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Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament

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Luke 13


 
Verse 1
Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

The sacred author, Luke alone, has documented this tragic episode from the violent, bloody period of which it was typical. Therefore, all that is known of this incident is in this verse. Such a conjecture as that of Henry, who supposed this act of Pilate "caused the enmity between Pilate and Herod" F1 (Luke 23:12), is logical but unproved. Furthermore, Luke's account does not need corroboration from profane history. "That Josephus makes no mention of this instance of Pilate's cruelty is of no importance." F2 The ruthless act of Pilate in this glimpse is fully consonant with Pilate's evil character, as invariably attested by all the histories of those times.

The implication here is that Pilate had sent a detachment of soldiers into the temple itself to execute bloody wrath on certain Galilaeans in the act of worshiping, their blood mingled with that of the sacrifices they were offering.

Who told him of the Galilaeans ...
There was manifest a certain self-righteousness in the bearers of this message to Jesus, as if they had been saying," Of course, we are not wicked sinners like them." Christ had been demanding repentance of the multitudes; "and evidently those who told Jesus of this incident were breaking the force of his teaching as applied to themselves." F3


 
Verse 2
And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered these things?

Think ye ... ?
Of course, this is exactly what they thought, having in themselves the ancient prejudices reaching as far back as Job, and which attributes every calamity upon men as the just punishment of their sins. Job's friends accused him of sin, their accusation being based on his sufferings; and likewise the citizens of Malta supposed Paul to have been a murderer, solely upon the basis of their observance that a poisonous serpent had bitten him (Acts 28:4). As Summers said, "This verse suggests that Jesus detected a note of pious superiority in the report"; F4 inasmuch as Jesus' audience had not suffered such a terrible fate as the Galileans, they were glorifying in the misassumption that they did not deserve punishment. Even the Twelve were infected with the same false views, as evidenced in John 9:2; but whether in the Twelve or in the multitude, the false philosophy which came into view was vigorously condemned by the Master.

In that deep human prejudice to the effect that great sufferers are receiving only what they deserve lies a germ of truth, namely, that all human sorrow and suffering derive, in the last analysis, from human sin; but it is a gross untruth that all disasters befalling men must be attributed to their immediate, specific sins. Many suffer through the sins of others, and some for no apparent reason at all.


 
Verse 3
I tell you, Nay; but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.

The great truth uttered here, and repeated in the same words two verses later, was for the purpose of removing the false security of his hearers, both Galilaeans and dwellers in Jerusalem. Israel had rejected God's call to repentance as delivered, first by John the Baptist and again by Jesus Christ; and the impact of this verse is that God rejects the human device of supposing that some are righteous in a relative sense, because they are not like such notorious sinners as the Galilaeans, and that the Almighty demands repentance of all men.

Shall likewise perish ...
This prophecy focuses on the fact that Israel is the primary target of this commandment, although, of course, in the general sense it applies to every man on earth. These words mean that Israel would "perish in the same way that the Galilaeans did, that is, by the Roman sword." F5 As Wesley said:

And so they did. There was a remarkable resemblance between the fate of these Galilaeans and of the main body of the Jewish nation ... They were slain by the Roman sword ... perished in the temple itself, and literally buried under its ruins. F6

However, it is a serious mistake to see God's call to repentance as a directive for Israel alone. Christ was here stimulating "all thoughtful people to repentance facing the prospect of judgment." F7


 
Verse 4
Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, think ye that they were offenders above all men that dwell in Jerusalem?

The tower of Siloam ...
points to some construction with the pool of that name, and having to do with the aqueduct that brought water into it, and perhaps also with the Roman fortifications of the city. Josephus wrote that "Pilate expended the sacred treasure which is called corban upon the aqueducts, whereby he brought water from a distance of four hundred furlongs." F8

Upon the presumption that the eighteen men were workers on the construction when the tower fell, it is easy to see how the Jews would have accounted them especially sinful; for not only were they working for the hated Romans, but they were being paid with money that Pilate had robbed from the temple treasure. However, Jesus rejected the notion that such conduct was the reason they were killed.

Significantly, this terrible accident was introduced into the conversation, not by his hearers, but by Christ himself; but he used it in exactly the same manner as he used the other incident, demanding of all people (and specifically including Israel) that they should repent or perish.


 
Verse 5
I tell you, Nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

The verbatim repetition of this verse in a single short paragraph shows: (a) that Christ frequently repeated sayings, as indicated throughout the Gospels, (b) that the necessity of repentance on the part of all who would be saved is absolute and invariable, and (c) that Christ thus avoided any implication that Galilaeans should repent, whereas the Jews were in any manner exempt from it.

Before leaving this paragraph, the universal command that all should repent should be identified as the most important thing in it, a fact attested by its repetition. In the light of this divine imperative, what becomes of the notion that people are justified "by faith alone," which by any definition is faith without repentance? Along with faith and baptism, repentance is established as one of the preconditions of salvation, as clearly enunciated by the apostle Peter (Acts 2:38). Just as those ancient Jews supposed that they did not need to repent, since Pilate had not murdered them and no tower had fallen upon them, there are people today who suppose the same thing on the basis that they have believed in Christ; and regarding both suppositions, one is as logical as the other. To be sure, in the sense of the ultimate, justification is based upon nothing that a sinner either believes or does, but upon the merit of Christ alone. Repentance, however, stands between every man and the merit which is in Christ Jesus.

Christ's call to repentance was next extended to include a third warning, that of the parable of the barren fig tree.


 
Verses 6-9
And he spake a parable; a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none. And he said unto the vinedresser, Behold these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none; cut it down; why doth it also cumber the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, until I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit thenceforth, well; but if not, thou shalt cut it down.

ANALOGIES IN THE PARABLE

Owner of the vineyard = the heavenly Father

The vinedresser = the Lord Jesus Christ

The vineyard = the world

The fig tree = the Jewish nation

Three years = the first three years of Jesus' ministry

Fruitlessness = Israel's rejection of Jesus

This year also = Jesus' final year of preaching

Thou shalt cut it down = God's judgment against Israel

There is nothing in this parable that requires us to consider that fig tree as being only three years old. The Greek text in this place uses the past perfect "having been planted," F9 that is, having been planted long ago in the call of Abraham. "These three years" refer to the special anticipation upon the part of the Father that when the Son of God appeared Israel would receive and acknowledge him. The whole history of the chosen people was epitomized by what took place in the ministry of Jesus.

Although the fig tree in this parable primarily stands for Israel, "the fig tree symbolizes also every individual who remains unrepentant." F10

Most modern commentators, due to the "one parable, one point" philosophy, are very reluctant to assign any meaning to the "three years"; but Christ's use of such an expression could not have been coincidental. It came first in the sentence, and coincided with a number of other "threes" in this chapter, the parable itself being the third call to repentance. Also, the three measures of meal (Luke 13:20) point to some definite meaning.

Russell's concise explanation of the parable is the following:

In this, the fig tree is the Jewish nation, God the owner, Christ the vinedresser. The fig tree is condemned for fruitlessness, but the vinedresser asks for more time ... in order that it might yet bear fruit. If not, that is, if the Jewish or any other nation or individual fails to bear fruit ... it is to be destroyed. F11


 
Verse 10
And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath day.

ANOTHER SABBATH HEALING

"This is the last instance in Luke where Jesus appears teaching in a synagogue." F12 However, Bruce and others have interpreted this to mean that there was an extended period when Jesus "was teaching," that is, "he continued to teach" in synagogues.


 
Verse 11
And behold, a woman that had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years; and she was bowed together, and could in no wise lift herself up.

If this had been all that was recorded on the object of this miracle, hers could be understood as a natural disability, one of the ailments to which all flesh is susceptible. However, the Lord's declaration (Luke 13:16) that this woman was one whom Satan had bound casts it in a different light. As Trench said, "Her calamity had a deeper spiritual root; though her type of possession was infinitely milder than others, as is plain from her permitted presence in God's worship." F13


 
Verse 12
And when Jesus saw her, he called her, and said to her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.

Although the woman's presence in that assemblage could have been a silent plea for the help of God, it was Jesus who saw her, signaled her to come near, and announced her healing, the initiative clearly being with Jesus throughout.


 
Verse 13
And he laid his hands upon her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

All miracles of Jesus had the qualities in evidence here, being effortlessly performed with total authority, and also instantaneous.


 
Verse 14
And the ruler of the synagogue, being moved with indignation because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, answered and said to the multitude, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the day of the sabbath.

It was a day of rejoicing and glorifying God by the woman who had been healed, and indeed by the whole community; but there was one whose face clouded with anger and resentment. The petty sabbath regulations which his class had imposed upon God's worship had been set aside; and he moved at once to protest, not against Jesus directly, for he was afraid to do that, but striking at our Lord through the multitude whom he rebuked for coming on the sabbath day to be healed.

Ruler of the synagogue ...
"(This was) probably the head of the council of ten men who controlled the synagogue." F14


 
Verse 15
But the Lord answered him, and said, Ye hypocrites, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?

Ye hypocrites ...
This is plural and shows that Jesus included all the managers of the synagogue in this condemnation, and not merely the one who had spoken against him. And, in what were they hypocrites? As a matter of fact, they were thoroughly hypocritical in practically everything. As Spence put it:

Every possible indulgence was to be shown in cases where their own interests were involved; no mercy or indulgence was to be thought of, however, where only the sick and the poor were involved. F15

They pretended that it was in harmony with God's law to do more for an animal on the sabbath day than for a human being. It should ever be borne in mind that Christ perfectly kept all of God's true sabbath laws; it was only the human additives thereunto that he denounced and openly flouted. Those who make Jesus' actions in thus contradicting human religious rules to be the equivalent of setting aside divine law and making it subserve human and fleshly interests are no less hypocritical than the object of Jesus' rebuke in this passage.


 
Verse 16
And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound, lo, these eighteen years, to have been loosed from this bond on the day of the sabbath?

Daughter of Abraham ...
These words forbid any imputation of gross sin and immorality to the woman Jesus healed, but at the same time they deepen the mystery of how Satan had bound one of the true spiritual seed of Abraham. However it was, Jesus had the power to heal her. The contrast is vivid. The sinful rulers of the synagogue loosed an ass on the sabbath; Jesus loosed this precious woman. As Ash noted:

His critics would allow more for an animal than for this woman. Was it more important to loose an animal or to loose a person (note the parallel between UNTIE and LOOSED)? Jesus made his case more vivid by calling the woman a daughter of Abraham and by noting how long she had been afflicted. F16


 
Verse 17
And as he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame: and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

Here surfaces one of the outstanding characteristics of the writings of the evangelist Luke, who so frequently stressed the rejoicing that followed the works and teachings of the Master. Summers said:

The people rejoiced at all the things Jesus was doing. This is a pattern in Luke and in Acts - the success of Jesus and his cause versus the failure of the opposition. F17


 
Verses 18, 19
He said therefore, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I liken it? It is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his own garden; and it grew, and became a tree; and the birds of the heaven lodged in the branches thereof.

THE PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED

ANALOGIES IN THE PARABLE

The small seed = the small beginning of the church
The large tree = the size of the historic Christendom
The birds = evil, extraneous elements associated with the kingdom
The garden = the world
The one who sowed the seed = Christ, or God
The seed sown = the word of God
The mustard tree = the visible church of all ages

This parable and that of the leaven immediately following are not exactly like those in Matthew 13, "garden" instead of "field" being used by the Lord here. As Childers noted, Luke's account of these two parables does not come from the discourse reported in Matthew and Mark. "There, the parables are reported as part of Jesus' Galilaean ministry; on the other hand, Luke is reporting another and later ministry," F18 the Parean. Barclay also stated that "This is an illustration which Jesus used more than once, and which he used for different purposes." F19

An amazing characteristic of interpreters of this parable is the near unanimous agreement that "usually each parable was spoken to make only one point," F20 followed at once by their presentation of several points. Thus, it is agreed by all that the garden is the world where the kingdom has been planted by the Father, that the growth represents the spread of the kingdom, and that the great size of the mustard tree shows the future might and power of Christianity. Also, it is invariably pointed out that just as a mustard seed is small, so were the beginnings of the Lord's kingdom. If all this is "one point," then a porcupine is one quill! For further exegesis on this parable, see my Commentary on Matthew, Matt. 13:31-32.


 
Verses 20, 21
And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.

THE PARABLE OF THE LEAVEN (YEAST)

Despite the fact that "leaven" often is used of something evil, such as the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees, the declaration is that "the kingdom of God is like leaven," forcing the conclusion that it stands for the opposite of evil in this passage.

This and the parable of the mustard seed are in fact twin parables, setting forth different characteristics of the kingdom of God. The mustard seed which produced the great plant teaches the ultimate mighty extent and power of the kingdom as it would appear visibly to all mankind. The parable of the leaven however, stresses the invisible power "hidden" from all human observation, but producing such marvelous results. It also indicates the transforming effect of the kingdom, tending to assimilate into itself all who receive its influence.

ANALOGIES IN THE PARABLE

The leaven = the teaching of Christ
The meal = the people who receive the truth
The quality of leaven that changes the whole mass into one kind = the transforming power of the gospel
Leaven rising silently = nature of church's progress
A little leaven, given time, can change a great mass = the vast power of historical Christianity
A woman took the leaven = the church as the teacher of the kingdom message
Three measures = three divisions of humanity.

The three measures of meal ...
are usually understood by interpreters as an inert factor in the parable (and well they may be), Boles, for example, affirming that three measures of meal was "the amount used for one meal"; F21 however, Summers calculated the amount of meal in the three measures as "four and one-half pecks," F22 which goes beyond any ordinary meal. Likewise, Tinsley made the three measures to be "half a hundredweight of flour." F23 Thus it is clear that the three measures must be understood as something significant. In the analogy above, the flour is seen as representing humanity; and since there is a threefold division of humanity in the three sons of Noah - Shem, Ham, and Japheth - it appears quite logical to see the three measures as the threefold posterity of Noah. Trench was not unfavorable to this analogy, admitting that they "do indeed answer to three elements" F24 of humanity. Barclay gives an outline of the teaching of this parable thus:

1. God's kingdom starts from the smallest beginnings, a tiny pinch of leaven.
2. The power of the kingdom works unseen, as leaven.
3. The kingdom's power works from inside, as leaven.
4. The power to change humanity (the lump) must come from outside itself, the leaven being a power not of the lump at all, but from without. It is not in man to transform himself. The leaven of God from without must do it. F25

Note: It will be observed that there is here a different position taken with reference to the "three measures" than in my Commentary on Matthew, Matt. 13:33; but the change is due to more mature study of the parables.

In both of these remarkable parables, there is evidenced the ultimate power and extent of Christ's kingdom. The teaching in both of them is stamped with an originality and power which only Christ could have imparted. As Major said, "There is a quality in this teaching which marks it as HIS; it is above the level of his contemporaries and his reporters." F26


 
Verse 22
And he went on his way through cities and villages, teaching, and journeying unto Jerusalem.

Journeying ...
should not be understood as taking the most direct route to Jerusalem; for, actually, this journey required several months, and involved a circuitous progression which would allow Jesus to visit as many places as possible on this final tour; and yet, all the while, his invariable purpose remained that of proceeding to Jerusalem where he would fulfill his purpose of dying to save all men. He interrupted this journey no less than three times, going to Jerusalem each time, and then returning to resume the journey. See under Luke 17:11.


 
Verses 23-30
And one said unto him, Lord, are there few that are saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in by the narrow door: for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 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, open unto us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not whence ye are; then shall ye begin to say, We did eat and drink in thy presence, and thou didst teach in our streets; and he shall say, I tell you, I know not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and yourselves cast forth without. And they shall come from the east and west, and from the north and south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And behold, there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last.

Are there few that are saved ...?
Jesus did not answer that question, rather stressing the fact that every man should make it as sure as he can that he himself is saved. The questioner who proposed this was not further mentioned, for Jesus did not address him, but "them."

Strive to enter in by the narrow door; for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able ...

CASUAL SEEKERS AT THE STRAIT (NARROW) GATE

  1. Behold here is a door which it is most desirable that man should enter.
    1. Because it is the gate of man's spiritual home,
      1. Our citizenship is there (Philippians 3:20).
      2. Our treasure is there (Matthew 6:20).
      3. The hope of every man is there (Hebrews 6:19).
      4. Our Lord is there (John 14:1-3).
      5. Our names are written there (Luke 10:20).
    2. Because it is the gate of the city of refuge (Hebrews 6:18).
    3. Because it is the gate of eternal life.
    4. Because it is the gate of escape from the fate of the wicked.
  2. How is it that some shall seek to enter and not be able?
    1. Some may not enter because of the pride of life (1 Peter 5:6).
    2. Procrastination will prevent some from entering (2 Corinthians 6:2).
    3. The casual seeker cannot enter. The word "strive" in the text means "agonize."
    4. Some carry contraband. Many things must be abandoned by all who would enter this door.
    5. Some wait until the "door is shut."
    6. Some never try at all, thinking they are already in.

    Illustration: The case of Abner (2 Samuel 3:33).
    - adapted from Charles H. Spurgeon

And hath shut to the door ...
These words have the effect of placing the scene Jesus spoke of here at the final judgment. Only then, may it be said that the door is shut. "Jesus does not say that many strive in vain to enter, but that there will be many who seek in vain to enter, after the time of salvation is past." F27 Lamar also taught the same thing, "Jesus does not say nor mean that many will seek to enter in at the strait gate and not be able; - but that they will seek to enter heaven without going through the strait gate." F28 "STRAIT is an old English word meaning NARROW." F29

The east and the west, and north and south ...
The universality of the kingdom of God is seen in these words which are similar to Isaiah 49:12.

Abraham ... Isaac ... and all the prophets ...
Here is a categorical statement by the Christ that these ancient worthies are to be reckoned among those eternally saved; and, in view of the sins of which these, and other Old Testament worthies, were guilty, there must be found a vast ground of encouragement for disciples of all ages. Not sinlessness, but the proper repentance and acknowledgment of their need of forgiveness were their dominant characteristics.

Sit down with Abraham ... etc.
"This graphically portrays the messianic banquet, a symbol of the joys of the age in which the Messiah shall rule"; F30 but the passage goes beyond that to include the eternal joys of the redeemed in heaven.

Weeping and the gnashing of teeth ...
The expression regarding eternal punishment is found six times in Matthew, but only here in Luke.

They indicate, as far as merely earthly words and symbols can, the utter misery of those unhappy ones who find themselves shut out from the kingdom in the world to come. F31

And ye yourselves thrust out ...
Many of the fleshly seed of Abraham, through their rejection of Christ, shall fail to attain unto the promise of Abraham.

Last who shall be first ... and first who shall be last ...
These words mean that the final judgment will bring many surprises, a fact Jesus often stressed.


 
Verses 31-33
In that very hour there came certain Pharisees, saying to him, Get thee out, and go hence: for Herod would fain kill thee. And he said unto them, Go and say to that fox, Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I am perfected. Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.

THE WARNING FROM THE PHARISEES

Jesus was somewhere in the area of Trans-Jordan, or possibly still in Galilee, both being within the political jurisdiction of Herod; but the idea is rejected which would view this blunt word from the Pharisees as anything but a lie. As Russell said, "They were not telling the truth. There was no reason for thinking that Herod, although a man of base character, wished to kill Jesus." F32 When Jesus finally appeared before Herod Antipas (Luke 23:11), that ruler initiated no action against him, except to mock him and send him back to Pilate; and by including this in his record, Luke documented the Pharisees' falsehood. There is no ground whatever for supposing, as Geldenhuys thought, that "The Pharisees' warning may have been perfectly sincere and prompted by a concern for Jesus' safety." F33

What the Pharisees really intended, of course, was to frighten Jesus into returning to Jerusalem, where of course, the Pharisees planned themselves to kill him.

Go tell that fox ...
The Greek word used here means, literally, "she-fox," an epithet described by Spence as "perhaps the bitterest and most contemptuous name ever given by the pitiful Master to any of the sons of men." F34 By choice of a feminine word, Jesus might have intended a reference to Herodias, Herod's consort, whose wicked influence had caused the murder of John the Baptist. Childers noted that the Greek word for "fox" is basically a feminine noun, and that for that reason it cannot be known that the female sex was intended; "but at least it shows that Greek-speaking people regarded a fox as the opposite of bold and courageous." F35 Jesus' epithet evaluated the wicked Herod as a small, weak, sly, and cunning character, unworthy of honor and respect.

Today and tomorrow, and the third day ...
This was relatively but a short while; and, by these words, Christ was saying that he did not plan to be in Herod's territory very long anyway. Although the Lord would not be frightened into leaving, his plans already called for his progression on to Jerusalem.

It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem ...
Jesus fully knew that going to Jerusalem would not procure safety for himself. On the other hand, he had repeatedly prophesied that his death would occur in that city; and, by these words, Christ signaled the Pharisees that he knew all about their wicked plans to murder him. The construction of his words here has the effect of saying that our Lord enjoyed greater safety anywhere other than in Jerusalem.


 
Verses 34, 35
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her own brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

JESUS' LAMENT OVER JERUSALEM

There is a glimpse in this of the fact that Jesus made a number of trips into Jerusalem during his last circuit. Note the words, "how often would I have gathered thy children." This lament was delivered at least twice, and perhaps as many as three times, as indicated by the placement of it in the Gospels. Luke did not give the date of the lament nor the occasion when it was uttered.

How often ...
Regarding these words, Geldenhuys said:

This is a reference to the fact (as expressly stated by John) that Jesus, especially during the last period of his public appearance, visited Jerusalem on more than one occasion. There is a tendency nowadays, even among the more liberal critics, to admit that the fourth Gospel was, after all, correct. F36

As a hen gathereth her own brood ...
The literature of all ages reveals nothing that compares with the tenderness and love of Jesus as manifested toward the Holy City. By so humble a metaphor, the Lord revealed his love and heartbreak over the rejection of his mission by the chosen people, a heartbreak not for himself, but for THEM.

And ye would not ...
Deeply as Christ desired the redemption of Jerusalem, the sovereign will of humanity was nevertheless respected; and it was the will of Israel to reject her King.

Your house ...
is a reference to the sacred temple, the pride of every Jew; but a change of status in that magnificent building appeared in these words. At first, the temple was God's house; but when it no longer served the ends God intended, it became "theirs." This shows that all religious things are God's only so long as the observance of God's will is connected with them. As Tinsley said, "The temple of the Jews has now become more theirs than God's." F37

Desolate ...
What a dreadful word! Once the holy Shekinah was there within the Holy of Holies; but after Christ was rejected, there was nothing within. Nor would the temple long survive Jesus' pronouncement against it. Within the generation it would fall forever.

Blessed is he that cometh ... etc.
Some have seen in this verse, especially with reference to "until that day," a promise referring to "far future, to the day of the penitence of Israel." F38 However, despite the fact that "until" "could have" such meaning, there can be no certainty of it. It was apparently by design that the Holy Spirit uses a word which is, by definition, indefinite and ambiguous. Likewise, Paul in Rom. 11:25 spoke of the hardening of Israel "until" the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. See full discussion of this in my Commentary on Romans, Rom. 11:25-26. The meaning is that God has not closed the door upon Israel; they have closed it upon themselves; nor shall God's favor be lavished upon them any more "until" they change, a change that is neither affirmed as certain nor denied as possible.

Christ closed his last public discourse with these same words. His use of them here seems to have been prompted by the lying warning of the Pharisees whose intent on his murder was crystal clear to the Son of God.


Footnotes for Luke 13
1: Matthew Henry and Thomas Scott, Commentary on the Holy Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1960), p. 272.
2: Norval Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1952), p. 371.
3: H. Leo Boles, Commentary on Luke (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1940), p. 267.
4: Ray Summers, Commentary on Luke (Waco, Texas: Word Books, Publisher, Inc., 1974), p. 165.
5: J. S. Lamar, The New Testament Commentary, Vol. II (Cincinnati, Ohio: Chase and Hall, 1877), p. 185.
6: John Wesley, Notes on the New Testament, (Naperville, Illinois: Alec. R. Allenson, Inc., 1950), p. 253.
7: Ray Summers, op. cit., p. 165.
8: Josephus, Flavius, The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, translated by William Whiston (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston), p. 677.
9: Nestle Greek Text (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), p. 296.
10: Norval Geldenhuys, op. cit., p. 373.
11: John William Russell, Compact Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1964), p. 173.
12: Norval Geldenhuys, op. cit., p. 374.
13: Richard C. Trench, Notes on the Miracles of Our Lord (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1953), p. 350.
14: Charles L. Childers, Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1964), p. 538.
15: H. D. M. Spence, The Pulpit Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962), Vol. 16, Luke II, p. 3.
16: Anthony Lee Ash, The Gospel according to Luke (Austin, Texas: Sweet Publishing Company, 1972), p. 51.
17: Ray Summers, op. cit., p. 168.
18: Charles L. Childers, op. cit., p. 540.
19: William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1956), p. 183.
20: Everett F. Harrison, Wycliffe Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press), p. 238.
21: H. Leo Boles, op. cit., p. 274.
22: Ray Summers, op. cit., p. 169.
23: E. J. Tinsley, The Gospel according to Luke (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), p. 148.
24: Richard C. Trench, op. cit., p. 120.
25: William Barclay, op. cit., pp. 186-187.
26: H. D. A. Major, T. W. Manson, and C. J. Wright, The Mission and Message of Jesus (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1940), p. 72.
27: Alfred Plummer, Gospel according to St. Luke (New York: T. and T. Clark, 1922), en loco.
28: J. S. Lamar, op. cit., p. 189.
29: Everett H. Harrison, op. cit., p. 239.
30: Ray Summers, op. cit., p. 171.
31: H. D. M. Spence, op. cit., p. 5.
32: John William Russell, op. cit., p. 174.
33: Norval Geldenhuys, op. cit., p. 382.
34: H. D. M. Spence, op. cit., p. 6.
35: Charles L. Childers, op. cit., p. 545.
36: Norval Geldenhuys, op. cit., p. 384.
37: E. J. Tinsley, op. cit., p. 150.
38: H. D. M. Spence, op. cit., p. 7.
39: J. S. Lamar, op. cit., p. 179.
40: Ray Summers, op. cit., p. 161.
41: William Barclay, op. cit., p.170.
42: Norval Geldenhuys, op. cit., p. 364.
43: J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 755.
44: Everett F. Harrison, op. cit., p. 236.
45: Herschel H. Hobbs, op. cit., p. 209.
46: J. S. Lamar, op. cit., p. 181.
47: H. Leo Boles, op. cit., p. 262.
48: William Barclay, op. cit., p. 173.
49: J. S. Lamar, op. cit., p. 182.
50: J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 755.
51: Charles L. Childers, op. cit., p. 531.
52: John Wesley, op. cit., p. 252.
53: J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 755.
54: William Barclay, op. cit, p. 175.
55: Charles L. Childers, op. cit., p. 533.
56: Norval Geldenhuys, op. cit., p. 369.
57: H. Leo Boles, op. cit., p. 267.
58: Ibid, p. 199.

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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 13". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=lu&chapter=013>. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.  

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