Luke 13.1-35 begins telling us about the news of Pilate killing a group of Galileans (probably Zealots) in the Temple and a warning to repent; the parable of the Fig Tree; the healing of a woman in a synagogue on the Sabbath; Yeshua being warned about Herod and that he is unsafe; the parable of the Mustard Seed; and a lamentation over the lack of faith he has experienced.
v 1…Now on the same occasion (that he was giving the previous teachings) there were some present who reported to him about the Galileans (Zealots who were aligned with Beit Shammai, and possibly followers of Judas the Galilean of Acts 5.37; he formerly started the Zealot Party (or sect) in 6 AD with Zadok, a Pharisee from Shammai-Josephus, Antiquities, Book 18, Chapter 1, paragraph 1. He is the brother of Hananiah, son of Hezekiah Ben Gurion, in whose chambers a meeting took place to discuss the adaptation of the 18 Edicts in 20 BC; some from Beit Hillel were murdered before the vote, and Yeshua refers to this in Matt 23.29-31) whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices (in the Temple).
2…And he answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners (debtors obligated to pay a bill) than the other Galileans, because they suffered this fate (this incident was a warning to repent; it dispels their notion of calamity; they were no better or worse than the victims, so they better repent; if they didn’t, a greater slaughter was coming, and it did when the Romans not only slaughtered a few Zealot Galileans, but slaughtered the nation and destroyed the Temple-God had a reason for this-Amos 3.1-18)?
v 3…I tell you, no, but, unless you report, you will likewise perish (this event foreshadowed the judgment in 70 AD).
v 4…Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed were worse culprits (sinners, debtors and obligated to pay a bill) than all the men who live in Jerusalem?
v 5…I tell you, no, but, unless you repent you will all likewise perish (buried beneath the rubble of the whole city in 70 AD).”
v 6…Ad he began telling this parable (midrashic aggadah), “A certain man (Yehovah) had a fig tree (coming out of Egypt Israel was a vine/vineyard-Psa 80.8; Isa 5.1; in the first century Israel was the fig tree-Matt 21.19; after that Israel was seen as the olive tree-Hos 14.6; Rom 11.17-24) which had been planted in his vineyard (fig tree was a picture of the religious teachings coming out of the vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any (they were following the Oral Law of the rabbis rather than the Torah, producing false teachers and prophets-Matt 7.15-23).
v 7…And he (Yehovah) said to the vineyard keeper (Yeshua), “Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any (the length of Yeshua’s ministry at this point). Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground (the land).
v 8…And he (the vineyard keeper/Yeshua) answered and said to him, “Let it alone, sir, for this year, too, until I dig around it and put fertilizer (the various means Yeshua will use to make Israel fruitful);
v 9…and if it bears fruit next year fine, (Lev 19.23-25); but if not, cut it down (they were running out of time; let justice run its course, and it did in 70 AD).”
v 10…And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
v 11…And behold (see and take note), there was a woman (a type of Israel) who for eighteen years had a sickness caused by a spirit; and could not straighten up at all (to look up).
v 12… And when he saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness (“Greek, “You have been and are loosed”).”
v 13…And he laid his hands upon her (called “semicha” or “to lean and put your weight on and an attestation that it was this woman that was healed and the healing came from Yeshua; this concept is one of the elementary principles of the faith in Heb 6); and immediately she was made erect again, and began glorifying God.
v 14…And the synagogue official (the Nasi or “president”), indignant because Yeshua healed on the Sabbath (because he was a follower of Beit Shammai and a picture of unbelieving Israel; he was also jealous that he couldn’t do anything to help her) began saying to the multitude in response, “There are six in which work should do, therefore come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.”
v 15…But the Lord said, “You hypocrites (plural, not just him), does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall (this is the same word used in Luke 2.7, 12 for “manger”) and lead him away to water him (to draw water is work)?
v 16…And this woman, a daughter (descendant) of Abraham as she is, whom Satan bound for eighteen long years (but your animals you release after a few hours), should she not have been released (loosed) from this bond on the Sabbath day?”
v 17…And as he said this, all his opponents were being humiliated (by the truth being exposed); and the entire multitude was rejoicing over the glorious things being done by him.
v 18…Therefore he was saying, “What is the kingdom of God (his rule and movement in power and action confronting them) like and to what shall I compare it (resemblance)?
v 19…It is like a mustard seed (small at first), which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree (a tree of life); and the birds (the righteous in this case, born of heaven) of the air (heaven-John 3.7-8) nest (rest) in its branches (a term for the Messiah).”
v 20…And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God (his rule and movement in action and power confronting them);
v 21…it is like leaven (a type of teaching, a living thing) which a woman (Israel) took and hid in three pecks of meal (a few people at first) until it was all leavened (the elect of God are gathered into the kingdom; if the birds and leaven are meant in a negative sense, it speaks of the kingdom being “infected” with evil and false doctrine, like the tares being planted among the wheat in Matt 13.24-30, and false teaching in Mark 8.15).”
v 22…And he was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching and proceeding on his way to Jerusalem.
v 23…And someone (in the crowd) said to him, “Lord, are there few who are being saved (this question may have been prompted by the Jewish belief that few would enter the Olam Haba. There were only two people who came out of Egypt who made it into Canaan, so some believed a small number would enter the kingdom)?” And he said to them,
v 24…”Strive (enter a contest, contend as in athletics, struggle) to enter by the narrow gate (these were restricted doors and must be sought for, and opened only to those who knock; at night they are locked and it is too late); for many, I tell you, will seek to enter (at the judgment-Matt 7.21-23) and will not be able (mercy has ended, no more opportunity).
v 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’ (because they were not born from above, he does not know them-Matt 7.23; 1 John 2.3-4).
v 26…Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets (all this was given to show “proof” of a relationship);
v 27…and he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from (or know them); depart from me all you evildoers (meaning “without or not Torah”).’
v 28…There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (extreme anguish being separated from Yehovah) there when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob (in whom they boasted and trusted in, believing they were “favorites” to enter the kingdom because of a physical relationship) and all the prophets (whose books they read, and who desired to see what this generation was seeing) in the kingdom of God (his rule and movement in action and power), but yourselves being cast out (forcefully because they refused to enter in the narrow door and tried to climb in another way like a thief).
v 29…And they (the non-Jews will not be rejected because they were not Jewish, but accepted because of their faith) will come from east and west, and from north and south, and will recline at the table (be accepted) in the kingdom of God (this is called “ushpizin” or invited guests-Isa 25.6; Matt 8.11).
v 30…And behold (see), some are last (in priority) who will be first, and some are first who will be last (a reversal of the worldly order and what they thought was going to happen).”
v 31…Just at that time (same hour) some Pharisees (possibly from Beit Hillel and were more sympathetic to Yeshua than Beit Shammai; they showed favor to Peter and the shaliachim in Acts 5.17-42, and Paul in Acts 23.6-9) came up, saying to him, “Go away and depart from here (Galilee), for Herod wants to kill you (they are warning him).”
v 32…And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox (Hebrew “shual” meaning a small fox, insignificant; he was not a “lion” but the opposite in Hebraic, cultural thought), ‘Behold (see), I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal (my work will be completed in Galilee, and then move into Judea; Herod cannot stop me because he is small, inept, and insignificant, the opposite of a lion).
v 33…Nevertheless, I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem (many prophets slain there because it was the religious and civil center; the Sanhedrin was dominated by Beit Shammai at the time).
v 34…O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
v 35…Behold (see), your house (alluding to Beit, or “house” of Shammai who dominated the Sanhedrin he would appear before, and who were aligned with the Sadducees and Zealots, and plotted to kill him-John 11.47-57; Matt 12.14) is left to you (“desolate”-this was said about Beit Shammai by Bava Ben Buta in the first century, see the book “Jesus the Pharisee” by Harvey Falk, p.58), and I say to you, you shall not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord (Yehovah-this account was earlier in Yeshua’s ministry, and then it was repeated when Yeshua was in the Temple in Matt 23.1-39; both discourses are against Beit Shammai who ruled Jewish life and halakah at the time).”
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