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Gospel of Luke Chapter 13
Theme: Jesus teaches men not to judge but to repent; parable of the fig tree; Jesus heals woman with infirmity; parables of the mustard seed and leaven; continues to teach as He goes toward Jerusalem; Jesus weeps over Jerusalem.
Jesus Preaches Repentance (Luke 13:1-5)
Luke 13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. (KJV)
There were present at that season . . . among the multitude of people (Lk.12:1) that were then hearing the discourses and sayings of Christ.
Some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices . . . these Galileans were possibly some of the followers of Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37), who tried to draw the Jews from the Roman government, and affirmed it was not lawful to give tribute to Caesar; at which Pilate was enraged, sent a band of soldiers, and slew these his followers, who had come up to the feast of the Passover. And as they were offering their sacrifices in the Temple, their blood was mixed with the blood of the Passover lambs, which it seems had just been recently done. Here was a great slaughter of the Galileans, but there was a greater one afterwards by the Romans. It may be that the Pharisees mention this case to Christ, to rebuke Him and His followers, who were called Galileans, as His apostles chiefly were.
Luke 13:2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? (KJV)
And Jesus answering, said unto them . . . Jesus neither approved, nor condemned Pilate's action. The fact that the men came to a sudden and violent death is not proof that they were especially wicked. He recognized the Galileans to be sinners, which could not be denied, but He does not bear down hard on them, but advances the instance for the outlook of His hearers, in order to show them the necessity of repentance, and to bring them to it.
Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? . . . it seemed that the people determined from their violent and untimely deaths, that they had been very bad and exceptional sinners, and guilty of the most massive crimes, which had brought upon them the just judgments of God. But this was NOT a rule of judging; for often the best of the best men suffer exceptionally in this life. God's judgments are a great deep (Ps.36:6), and not to be probed by us, nor is His judgments to be easily known. When anything befalls persons in a way of judgment; NOTHING comes by chance, but everything by the wisdom of God’s divine providence! The best we can do is to examine ourselves, and to repent, lest we also perish. 1 Cor. 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (KJV)
Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (KJV)
I tell you, nay . . . they were NOT greater sinners than others of their neighbors, nor is it to be concluded from the bloody slaughter that was made of them; others might be much more deserving of such an end than they, who yet escaped it.
But except ye repent . . . of sin, and especially of the disbelief of the Messiah.
Ye shall likewise perish . . . or perish, in like manner, as these Galileans did: and so it came to pass in the destruction of Jerusalem, that great numbers of the unbelieving Jews, even three hundred thousand men were destroyed at the feast of Passover, and that for incitement to rebellion, as these men very likely were.
Luke 13:4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? (KJV)
Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them . . . there was a pool near Jerusalem, called the Pool of Siloam (Jn.9:7), and nearby was a tower built, which fell down and killed eighteen men; possibly as they were purifying themselves in the pool; and so that case was very much like the other one. This Christ notes, to put them in mind that they might see that not only Galileans, whom they held in great contempt, but even inhabitants of Jerusalem, died violent deaths, and came to untimely ends. This was to be concluded from these cases, that they were not sinners of a greater size, or their state worse than that of other men.
Think ye that they were sinners . . . or debtors; sins are called debts in Mat.6:12, so sinners are called debtors.
Above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? . . . there might be, and doubtless there were, as great, or greater sinners, in that holy city, and among such that made great pretensions to religion and holiness, as they were.
Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (KJV)
I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish . . . the victims of Pilate and the men who were killed when the tower fell were not judged of God. God does nothing in spite. Jesus was telling the religious crowd of His day that unless they repented, they would also perish.
This passage has several lessons for us: #1. When a Christian has trouble beyond the average amount (and many do), we are NOT to interpret it to mean that he is a greater sinner than others. Trouble does not always come to a person because of his sins. #2. Just becoming a Christian does NOT automatically keep you from trouble; sometimes it is the opposite because Satan want you back on his side. #3. A TRUE Christian shall miss the Great Tribulation (Rev.6-18), but you will NOT miss the little tribulations and trials in this life on Earth. #4. When you see trouble coming to someone else and not to you, it does NOT mean that you are better than that individual. #5. Jesus cautioned His hearers not to blame great sufferers, as if they were to be figured as great sinners. #6. NO place or job can keep a person from the stroke of death. We should consider the sudden removals of others as warnings to our own lives. #7. Jesus set up a call to repentance. The same Jesus that tells us to repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, tells us to repent, for IF we do NOT repent, we shall perish . . . in HELL!
Parable of the Fruitless Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9)
The parable of the fig tree comes from the previous discussion.
Luke 13:6 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. (KJV)
He spoke also this parable . . . see parables (Mat.13:3). Jesus is setting forth the patience of God towards the Jewish nation, their unfruitfulness, and the danger of their being destroyed.
A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard . . . vineyard is a place where vines were planted. It was not common to plant fig-trees in them. A certain man: (Isa.5:1; Mat.21:19).
And he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none . . . IF this is to be understood of God the Father, it means His coming to the Jewish people by His servants and prophets, time after time, and at finally by John the Baptist, and Christ Jesus, and His apostles, seeking and requiring fruits of holiness, righteousness, and judgment, but found instead thereof the wild grapes of wickedness, oppression, and violence. But, IF this is of Christ Jesus, it means His incarnation, or His coming into the world as Man, and seeking by His ministry, the fruits of faith in Himself, and repentance towards God among the people of the Jews, but found none. Any instances of faith in Israel were very rare, and few repented of their evil works; and so He rebuked many for their impenitence and unbelief. (Mat.11:20). Sought fruit thereon: (Jn.15:16; Gal.5:22; Phil.4:17).
Luke 13:7 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? (KJV)
Then said he unto the dresser of the vineyard . . . the dresser of his vineyard is the man whose duty it was to trim the vines and take care of his vineyard.
Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none . . . these three years mean, as applicable to the vineyard, that the owner had been a long time expecting fruit on the tree. For three successive years he had been disappointed. In his view it was long enough to show that the tree was barren and would yield no fruit, and that therefore it should be cut down. These three years are said by some to be the time which Christ had been preaching the Gospel, as if he meant to specify the exact period.
Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground? . . . cumber here means to render barren or sterile. By taking up the juices of the earth, this useless tree rendered the ground sterile, and prevented the growth of the neighboring vines. It was not merely useless, but was doing mischief, which may be said of all sinners and all hypocritical professors of religion.
This parable is to be taken in connection with what goes before, and with our Saviour's calling the Jewish nation to repentance. It was spoken to illustrate the dealings of God with them, and their own wickedness under all His kindness, and we may understand the different parts of the parable as designed to represent:
#1. God, is the Man who owned the vineyard.
#2. The vineyard is the Jewish people.
#3. The coming of the owner for fruit of the tree is God’s desire that they should produce good works.
#4. The tree’s barrenness, is the wickedness of the people.
#5. The dresser was possibly intended to mean the Saviour and the other messengers of God, pleading that God would spare the Jews, and save them from their enemies that stood ready to destroy them, as soon as God would permit.
#6. His waiting means the delay of vengeance, to give them an opportunity to repent.
#7. The remark of the dresser that he might then cut it down, means the acceptance of all in the belief that such a judgment would be just.
Luke 13:8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: (KJV)
And he answering, said unto him, Lord . . . Christ, as Intercessor, is unwilling to see it cut down so long as there was any hope (see Lk.13:34).
Let it alone this year also . . . have patience one year more, or a little while longer.
Till I shall dig about it, and dung it . . . they carry manure into their gardens and vineyards to moisten the earth, and dig about the roots of the trees, and prune them, and smoke them to kill the worms. By this, may mean the different methods Jesus made use of in His own ministry, and the ministry of His apostles, to make the Jews a fruitful people, trying to reach the cases of barren professors by "digging" or striking at and exposing some secret sin or sins, which are the root and source of their barrenness.
If a preacher or a person has no root in Christ, and they declare just a mere profession of religion, these are barren, and means that such professors are without spiritual life, and without any real warmth of love for Jesus, His truths, His Gospel, His ordinances and His people. These go about their duty in a cold and lifeless manner. They have NO warmth in their heart to fire them with zeal for God.
Luke 13:9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. (KJV)
And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down . . . Israel, should be the visible witness of God in the world, but in general they are not! (Isa.5:1-7; Jn.15:1-8). The fig tree without fruit is symbolic of the nation Israel. The owner of the fig tree expected it to bear fruit and was disappointed when it was barren. He had the right to take the fruit and to act in judgment by cutting down the tree. Israel had been promised blessings if they walked in the light God had given them and curses if they rejected the light (Deut.28). The nation was given special attention, cultivated and fertilized. It should have produced fruit, but it did not. Israel rejected their Messiah, even saying, " . . . . His blood be on us, and on our children" (Mat.27:25). Israel certainly did experience God's judgment and was scattered among the nations of the world. It is interesting to note that Israel cannot even live in her land today and have peace while she continues to reject God. It is not Russia or the Arabs that are giving Israel so much trouble; it is God! Israel is God's chosen people. He is going to bring them back to their land someday in faith and belief. They are returning to the land today in unbelief, and they do NOT have peace. This is the evidence of the hand of God in the affairs of the world.
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 most definitely refers to the nation Israel . . . BUT . . . without doubt, it is to awaken all that enjoy the means of grace and privileges of the visible church. God has been patient for a long time, let it be our prayer that He will bear with us yet a little longer . . . but my friend, we cannot expect that His patience will stay with us always. He makes NO such Promise! We must repent!
Jesus Heals the Woman with the Infirmity (Luke 13:10-17)
Luke 13:10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. (KJV)
And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath . . . Jesus, as a Teacher was sent from God, and who took every opportunity of instructing men in the truths of the Gospel. This was done either in Galilee or in Judea, in one of the synagogues of some city there. In their larger cities there were more synagogues than one. In Jerusalem, it seems there were many.
Luke 13:11 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. (KJV)
And behold there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years . . . this woman was weak and afflicted, caused by Satan (Lk.13:16). Eighteen years . . . this affliction had continued a long time, revealing that the miracle was real; that the disease was not put on. But, even though she was afflicted, it seems she regularly attended the worship of God in the synagogue. Spirit of infirmity: (Ps.6:2).
And was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself . . .
or lift up her head, look up, or stand upright; it was a thing utterly impossible, which she could by no means do; her body was convulsed, and every part so contracted, that, as one version renders it, "she could not stretch out a hand or foot".
Luke 13:12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. (KJV)
And when Jesus saw her he called her to him . . . in the synagogue among the people, either while, or after He was done teaching. Jesus, of His own accord, without being asked by the woman, or any other for her, out of great compassion to her, seeing her in that miserable condition, and knowing full well the nature, cause and long continuance of her disorder.
Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity . . . her infirmity not only had bent her, but it bound her, as if she were tied with ropes. When Jesus said these words, and with His hands laid upon her, her bonds burst asunder, dispossessing the evil spirit, and delivering her from her long affliction. Can you imagine the surprise and joy the woman felt?
Luke 13:13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. (KJV)
And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight . . . as He spoke the above words, which He often did when He healed diseases. She lifted herself up, standing upright, with all the parts of her body as straight as they should be.
And glorified God . . . the woman glorified God, as she was filled with gratitude for the mercy, and gave God the glory for it. This woman is a symbol of a poor sinner held in the bonds of iniquity by Satan, being led captive by him at his will. These can by no means raise them self; nor lift up their head to Heaven, or look upward to Jesus for deliverance. Only Christ Jesus can heal such as these!
Luke 13:14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. (KJV)
And the ruler of the synagogue . . . there is just one ruler in a synagogue (Mat.9:18).
Answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day . . . his anger and resentment was at Jesus, and the miracle He had done, being filled with envy at the honor it would bring to Him, although he hid it under presence of its being a violation of the Sabbath, and that it ought not to have been done on such a day, and in such a place, which were not for servile work, but to religious worship.
And said unto the people . . . over whom he had an authority, and who stood in awe of him, because of his office and dignity. He dared not to attack Jesus Himself, at least not directly, although he struck at Him through the people, whose doctrine and miracles were so amazing.
There are six days which men ought to work, in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day . . . referring to the fourth commandment, but this remark and rebuke were brash and needless, for the people did not come to be healed. For it seems that the cure was unthought-of and unexpected; nor was healing, especially as performed by Christ, by a word and a touch, a servile work, and therefore could not be any breach of the law referred to.
Consider the conduct of the ruler of the synagogue on the occasion:
#1. He answered with indignation (anger and resentment).
#2. It seems that the demon who had left the woman's body had gotten into his heart.
#3. He tries to prevent others from receiving the loving-kindness of the Holy and Helpful Jesus.
#4. Men like this have extensive influence over the poor, and do great harm; hindering them from hearing that Truth which is able to save their souls. For this sin they must stand before Judge Jesus one day.
#5. Was not the Sabbath instituted for the benefit of man?
#6. His adversaries were ashamed of him.
#7. His anger, resentment and cruel criticism, not only turn to his own confusion, but are made the instruments of the edification to the multitude. They rejoiced at all the wonderful things that Jesus did.
This poor woman had one of the worst cases of disorders recorded in the Bible. She had a severe condition. The problem arose, NOT because Jesus healed her, but because He healed her on the Sabbath day. The Lord healing people on the Sabbath day was a repeated source of conflict between Himself and the religious rulers.
This woman had a spirit of infirmity that had plagued her for eighteen years. Her illness was chronic. Because of it she was bowed down or "bent double." This poor woman could not lift herself up. She was a woman with a desperate condition. She was an unfortunate victim who was an object of pity. This was probably one of the most terrible cases of physical infirmity that the Lord dealt with on Earth.
Luke 13:15 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? (KJV)
The Lord then answered him and said . . . although Jesus did not direct His speech to the man, He knew that He struck at him where it hurt, and suggested that the man was a violator of the Sabbath, as well as the people. Therefore in defense of Himself, and of what He had done, and to expose the hypocrisy of this man, Jesus answer follows,
Thou hypocrite . . . Jesus used this name on many occasions. Hypocrites: (Mat.6:2,5,16; 7:5; 15:7; 16:3; 22:18; 23:13,14,15,23,25,27,29; 24:51; Mk.7:6; Lk.6:42; 11:44; 12:56; 13:15).
Doth not each one of you, on the sabbath day, loose his ox, or his ass, from the stall . . . loose your animals from where they are tied,
And lead him away to watering? . . . to water where they may drink? This agreed to their own laws and practice that beasts may be led out on a Sabbath day. Therefore very justly does the Lord witness to the ruler of the synagogue their own practices towards a beast, in defense of His works of mercy to men.
Luke 13:16 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? (KJV)
And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham . . . the woman was not only a rational creature, and much preferred to an animal; but she was a descendant of Abraham, of whom the Jews gloried, and in descent from him prided themselves. She was no doubt a good woman, a worshipper of the God of Israel; who, in a spiritual sense, was a daughter of Abraham, that walked in the steps of his faith, and was now a believer in Christ, and appeared to be a chosen vessel of salvation.
Whom Satan hath bound, lo these eighteen years . . . with a bodily disorder that none could loose her from in so long a time.
Should not such an one be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? . . . the force and wisdom of Jesus’ reasoning is this, that if it was lawful, on a Sabbath day, to lead a beast to water, to quench its thirst, so that it may not suffer, how much more reasonable would it be, that a human being, one of Abraham's descendants, and a religious person, who had been for eighteen years under a painful affliction, because of the power of Satan over her, should be freed from that affliction on the Sabbath day? If mercy is to be shown to beasts, much more should be shown to men and women.
We do not know WHY this woman had been bound by Satan. We are not told, so it is not necessary for us to know. She seemingly was not an immoral person, for she attended regularly in the synagogue, even in her condition. It was in the synagogue that the Great Physician said to her, "Be loosed." He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight and glorified God. His touch upon her was not needed but it encouraged her faith. It was personal contact, and personal contact with Him is the important thing for us also.
The ruler of the synagogue rebuked her sharply . . . yet this woman had not come to the synagogue with any intention of being healed. The reaction of the religious ruler was strange indeed. He was more interested in the rule than he was in the fact that a poor woman, who had been bound for eighteen years with a grievous infirmity, had been freed. The Sabbath question was the most important issue to these religious rulers. Yet Sabbath bans had become a burden too great to be borne. The Sabbath question is still one of heated debate today. The important thing is not to argue about religion, but to learn to live according to the Bible.
Luke 13:17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. (KJV)
And when he had said these things . . . when Jesus argued with them about their own practices, and in a way so strong and sensible, it carried great evidence and persuasion with it.
All his adversaries were ashamed . . . not only the ruler of the synagogue, but the Scribes and Pharisees that were present, who followed Him wherever He went, and were Jesus’ hardhearted enemies; these all were bewildered and silenced; shame appeared in their faces, that they could not lift up their heads, and look Him in the Face.
And all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him . . . for the doctrines He taught, and the miracles He did, and His wise and sensible thinking at this time, to the shame and confusion of all that opposed Him: for the multitude consisted of different kinds, and what He said and did, had different effects on them. Some were filled with joy, and others with wrath, malice, and envy. This is always true with respect to spiritual and eternal things, then and now. Glorious things have been done by Christ Jesus in the realm of eternity, by becoming the Security of His people, by entering into a covenant with His Father on their behalf.
Carnal and profane persons, hypocrites, formal professors, unbelievers, Pharisees and self-righteous persons do NOT rejoice at the Gospel of Jesus Christ. BUT. . . those who are the Lord's own people, who are openly His; who have passed under the work of the Spirit of God, who have seen their need of the things offered by Him, are wise of the value of them; for they know Jesus, they love Him, they believe in Him and they trust Him for eternal life. Have you let Jesus into your heart? There is NO substitute for Jesus anywhere in the Universe! Do you have doubts? Are you puzzled or troubled? Are you bent over double with the burdens of life? Only the Lord Jesus Christ can ease your burdens and forgive your sins. You can come to Him anytime . . . 24/7. He is more than ready and waits for you to come to Him to meet your need.
Parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven (Luke 13:18-21)
Luke 13:18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? (KJV)
Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? . . . the Kingdom of God is the same as the Kingdom of Heaven (Mat.13:31). And whereunto shall I resemble it? Is the way of speaking in: Mark 4:30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? (KJV) . . . it was common with the Jewish doctors, when they were about to illustrate anything in the form of a parable, to begin with questions like this.
Luke 13:19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. (KJV)
It is like a grain of mustard seed . . . meaning the kingdom of God, is like a grain of mustard seed; by which is meant, either the Gospel, or the grace of God in the hearts of His people, and possibly all of them. The Gospel is so called, because it brings life and immortality to light, by pointing to the kingdom of God, directing the way to it, and shows what qualifies persons for it. The Gospel gives people a claim to Heaven! The Gospel church is so called, because it is where Christ dwells, and rules as King; the members of it are His subjects, and the ordinances of it are His laws, to which they are obedient. The grace of God in the hearts of His people may be so called, because it governs them, reigning through righteousness unto eternal life. It is by the amazing grace of God, by which Christ reigns in and over them.
Which a man took and cast into his garden, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it . . . not that there are seeds smaller than this; but it seems that the meaning is, that this is one of the least of all seeds that were commonly known in Judea; and too, this very small seed which grew to a very large size shrub. A grain of mustard seed is often used, typically, for the least thing, as it is by Christ (Mat.17:20; Lk.17:6). The grace of God, in the ministry of the Word is implanted in the hearts of the Lord's people, is at first very small, like a grain of mustard seed. Faith in Christ is very weak when a person accepts the Lord Jesus, but increases with sincere prayer (Lk.17:5); spiritual strength is small, comforts little at first, but grows and comforts much before long, and the love of God does not seem large at first, but indeed grows and is felt within; light and knowledge in the doctrines of grace are slim and very obscure at first, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, becomes bright and understandable; fruit of the Spirit is small at first, but the Holy Spirit produces more and more and more with each passing day (Gal.5:22-26).
Both for its smallness at first, and its after increase; wherefore both Matthew and Mark observe, that it "is the least of all seed": which is true of the ministry of the Gospel, of the Gospel church state, and of the grace of God in the hearts of His people. (Mat.13:31-32; Mk.30-32). And waxed a great tree . . . may mean the spread of the Gospel in the world, the flourishing state of the church of Christ, and the growth of grace in the hearts of believers.
And the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it . . . the birds of the air have been interpreted by Jesus (Mat.13:19). These birds are the devil and his children. This parable reveals the outward growth of Christendom, while the parable of the leaven speaks of the internal condition of Christendom. My friend, the church has NOT, and will NOT convert the world, but it does have had a huge influence on the world. Anywhere that Christianity has gone can be called Christendom.
This parable reveals the outward growth of the organized church. The church and the world have become terribly mixed. There has been real integration between man in the church and man in the world. They live and act very much in the same way in our day. The Christian should be salt in the world, NOT sugar!
"The birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." Birds do not mean different denominations. That is a terrible contradiction of our Lord's own interpretation of the birds in the first parable. My friend, the birds in the parables of this discourse do NOT speak of anything good, but instead, they represent the evil of the devil. The birds are the ones that took the seed which fell by the wayside (Mat.13:3,19). The Lord Jesus said that they represent the enemy who is Satan. This tiny mustard seed, grew into an unnaturally large tree. This does NOT represent TRUE Christianity, but rather FALSE Christendom, that profess the Name of Christ Jesus . . . BUT . . . WHICH Jesus? (2 Cor.11:4). And they teach another gospel (Gal.1:6-7). These PROFESS the Name of Christ, but have NEITHER Christ Jesus or the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:9). Birds are the children of the devil (1 Jn.3:10), finding refuge in the church originally started by the Lord Jesus (Rev.18:2). Christendom today is a mustard tree filled with a lot of dirty birds! . . . . . . "The birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof" . . . we can be sure that the birds in the parables of this discourse absolutely do NOT speak of anything good, but instead, represent evil, sin and wickedness. The birds are the ones that took the seed which fell by the wayside. Our Lord said that they represent the enemy who is Satan. I think that this parable reveals the outward growth of the so-called Christian church in the Kingdom of Heaven. I say "so-called" because there are millions who PROFESS they are "Christians" but in fact, they are hypocrites, because they do not POSSESS Christ in their heart. The church and the world have become all horribly mixed up together. The church and worldly mankind have become incorporated, acting very much the same in most of the world. The TRUE Christian should be salt (Mat.5:13) in the world, not mustard!
Just because a person PROFESSES to be a "Christian," or PROFESSES to trust the Lord, or PROFESSES to make a "commitment" to the Lord . . . does NOT mean they are sincere. IF a person does not POSSESS Christ in their heart . . . and only God knows that Truth . . . they are a HYPOCRITE! (Matthew 23). Jesus pronounces '14' WOES on hypocrites there. Please do NOT be a hypocrite.
There are millions of Hell-bound souls who CLAIM to be born again and trust Christ. For instance, there are so many Catholics, who do not completely trust Christ, and Christ ALONE. They ALSO trust Mary, their priests, baptism, religion, works, and their sacraments to save them. So a big question arises: "Can a person who refuses to believe in eternal security be saved? Or is it unbelief in the Bible?" Again, quoting Darien: "You either believe the Bible or you don't." SO TRUE! http://www.hisservants.org/a_1_hypocrisy_runs_wild.htm
Luke 13:20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? (KJV)
And again he said . . . Jesus speaking on the parable of the grain of mustard seed, and also the leaven hid in three measures of meal.
Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God . . . the Gospel of the Kingdom, and the mysteries of it; and the grace of God in the heart, which makes us fit for the Kingdom of glory. (Mat.13:31).
Luke 13:21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (KJV)
It is like leaven . . . what does the leaven represent? There are some who say that here it means good, and it symbolizes the Gospel of Christ. I STRONGLY disagree. NO where in the Bible is leaven used as a standard of good; it is always a standard of evil. The word leaven occurs about 100 times in the Bible . . . and it is always used in a bad or evil sense. The rabbinical writers often used leaven as a symbol of evil. In the Old Testament it was forbidden to be used in the offerings made to God. In the New Testament our Lord warned to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees (Mat.16:6). The apostle Paul spoke of the leaven of malice and wickedness (1 Cor.5:8). Symbolism in the Bible NEVER contradicts itself, so we may be sure that leaven used here is NOT good. Leaven is absolutely NOT the TRUE Gospel of Christ Jesus. Leaven is evil: (Mat.13:33; 16:6,11,12; Mk.8:15; Lk.12:1; 13:21; 1 Cor.5:6-8; Gal.5:9). I believe that the leaven was “a” gospel, but it is “another gospel”, the FALSE gospel of the devil, or a perversion of the TRUE Gospel of Christ! Galatians 1:6-7 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. (KJV) And when anyone of these profess Christ Jesus, they are professing “another Jesus”. 2 Cor. 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (KJV) . . . There are MANY of these “another Jesus’”; the Catholics have theirs, the Mormons have theirs, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have theirs, etc, etc. IF you are not believing, accepting and professing the JESUS of the Bible, you are professing “another Jesus"!
Which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal . . .this “leaven” hidden is absolutely NOT good, absolutely NOT the Gospel of Christ! The leaven is EVIL. The “woman” is EVIL (Rev.2:20; 17:1-6). The “meal” is the Truth of Jesus, His work, His Word, His Gospel. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven" . . . do not stop in the middle of the stream . . . "which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal." The Gospel is represented by the three measures of meal. How can we be sure of this? Because meal is GOOD, made out of grain or seed, and the Lord Jesus has already told us in the parable of the Sower that the seed represents the Word of God (Mat.13:19;23).
Till the whole was leavened . . . this parable teaches that the invasion of wrong doctrine into the church will eventually lead to total apostasy. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said, ". . . when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Lk.18:8). The way the question is asked, demands a negative answer. In other words, Jesus is saying that when He does return, the world will be in total apostasy. My friend, it is well on its way! I pray that you are not with this group on the wrong road. So, the gospel of Satan (leaven), is hidden in the good meal (true Gospel of Christ), and it will eventually permeate the whole world. Only the heat of the fire will stop the leaven! The apostle Paul, writing to young Timothy, warns that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine (2 Tim.4:3-4). The final, total apostasy of the church is revealed in the church of Laodicea (Rev.3:14-19). Apostasy: (2 Thes.2:3; 1 Tim.1:19; 4:1; 5:12; 2 Tim.4:4; Heb.3:12; 2 Pet.2:21; 3:17). To read more on the subject of apostasy: http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_apostate_world.htm
The opinion of this humble servant follows, of which many will disagree.
What I think to be CORRECT: Leaven is evil. (Ex.12:15,19; 13:3; 23:18; 34:25; Lev.2:11; 6:17; 23:17; Deut.16:4; Mat.13:33; 16:6; Lk.13:21; 1 Cor.5:6; Gal.5:9). No Jew of that day or today, would even consider leaven as representing anything good. LEAVEN is evil: it is all sin, false doctrine, immorality, corruption. MEAL is the Truth of Jesus, His work, His Word! WOMAN is the mother of harlots (Rev.17). The doctrine of Satan (leaven), is introduced into the good meal (the TRUE doctrine of Christ), and it will eventually permeate the whole world. Only the fires of Hell will stop the leaven!
What I think to be INCORRECT: the woman is the true church. Leaven is the true Gospel, of Christ. Meal is the unbelieving world. IF this were true, this teaches that the result of the leaven (Gospel of Christ), would eventually win over the whole world. Only a fool would believe this!
Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (KJV)
Leaven, beware of: (Ex.12:20; Lev.2:1; Pro.19:27; Mat.13:33; 16:6-12; Mk.8:15-21; Lk.12:1; Gal.5:7-9; 1 Cor.5:6-8).
Apostasy: (2 Thes.2:3; 1 Tim.1:19; 4:1; 5:12; 2 Tim.4:4; Heb.3:12; 2 Pet.2:21; 3:17). To read more on the subject of apostasy: . . . . . . . . . http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_apostate_world.htm
Jesus Continues to Teach as He Continues To Jerusalem (Luke 13:22-33)
Luke 13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. (KJV)
And he went through the cities and villages . . . either of Galilee, or Judea, or both; since he was on His journey from Galilee, through Judea, to Jerusalem,
Teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem . . . on His trip to Jerusalem, He taught in every place He came to, anywhere He had an opportunity. It was His great joy to do good both to the bodies and souls of men; and He was constant and diligent in it. He stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem (Lk.9:51). He is on His way there, on His way to die in Jerusalem. This would be the Saviour's last journey.
The Kingdom of the Messiah is the Kingdom of God. May the grace of God grow in our hearts; may our faith increase, and may our love for Jesus grow exceedingly, with each passing day, and may we live so as to give undoubted evidence of our stand for the Truth of the Bible. May we follow Jesus’ example on how we should live.
Luke 13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, (KJV)
Then said one unto him . . . not one of His apostles, but one of the company, in one of the cities which He passed through, as He was in the road to Jerusalem.
Are there few that be saved? . . . this question was either out of curiosity or disrespect, and the answer to which can profit no man. The BIG question is, Can I be saved? The answer is Yes. How? Jesus answers in the next verse.
And he said unto them . . . not only to the man that asked the question, but to the multitude.
Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. (KJV)
Strive to enter in at the strait gate . . . what is meant by the strait gate, and by entering in at it?
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (KJV) There are only TWO gates leading to eternity. To me, it is so sad that millions CHOOSE the broad way that leads to Hell. That wide gate leads to a big broad road. Actually, BOTH these roads picture a funnel. Think about it. If you enter the funnel at the broad end, it keeps getting smaller and smaller. The longer a person stays on the broad, dark road, the harder it is to get off! It is dark because it is the devil’s road! That road keeps narrowing until you come to deeper darkness, death, destruction, and finally Hell.
Now, consider the narrow road. Picture it too, as a funnel. On this narrow road, that only a few ever walk, you enter the funnel at the narrow part. That’s where Jesus is! He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He says, “… I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Now, on this narrow road, the longer you walk with Him, the wider it gets. Remember that Jesus is Light (John 1:4,9; 8:12), and as long as we walk with Him, the road is brightly lit. In Ezekiel’s prophecy (ch.47) there was a river flowing out from the throne of God which began as a little stream and widened out until it became a great river. That pictures the life of a child of God . . . it gets better every day. And the longer we stay on that narrow road, the wider it becomes, and the easier it is to stay on. Words of wisdom: When you pray, thank God, in Jesus’ Name, for His blessings each day.
To "strive" is to be diligent in the use of means; to search the Scriptures with care; to continue on with the study of the Word with faithfulness, neglecting no opportunity. We are to pray earnestly for spiritual light, love, knowledge and grace. We are to resist every enemy that opposes the salvation of the soul, such as sin, Satan and the world. We are to endure all reproaches and persecutions, and pressing through all difficulties with the help of Jesus, for the prize ahead. The symbol seems to be taken from the striving, wrestling and combat in the struggle for an incorruptible crown.
For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able . . . there shall come a tile when it will be too late, when the door is shut (Mat.25:10; Lk.11:7; 13:25).
Luke 13:25 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: (KJV)
When once the master of the house is risen up . . . from his table or his couch, the entertainment being over, or so here, the Gospel feast or dispensation, coming to an end, and all the guests were in, who had been called Lk.12:36-37). Christ Jesus having espoused all His elect to Himself, by the ministry of the Word, for by "the master of the house" is meant, the bridegroom of the church, the head of the body, the King of saints, who is over His own house, and high priest there; of whom the whole family in Heaven and Earth, is named: Christian!
And hath shut to the door . . . the door is shut and they cannot enter in! How striking and appalling this picture is, of one almost saved . . . but is lost! The door was shut . . . no more could be admitted to the marriage-feast. When the TRUE children of God shall all be received into Heaven, the door will be closed to all others. There will be NO more time for preparation AFTER the door is shut (Gen.7:16; Ecc.11:3; Mat.25:46; Lk.16:22-31). You must make ready NOW! I think that the parable of the virgins (Mat.25:1-13) clearly reveal this fact. Do NOT believe false teachers that will tell you that everyone will go to Heaven. That is a LIE! BEWARE of the damnable heresy of Universalism. It will lead you right into the lake of Fire (Rev.20:15). http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_f_d%20_universalism.htm
The door of mercy and hope; the door of faith; the door of the Gospel shall one day be shut.
And ye begin to stand without . . . do stand without, outside the holy city, where dogs are (Rev.22:15), having no admittance to the marriage chamber, nor to the marriage supper of the Lamb, and the joys of Heaven.
And to knock at the door, Saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us . . . this seems to show how close some people may come to Heaven, and yet NOT enter. They come up to the very door; having a hope and assurance that they may be admitted, then knock as if they were part of the family, and had a right to enter . . . but by finding the door shut to them. Then they begin to call out as well as knock.
SO many people think that if they are “good” people and say religious things, they will be rewarded with eternal life. Some false doctrines of today teach that ALL people go to Heaven (Universalism). The Bible does NOT teach Universalism! Quite the opposite is Truth. Only a FEW ever make it to Heaven (Mat.7:13-14). In reality, faith in Christ is what will count on Judgment Day. “That day” is the final day of reckoning when God will settle all accounts, judging sin and rewarding faith. NO matter what a person says he/she has done in the Name of Jesus; the Great and Wise Judge can see their hearts. ALL people shall be judged righteously! No one will be able to register a complaint. Those false teachers who have claimed to have cast out devils, or done miracles in Jesus’ Name, will finally be brought before the Judge and He shall punish them severely. NO rewards for them.
And he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not, whence you are . . . Matthew 25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (KJV) . . . The Lord and Bridegroom, thought it fit to give them an answer, but the answer was not what was expected by them, and was dreadful to them. So too shall it be with ALL who are in the category of the foolish virgins, just as it was in Noah’s time. My dear friend, God is indeed a God of love, BUT He is also a God of wrath (Jn.3:36; Rom.1:18; 2:5; Eph.5:6; Col.3:6; Rev.14:10,19; 15:7; 16:1,19. 19:15). His purity comes down hard on sin all through the Bible. In His wrath, He condemns time and time again, and His warnings to us are very clear! (Jn:3:18-19,36; 8:24; 12:47-48; Mk.16:16; 2 Thes.1:8-9; 2 Thes.2:12; Heb.2:3; 12:25; 1 Jn.5:10; Rev.20:15; 21:8).
Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (KJV) . . . Judge Jesus will openly proclaim, and rip off the masks of all hypocrites. This does NOT refer to the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Cor.3:11-15). ALL true believers, dead or alive, will have been removed from the Earth (1 Thes.4:13-18). This speaks of hypocrites, deceitful professors, NOT possessors of Christ. This most likely refers to the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev.20:11-15), where all unbelievers will stand.
I never knew you . . . what they claimed was a close relationship with Christ, is exactly what He renounces. They claimed intimacy with Christ, and in the similar Passage in Luke 13:26, that follows, and are represented as having gone out and in with Him on familiar terms. He has taken all that He can stand. No fellowship was broken off, because there never was any to begin with, Jesus will say very contemptuously. Depart from me . . . Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (KJV) . . . Ye that work iniquity . . . their sins are represented as fresh from the scenes and acts of it as they stand before the Judge. We see this more vivid and awful description of the scene here in Luke 13:24-27. The apostle Paul hints at these very words in 2 Tim. 2:19 "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." . . . When we follow God’s Truth, He will never forsake us. Trust Him! (Mat.7:23; 25:12,41).
Luke 13:26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. (KJV)
Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drank in thy presence . . . we have eaten, to have eaten with someone is evidence of friendship. Sinners may claim that they were professed followers of Jesus, and have some evidence that Jesus was their friend. There is no mention here to the sacrament of Communion. This is taken from the customs of men, and means simply that they had professed an attachment, and supposed that Jesus was their friend. (Mat.7:22-23).
In thy presence . . . eating with Jesus, as one friend does with another. 1 Cor. 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. (KJV) . . . We are NOT to eat with people who willingly commit these sins. YES! We are permitted to judge those who call themselves Christians (1 Cor.5:12-13).
And thou hast taught in our street . . .Jesus taught in the streets of many cities in Galilee and Judea: it was customary with the Jewish doctors to teach in the streets. Jesus loved the people and did not turn away from them.
This shows us:
#1. It is rare that people think themselves ready to die.
#2. How easily people are satisfied with their meager devotion to God.
#3. A profession of religion and living a good, moral, decent external life, is all most people have and all they seek.
#4. NO outward things will benefit the sinner on Judgment Day. It will be only true love to God, a real change of heart, and a life of righteousness that can save the soul from death.
#5. How important it is that we all should search themselves and see what the real foundation of our hope is.
Luke 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. (KJV)
But he shall say . . . get away from me, stay away from my door . . . Jesus shall express anger and resentment at them, a hatred of them, as not being able to bear them in His sight, or be near to Him because of their deception.
I tell you, I know you not whence you are . . . these are SAD words, from the lips of a loving and compassionate Jesus! He repeats this with a strong declaration, to show the sureness of the Truth expressed, and to cast off all hope in them, of ever succeeding by their appeals and begging. We are given multiple opportunities in our lifetime to believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13), and to trust and accept Jesus as our Saviour and Lord (Jn.3:15-8;36). IF by foolishness and stubbornness, anyone is determined to deny Him and His love, and reject His Sacrifice on the cross, Jesus will say these sad words to them on Judgment day! BEWARE!!!
Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity . . . This speaks of hypocrites and idle professors, NOT possessors of Christ. There shall be billions who deny and reject Jesus, who shall stand before the Great White Throne Judgment one day (Rev.20:11-15). There are multitudes who do NOT submit to Christ and His righteousness, and one day, He shall bid them to depart from Him, as wicked and unrighteous men (Ps.6:8; Mat.7:23). There are 70 references to the words: workers of iniquity, in the Bible.
Why Are People Shut Out?
Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us . . . the "other" five virgins were only virgins in name, not in reality. They were different from the wise ones who were ready, for they were NOT ready! Now, they stand outside the closed door. This so reminds me of Noah’s ark, and God Himself shutting the door (Gen.7:16). The people outside were just like these foolish maidens. No amount of begging, pleading or crying would change the situation. The door will be shut on you, and me, at our death. NO more time is given to us after the door is shut! We will either enter Heaven as did the wise maidens OR we will be outside and NOT be granted passage, for that door is shut! There is NOTHING more we can do after our death! Please do not believe the false doctrine of Purgatory. There is NO such place. NO where is it found in the Holy Bible! NO amount of prayer will supposedly get you out it and into Heaven, because it does NOT exist! This is simply the damnable “commandments of men” (Mat.15:9), NOT the commandments of our precious Saviour and Lord. Don’t believe me. Check it out for yourself. So many cults have their own man-made rules that are contrary to the Holy Word of Almighty God. (Mat.25:11-12).
Luke 13:28 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. (KJV)
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth . . . this states the miserable state and condition of persons outside of the Kingdom of Heaven; who shall weep for what they have lost, and gnash their teeth with the pain they must endure. (Mat.8:12).
When ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob . . . whose offspring these Jews were, and to whom they were related according to the flesh; and of descent, and from whom they boasted, and even trusted in it, thinking they were the favorites of Heaven, and expecting to be admitted into the Kingdom of God, because of it. SO sad will be the disappointment of such persons; for even though they were born of religious parents, that will NOT give them a right to Heaven, nor fitness for eternal glory. Regeneration is NOT of physical blood . . . it is spiritual! (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8). Aaron, Eli and Samuel were godly men, but they all had wicked sons (Num.3:4; 1 Sam.2:12; 8:3).
And all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out . . . the ones “shut out” of the kingdom would be able to SEE Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets there in the Kingdom of God, BUT they would be thrust out. This means that the children, or the people, the Jews, who expected the kingdom; to whom it properly belonged would not be permitted entrance! The Jews considered themselves to be the favorites of Heaven.
Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)
But the children of the kingdom . . . meaning the children, or the people, who expected the kingdom; or to whom it properly belonged; or, in other words, the Jews. The Jews considered themselves the favorites of Heaven. They called themselves, the children, or the members of the Kingdom of God, to the exclusion of the Gentiles. Jesus used the manner of speech to which they were accustomed, and said that many of the Gentiles would be saved, and many Jews lost. They called themselves the children or the members of the Kingdom of God, which excluded the Gentiles.
One cause of this irritation of spirit, is the Jews' idea of the rest and happiness that their ancestors had should belong to them also. The Jews considered the Gentiles to be their enemies, and Jesus is saying that some Gentiles would enjoy eternal life in Heaven; whereas they, who thought themselves to be God’s chosen (Ex.19:5; Deut.7:6; 14:2,21; 26:18-19; 32:9), and would have the same right to the Kingdom of Heaven that the Jews have to the inheritances of their fathers, and some of the Jews would be cast out, as having no portion there.
Shall be cast out into outer darkness . . . this is an image of future punishment. It is possible that the image was taken from Roman dungeons, which were usually under-ground, shut out from the light of the sun. They were damp, dark, unhealthy and filthy. Cruel masters constructed such prisons for their slaves, where these slaves, with no light, no comfort, spent his days and nights in weeping from grief, and in vainly gnashing his teeth in fury. The image expresses the fact that the wicked who are lost will be shut out from the light of Heaven, and from the peace, joy and hope, and will be confined in gloomy darkness; will weep in hopeless grief; and gnash their teeth against God, and murmur against His justice. Can you even begin to imagine this horrible image of future woe? Can you see in your mind a dark, solitary dungeon, then see a miserable and enraged victim? And on top of that, adding to his sufferings the thought of eternity, NEVER ending! If so, you have an image, a faint image, of Hell!
Hell: (Mat. 8:12; 13:30,50; 22:13; 25:46).
Shall be cast out . . . out of the land of Israel, as they were in a few years after this. These branches were broken off, and the Gentiles grafted in, in their place (Rom.11:17-24); and will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven, where they hoped to have a place,
Where shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth . . . this states the miserable state and condition of persons outside of the Kingdom of Heaven; who are weeping for what they have lost, and gnashing their teeth with the pain of what they must endure.
Luke 13:29 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. (KJV)
And they shall come come from the east and from the west . . . from all parts the world, from every nation under the heavens; meaning the Gentiles, and which will be all the greater anger of the punishment of the Jews, and cause still more rage and madness: these shall from the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same (Isa.45:6; Mal.1:11).
And from the north, and from the south . . . from the most distant parts of the world inhabited by men (Isa.43:5-6). God does have His chosen ones, and Christ Jesus has a people in all parts of the world; so His Gospel must be preached to ALL nations, to gather them in, which will be done in the latter day; and in Rapture (1 Thes.4:13-18), as these will be raised in the several places where they will have been buried, they will come from there, and make one body, and will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and will be forever with Him.
And shall sit down in the kingdom of God . . . in Christ's Kingdom, in the New Heavens and New Earth (Isa.65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet.3:13; Rev.21:1) as persons that sit down at a table, to partake of a feast (Lk.22:30), and in the ultimate glory, where they shall have rest, peace and joy, for evermore.
We see the same in (Mat.8:11-12), but Matthew says only from the east and west, omitting from the north and from the south. Weeping and gnashing of teeth, is a common expression by which the pains of the damned (Mk.16:16; Rom.14:23; 2 Thes.2:12) are expressed, especially by Matthew (Mat.8:12; 13:42; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30). The damned are those condemned to Hell (Jn.3:17-18).
Luke 13:30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. (KJV)
And behold, there are last which shall be first . . . meaning the Gentiles, the most callous and hopeless, afar off from God, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, called last of all; these shall be first, and sit down among patriarchs and prophets, men of the first rank here on Earth, in the Kingdom of Heaven, and enjoy the same glory and happiness with the Jews.
And there are first which shall be last . . . the Jews, who considered themselves the first people of God, to whom the truths of God, the outward privileges and ordinances were given; who had the Messiah first sent to them, and the Gospel first preached among them; these first ones shall be last, be rejected and despised, and shut out of the Kingdom of Heaven which they thought themselves heirs of, and expected to enjoy. (Mat.19:30; 20:16).
But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. . . These words are clearly illustrated by this parable, and may be applied to Jews or Gentiles, to supposed (hypocrites) and to TRUE Christians.
For many be called . . . externally, by the Gospel, just as the Jews were in general called by Christ and His apostles, but . . .
But few chosen . . . in Christ from all eternity. This is evident by the few among the Jews; and also the meager few among the Gentiles. BUT, the few that are outwardly called, are inwardly and effectually called by the powerful grace of God, out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pet.2:9), into the awesome liberty of the Gospel, into communion with Christ, and to the obtaining His eternal kingdom and glory. Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (KJV) . . . What a sobering thought this is!
This is a tremendous parable which illustrates a very important truth . . . it is NOT the amount of time which you serve, nor is it the status or importance of your position which determines your reward. You shall instead, be rewarded for your faithfulness to God and to the task which He has given you to do. It does NOT matter how small or how insignificant you think it is.
The charisma of Christ drew multitudes, but they soon discovered that there was a COST to follow Him. As He approached Jerusalem this last time it was noticeable. There came a day when it was written, "And they all forsook him, and fled" (Mk.14:50). Jesus made it very clear that there would be a cost to follow Him. Anyone who thinks differently is SO wrong! Jesus is telling us to "Make sure you are saved." In the rest of this brief sermon, the Lord Jesus made it clear that many will be saved who are NOT sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In verses 23-30, we are warned to enter at the Strait Gate. Jesus came to guide men's hearts, not to satisfy their curiosity. We are NOT to ask, how many shall be saved? But, will I be one of them? What shall I do, and what will become of me? Each of us must strive to enter in at the strait gate. Salvation is a personal thing! No one can do it for you. It is not an optional thing! You are either saved to the Kingdom of Heaven OR you are eternally lost to the fires of Hell. All that will be saved, MUST enter in at that strait gate, MUST undergo a change, from being a child of the devil to a child of God. (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8; 1 Jn.3:10). According to the Bible, there will be just a few that will be saved and make it to Heaven, Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world! That means you, and me! That means the WHOLE world IF they are wise! It is up to us which gate we enter! IF we CHOOSE to enter the wide gate, we shall end up with Satan and his children in Hell. BUT, IF we CHOOSE the strait gate, where Jesus is,we shall end up where Jesus is, and that is the bliss of Heaven! Our choice!
Jesus Reproves Herod, and Jerusalem
Luke 13:31 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. (KJV)
The same day there came certain of the Pharisees . . . who lived in Galilee, for the Pharisees were in all parts of the country. These certain ones, were offended and filled with anger and resentment at Jesus, because of the parables He had spoken that day, the miracles He had done, and several things which He had said, which they knew were aimed at them. They conspired to get rid of Him, by trying to scare Him with a plan of Herod's, to take away his life, should He continue there. This could be a strategy of Pharisees, or that of Herod making use of these men in this way, to terrify Jesus; fearing to lay hold on Him, and put Him to death; partly because of the people, and partly because of the continued uneasiness and terror of his mind, and for beheading John the Baptist.
Saying, get thee out and depart hence, for Herod will kill thee . . . the Pharisees coming to Jesus in this way would have the appearance of friendship, as if they had assumed or secretly learned that it was Herod's intention to kill Him. Their words, to anyone but Jesus, seemed like this was very possible. Herod had killed John the Baptist (Mat.14:1-12). Herod knew that Jesus made many disciples, and was drawing away many of the people. Herod was a wicked man, and he very likely feared the Presence of one who had such a strong a resemblance to John, whom he had killed. It might be very likely that Herod intended to take the life of Jesus, and this might appear as a friendly hint from the Pharisees, to escape. Jesus was extremely popular, and Herod did not dare openly to put Him to death because of the people, yet he desired Jesus’ removal, and for this purpose he might have sent these men, as if in a friendly way, to advise Him to depart. This may have been the reason why Jesus called Herod a fox. This was Herod the tetrarch, of Galilee; from where we learn, that Jesus was still in Galilee, although He was little by little journeying towards Jerusalem (Lk.13:22).
Luke 13:32 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. (KJV)
And he said unto them, Go ye and tell that fox . . . Herod, who may have sent them, and if so, Jesus was not ignorant, nor was Herod’s plan hidden from Jesus. Just as Nero was compared to a lion for his cruelty, so too, Herod for his obscurity in this instance, as well as in the whole of his conduct, was compared to a fox by Jesus. A fox is a symbol of slyness, cunning and crafty mischief. The word is also used to mean someone who misleads. Herod was a very wicked man, but the particular thing to which Jesus here alludes is not his vices, but his cunning, his artifice, in trying to remove Jesus out of his territory. He had attempted to do it by scheming, by sending these men who pretended great friendship for His life.
Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow . . . today and tomorrow, a little time. Did Jesus mean He would remain there for two more days? Was He telling Herod not to be worried, for He would do no evil? Was Jesus violating the laws, or was He only curing the sick?
And the third day . . . the third day, after a little time with the people there. Maybe, He meant that He would depart on that day for Jerusalem; that for two or three days more he would remain in the villages of Galilee, and then go on his way to Jerusalem.
I shall be perfected . . . does He mean He shall have ended His course there? That He perfected what He came to in Galilee? It does not refer to His personal perfection, for Jesus was always perfect, but it means that He would have finished or completed what He purposed to do in the regions of Herod. He would have completed his work, and would be ready then to go. Perfection? I think this goes a little deeper. I think it means Jesus shall then have accomplished the purpose for which He came into the world, leaving NOTHING undone which the counsel of God planned for Him to complete. I think in reference to the Lord Jesus, the word perfection means His dying; because the plan of human redemption was not finished, until He bowed His perfect Head and gave up the ghost on the cross. (Jn.19:30). Perfection is used in reference to Christ's sacrificial death. (Heb.2:10; 5:8-9; 12:23).
Jesus' life, work and death would NOT be determined by Herod or by the Pharisees. His life was planned and directed by Almighty God Himself, and His mission would unfold in God's time and according to God's plan. In this warning from the Pharisees, the Lord Jesus labeled Herod a fox. Man has not ascended from the animal; but sometimes he descends to the animal level in living.
Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem (Luke 13:34-35)
Luke 13:33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. (KJV)
Nevertheless, I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following . . . I must continue to work miracles and teach for a short time yet, and then I shall die in Jerusalem. Therefore I cannot depart, according to the advice given me, (verse 31) nor can a hair of my head fall to the ground until all my work is done.
For it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem . . . because the great Sanhedrim only sat at Jerusalem, and it was only to whom it belonged to try and judge a prophet; and if found to be false, to condemn him, and put him to death. Perish out of Jerusalem . . . any man who professes to be a prophet can be tried on that ground ONLY by the grand Sanhedrin, which always resided at Jerusalem; and since the Jews are about to put Jesus to death, under the pretense of His being a false prophet, therefore His sentence must come from Jerusalem, and His death take place there.
Luke 13:34 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! (KJV)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets . . . these words, with what follow, as they stand in (Mat.23:37-39), were delivered by Christ, when He was in the Temple at Jerusalem; but here, they were spoken by Him when in Galilee, in Herod's jurisdiction; so that it appears, that the same words were spoken by Christ at different times, in different places, and to different persons: unless it can be thought, that Luke copied them from Matthew, and inserts them here, on occasion of Christ's having mentioned the perishing of a prophet in Jerusalem; where many had been killed and put to death, in one way or another, and especially in the following,
And stonest them that are sent unto thee . . . as was Zechariah (2 Chron.24:20-24).
How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not? . . . Christ Jesus as a Man expresses a human affection for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and a human wish and will for their worldly good. He very properly gives as a symbol the mother hen, which is very affectionate to its young, and which it tries to keep from danger, by covering its chicks with its wings. But . . . they would not! The opposition and resistance to the will of Christ were not made by the people, but by their governors. It seems that the common people wanted to attend His ministry, as appears from the vast crowds, which, at different times and places, followed Him; but the chief priests and rulers did everything they could to keep them away from Him, and their belief in Him as the Messiah. They slandered His character, His miracles and His doctrines, they threatened the people with curses, and excommunication, making a law, that whoever confessed Him should be turned out of the synagogue (Jn.9:22; 12:42; 16:2). See: (Mat.23:37).
Luke 13:35 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. (KJV)
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate . . . your house means the Temple. The house of worship of the Jews. Desolate. About to be desolate, or destroyed. To be forsaken as a place of worship, and delivered into the hands of the Romans and destroyed. This would happen in a little time, both city and Temple. (Mat.23:38).
And verily I say unto you . . . He affirms this in the strongest manner,
Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord . . . not they themselves in person, but their posterity, who will be converted in the latter day: and shall acknowledge the Messiah, the Blessed of the Lord, who will come in His Name, to judge the world in righteousness. It may also mean when Christ shall come the second time, and every eye shall see Him, these Jews, among the rest, shall behold him, whom they have pierced, and mourn (Zec.12:10); and wish they were among those, that shall receive Him with joyful acclamations. They shall then be obliged to own Him as the Messiah, and to confess that He comes in the Name and with the authority of the Lord, and that He is blessed for evermore.
The day of mercy is gone. He had offered them protection and salvation, and they had utterly rejected Him and His salvation. They were about to crucify Him, and Temple would most certainly be destroyed. What a strange turn of events. The Jews expected Him to establish the Kingdom, with Jerusalem as the capital. But now He says that their house is to be left desolate and that they will NOT see Him again until they say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" thus admitting that He WAS the Messiah! Even though He is on His way to the Cross, He gives them assurance that He shall return, and that without a doubt, shall be His triumphal entry! The apostles were surprised and disappointed at the idea of a postponement; so they go to Him with some questions in Matthew 24. (Mat.23:39).
Christ's Reproof to Herod, and to the People of Jerusalem
Christ, in calling Herod a fox, gave him his true character. The greatest of men were, and ARE accountable to God, no matter who they are or how rich or powerful they are! The Lord said that He must die very shortly; when He died, He would be perfected, having completed His extraordinary mission of paying the sin debt of the world! (Jn.1:29; Heb.9:26; 1 Jn.2:2). We should look upon our time on Earth as but little, that we may hurry to do the work of the day in its day.
The wickedness of people which do nothing more than profess their religion and relationship to God, especially displeases and grieves the Lord Jesus. It is my prayer that those hypocrites (professors only, NOT possessors of Christ), and all unbelievers, realize how great a mistake they are making by disobedience, and denial and rejection of Jesus Christ who shall be Judge on Judgment Day. May we be ever so thankful, those of us who have opened the door of our hearts to Jesus (Rev.3:20; Lk.12:36), who so greatly benefit by accepting His great salvation. Thank You Jesus! Thank You, thank You!
Gospel of Luke
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