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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament
Luke 13

 

 

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Verses 1-5

DOOM OF THE IMPENITENT

Luke 13:1-5. “And there were certain ones at that time announcing to Him concerning the Galileans, whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices. And responding, He said to them, Do you think that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered these things? I say unto you, No; but unless you repent, you shall all perish in a similar manner.” This incident had occurred sometime during Pilate’s proconsulship, when the Galileans were at Jerusalem offering their sacrifices, and a riot breaking out, the Roman guards, who were always convenient in the Tower Antonia near the temple, rushed forth and slew them on the spot, so that their blood actually mixed with the blood of their sacrifices. They ask Him to explain this awful tragedy. He simply turns the matter over to them, using it by way of admonition, as He saw, in the clear light of His infallible Divinity, the rivers of blood accumulating and ready to overflow all that country in the desolating Roman wars, which, within forty-one years of that date, blotted out the Jewish nation. He saw that those very people were going to perish by the Roman arms, just as those Galileans of whom they spoke to Him. If they had repented, they would have escaped that awful slaughter, as all of the Christians, pursuant to His warning, did leave the country in time to save their lives, going away to Pella, beyond the Jordan. Hence repentance unto life was the only escape of those people from the bloody deluges which Jesus then saw accumulating, as well as from the retributions of eternity. “Or do you think that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and slew them were sinners above all the people who were dwelling in Jerusalem? I say unto you, No; but unless you may repent, you shall all perish in a similar manner.” During the siege at Jerusalem that tower at Siloam fell on eighteen, and crushed them. As His audience were Galileans, it is hardly probable that these unfortunate eighteen were also Galileans who had gone to the siege. You see this case is parallel with the above, and consequently explained in the same way. Some wonder that Josephus gives no account of these tragedies, but that is not astonishing, as instances of this kind were so common, and the Jewish wars so many, he passed by them as insufficient for notice.


Verses 6-9

THE FIG-TREE

Luke 13:6-9. “And He spoke this parable: A certain man had a fig-tree, which had been planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it, and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, Behold, three years during which I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree and find none; cut it down; wherefore indeed cumbereth it the ground? And responding, he says to him, Lord, let it alone also this year, until I shall dig about it, and cast fertilization. If indeed it may bring fruit in the future; but if not, you shall cut it down.” The vineyard here is the kingdom of grace on the earth, and the fig-tree the Jewish Church; the vinedresser the Holy Ghost, and the three years the time of our Lord’s ministry. Here we see, when the Lord says, “Cut it down, that it may no longer cumber the ground” — i.e., occupy the rich soil of His vineyard, absorbing the fertility and shading the crops growing about it — the Holy Ghost pleads for it, beseeching Him to spare it another year; meanwhile He will stir the soil about it, and throw fertility around it, giving it another chance. Then, in case that it does not bear fruit, the Holy Spirit consents to its destruction. Great regions of the world, where the gospel once flourished and Christians were counted by thousands, are now missionary ground, gone back to the heathens and Mohammedans. The awful doom which speedily overtook Judaism awaits every Church which does not bear fruit; and you know that this fruit is holiness, — no sham, but the Christlike spirit, disposition, and life, as He was meek and lowly in heart, going about doing good. Ichabod is written on the doors of every Church that grieves away the Holy Spirit.


Verses 10-17

THE RHEUMATISM OF EIGHTEEN YEARS HEALED

Luke 13:10-17. And He was teaching in one of their synagogues on the Sabbath. Behold, a woman having a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over, and not able perfectly to straighten up; and Jesus seeing her, called to her and said, Woman, thou art loosed from thy infirmity, and put His hands on her; and immediately she straightened up, and continued to glorify God. And the chief ruler of the synagogue, being angry because Jesus healed her on the Sabbath, continued to say to the multitude that there are six days in which it behooveth to work; therefore during these, coming, be healed, and not on the Sabbath-day. But the Lord responded to him and said, Ye hypocrites, does not each one of you loose his donkey or ox from the stall, and leading it away, give it water on the Sabbath? But did it not behoove this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan bound, lo, these eighteen years, to be loosed from this bondage on the Sabbath- day? And He, thus speaking, all those opposed to Him became ashamed; and the whole multitude continued to rejoice over the glorious things done by Him.” In this case, when this poor woman, bent down in the shape of a curve, suffering from muscular rheumatism eighteen years, hobbled out to see and hear the wonderful Prophet of Galilee, whose fame had gone to the ends of the earth and raised the nations on tiptoe, thrilling all with burning enthusiasm, and stood before the sympathetic Savior in the crowd, the very sight arousing the sympathies of His pure, unfallen humanity, so that He immediately, to her joyful surprise, calls aloud, thus commanding the attention of the entire multitude, Woman, thou art loosed from thy infirmity;” simultaneously, forgetting her spinal curvature and incurable rheumatism, she leaps into the air with shouts of victory, — again His old enemies raised the Sabbath question. You see, Jesus calls them hypocrites, and why? Because the people who are so overzealous for mere forms and ceremonies, as a rule, are destitute of the inward reality, taking the form for the substance, which is a literal definition of hypocrite. They are numerous this day as the locusts of Egypt, devouring the heritage of the Lord; and, like the vampire, sucking away the life-blood of the Church, while they fan her into lethean slumber. The argument of Jesus in reference to the man loosing his ox or donkey, and leading him to water on the Sabbath, was an irrefutable stunner; consequently the whole multitude turn on the scribes and Pharisees, who thus assaulted him, such an uproarious laughter that they dropped their heads, and retreated crestfallen from the controversy. You see here that Jesus imputes this chronic rheumatism to Satan, who is equally the author of sin and sickness, both alike having emanated from the fall, besides being manipulated by demons in their universal prevalence to the destruction of soul and body. The responses and arguments of Jesus are a constant and an irrefutable confirmation of His Divinity. His enemies were the men of highest learning, and official position in the Church of His day. They studied, day and night, to fix up hard questions and dilemmas, in hopes that they might entangle Him in His speech; but all in vain. His unanswerable arguments everywhere literally swept controversy from the field, utterly dumbfounding all of His enemies. You loose your ox and donkey on the Sabbath, lest he should be bound in the stall two days. Here is a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound, lo, these eighteen years; shall I not loose her on the Sabbath?” What a knock-down argument! No wonder the multitude laugh the priests out of countenance.


Verses 18-21

THE MUSTARD-SEED AND THE LEAVEN

Luke 13:18-21 Then He said, To what is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I liken it? It is like the seed of mustard, which a man, having taken, cast into his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the fowls of the air lodged in its branches.” The trees in the Old World are not large comparatively with this country. The mustard-tree is one of the largest in and about Palestine. If you ever go to that country, you will find some nice specimens of it at the Fountain Enrogel, near the southern coast of the Dead Sea. While the tree is one of the largest in that country, the seed, as you know in the case of the mustard-plant in this country, is very small.

The kingdom of God, when introduced into the heart by the Holy Spirit, like almost everything else, originates with a very small beginning, growing and developing, not only through this life, but all eternity. Hence it is the most progressive thing of which we have any information, not only filling the body, but utilizing the mind, to reach out its Briarean arms, and circle the world in its enterprises of love and mercy, envelop the globe with the light of the Divine glory, leaping away from the earth, sweeping out, winging its flight from world to world, realizing enlargement of capacity and fellowship, deepening, broadening, and towering through the flight of eternal ages. The lodging of the birds in the branches evidently omens no good to the tree, but magnifies the conception, not only of that exalted philanthropy peculiar to the kingdom of God, but the enhancement of its magnitude as well.

And again he said, To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like unto leaven, which a woman having taken, hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened.” “Leaven” has no definition but “corruption,” fermentation, sourness, etc. The idea that it must be substantially like the kingdom is incompatible with its lexical meaning and Scriptural use. Paul says, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump;” i.e., a few bad men in a Church will corrupt all the balance. A few rotten potatoes in a barrel will rot the entire quantity.

“Purify away the old leaven, in order that you may be a new lump, as you are without leaven; for Christ indeed was made our Passover.” (1 Corinthians 5:6-7.)

Here we are exhorted to purify away all the old leaven; i. e., all sin, and thus become free from the leaven, like Christ, who is our Passover. They were required diligently to remove all leaven out of their houses before the Passover, and eat unleavened bread, as the leaven symbolizes sin. The idea that leaven here, or anywhere else in the Bible, means the grace of God, is flatly contradictory of the plain and unmistakable word. Leaven corrupts everything, and invariably turns it sour, thus symbolizing sin and nothing but sin; while the grace of God sweetens everything with which it comes in contact, thus the very opposite of the sour leaven. The three races of mankind are said to have originated from the house of Noah — Ham, meaning “black,” and being a black man, receiving Africa from his father, and becoming the ancestor of the black races; Shem, which means “red,” being a red man, receiving Asia for his portion, and becoming the ancestor of all the brown races of Asia and America, which was originally populated from Asia, evidently crossing at Behring’s Strait; Japheth, which means “white,” being a white man, receiving Europe for his inheritance, and becoming the ancestor of all the Caucasian races. These all received the leaven of sin from Mother Eve, which has inhered in fallen humanity without exception in all the dispersions, whether beneath tropical skies, or amid the green fields of the temperate zone, or shivering in the icy wigwams around the North Pole, human depravity everywhere cropping out in corruption, impurity, bitterness, and sourness, thus extending the leaven to the ends of the earth. Now where is the point of similitude? We have already given it. While the mustard-seed, so very small, developing into a great tree, lodging and feeding the fowls of the air, symbolizes the wonderful and inscrutable progress of grace in the heart and life, the leaven symbolizes the transcendent interpenetrating power of the kingdom, going everywhere, from nation to nation, and literally reaching the whole world Many nations who are now wrapped in the fogs of Mohammedanism and heathenism, once flourished through rolling centuries in the kingdom of God. You must remember those Moslem wars desolated Africa and Asia eight hundred years, with few intermissions, doing their utmost to exterminate Christianity from the globe, largely: succeeding in many of the most populous countries of Asia and Africa, and the most fruitful fields of apostolical labor. Christianity will spread despite all the powers of earth and hell, which in bygone ages, through rolling centuries, did their utmost to exterminate it in blood and fire, slaughtering two hundred millions of martyrs, Yet Christianity moves on with the tread of a giant to the conquest of the world, and is destined actually to go everywhere, revolutionizing every country: under heaven.


Verses 22-29

ARE THE SAVED FEW?

Luke 13:22-29. Our Savior answers the above question in the affirmative — i.e., that the saved are few — certainly a very alarming affirmation of our Infallible Lord. Shall you and I be numbered with those favored few? And He was journeying through cities and villages, teaching and making his way toward Jerusalem.” He is over in Perea, the country of the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing the sick. “And one said to Him, Lord, are the saved few?” (That is, “Are those who are saved many or few?) The answer is a decisive affirmation that the saved are few. This awful result is not because the people do not desire to be saved, but stupefied by the enemy, they take too much risk. They are willing to walk as near-hell as possible, just so as not to fall into it. When an English nobleman advertised for a carriage- driver, three young men report in his office, candidates for the position. Turning to Number One, he says: “Sir, there is an awful precipice, five hundred feet sudden fall, along one of my carriage roads; how near can you run to it with perfect security?” Dropping his head a moment, looking up, he says, “Sir, I can run within eighteen inches of: it with perfect safety.” Then turning to Number Two, he said,’ “Sir; What have you to say for yourself?” “O, I can run within a foot of it with the utmost safety,” thinking he had to beat the other one or miss the job. Finally, turning to Number Three, who by this time is much excited, and in response to the nobleman’s question, “How near can you run?” throws up both hands and exclaims, “Sir, if I drive your carriage, I shall run as far from it as I can every time.” “Well,” says the nobleman, “you are the very man I want to drive it. I would not, for a bushel of money, risk my wife and children in the hands of one of these other fellows.” While nobody is willing to go to hell, they take the risk of going too nigh the brink. Consequently devils lasso them, trip them up, and tumble them in by millions, the only way to escape hell being to go as far from it as you can.

And He said to them, Agonize to enter in through the narrow door, because many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in and shall not be able.” The pearly gate through which we enter the celestial metropolis is not narrow, but amply capacious for the ingress and egress of the sainted millions and angelic billions. This is the door of admission into the kingdom of grace, which we pass through in regeneration, so narrow, contracted, and difficult of entrance that the soul must give up everything, and squeeze naked through that strait gate. The E. V. “strive” is too weak for the Greek agonidzesthe; i.e., “agonize.” This verb is from agona, the gladiatorial combat in which the gladiator fought for his life, doomed to die on the spot or conquer his antagonist. Hence this word means to put forth all the power of soul, mind, body, home, estate, influence, and everything we can possibly command, subsidize, or utilize. I have seen so much of this in our revivals, people agonizing as in the throes of death, fainting away, and losing the power of their bodies, lying for hours as if they were dead. We do not attach spiritual moment to physical demonstrations, but merely mention the latter by way of illustrating the soul-agony, without which, Jesus says, no one shall enter. We live in an age of superficialism, and, sad to say, it is pre-eminent in religion as well as everything else appertaining to this life. Many seek; but Jesus says they shall not enter in without this soul-agony. The Civil War over slavery deluged the land with blood and heaped it with the slain. Terrible was the suffering of the Nation while that deep-rooted, eating cancer was being torn loose by cannon-balls and cut out with the sword. Sin has so interwoven the warp and woof of the spiritual, mental, and physical constitution, that it is like drawing eye- teeth, cutting off right hands, and plucking out right eyes to get rid of it and enter the kingdom of God.

When the landlord may rise up and close the door, and you will begin to stand without and knock at the door, saying, Lord, open unto us; and, responding, He will say to you, I know not whence you are; then you will begin to say, We were accustomed to eat and drink in your presence, and You taught in our streets; and He will say, I say unto you, I know not whence you are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity.” Our Lord is here addressing the preachers and members of the popular Churches. What a scene in the judgment-day, when these Church members come up from every land and clime, and knock for admission into heaven, having spent their lives in certain anticipation of getting there! When Jesus tells them He knows them not, they remind Him of the sacrament which they had participated in, in the house of God on the holy Sabbath, thus eating and drinking in His presence, when His Word was read and expounded in their Churches. How awful the final issue, Depart from Me, all ye workers of unrighteousness!” The truth of the matter is, they were strangers to the righteousness of Christ by which we are justified, having spent their lives in the delusion, finally to wake up in hell. Now these people were all, in a sense, seeking to enter; yet they were strangers to that soul-agony peculiar to the spiritual birth. Everything is born into the world with excruciating pain and agony, thus vividly symbolizing the birth of the soul.

“And there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves cast out.” They verily believed that they were in the unbroken succession of the patriarchs and prophets, and avowedly and pertinaciously claimed to have the same religion which had cheered their holy ancestry in a dying hour. But you see they were egregiously mistaken. How history repeats itself! Good Lord, send down awakening power to the Church of the present day, and alarm the slumbering millions in the track of fallen Judaism! If the followers of Luther, Bunyan, Knox, Fox, and Wesley only had the religion which filled and thrilled these heroic spirits, qualifying them to light up the world in their day and generation, and kindle the signal fires on the summits of evangelistic mountains, which brightly glow today and will shine on till Jesus comes, they would certainly be all right; but O what a weeping and wailing when they shall see these sainted prophets, as well as those of the old dispensation, along with the apostles and martyrs, safe in the kingdom of God, and they themselves cast out!

“And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.” This is a beautiful prophecy relating to the call of the Gentiles, which our Lord gave in the Great Commission, just before He left the world. The kingdom of God, as you see here, both in the olden times and the Gospel Age, is the Divine administration, in contradistinction to Satan’s government, with which all the wicked are identified. Hence we see that the saints of all ages have been citizens of the kingdom of God. That kingdom, however, like everything else in the Divine economy, is wonderfully evolutionary in its character, symbolized by the starlight in antediluvian times; the moon approaching the horizon in the patriarchal ages, and shining in her beauty amid the glittering constellations in the Mosaic dispensation; day dawning with John the Baptist, and the sun rising when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, who shone upon the earth till He reached the celestial zenith, then ascending into glory; the noonday culminating at Pentecost, the sun going not down, like the diurnal orb, but, as in the days of Joshua, standing still amid the heavens, evolving floods of hallowed light, bursting forth on heathen nations, thus expediting our Lord’s return, in glory to reign, when that blessed kingdom, which has been the light and glory of all the saints, from Abel down to the latest generations, shall no longer be restricted to the souls of men, but reach out and girdle the whole world, every monarch doffing his crown at the feet of King Jesus, who shall be coronated and sceptered King of kings and Lord of lords;

“For He shall have dominion over river, sea, and shore, Far as the eagle’s pinion or dove’s light wing can soar;”

Satan having been arrested as a common criminal and locked up in hell, no longer on earth to mar the beauty and glory of the Lord’s triumphant kingdom, in millennial victories girdling the globe, and bringing back the bright memories of an unfallen Eden.


Verse 30

SALVATION OF THE JEWS

Luke 13:30. Behold, the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” The Jews had long stood at the front of the world. Because they rejected Christ they were relegated to the rear, the Gentiles coming to the front, where they are today. Yet we see from this, and in innumerable promises in both Testaments, that the fallen children of Abraham are coming back into the kingdom of God, to take their place as in days of yore; however, these promises are restricted to the elect few, as in the case of the Gentiles. The prophetic eye of Jesus, looking through the rolling centuries, saw the desolation of the land, the destruction of that generation, the survival of His race, the final return of the elect, restoration of the land, and the conversion of His people down at the end of the Gentile age; as here He says that the Jews will be the last to receive the gospel, and (Ezekiel 37) that they will be gathered back in their unregenerate state — i.e., “valley of dry bones” — involving the conclusion that the elect children of Abraham will return to the Holy Land before there is a general conversion of them to Christianity, which will be the last great evangelistic work of the Gospel Age. The universal commotion among the Jews, and their rapid return to the Holy Land despite the most formidable difficulties, is a certain prophetic omen that the end of all things is nigh. Earth and hell are combined to prevent the return of the Jews, the Mohammedan-Turkish Government doing everything in her power to keep them out, passing laws forbidding their citizenization in that country, and permitting them only to visit it as sojourners thirty days, under the most rigid and tyrannical restrictions. This law passed the Porte, A. D. 1874, when there were only about five thousand Jews in all the Holy Land. Despite all their tyrannical restrictions, there are now two hundred thousand, and coming rapidly all the time. I especially investigated this subject, and have it from the most reliable sources. It is not much known, as the Jews have to keep the matter secret. In Jerusalem alone there are fifty-five thousand Jews, one-half of the whole population; besides, they have great, growing, and flourishing colonies at Janneh, Safed (Sah-fed, old Chorazin), Nazareth, Shechem, Caesarea, Joppa, Hebron, Bethlehem, Ekron, Ashdod, Tiberias, and many other places. The attention of all Christendom is now being called to the consideration of restoring to the Jews their own country, which God gave them, and it is going to be done very soon. If you will attend the “wailing of the Jews” without the temple, at the west end (as it is a penalty of death for a Jew to put his foot inside the holy Temple Campus), and hear their weeping and wailing, down on their knees, kissing the great stones which Solomon put in the temple, reading from their Hebrew Bible the promises of God to hear their cries from every land of their dispersion and gather them back to their holy land and city, methinks you would conclude that the answer is nigh. I know not when, in all my life, I have so vividly realized the presence of God as when I attended those wailings. I verily felt that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was listening to the cry of His unfortunate children, and do believe that the answer is now coming from Heaven for the gathering of Israel from every land and nation. How wonderfully the Jews make that country bud and blossom, and again bend beneath the delicious fruits and luxurious crops of which we read in the Bible, sounding in our ears like paradoxes!


Verses 31-33

HE IS THREATENED WITH HEROD

Luke 13:31-33. In the same hour certain Pharisees came to Him, saying, Go out, and depart hence, because Herod wishes to kill Thee. And He Said to them, Going, tell that fox, Behold, I cast out demons, and perfect healings today, and tomorrow, and the third day I am made perfect, Moreover, it behooveth Me to travel today, and tomorrow, and next day, because it is not pertinent that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.” We have no evidence that King Herod, in whose country Jesus was then preaching, had threatened Him. If he had wanted Him killed, he had a chance at Jerusalem a few days afterward, when Pilate, learning that He was from Galilee, Herod’s jurisdiction, sent Him to him for trial. The solution of the matter was, those Pharisees wanted to get rid of Him, and thought to drive Him out of the country by threatening Him with Herod, as He had already fled from the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. Jesus knew all about it, and how he was to die at Jerusalem in about a dozen days from that time. How boldly He preaches, and how little does He care for the royal dignity of King Herod, in whose territory He was then preaching, and who had quite recently killed John the Baptist! See how, in the presence of that vast multitude, He calls their king a fox! In this we learn an important lesson, illustrating the manner of our Lord’s preaching, and warning us against pressing a metaphor too far. In calling him a fox, He simply refers to the animal to symbolize the cunning and dishonesty of Herod. If you extend the application, you run into gross error. Herod was a well-educated, highly- cultured, intelligent ruler of the earth, and only like a fox in the isolated point of his cunning and rascality. We are very liable to make egregious mistakes by thus pressing metaphors too far, and violating a prominent rule laid down in rhetoric; e.g., in our Lord’s parables of the kingdom, each one emblematizes some peculiar phase of His kingdom — the tares and the wheat, the saints and the hypocrites; the blade, ear, and full corn, regeneration, sanctification, and glorification, progressively: and contrastively;: the mustard-seed, the development of grace in the heart and life; the leaven, the progress of the Christian religion in the whole earth; the drag-net, the promiscuous character of the gospel Church; the treasure in the field, regeneration in the Church; and the pearl of great price, entire sanctification, when we have consecrated everything unreservedly and eternally to God, “I must travel today, and tomorrow, and next day,” does not mean that He was to die in three days, but in a short time, as He did. Then He says He must hasten, because it is not pertinent that a prophet die out of Jerusalem. John the Baptist, the greatest of prophets, had died out of Jerusalem, and at Machaerus, which was near the place where our Lord was speaking at that time; yet, as a rule, the prophets had died at Jerusalem.


Verse 34-35

WOES AGAINST JERUSALEM

Luke 13:34-35. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how frequently did I wish to gather thy children in the manner in which a hen doth gather a brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” Jerusalem means “possession of peace,” and is built high up on Mount Zion, surrounded on three sides by the Valleys of Jehoshaphat, Hinnom, Gihon, and Kidron, one continuous, deep, mountain gorge, bearing the above names in different localities and impassable by an invading army, thus rendering it the most impregnable natural fortification of any city on the globe — a consideration of greatest moment, when we remember that Jerusalem has been besieged seventeen times and destroyed seven times; as all the kings of the earth, in all ages, seem to hold a grudge against this city, doubtless because they feared her power and influence, as she was universally understood to be the City of God. Not only in the creation of the world and the formation of these great, deep valleys did God favor Jerusalem, but His manifest miraculous interventions in her behalf are more than tongue can tell. Despite the lavish goodness of God and the copious bounty of heaven, which He poured upon her, giving her pre-eminence in all the earth for the inspiration of her prophets, the wisdom of her statesmen, the valor of her warriors, and the thrift and enterprise of her citizens, yet she would reject, persecute, and slay His prophets and saints, and go off after the idolatry of her heathen neighbors, following false prophets. Finally, as Jesus here sees in glowing panorama, moving before His infallible vision, instead of receiving her own Christ, for whom she had waited four thousand years in longing anticipation, she rejected and slew Him, thus provoking the righteous indignation of the merciful and infallible Jehovah, and brining on the Roman armies, with rivers of blood and deluges of fire, to accelerate those awful retributive judgments which expedited her hopeless ruin. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” In A. D. 66 the Roman armies laid siege to Jerusalem, waging an exterminating war, consummating her utter destruction in 73. At the same time they rolled the desolating tide of fire and blood over all Palestine, literally verifying this terrible prophecy. The laud actually went into desolation, a million of Jews at Jerusalem alone perishing by sword, pestilence, and famine; a million more sold into slavery; and the scathed and peeled remnant driven to the ends of the earth, fugitives and tramps in every land. Jesus saw this awful panorama of blood and fire, death and destruction, rolling in horrors indescribable from Dan to Beersheba. Our mortal, finite conceptions, when augmented by the literal history of these awful tragedies, are utterly incompetent even to approximate apprehension; while the omniscience of Jesus saw every suffering, dying victim. It was God’s will and purpose that the Jews should receive their own Christ with open arms, and enjoy the exalted honor and blessing of preaching Him to the whole world, thus promoting the children of Abraham to the leadership of all nations. What a wonder that Jerusalem thus failed! N.B. — Man has proved a failure in every station, and actually forfeited all responsibility, under most favorable circumstances; and without a shadow of apology, he failed in Eden. After his lamentable fall and expulsion from Paradise, it seems that he should have profited by his failure and done better. But he did not. Going on and getting worse and worse, he so signally failed in antediluvian times as to provoke the righteous indignation of the Almighty and bring on the flood. Then he so failed in the postdiluvian age as actually to land in hopeless slavery. Afterward we see him failing so signally in the Jewish dispensation as to wind it up in the fulfillment of these awful prophecies, the destruction of Jerusalem and the desolation of the land. All this resulted from the long-prevailing maxim of Rome, “To rule or ruin.” Hence when the Jews, in their wild infatuation, because forsaken by the Holy Spirit and manipulated by Satan, persistently revolted against the Romans, they came with invincible armies, destroyed their city, and desolated their land.

I say unto you that you can see Me no more until it shall come to pass that you may say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Here we see the transcendent sweep of the Divine mind, through all the intervening centuries of their alienation and sojourn among the Gentiles, till the elect remnant shall have been gathered out of every nation, which is so rapidly going on at the present day. Having thus been gathered from every land in a dry-bone state (Ezekiel 37), those bones will stir and rattle, and come together in glorious, spiritual reconstruction, when they will at last find out their awful mistake in rejecting their own Christ, turn to Him by thousands and myriads, and thus get ready, right there at Jerusalem, to hail Him with joyful triumph riding down on a cloud, and shout uproariously, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!” You see the wonderful sweep of this prophecy — beginning with the destruction of Jerusalem and the desolation of Zion, following them in their long dispersions, wandering among the Gentiles to the ends of the earth, providentially gathered back to their native land, then gloriously saved and felicitously sanctified, so that when He returns in His glory, His own consanguinity will meet Him with joyous shouts of welcome.

 


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Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Luke 13:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/luke-13.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, September 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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