Welcome! Thank you for joining me. Today is the 13th day of December and for 24 days we’ll be reflecting on the gospel according to Luke together. We’ll be reading a chapter a day and reflecting on what we read. Here are the links to the past 12 days worth of blog posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.
Let’s now read Luke 13. I’m using Bible Gateway’s Good News Translation, but you can follow along using any translation you like.
Turn from Your Sins or Die
At that time some people were there who told Jesus about the Galileans whom Pilate had killed while they were offering sacrifices to God. Jesus answered them, “Because those Galileans were killed in that way, do you think it proves that they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No indeed! And I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did. What about those eighteen people in Siloam who were killed when the tower fell on them? Do you suppose this proves that they were worse than all the other people living in Jerusalem? No indeed! And I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did.”
The Parable of the Unfruitful Fig Tree
Then Jesus told them this parable: “There was once a man who had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. He went looking for figs on it but found none. So he said to his gardener, ‘Look, for three years I have been coming here looking for figs on this fig tree, and I haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it go on using up the soil?’ But the gardener answered, ‘Leave it alone, sir, just one more year; I will dig around it and put in some fertilizer. Then if the tree bears figs next year, so much the better; if not, then you can have it cut down.’”
Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath
One Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a synagogue. A woman there had an evil spirit that had kept her sick for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called out to her, “Woman, you are free from your sickness!” He placed his hands on her, and at once she straightened herself up and praised God. The official of the synagogue was angry that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, so he spoke up and said to the people, “There are six days in which we should work; so come during those days and be healed, but not on the Sabbath!” The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Any one of you would untie your ox or your donkey from the stall and take it out to give it water on the Sabbath. Now here is this descendant of Abraham whom Satan has kept in bonds for eighteen years; should she not be released on the Sabbath?” His answer made his enemies ashamed of themselves, while the people rejoiced over all the wonderful things that he did.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Jesus asked, “What is the Kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it with? It is like this. A man takes a mustard seed and plants it in his field. The plant grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make their nests in its branches.”
The Parable of the Yeast
Again Jesus asked, “What shall I compare the Kingdom of God with? It is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with a bushel of flour until the whole batch of dough rises.”
The Narrow Door
Jesus went through towns and villages, teaching the people and making his way toward Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Sir, will just a few people be saved?” Jesus answered them, “Do your best to go in through the narrow door; because many people will surely try to go in but will not be able. The master of the house will get up and close the door; then when you stand outside and begin to knock on the door and say, ‘Open the door for us, sir!’ he will answer you, ‘I don’t know where you come from!’ Then you will answer, ‘We ate and drank with you; you taught in our town!’ But he will say again, ‘I don’t know where you come from. Get away from me, all you wicked people!’ How you will cry and gnash your teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, while you are thrown out! People will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down at the feast in the Kingdom of God. Then those who are now last will be first, and those who are now first will be last.”
Jesus’ Love for Jerusalem
At that same time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “You must get out of here and go somewhere else, because Herod wants to kill you.” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell that fox: ‘I am driving out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I shall finish my work.’ Yet I must be on my way today, tomorrow, and the next day; it is not right for a prophet to be killed anywhere except in Jerusalem. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets, you stone the messengers God has sent you! How many times I wanted to put my arms around all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me! And so your Temple will be abandoned. I assure you that you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
What stood out for you in this chapter?
I like the image of the Kingdom of God being like a tiny mustard seed that turns into a massive tree. I like it because of what we’re not told about that process. When a seed is planted it is buried under the soil. It is ripped open and it has to push down and dig deep so that it is well rooted. Eventually it has to push it’s stem through the soil. Then it faces the elements of the seasons over several years before becoming a fully-grown tree, anchored with deep roots due to much adversity. That is the same with building the Kingdom of God. We’re in that process. How far we’ve got to grow before completion, I have no idea. I have faith that we will though.