Luke Chapter Thirteen
Now, at this moment they reminded Him of a terrible judgment that had fallen upon some among them. He declares to them that neither this case, nor another which He recalls to their minds, is exceptional: that except they repent, the same thing should happen to them all. And He adds a parable in order to make them understand their position. Israel was the fig-tree in the vineyard of God. For three years He had been threatening to cut it down; it did but spoil His vineyard-did but encumber and uselessly cover the ground. But Jesus was trying for the last time all that could be done to make it bear fruit; if this did not succeed, grace could but make way for the just judgment of the Master of the vineyard. Why cultivate that which only did harm?
Nevertheless He acts in grace and in power towards the daughter of Abraham, according to the promises made to that people, and demonstrates that their resistance, pretending to oppose the law to grace, was but hypocrisy.
However (v. 18-21) the kingdom of God was to take an unexpected form in consequence of His rejection. Sown by the word, and not introduced in power, it would grow on the earth until it became a worldly power; and, as an outward profession and doctrine, would penetrate the whole sphere prepared for it in the sovereign counsels of God. Now this was not the kingdom established in power acting in righteousness, but as left to the responsibility of man, although the counsels of God were being accomplished.
At last, the Lord takes up, in a direct manner, the question of the position of the remnant and of the fate of Jerusalem (v. 22-35).
As He went through the cities and villages, fulfilling the work of grace, in spite of the contempt of the people, some one asked Him whether the remnant, those that would escape the judgment of Israel, should be many. He does not reply as to the number; but addresses Himself to the conscience of the inquirer, urging him to put forth all his energy that he might enter in at the strait gate. Not only would the multitude not enter in, but many, neglecting that gate, would desire to enter into the kingdom and not be able. And moreover, when once the master of the house was risen up, and the door was shut, it would be too late. He would say unto them, "I know you not, whence ye are." They would plead that He had been in their city. He would declare that He knew them not, workers of iniquity: there was "no peace for the wicked.' The gate of the kingdom was moral, real before God-conversion. The multitude of Israel would not go in at it; and outside, in tears and anguish, they should see the Gentiles sitting with the depositaries of the promises; while they, the children of the kingdom, according to the flesh, were shut out, and so much the more miserable that they had been nigh unto it. And those who had appeared to be first should be the last, and the last first.
The Pharisees, under pretence of consideration for the Lord, advise Him to go away. Thereupon He refers finally to the will of God as to the fulfilment of His work. It was no question of the power of man over Him. He should accomplish His work, and then go away; because Jerusalem had not known the time of her visitation. Himself, her true Lord, Jehovah, how often would He have gathered the children of this rebellious city under His wings, and they would not! Now His last effort in grace was accomplished, and their house left desolate, until they should repent, and, returning to the Lord, say according to Psalm 111, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Then He would appear, and they should see Him.
Nothing can be plainer than the connection and the force of these conversations. For Israel it was the last message, the last visitation of God. They rejected it. They were forsaken of God (though still beloved) until they should call upon Him whom they had rejected. Then this same Jesus would appear again, and Israel should see Him. This would be the day that the Lord had made.
His rejection-admitting the establishment of the kingdom as a tree and as leaven, during His absence-bore its fruit among the Jews until the end; and the revival amid that nation in the last days, and the return of Jesus on their repentance, will have reference to that great act of sin and rebellion. But this gives rise to further important instructions with regard to the kingdom.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Luke》
Christ exhorts to repentance from the case of the Galileans and others. (1-5) Parable of the barren fig-tree. (6-9) The infirm woman strengthened. (10-17) The parables of the mustard seed, and leaven. (18-22) Exhortation to enter at the strait gate. (23-30) Christ's reproof to Herod, and to the people of Jerusalem. (31-35)
Commentary on Luke 13:1-5
(Read Luke 13:1-5)
Mention was made to Christ of the death of some Galileans. This tragical story is briefly related here, and is not met with in any historians. In Christ's reply he spoke of another event, which, like it, gave an instance of people taken away by sudden death. Towers, that are built for safety, often prove to be men's destruction. He cautioned his hearers not to blame great sufferers, as if they were therefore to be accounted great sinners. As no place or employment can secure from the stroke of death, we should consider the sudden removals of others as warnings to ourselves. On these accounts Christ founded a call to repentance. The same Jesus that bids us repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, bids us repent, for otherwise we shall perish.
Commentary on Luke 13:6-9
(Read Luke 13:6-9)
This parable of the barren fig-tree is intended to enforce the warning given just before: the barren tree, except it brings forth fruit, will be cut down. This parable in the first place refers to the nation and people of the Jews. Yet it is, without doubt, for awakening all that enjoy the means of grace, and the privileges of the visible church. When God has borne long, we may hope that he will bear with us yet a little longer, but we cannot expect that he will bear always.
Commentary on Luke 13:10-17
(Read Luke 13:10-17)
Our Lord Jesus attended upon public worship on the sabbaths. Even bodily infirmities, unless very grievous, should not keep us from public worship on sabbath days. This woman came to Christ to be taught, and to get good to her soul, and then he relieved her bodily infirmity. This cure represents the work of Christ's grace upon the soul. And when crooked souls are made straight, they will show it by glorifying God. Christ knew that this ruler had a real enmity to him and to his gospel, and that he did but cloak it with a pretended zeal for the sabbath day; he really would not have them be healed any day; but if Jesus speaks the word, and puts forth his healing power, sinners are set free. This deliverance is often wrought on the Lord's day; and whatever labour tends to put men in the way of receiving the blessing, agrees with the design of that day.
Commentary on Luke 13:18-22
(Read Luke 13:18-22)
Here is the progress of the gospel foretold in two parables, as in Matthew 13. The kingdom of the Messiah is the kingdom of God. May grace grow in our hearts; may our faith and love grow exceedingly, so as to give undoubted evidence of their reality. May the example of God's saints be blessed to those among whom they live; and may his grace flow from heart to heart, until the little one becomes a thousand.
Commentary on Luke 13:23-30
(Read Luke 13:23-30)
Our Saviour came to guide men's consciences, not to gratify their curiosity. Ask not, How many shall be saved? But, Shall I be one of them? Not, What shall become of such and such? But, What shall I do, and what will become of me? Strive to enter in at the strait gate. This is directed to each of us; it is, Strive ye. All that will be saved, must enter in at the strait gate, must undergo a change of the whole man. Those that would enter in, must strive to enter. Here are awakening considerations, to enforce this exhortation. Oh that we may be all awakened by them! They answer the question, Are there few that shall be saved? But let none despond either as to themselves or others, for there are last who shall be first, and first who shall be last. If we reach heaven, we shall meet many there whom we little thought to meet, and miss many whom we expected to find.
Commentary on Luke 13:31-35
(Read Luke 13:31-35)
Christ, in calling Herod a fox, gave him his true character. The greatest of men were accountable to God, therefore it became him to call this proud king by his own name; but it is not an example for us. I know, said our Lord, that I must die very shortly; when I die, I shall be perfected, I shall have completed my undertaking. It is good for us to look upon the time we have before us as but little, that we may thereby be quickened to do the work of the day in its day. The wickedness of persons and places which more than others profess religion and relation to God, especially displeases and grieves the Lord Jesus. The judgment of the great day will convince unbelievers; but let us learn thankfully to welcome, and to profit by all who come in the name of the Lord, to call us to partake of his great salvation.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Luke》
 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Ye shall all likewise perish — All ye of Galilee and of Jerusalem shall perish in the very same manner. So the Greek word implies. And so they did. There was a remarkable resemblance between the fate of these Galileans and of the main body of the Jewish nation; the flower of which was slain at Jerusalem by the Roman sword, while they were assembled at one of their great festivals. And many thousands of them perished in the temple itself, and were literally buried under its ruins.
 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
A man had a fig tree — Either we may understand God the Father by him that had the vineyard , and Christ by him that kept it: or Christ himself is he that hath it, and his ministers they that keep it. Psalms 80:8. etc.
 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
Three years — Christ was then in the third year of his ministry. But it may mean only several years; a certain number being put for an uncertain.
Why doth it also cumber the ground? — That is, not only bear no fruit itself, but take up the ground of another tree that would.
 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
She was bowed together, and utterly unable to lift up herself — The evil spirit which possessed her afflicted her in this manner. To many doubtless it appeared a natural distemper. Would not a modern physician have termed it a nervous case?
 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
Thou hypocrite — For the real motive of his speaking was envy, not (as he pretended) pure zeal for the glory of God.
 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
And ought not this woman? — Ought not any human creature, which is so far better than an ox or an ass? Much more, this daughter of Abraham - probably in a spiritual as well as natural sense, to be loosed?
 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?
 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
Covered up — So that, for a time, nothing of it appeared.
 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
Strive to enter in — Agonize. Strive as in an agony. So the word signifies Otherwise none shall enter in. Barely seeking will not avail. Matthew 7:13.
 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
And even agonizing will not avail, after the door is shut. Agonize, therefore, now by faith, prayer, holiness, patience.
And ye begin to stand without — Till then they had not thought of it! O how new will that sense of their misery be? How late? How lasting? I know not whence ye are - I know not, that is, I approve not of your ways.
 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust 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.
They shall sit down in the kingdom of God — Both the kingdom of grace and of glory.
 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
But there are last — Many of the Gentiles who were latest called, shall be most highly rewarded; and many of the Jews who were first called, shall have no reward at all. Matthew 19:30.
 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.
Herod is minded to kill thee — Possibly they gave him the caution out of good will.
 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
And he said, Go and tell that fox — With great propriety so called, for his subtilty and cowardice. The meaning of our Lord's answer is, Notwithstanding all that he can do, I shall for the short time I have left, do the works of him that sent me. When that time is fulfilled, I shall be offered up. Yet not here, but in the bloody city.
Behold, I cast out devils — With what majesty does he speak to his enemies! With what tenderness to his friends! The third day I am perfected - On the third day he left Galilee, and set out for Jerusalem, to die there. But let us carefully distinguish between those things wherein Christ is our pattern, and those which were peculiar to his office. His extraordinary office justified him in using that severity of language, when speaking of wicked princes, and corrupt teachers, to which we have no call; and by which we should only bring scandal on religion, and ruin on ourselves, while we irritated rather than convinced or reformed those whom we so indecently rebuked.
 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
It cannot be, that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem — Which claims prescription for murdering the messengers of God. Such cruelty and malice cannot be found elsewhere.
 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
How often would I have gathered thy children together — Three solemn visits he had made to Jerusalem since his baptism for this very purpose. Matthew 23:37.
 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Your house is left to you desolate — Is now irrecoverably consigned to desolation and destruction: And verily I say to you, after a very short space, ye shall not see me till the time come, when taught by your calamities, ye shall be ready and disposed to say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. It does not imply, that they should then see Jesus at all; but only that they would earnestly wish for the Messiah, and in their extremity be ready to entertain any who should assume that character.
── John ‘Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Luke》
Chapter 13. Repent in Time
You Will All Perish
I. Parable of the Fig Tree
II. Healing of a Woman with Infirmity
III. Strive to Enter by the Narrow Gate
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
The Barren Fig Tree (Lk 13:6-9)
1. As we were making our way through the parables of Jesus as recorded
in Matthew's gospel, we noticed several that were directed toward
the nation of
in particular... Israel
a. "The Two Sons", which speaks to the rejection of John the Baptist
- Mt 21:28-32
b. "The Wicked Vinedressers", which applied to how
God's prophets, and eventually His Own Son - Mt 21:33-46
c. "The Wedding Feast", which provided a more vivid depiction of
wickedness and rebelliousness of the religious leaders - Mt 22:
-- These three parables were told during the last week of Jesus'
ministry, shortly before His crucifixion
2. Earlier, Jesus taught another parable that some believe was along a
a. That is, related to God's dealings with the nation of
as a Israel
b. And how the nation of
would be destroyed if it did not Israel
receive Jesus as the Messiah
-- The parable is known as "The Barren Fig Tree", recorded in Lk 13:
3. That may be true...
a. But the application has as much to do with individual repentance
as national repentance
b. This should make the parable of particular interest to us today,
as we attempt to learn from our Lord what He was teaching about
the need to repent
[Let's begin our study by noticing...]
I. THE PARABLE IN ITS ORIGINAL SETTING
A. JESUS WAS RESPONDING TO NEWS ABOUT A CALAMITY - Lk 13:1-5
1. He was told of how Pilate (the Roman governor) had...
a. Killed some Galileans (Jews from
Galilee, the same region
Jesus was from)
b. Mingled their blood along with their sacrifices
2. He anticipated the thinking of those who brought Him this
a. Were those who suffered such atrocities worse sinners than
b. No, and unless they repented they would likewise perish!
3. He reinforces His point with a reference to a similar calamity
a. In which a tower in Siloam (in
) collapsed and Jerusalem
killed eighteen people
b. Those victims were no worse sinners than others in
4. He then repeats His warning that unless they repent, they will
all likewise perish!
a. Some understand this to be a reference to the destruction
in A.D. 70 Jerusalem
b. Whether or not, it still called for individual repentance
B. THE PARABLE OF THE BARREN FIG TREE - Lk 13:6-9
1. The basic elements of the parable...
a. A man is disappointed that a fig tree in his vineyard is
b. He wants to cut it down, but is persuaded by the keeper of
the vineyard to give it one more year
c. If no fruit is borne, then the tree is to be cut down
2. The basic point of the parable...
a. The central lessons of verses 1-5 are clear: "Repent!"
b. The parable in verses 6-9 takes the call to repentance one
step further: "Repent NOW!" (HENDRIKSEN)
c. Fruitlessness will not be endured forever!
[Those who heard Jesus would appreciate the point, for what farmer
desires to put up with a tree that won't bear fruit? But do we today
appreciate the point?
To help make it even clearer, consider what we can glean from this
parable as some...]
II. LESSONS FOR US TODAY
A. WHERE GOD HAS EXTENDED PRIVILEGES, HE EXPECTS RETURNS...
1. The owner of the vineyard expected the fig tree to bear fruit
a. He had given it good soil
b. For three years it had been provided care
c. He was giving it an extra year, but only for the purpose of
2. God blessed
, and He was disappointed when it did not Israel
bear fruit- cf. Isa 5:1-7
3. So He has blessed us through His Son Jesus, and we are to
glorify God by bearing fruit - Jn 15:8
-- Have you utilized the privileges God has given you...?
B. THE LORD IS LONGSUFFERING, BUT IT DOESN'T LAST FOREVER...
1. We see the longsuffering of the owner of the vineyard
a. He had given the fig tree three years to produce fruit
b. He was persuaded to give it another year with special care
c. But that last year was the final opportunity the tree would
2. We see the longsuffering of the Lord in His dealing with
a. His longsuffering in the wilderness
b. His longsuffering in the times of the judges
c. His longsuffering during the reigns of the kings
d. And yet, He did take the "
" away from them kingdomof God
and give it to a nation bearing the fruits of it - cf. Mt
3. So the Lord has been longsuffering to us...
a. For He does not want anyone to be lost - 2 Pe 3:9
b. His longsuffering has been for our salvation - 2 Pe 3:15
c. But the longsuffering will one day end, and the "day of the
Lord" will come - 2 Pe 3:7,10
C. THOSE WHO ARE UNFRUITFUL WILL BE CUT OFF...
1. The barren fig tree, if it remained so, was to be cut down
2. So Jesus warned His disciples that such would happen to them
if they did not bear fruit ...
a. "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes
away;" - Jn 15:
b. "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch
and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into
the fire, and they are burned." - Jn 15:6
3. Paul warned the Gentile Christians that they would be cut off
if they did not remain faithful (which implies fruitfulness)
- Ro 11:19-23
4. We read of the end of those who were saved, but fell away;
despite receiving blessings from God, their end is likened to
that of thorns and briars - He 6:1-8
a. That is, "rejected and near to being cursed"
b. "...whose end is to be burned."
1. In light of such warnings, perhaps we can appreciate more...
a. The two-fold warning given by Jesus: "...unless you repent you
will all likewise perish" - Lk 13:3,5
b. The basic lesson of the parable of "The Barren Fig Tree": Repent
NOW! - Lk 13:6-9
1) For the Lord has been longsuffering already
2) And what time you have left may be short!
2. Don't think that people who die tragic deaths are any worse sinners
a. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God - Ro 3:23
b. Even just one sin makes one guilty of all - Ja 2:10
c. And the wages of sin is death (eternal separation from God) - Ro
6:23; cf. Re 21:8
-- So if we do not repent, our end will be no less tragic than the
worst calamity ever to befall mankind!
3. But the good news of the gospel is that God offers us the gift of
eternal life! - Ro 6:23
a. However, remember the warning for those who do not repent - Ro 2:
b. And, unlike the barren fig tree, you may have less than a year to