Luke 13

Luke 13:1

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.

Pilate; see entry for Luke 3:1.

Luke 13:3

“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

(a) Repent. To repent means to change your mind. In context, it means putting your faith in Jesus (John 3:15). God is not willing that any perish but all come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). See entry for Repentance.

(b) Perish. Those who reject the author of life have no lasting life in them (John 3:16).

Luke 13:5

“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

(a) Repent; see entry for Luke 13:3.

(b) Perish; see entry for Luke 13:3.

Luke 13:6

And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any.

Fruit. John, the last of the old covenant prophets, urged the Jews to “Bear the fruit of repentance,” meaning put your faith in Jesus (see entry for Matt. 3:8).

The fruit of repentance is faith. Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Jesus is not looking for moral people or philanthropists; he’s looking for those who will put their trust in him.

Luke 13:7

“And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’

Three years. Jesus spent three years in Israel looking for the fruits of repentance – faith in him – and when he found little he told this parable and cursed a fruitless fig tree (see entry for Mark 11:13).

Luke 13:9

and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”

Cut it down. The Israelites cut themselves off through unbelief. “God did not reject his people … they were broken off because of unbelief” (Rom. 11:2, 20).

The religious Jews trusted in themselves. Their source was self and their root was their downfall. Just as the fig tree withered from the roots up, the religious Jews rotted from the inside-out. What should they have done? They should have listened to Jesus. They should have abandoned their quest for self-improvement, put their faith in God, and allowed themselves to be grafted into the living Vine.

Luke 13:25

“Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’

Outside is the natural habitat of the unbeliever. Jesus was often “inside” with the believers and true disciples (Matt. 12:48–50, Mark 4:10), while those outside were the sceptics and unbelievers (Matt. 12:46–47, Luke 8:20).

Luke 13:27

and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’

Evildoers are unbelievers. Since the work of God is to believe in the One he sent (John 6:29), an evildoer is someone who rejects the Son (Heb. 10:29).

Luke 13:28

“In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out.

(a) In that place. Outside the kingdom, in the “outer darkness” (see Matt. 8:12).

(b) Weeping and gnashing of teeth. When the self-righteous and religious find themselves out in the dark and cold, they will react with anger and violence. See entry for Matt. 8:12.

(c) The kingdom; see next verse.

(d) Being thrown out. Those who reject Jesus have no place in his kingdom. They are thrown out or expelled by their unbelief (see previous verse).

Luke 13:29

“And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God.

(a) They will come. All nations will come to the banqueting table of the Lord as prophesied by Isaiah. and echoed by Jesus himself (Is. 25:6, Luke 14:21–23)

Before he died, Jesus told his disciples that he would send his messengers to the four corners of earth to gather the elect (see entry for Matt. 24:31). The prophecy was fulfilled in the Book of Acts. Since the Day of Pentecost the nations have been streaming to his church.

(b) The kingdom of God is synonymous with the kingdom of heaven; see entry for Matt. 3:2.

Luke 13:31

Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, “Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You.”

(a) Herod; see entry for Luke 3:1.

(b) Wants to kill you. Herod the tetrarch of Galilee had killed John the Baptist (Luke 9:9). Now he wanted to kill Jesus.

On several occasions people plotted or tried to murder Jesus (Matt. 26:59, Mark 14:55, Luke 4:30, 22:2, John 5:18, 7:19, 25, 11:53). But none succeeded. Jesus would freely lay down his life for all. No one would take it from him (John 10:18).

Luke 13:35

“Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’”

In Luke’s account these words come before Palm Sunday, but in Matthew’s gospel they come after (Matt. 23:39). Palm Sunday was the day the crowds welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 21:9). In the old days, to say a prophet came in the name of the Lord was to recognize him as a true prophet of God (Deut. 18:22). So when the people of Jerusalem hailed Jesus as coming in the name of the Lord, while singing the salvation song of Psalm 118, they were saying, “We recognize you as the true Savior.”

The Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as Savior so they were offended by the singing (Matt. 21:15). So Jesus told them, “You will not see me again until you sing the same tune.”

For three years the religious rulers of Jerusalem had seen Jesus up close, yet they did not believe he was who he said he was. So Jesus tells them, “You have seen me and not believed. Now you will not see me unless you believe.” They would not see him again except by faith. The religious leaders had rejected Jesus, but he had not rejected them. If they were to cry, “Lord, save us,” he would be there. The moment they saw him as a blessing from the Lord, they would be blessed.

The Grace Commentary is a work in progress with new content added regularly. Sign up for occasional updates below. Got a suggestion? Please use the Feedback page. To report typos or broken links on this page, please use the comment form below.

Leave a Reply