( Mat_13:4 ; Mat_13:19 ) and leaven ( Luk_12:1 ) are figures of that which is evil, and this is spoken, like the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, after the rejection of the King, we see in these comparisons a representation of the course of the kingdom before He returns in righteousness. At the end of the eon it will be again proclaimed and have an amazing growth, but will harbor wicked spirits and evil practices.

19 Compare Dan_4:10-12 .

20.21 Compare Mat_13:33 ; Zec_5:5-11 .

22-27 Compare Mat_7:13-14 ; Mat_7:21-23 .

23 The Lord avoids a direct answer to the question, and turns the questioner's thoughts upon himself. It would seem that at this time, the wide gates into the kingdom had been closed, and access could be had only through the private entrances, which are locked when evening comes. The proclamation of the kingdom had opened the gates wide up to this time, and it was easy to enter by repentance and baptism. But at this crisis the proclamation was withdrawn, hence many of those who struggled could not enter. By no means should this parable be applied indiscriminately to the evangel, either of the kingdom or of the grace of God. God's good news is never narrow or cramped. In the tabernacle in the wilderness the gate, which opened into the court where the altar and laver were stationed, was very wide, and the entrance into the holy place occupied the whole front side of the tent. It could not have been wider. These were types of the way of God during the proclamation of the kingdom. The evangel for today is wider still, for it embraces all nations and imposes no conditions. Faith in God's word cannot be obtained by any struggle. Neither is there any reluctance on God's part, but He is beseeching all men to be conciliated. This can be understood of those only who have neglected to enter while the wide gates of the kingdom evangel were open, and now seek an entrance after the proclamation has been closed.

Verses 25-35

25 Compare Mat_25:10-12 .

27 Compare 2Ti_2:19 .

29 Eastern etiquette is most stringent as to the placing of guests at a banquet. The most honorable must have the first place and the least the last. So it will be in the kingdom. It is probable that none of the great ones of His day, should they find an entrance, would maintain their dignities. Poor, despised fishermen, among the lowest social layer of the land, will be first, for they will rule the twelve tribes. And some, no doubt, of those in high standing in the past, will take a humble place, glad to be honored by the presence of those whom they once despised.

30 Compare Heb_11:39-40 .

31 Compare Luk_23:7 .

31 Herod had been interested in the Lord and wanted to see Him do some sign (23:8). He had killed John, but the Lord does not fear him. Calling him a jackal, or fox, He sends him word that He will continue His ministry as planned, and will spend three more days in his territory, on His way to Jerusalem. There the sacrifice must be offered. He knew that the hatred of men would be restrained so that He could not be killed far from the holy city. If an Israelite wanted to sacrifice to God he could not offer it any place. He must bring it to Jerusalem or turn it into money to purchase his offering there. God will not go counter to His law. He leads the Victim to the proper place.

34-35 Compare Mat_23:37-39 ; Psa_118:26 .

34 Jerusalem, the center of rule and religion in Israel, the most favored city on the face of the earth, was also the center of apostasy and rebellion. Had the priests of her temple remained true to God, there would have been no need for prophets and special messengers to recall them to Jehovah. But they would not heed the prophets and, instead of leading the people in the ways of righteousness and holiness, they turned them against God's spokesmen. These thoughts were awakened in His mind by the threat of Herod. While He had no fear of him, He well knew what would befall Him at the hands of the priests and rulers of Israel, who should have shielded Him from Herod. They, though the accredited representatives of God, were more thirsty for His blood than the Edomite. Religion, apart from the Spirit of God, is the most vicious and immoral of human motives.

1-6 Compare Luk_13:10-17 ; Mat_12:9-13 ; Deu_22:4 .

1 It seems improbable that a chief Pharisee should invite Him to his home without some sinister design. This seems to have been a trap, for it is most unlikely that a dropsical man would be a guest at such a feast. This is confirmed by the fact that he was dismissed after being healed. He seems to have been used as a test. If the Lord did not heal him, they could claim that He was not able. If He did, they could accuse Him of desecrating the Sabbath. Either way they had Him at a disadvantage. That is why they watched Him so closely. But the

Lord saw the snare and caught them in their own craftiness ( 1Co_3:19 ). He closed their mouths completely.

7 No doubt our Lord followed His own admonition and took the last place at this feast and was allowed to keep it ! He was but a poor peasant. They were lawyers and Pharisees! Their action at the feast was but an index of their general character. They exalted themselves and were due to be abased. To grasp the full force of this illustration we must remember that, among the Jews at that time, such matters were deemed of serious importance. We may sit anywhere at a banquet without feeling offended, but with them the rank of each guest must be scrupulously acknowledged by placing him above all his inferiors. It was properly the duty of the host to attend to this. The principle may well be applied at all times. Are we taking a high place? If so, our great Host may need to call us down. Are we in the lowest? Then we need not fear, for the lowest cannot make room below themselves.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Luke 13". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/luke-13.html. 1968.
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