The Need for True Repentance
1Some of those in the crowd informed Jesus that Pilate had slaughtered some Galilean Jews # 13:1 It is likely that Pilate viewed these Jews as rebellious to his rule. This was indeed an atrocious act by Pilate. while they were offering sacrifices at the temple, mixing their blood with the sacrifices they were offering.
2Jesus turned and asked them, “Do you believe that the slaughtered Galileans were the worst sinners of all the Galileans? 3No, they weren’t! So listen to me, unless you all repent, # 13:3 The Greek term for repentance means “to change your mind and amend your ways.” you will perish as they did. 4What about the eighteen who perished when the tower of Siloam # 13:4 Siloam was the name of a pool or reservoir for the city of Jerusalem near the junction of the south and east walls of the city. fell upon them? Do you really think that they were more guilty than all of the others in Jerusalem? 5No, they weren’t, and unless you repent, you too will all eternally perish, just as they did.”
The Parable of the Barren Tree
6Then Jesus told them this parable: “There was a man who planted a fig tree in his orchard. But every time he came to gather fruit from his tree he found none, for it was barren. 7So he said to his gardener, ‘For the last three years I’ve come to gather figs from my tree but it remains fruitless. What a waste! Go ahead and cut it down!’
8“But the gardener protested, ‘Sir, we should leave it one more year. Let me fertilize and cultivate it, then let’s see if it will produce fruit. 9If it doesn’t bear figs by next year, we’ll cut it down.’ ” # 13:9 This parable was an obvious picture of the nation of Israel. The owner was the Father and the gardener was Jesus, who had come to them and for three years had longed to have true spiritual fruit from his spiritual vine (Isa. 5:1–7). The warning is that Israel would be cut down if the people did not repent and prove it by a changed life. The purpose of the parable was to warn people that they were in their last year of God’s grace toward them.
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath Day
10One Sabbath day, while Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, 11he encountered a seriously handicapped woman. She was crippled and had been doubled over for eighteen years. Her condition was caused by a demonic spirit of bondage # 13:11 Literally “spirit of weakness.” that had left her unable to stand up straight.
12-13When Jesus saw her condition, he called her to him and gently laid his hands on her. Then he said, “Dear woman, you are free. I release you forever from this crippling spirit.” Instantly she stood straight and tall and overflowed with glorious praise to God!
14The Jewish leader who was in charge of the synagogue was infuriated over Jesus healing on the Sabbath day. “Six days you are to work,” he shouted angrily to the crowd. “On those days you should come here for healing, but not on the seventh day!”
15The Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Don’t you care for your animals on the Sabbath, untying your ox or donkey from the stall and leading it away to water? 16If you do this for your animals, what’s wrong with allowing this beloved daughter of Abraham, # 13:16 The Jews spoke frequently about the sons of Abraham or an individual being a son of Abraham, but Jesus was the first to use this phrase “daughter of Abraham,” giving women equal value. who has been bound by Satan for eighteen long years, to be untied and set free on a Sabbath day?”
17When they heard this, his critics were completely humiliated. But the crowds shouted with joy over the glorious things Jesus was doing among them.
Parables of Jesus
18Jesus taught them this parable: “How can I describe God’s kingdom? 19God’s kingdom is like the smallest seed that one might plant in a garden. When it grows, it becomes a huge tree, with so many spreading branches that various birds make nests there.” # 13:19 See Ezek. 17:23. The obvious meaning of this parable is that God’s kingdom will begin small but it will expand, grow, and mature. People from every nation will come and make a “nest” in the kingdom of God.
20Jesus taught them another parable: “How can I describe God’s kingdom? 21God’s kingdom is like something as small as yeast that a woman kneads into a large amount of dough. It works unseen until it permeates # 13:21 This parable teaches that something small can impact and penetrate something great. It highlights the pervading influence of virtue and truth. A transformation takes place when the hidden yet pervasive kingdom impacts every part of culture and society around us. the entire batch and the loaf rises high.”
The Way of the Kingdom
22Jesus ministered from village to village, # 13:22 Jesus now visits the places where his disciples had already been. See Luke 10:1–11. making his way to Jerusalem and teaching the people as he went. 23A bystander asked him, “Lord, will only a few have eternal life?”
Jesus said to the crowd, 24“There is a great cost # 13:24 The Greek word used here is actually “agonize.” for anyone to enter through the narrow doorway into God’s kingdom. I tell you, many will want to enter but won’t be able to. 25Once the head of the house has shut and locked the door, it will be too late. Even if you stand outside knocking, begging to enter, and saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us,’ he will say to you, ‘I don’t know who you are. You are not a part of my family.’
26“Then you will reply, ‘But Lord, we dined with you and walked with you as you taught us.’ 27And he will reply, ‘Don’t you understand? I don’t know who you are, for you are not a part of my family. I will not let you in. Now, go away from me! For you are all disloyal to me and do evil.’ # 13:27 This is quoted from Ps. 6:8. Though they were acquaintances, they had not responded to his message with repentance. The word disloyal is taken from the Aramaic. The question to ask is not simply, “Will the saved be few?” (v. 23) but rather, “Will it be you?”
28“You will experience great weeping and great anguish when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, along with all the prophets of Israel, enjoying God’s kingdom while you yourselves are barred from entering. 29You will see people streaming from the four corners of the earth, accepting the invitation to feast in God’s kingdom realm, while you are outside looking in. 30And take note of this: Some are despised and viewed as the least important now, but one day the master will place them at the head of the line. And some whom you view as ‘elite’ today will become the least important then.”
Jesus’ Sorrow for Jerusalem
31Just then some Jewish religious leaders came to Jesus to urge him to flee from that place because Herod was out to kill him. 32Jesus told them, “Go and tell that deceiver # 13:32 Or “fox.” that I will continue to cast out demons and heal the sick today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will bring my work to perfection. 33For everyone knows I am safe until I come to Jerusalem, for that is where all the prophets have been killed. 34O City of Jerusalem, you are the city who murders your prophets! You are the city who pelts to death with stones the very messengers # 13:34 Or “apostles.” sent to deliver you! So many times I have longed to gather your wayward children together around me, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings—but you were too stubborn to let me. 35Now it is too late, since your house will be left in ruins. # 13:35 See Jer. 12:7. You will not see me again until you are able to say, ‘We welcome the one who comes to us sent in the name of the Lord.’ ” # 13:35 See Ps. 118:26.