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the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 13

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


Who told Jesus about the Galileans. Jesus teaches in these verses that calamities which happen to God’s people are not to be thought of as “special acts of judgment for hidden sin. “ Compare James 1:2-4 and also Revelation 6:0. Only Luke tells of this happening to the Galileans. Fights at the temple and severe reprisals by the Roman soldiers were common. Those who told Jesus about this evidently thought it a judgment.

Verse 3


No! Jesus does not deny that these people were sinners, but he does say with emphasis, that they were no worse than other people. You will all die as they did. He says this to teach them with strong words that only turning from sin [repentance] will save them! (Compare Acts 2:38 and notes.)

Verses 4-5


What about those eighteen in Siloam? Only Luke tells of this. The lesson is the same as before. They were not killed because they were worse sinners. All must turn from sin, or perish! [Siloam was a suburb of Jerusalem, south of the city.]

Verses 6-9


A man had a fig tree. A common fruit. It symbolizes the entire Jewish nation here. But found none. They did not honor God with their lives! Look, for three years. This is how long Jesus had been teaching and preaching. The people should have listened and honored God. Cut it down! There is no hope of it beginning to bear fruit. Just this one year. Give it one last chance to be fruitful. The last months of Christ’s ministry would end in his rejection and crucifixion. Then the doom of the nation was finalized!

Verses 10-17


A woman was there. Only Luke tells this healing of the Crippled Woman. A similar healing on the Sabbath is given in Matthew 12:10-13; Mark 3:1-5. That had kept her sick for eighteen years. A demon was the cause of her trouble (see Luke 13:16). When Jesus saw her. She had no thought of being healed. But when Jesus sees her need, he at once heals her. The official of the synagogue. One of the synagogue elders, who called together the congregation, preserved order, and who invited the readers and speakers. Jairus was one (Matthew 9:18). Was angry. He thought Jesus had “broken” the Sabbath. The Law did not say it was wrong to heal on the Sabbath, but Jewish Tradition did say so. And said to the people. He did not want to scold Jesus, so he scolds the people, expecting Jesus to understand he is really scolding him. There are six days. He is saying the woman should have been healed on a week day. You hypocrites! They would take care of their animals on the Sabbath, but refuse to help a human being. Whom Satan has kept in bonds. Satan brought sin, and sin brought disease into the world. All disease, then, is indirectly from Satan. But this woman’s disease was due to an evil spirit. [Demons: see note on Matthew 4:24.]

Verses 18-21


What shall I compare it with? For notes on the parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast, see Matthew 13:31-33.

Verse 22


Jesus went through the towns and villages. Probably in the area called Perea, east of the Jordan river. People often went this way from Galilee to Jerusalem, to detour around Samaria.

Verse 23


Sir, will just a few people be saved? This question is often asked. Jesus never answers it, but tells each one to make sure of his own salvation. [See the Redeemed in Eternity pictured in Revelation 7:9. ]

Verse 24


Do your best. This implies a maximum amount of effort. [And yet the CAUSE of our salvation is God’s ACT in Christ.] Through the narrow door. See note on Matthew 7:13-14. The door of the Kingdom is so narrow that we must leave our many sins and idols behind, to be able to enter.

Verse 25


And close the door. The time of opportunity will expire. If we continue to say “no” to God, we may find the door shut when we decide to enter.

Verses 26-27


We ate and drank with you; you taught in our town! “They heard! Doesn’t this merit God’s approval???” But faith is obediential (see notes on Matthew 7:22-23).

Verses 28-29


When you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The “fathers” believed and obeyed. See notes on Matthew 8:11-12.

Verse 30


Then those who are now last will be first. The Gentiles had not shared in the Law. The Jew thought the Gentile had no hope, while he himself was sure of salvation. See note on Matthew 20:16.

Verse 31


Some Pharisees came to Jesus. They intended to scare Jesus into hiding, where he could not teach people. Herod Antipas (see note on Matthew 2:1) had already killed John the Baptist.

Verse 32


Go tell that fox. A fox is symbolic of sly cunning. This described the character of Herod, It may be that Herod himself sent the Pharisees to try to scare Jesus. He could not kill Jesus because of his popularity. On the third day. Some think Jesus meant he would be moving on in three days’ time. But it is more likely he meant this symbolically, speaking of his teaching mission ending in the glory of the Cross and Resurrection.

Verse 33


To be killed anywhere except in Jerusalem. [John the Baptist was the exception to this, dying in the Machaerus prison in Perea.] Jerusalem (the earthly city) was symbolic of the farces of evil which fight against God (see Revelation 11:8). Jesus would die there, and his church would begin there!

Verses 34-35


Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Jesus may have said this more than once. See notes on Matthew 23:37-39. Now your home will be completely forsaken. God would depart the temple, even though the ritual would continue to go on. The temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., and the ritual ceased.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 13". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/luke-13.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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