Luke 13

Chapter 13

Jesus Calls for Repentance.[a] 1 At that time, some people who were present told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. 2 He asked them, “Do you think that because the Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3 No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4 Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower fell on them at Siloam—do you think that they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you—but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.”

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree.[b] 6 Then he told them this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, but whenever he came looking for fruit on it, he found none. 7 Therefore, he said to his vinedresser, ‘For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and have never found any. Cut it down! Why should it continue to use up the soil?’ 8 But the vinedresser replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year while I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 Perhaps it will bear fruit next year. If so, well and good. If not, then you can cut it down.’ ”

10 Jesus Heals a Woman on the Sabbath.[c] On one Sabbath as Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, 11 a woman was present, possessed by a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and completely unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” 13 Then he laid his hands on her, and immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.

14 But the leader of the synagogue was indignant because Jesus had effected a cure on the Sabbath, and he said to the assembled people, “There are six days when work is permitted. Come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath.” 15 The Lord said to him in reply, “You hypocrites! Is there a single one of you who does not untie his ox or his donkey and lead it from its stall to give it water on the Sabbath? 16 Should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has held bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath?” 17 At these words, all his adversaries were put to shame, and the people rejoiced at all the wonderful things he was doing.

18 The Parable of the Mustard Seed.[d]He went on to say, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

20 The Parable of the Yeast. Again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until it was completely leavened.”

The Destiny of Israel

22 Who Will Enter into the Kingdom of God?[e] Jesus continued journeying through towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He answered, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will try to enter but will not succeed in doing so.

25 “When once the master of the house has gotten up and shut the door, you may find yourself standing outside knocking on the door and begging, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say in reply, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will protest, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’

28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets in the kingdom of God as you yourselves are being thrown out. 29 Then from the east and the west, and from the north and the south, people will come and take their places at the banquet in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

31 Herod’s Desire To Kill Jesus.[f] At that time, some Pharisees came and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He answered them, “Go and tell that fox: ‘Behold, today and tomorrow I will be casting out demons and healing people, and on the third day I will finish my work. 33 Yet I must continue to go on today and tomorrow and the next day, since it would not be right for a prophet to be killed outside Jerusalem.

34 The Lament over Jerusalem.[g]“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you murder the Prophets and stone the messengers sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not allow it! 35 Behold, your house has been abandoned. I tell you, you will not see me until you say: ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”


  1. Luke 13:1 Jesus is told of a bloody repression that had just occurred in Galilee. He indicates that it is useless to fix the blame upon its victims (see Jn 9:3). Such events remind us that the judgment is only suspended and that death can surprise us at any time. Hence, they are a call to repent.
  2. Luke 13:6 In the other Synoptic Gospels (Mt 21:18-22; Mk 11:12-14, 20-25) the incident of the barren fig tree stresses the strictness of the judgment. In Luke’s parable, the threat of judgment is replaced by a lesson on God’s patience.
  3. Luke 13:10 The cure of a crippled woman on the Sabbath is in the eyes of the ancients a direct victory over Satan; it is an act of God who sets human beings free. The religious leaders are prevented by their conformist attitude from recognizing the cure as an obvious sign from God. In the face of such absurd legalism Jesus calls for simple common sense.
  4. Luke 13:18 The work of Jesus will have a future of infinite proportions although it had such seemingly insignificant beginnings. See notes on Mt 13:31-32; 13:32; and 13:33.
  5. Luke 13:22 This passage brings together scattered quotations of Jesus. After recalling that salvation demands effort and is not given by acquired privilege, the words open up frightful perspectives on the refusal of Israel while showing the Gentiles abounding in the kingdom. The religious conception is reversed here. People must not presume upon the certainty of their salvation. Salvation is a grace that needs their cooperation.
  6. Luke 13:31 Some Pharisees who are friends of Jesus alert him to the danger, but he does not fear the ruler of Galilee. In his eyes, Herod is nothing more than a sly fox, and no longer the lion, symbol of mortal danger. Despite any threats, Christ is resolved to pursue his mission till the very end with its tragic result in Jerusalem.
  7. Luke 13:34 Like the Prophets, Jesus foretells the destruction of the Holy City, but he also evokes a day when all peoples will acknowledge the Lord (see Lk 21:24; Rom 11:25-27). See also note on Mt 23:37-39.

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