The Lesson, "REPENT OR Perish," Suggested
by Two Recent Incidents, and Illustrated by the Parable of the Barren
1-3. Galileans—possibly the followers of
Judas of Galilee, who, some twenty years before this, taught that Jews
should not pay tribute to the Romans, and of whom we learn, from Ac 5:37, that he drew after him a
multitude of followers, who on his being slain were all dispersed.
About this time that party would be at its height, and if Pilate caused
this detachment of them to be waylaid and put to death as they were
offering their sacrifices at one of the festivals, that would be
"mingling their blood with their sacrifices" [Grotius, Webster and
Wilkinson, but doubted by De Wette, Meyer,
Alford, &c.]. News of this being
brought to our Lord, to draw out His views of such, and whether it was
not a judgment of Heaven, He simply points them to the practical view
of the matter: "These men are not signal examples of divine vengeance,
as ye suppose; but every impenitent sinner—ye yourselves,
except ye repent—shall be like monuments of the judgment of
Heaven, and in a more awful sense." The reference here to the impending
destruction of Jerusalem is far from exhausting our Lord's weighty
words; they manifestly point to a "perdition" of a more awful
kind—future, personal, remediless.
4, 5. tower in Siloam—probably one of
the towers of the city wall, near the pool of Siloam. Of its fall
nothing is known.
6-9. fig tree—Israel, as the visible
witness of God in the world, but generally all within the pale of the
visible Church of God; a familiar figure (compare Isa 5:1-7;
Joh 15:1-8, &c.).
vineyard—a spot selected for its
fertility, separated from the surrounding fields, and cultivated with
special care, with a view solely to fruit.
came and sought fruit—a heart turned
to God; the fruits of righteousness; compare Mt 21:33,
34, and Isa 5:2, "He
looked that it should bring forth fruit"; He has a right
to it, and will require it.
7. three years—a long enough trial for a
fig tree, and so denoting probably just a sufficient period of
culture for spiritual fruit. The supposed allusion to the duration of
our Lord's ministry is precarious.
cut it down—indignant language.
cumbereth—not only doing no good, but
8. he answering, &c.—Christ, as
Intercessor, loath to see it cut down so long as there was any hope
dig, &c.—loosen the earth about it
and enrich it with manure; pointing to changes of method in the divine
treatment of the impenitent, in order to freshen spiritual culture.
9. if … fruit, well—Genuine
repentance, however late, avails to save (Lu 23:42, 43).
after that, &c.—The final
perdition of such as, after the utmost limits of reasonable
forbearance, are found fruitless, will be pre-eminently and confessedly
just (Pr 1:24-31; Eze 24:13).
Lu 13:10-17. Woman of
Eighteen Year's Infirmity Healed on the Sabbath.
11. spirit of infirmity—Compare Lu 13:17, "whom Satan hath bound."
From this it is probable, though not certain, that her protracted
infirmity was the effect of some milder form of possession; yet
she was "a daughter of Abraham," in the same gracious sense, no doubt,
as Zaccheus, after his conversion, was "a son of Abraham" (Lu 19:9).
12, 13. said … Woman … and
laid—both at once.
14. with indignation—not so much at the
sabbath violation as at the glorification of Christ. (Compare Mt 21:15) [Trench].
said to the people—"Not daring
directly to find fault with the Lord, he seeks circuitously to reach
Him through the people, who were more under his influence, and whom he
feared less" [Trench].
15. the Lord—(See on Lu 10:1).
hypocrite!—How "the faithful and true
Witness" tears off the masks which men wear!
his ox, &c.—(See on Mt 12:9-13; and Lu 6:9).
16. ought not, &c.—How gloriously
the Lord vindicates the superior claims of this woman, in consideration
of the sadness and long duration of her suffering, and of her dignity
notwithstanding, as an heir of the promise!
Lu 13:18-30. Miscellaneous
18-21. mustard seed … leaven—(See
on Mr 4:30-32). The parable of "the Leaven" sets
forth, perhaps, rather the inward growth of the kingdom, while
"the Mustard Seed" seems to point chiefly to the outward. It
being a woman's work to knead, it seems a refinement to say that "the
woman" here represents the Church, as the instrument of
depositing the leaven. Nor does it yield much satisfaction to
understand the "three measures of meal" of that threefold division of
our nature into "spirit, soul, and body," (alluded to in 1Th 5:23) or of the threefold partition of the
world among the three sons of Noah (Ge 10:32), as some do. It yields more real
satisfaction to see in this brief parable just the
all-penetrating and assimilating quality of the Gospel,
by virtue of which it will yet mould all institutions and tribes of
men, and exhibit over the whole earth one "Kingdom of our Lord and of
His Christ." (See on Re 11:15).
23. Lord, &c.—one of those curious
questions by talking of which some flatter themselves they are
said unto them—the multitude; taking
no notice of the man or his question, save as furnishing the occasion
of a solemn warning not to trifle with so momentous a matter as
24. Strive—The word signifies to
"contend" as for the mastery, to "struggle," expressive of the
difficulty of being saved, as if one would have to force his
strait gate—another figure of the
same. (See on Mt 7:13, 14).
for many … will seek—"desire,"
that is, with a mere wish or slothful endeavor.
and shall not be able—because it must
be made a life-and-death struggle.
25. master of the house is risen up and hath shut
to the door—awfully sublime and vivid picture! At present he
is represented as in a sitting posture, as if calmly looking on
to see who will "strive," while entrance is practicable, and who will
merely "seek" to enter in. But this is to have an end, by the great
Master of the house Himself rising and shutting the door, after which
there will be no admittance.
Lord, Lord—emphatic reduplication,
expressive of the earnestness now felt, but too late. (See on Mt 7:21, 22).
26, 27. See on the similar passage (Mt 7:22,
eaten and drunk, &c.—We have sat
with Thee at the same table. (See on Mt
taught in our streets—Do we not
remember listening in our own streets to Thy teaching? Surely we
are not to be denied admittance?
27. But he shall say, &c.—(See on Mt 7:23). No nearness of external communion with
Christ will avail at the great day, in place of that holiness without
which no man shall see the Lord. Observe the style which
Christ intimates that He will then assume, that of absolute Disposer of
men's eternal destinies, and contrast it with His "despised and
rejected" condition at that time.
28, 29. (See Mt 8:11, 12). Also see on Mt
Lu 13:31-35. Message to
31. and depart hence—and "go forward,"
push on. He was on His way out of Perea, east of Jordan, and in
Herod's dominions, "journeying towards Jerusalem" (Lu 13:22). Haunted by guilty fears, probably,
Herod wanted to get rid of Him (see on Mr 6:14),
and seems, from our Lord's answer, to have sent these Pharisees, under
pretense of a friendly hint, to persuade Him that the sooner He got
beyond Herod's jurisdiction the better it would be for His own safety.
Our Lord saw through both of them, and sends the cunning ruler a
message couched in dignified and befitting irony.
32. that fox—that crafty, cruel enemy of
God's innocent servants.
Behold, I cast out devils and I do
cures—that is, "Plot on and ply thy wiles; I also have My
plans; My works of mercy are nearing completion, but some yet remain; I
have work for to-day and to-morrow too, and the third day; by that time
I shall be where his jurisdiction reaches not; the guilt of My blood
shall not lie at his door; that dark deed is reserved for others." He
does not say, I preach the Gospel—that would have made little
impression upon Herod—in the light of the merciful
character of Christ's actions the malice of Herod's
snares is laid bare [Bengel].
to-day, to-morrow, the third
day—remarkable language expressive of successive steps
of His work yet remaining, the calm deliberateness with which He
meant to go through with them, one after another, to the last, unmoved
by Herod's threat, yet the rapid march with which they were now
hastening to completion. (Compare Lu 22:37).
I shall be perfected—I finish my
course, I attain completion.
33. it cannot be that a prophet,
&c.—"It would never do that," &c.—awful
severity of satire this upon "the bloody city!" "He seeks to kill me,
does he? Ah! I must be out of Herod's jurisdiction for that. Go tell
him I neither fly from him nor fear him, but Jerusalem is the prophets'
34, 35. O Jerusalem, &c.—(See on Mt 23:37; Mt 23:39).