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Thursday, June 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 13

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

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Verses 1-9

97. Warning to the Jewish nation (Luke 13:1-9)

Two recent tragedies were fresh in the minds of the Jewish people. One was caused by Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, when he killed a number of Galilean Jews while they were offering sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem. The other was caused by the collapse of a tower that killed a number of Jerusalem citizens. Some Jews thought that because the victims of these tragedies met such terrible deaths, they must have been worse sinners than others. Jesus pointed out that this was not so. In fact, the rest of the Jews would suffer a far worse fate if they did not repent and accept the Messiah (Luke 13:1-5).

Israel had been unfaithful and worthless to God, like a fig tree that never produced fruit. God had been patient, but now he was giving the nation one last chance to repent and accept the Messiah. If the people persisted in their stubbornness, judgment would fall upon them (Luke 13:6-9).

Verses 10-17

98. A woman healed in the synagogue (Luke 13:10-17)

While Jesus was preaching in a Sabbath day service in the synagogue, he saw a woman in the audience who was obviously distressed because of a crippling disease. In his mercy he healed her (Luke 13:10-13). The ruler of the synagogue was angry because Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and told the people not to come for healing on the Sabbath in future. Jesus showed up the hypocrisy of the man, and those who supported him, by reminding them that they fed their cattle on the Sabbath. Surely, then, he could heal a crippled woman (Luke 13:14-17).

Verses 18-21

55. Wheat and weeds; mustard seed; yeast (Matthew 13:24-43; Mark 4:30-34; Luke 13:18-21)

In another parable, two types of seed produce two types of plants in the same field. The plants, wheat and weeds, are not separated while they are growing, but are left till harvest time. Then the wheat is put into the farmer’s barn but the weeds are destroyed (Matthew 13:24-30).

As with the parable of the sower, Jesus gave his disciples an interpretation (Matthew 13:34-36; cf. v. 10,16-18). In the present world those who are in the kingdom of God live alongside those who are not. This was contrary to popular Jewish thinking, which expected the kingdom to come in one mighty act that would destroy all enemies and set up God’s universal rule of righteousness and peace. Jesus points out that his kingdom is in the world already, but it will have its climax at the end of world history. When that time comes the wicked will be destroyed but the righteous will share in the kingdom’s triumph (Matthew 13:37-43).

The parable of the mustard seed foretells the expansion of the kingdom, as seen in the remarkable growth of the church. From small beginnings it grows to a vast community that covers the entire earth (Matthew 13:31-32). A similar truth is illustrated by the parable of the yeast (or leaven). As a small amount of yeast spreads through a lump of dough, so will the apparently small kingdom of Jesus spread through the world (Matthew 13:33).

Verses 22-35

99. The first shall be last (Luke 13:22-35)

As Jesus moved through the towns of the Jordan Valley, he stressed that people should believe in him without delay, because they would not have the opportunity to hear from him again. Many were concerned with theoretical questions about who would or would not be saved. Jesus explained that people individually should first be sure of their own salvation, because on the judgment day many who thought they were in God’s kingdom would find themselves left outside (Luke 13:22-24).

Some Jews boasted that they would enter the kingdom of God because they were descendants of Abraham; others, because they had eaten with Jesus or heard him preach in their towns. All alike would find themselves condemned to hell if they did not turn from their sins. Their places in the kingdom would be taken by the Gentiles, whom they despised (Luke 13:25-30).

Certain Pharisees tried to frighten Jesus with a threat from Herod, through whose territory Jesus was travelling. Jesus knew that Herod wanted him out of the way, but he replied that he would continue his work until he finished it in Jerusalem (Luke 13:31-33). The city that Jesus loved, in finally rejecting him, would guarantee its own punishment. The nation was spiritually desolate, and once the Romans had finished with it (in AD 70), it would be physically desolate. There would be no blessing for the Jews until they repented and acknowledged Jesus as their Messiah (Luke 13:34-35).

Bibliographical Information
Fleming, Donald C. "Commentary on Luke 13". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/luke-13.html. 2005.
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