James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.Luke 13:1-35
JUDGMENT AND PENALTY
There is such a close connection between the opening of this chapter and the close of the preceding, that it were better not to have separated them. Jesus had been speaking of judgment and penalty, and now came those to him who put a case or two which seem to illustrate what he said (Luke 13:1-15). But they are mistaken, as He teaches them. “Those events had a voice for the living, and concerned not only the dead.”
The parable of the barren fig tree is intended to impress this still further (Luke 13:6-9). The Jewish nation was the fig tree, and for the three years of Christ’s ministry there had been no fruit from it. A little longer delay would be granted, and then it would be cut down (but not rooted up). This agrees with all the prophets, that a remnant will someday spring up and bear fruit.
All that follows down to and including Luke 13:21, is related to this same teaching. For example, the spirit of the ruler of the synagogue (Luke 13:10-17), showed the unlikelihood of any change in the nation; while the parables of the mustard-seed and the leaven foreshadowed what we were taught in Matthew 13 and another point of view. In other words, the Jews were to lose their place as God’s witnessing people on the earth for the time being, and His Kingdom would come to embrace the Gentiles. Both of these parables treat of Christian profession, the first (Luke 13:18-19) showing its spread from a small beginning, and the second (Luke 13:20-21) “its permeation by a generally accepted creed, as leaven permeated the dough.” There is no thought in either of the parables however, that the Gospel would spread over the whole earth in this age, nor have we found this taught anywhere in the New Testament.
The remainder of the chapter consists of Christ’s teachings on His way toward Jerusalem (Luke 13:22), and they too, bear on the general subject of judgment and penalty. The question in Luke 13:23 is answered only indirectly. Each one is to make sure of his own salvation. It is no ideal picture that is set before us in the verses following (Luke 13:25-30), for it is the Judge of that solemn day Himself Who speaks. The Pharisees, troubled at His words, but hypocritically professing interest in his safety, warn Him in Luke 13:31, but they might spare themselves their pains, for He was walking deliberately towards death, which, for Him, could take place only in Jerusalem.
1. Tell the story of Luke 13:1-5 in your own words.
2. Give an interpretation of the barren fig tree.
3. Do the same for the two parables of the lesson.
4. Memorize Luke 13:24.