Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider 13:1-35.
Luke 13:1 says, “Now there were some present at the same time who reported to Him concerning the Galileans, whose blood Pilate mixed with their sacrifices.” The Greek word translated “now” may also be rendered “yet,” “and,” or “furthermore.” We follow other versions to use the word “now,” not to convey the element of time but to indicate continuation. “Now” indicates that 13:1-9 continues the last verses of chapter twelve, dealing further with the matter of repentance. The Lord uses the two incidents in 13:1-5 to remind the Jews that now is the time for them to repent. Otherwise, they will all perish like the victims of those two incidents.
The Lord’s word at the end of chapter twelve indicated that He wanted the Jews to repent. Now in chapter thirteen He continues to speak further concerning repentance. Referring to the case of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate mixed with their sacrifices, He said to those present, “Do you think that these Galileans were sinners beyond all the Galileans because they suffered these things? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” Then He goes on to refer to a second case, the case of the “eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them” (v. 4). Again the Lord warned the people to repent. He seemed to be telling them, “Don’t think that those people were sinful, and the others were not. Unless you repent, you also will perish.”
In verses 6 through 9 the Lord goes on to tell the parable of a certain man who had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. The word “and” at the beginning of verse 6 indicates that these verses are the continuation of the foregoing verses concerning repentance.
This parable indicates that God as the owner came in the Son to the Jewish people as to a fig tree (Matt. 21:19; Jer. 24:2, 5, 8) planted in God’s promised land as the vineyard (Matt. 21:33) to seek fruit from them. He had been seeking for three years (Luke 13:7), and He did not find any. He wanted to cut them down, but the Son as the vinedresser prayed for them that God the Father would tolerate them until He died for them (dug the ground around the fig tree) and gave them fertilizer (threw on manure), hoping that they would then repent and produce fruit. Otherwise, they would be cut down. The passages in 11:29-32 and 42-52, unveiling the Jewish people as an evil generation, confirm this interpretation.
In this parable the Jewish people are regarded by God as a fig tree. When God did not find fruit on the tree, He was thinking to cut it off. But the vinedresser, the Lord Jesus, begged the Father not to do this until, by means of His death, He dug around the tree. Then if the tree still did not bring forth fruit, it could be cut down. This is actually what took place. Because the Jews did not repent, even after the Lord Jesus died and resurrected and the Spirit came, the “fig tree” was “cut down.” This happened in A.D. 70 when Titus brought his Roman army to Jerusalem and destroyed it. That destruction of Jerusalem was the cutting down of the fig tree.
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