The teachings of Messiah, 9:51-19:44

4. Who enters the kingdom? 13:22-16:13

ii] The forsaken city


In the face of a warning from the Pharisees that Herod is planning to kill him, Jesus explains that he exercises his messianic ministry under a divine imperative. He has an appointment to attend at Jerusalem and no second rate politician is going to stop him from keeping it. The appointment is, of course, the cross, and faced with its reality, Jesus breaks into a lament for a city that is no longer his, a city unfit for God's mercy.


Take care, many people will find themselves locked out of the kingdom.


i] Context: See 13:22-30. The forsaken city is the second episode in a set of six examining the topic Who enters the kingdom?, 13:22-16:13. These episodes describe both those who enter the kingdom and those who remain outside. In the age of the great reversal, when the first are last and the last first, many will find themselves unexpectedly outside the kingdom, v22-30, among them will be a two-bit politician and unfaithful Israel, v31-35.


ii] Structure: The forsaken city:

Tell Herod where to go, v31-32:

"I will keep driving out demons ...... "

Saying, v33 "no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!"

Lament, v34-35:

"your house is left to you desolate .........."


iii] Interpretation:

Jesus has made the point that many people will find themselves outside the coming kingdom of God, even to the extent of being ekballomenouV exw, "thrown out outside." One of those on the outside looking in will be a king, a king who thinks his rule extends to ordering the death of God's messiah. Jesus has no doubt that his ministry of word and sign will continue to its intended end, despite the machinations of a second-rate politician.

To this pronouncement story, Luke adds an independent saying of Jesus with the link-word "today and tomorrow." As a saying on the same subject as the pronouncement in v32, the "third day", here "the day following", is explained in the terms of Jesus' death. Jesus aligns himself with the prophets who were set upon by the people of Israel.

In Jesus' lament over Jerusalem, Luke identifies more of those who find themselves on the outside of the kingdom looking in. Jesus, as God's messiah to Israel, would have gathered the people of Jerusalem as a hen gathers her chicks, but most of the people have rejected his mission to them. They are a people who have violently opposed God's overtures in the past, and now they act in the same way toward the Son of God, messiah. Consequently, "your house is left to you desolate."

As with 12:22-30, the passage carries an implied paraenesis, repent / look to your faith.


You will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" In announcing judgment on Israel, namely that "your house is left to you desolate", Jesus adds "you will never see me again." He qualifies this statement with an indefinite temporal clause indicating that they will see him again at a future time when they join in the coronation hymn of the Davidic messiah, "blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" So, what point is being made here?

It is possible, although unlikely, that the Jews / Pharisees, won't get to see Jesus for a while until he enters Jerusalem in some months' time to the words of the coronation hymn, Psalm 118, so Danker. Yet, it is likely that Jesus' words are more eschatological than temporal. So, there will be a future / eschatological "seeing" of Christ by Israel, but in what context? The suggestions are many and varied

iBock, Marshall, Nolland, ... posit an eschatological welcome of Jesus at his second coming by a repentant Israel;

iPlummer suggests that the prophecy concerns "the conversion of the Jews throughout time";

iEllis opposes the idea that the prophecy has anything to do with Jesus' triumphal entry to Jerusalem (Danker above), but leaves "open the question whether the prophecy anticipates that Jerusalem will 'see' Jesus in a future conversion, or in a recognition of his Lordship, too late, in the final judgment";

iManson, in his work Sayings, aligns with Ellis' second point, arguing for a "seeing" related to the final consummation: "the time will come when you are ready to say to me, 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord'; but then it will be too late." This seems the best approach to what is a difficult verse.

The many belonging to the house of Israel, who have rejected their messiah, are now forsaken, condemned - God's mercy in Christ is withdrawn from them. The "door / gate" is locked to them, and they now stand outside the kingdom, apart from the festivities within. As the Son of Man progresses to his enthronement, they may join in singing / be ready to sing the enthronement hymn, but they will have no part in any of the festivities - they are locked outside.


Eschatology: Jesus' words here raise the perennial problem of earthly time as it relates to heavenly events. We create this problem when we try to tie events in heaven with created earthly time, as if God is bound by time, bound by his own creation. So for example, with the resurrection of the dead, we end up with the spirits of believers either in heaven now, or awaiting the day of resurrection at the return of Christ, trying valiantly to fit the comings of Jesus to heaven and earth into some time sequence that works for the resurrection of the dead.

The now / not yet reality of the kingdom of God is something we simply can't fit within an earthly time framework, for the kingdom transcends time. In the reality of eternity, Christ has already entered the heavenly sanctuary with his saints (resurrected believers), is enthroned beside the Ancient of Days, and now rules in glory and might. At this very moment, we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places, Eph.2:6 - the kingdom is realised, now. Yet, in the terms of earthly time, both living and deceased believers still await the day of resurrection and our coming with Christ to the Ancient of Days - the kingdom is inaugurated, not yet. The thief on the cross, like all of us, awaits that wonderful day, but then, it was that evening when he witnessed Christ's enthronement; yes, even though Jesus would spend a few more weeks with his disciples.

Christ's coronation, v35b, is prefigured on the cross and realised in his enthronement before the Ancient of Days. Believers are there / will be there, in Christ!


iv] Synoptics:

See 3:1-20.

13:31-33 is unique to Luke, and is best classified as a pronouncement story (L source) with an attached saying (Q) in v33, the link word being "today and tomorrow." Nolland calls v33 "a Lukan reiteration of v32 in a form that accommodates it to the journey context."

13:34-35 parallels Matthew 23:37-39. This saying is classified as a lament, and was probably attached to v31-33 due to the link word "Jerusalem", either during transmission, or by Luke. The common source is usually identified as Q, but oral tradition should not be discounted. Both Luke and Matthew's record of Jesus' lament are very similar, although the context is different. For Luke, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem.


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 13:31

A timely warning - Herod's murderous intentions, v31. i] Tell Herod where to go, v31-32: The pharisees warn Jesus that Herod Antipas, who ruled Galilee and Transjordan, is planning to kill him. Probably Herod is a bit worried that he has another John the Baptist on his hands.

en + dat. "at [that time]" - in [that hour]. Temporal use of the preposition, linked in time to the proceeding unit; "it was now", Rieu.

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "and said" - [some pharisees approached] saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "came"; "approached and said to him."

autw/ dat. pro. "to him" - to him. Dative of indirect object.

exelqe (exercomai) aor. imp. "leave" - depart, go out, [and go from here]. The aorist expresses punctiliar action, an immediate singular response. The use of the verbs "go out" and "go" together is emphatic. "Get out of Herod's territory", presumably Galilee rather than Peraea. Is the warning a friendly one, or are the Pharisees trying to scare Jesus off? "Get away from here", Barclay.

oJti "-" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Jesus needs to flee, "because Herod is out to kill you", Barclay.

apokteinai (apokteinw) aor. inf. "to kill" - [herod wants, wills] to kill [you]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "wants, wills."


Jesus' imperious response to a threat by a second-rate politician, v32. Jesus defiantly asserts the priority of his messianic mission, of his "day by day" journey to Jerusalem, and of its "completion". The "third day" here means the "final day", the last day in the sequence of days. Jesus may be linking "the third day" with his resurrection, but it is more likely that this "final day" is his reaching Jerusalem and the "goal" of his high priestly consecration through death, resurrection and ascension, Heb.2:10, 5:9. Jesus' mission, in words and signs, stands over and above the intentions of "that fox", a third-rate political hack. Jesus' goal is to follow the way set before him by the Father and thus achieve "his consecration and enthronement into the messianic office", Ellis. Jesus' ministry, his messianic journey to Jerusalem, his exodus, with its inevitable conclusion, is covered by a divine imperative which overrules the machinations of a mere mortal.

autoiV dat. pro. "[he replied]" - [and he said] to them. Dative of indirect object.

poreuqenteV (poreuomai) aor. pas. part. "go" - having gone. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the imperative verb "say, tell"; "go and tell", Moffatt. These Pharisees are possibly Herod's messengers, so "go back to Herod."

th/ alwpeki (x ectos) dat. "[that] fox" - [tell] to [this] fox. Dative of indirect object. Although in English tradition the fox represents cunning, in Semitic tradition it represents an insignificant animal, as compared to say a lion, so prompting three possible insults: insignificant, or a deceiver, or destructive.

ekballw pres. "I will drive out / I will keep driving out" - [behold] i cast out [demons]. A durative futuristic present tense, as NIV. Note how the TNIV has emphasised durative aspect. Irrespective of Herod, Jesus intends to continue his ministry, again summarised in messianic terms: exorcisms and healings. Yet, why no mention of Jesus' preaching ministry?

apotelw (apotelew) pres. "-" - [and] i produce, complete, finish, perform [healings]. The emphasis here is "complete healings" / "complete a series of healings", Thompson; "accomplish works of healing", Cassirer.

shmeron kai aurion "today and tomorrow" - today and tomorrow. An idiomatic Semitic phrase which can literally mean "two days", but here more likely an indefinite period "day by day", Black.

th/ trith/ "on the third day" - [and] on the third day. The general "day by day" ministry of Jesus will progress to a final day at a future undefined, but specific moment. Possibly spatial, the conclusion of Jesus' healing ministry, so Manson, or his death, his resurrection, or even ascension. Christ's death seems the best spatial choice, but the mention of "third" certainly hints at the resurrection. None-the-less, a theological, rather than earthly spatial goal may be intended. Jesus' ministry proceeds, irrespective of the ravings of political tyrants, until his messianic enthronement; "day by day, until that last day when I complete my mission."

teleioumai (teleiow) pres. mid./pas. "I will reach my goal" - i complete, make perfect, bring to an end, consummate, effect. As a middle voice, "I bring it to an end", or as a passive, "I am brought to the end / goal of my work", Fitzmyer (a theological passive identifying God as the agent of Jesus' completion). On that final / third day Jesus will "complete" his mission, namely, "his consecration and enthronement into the messianic office", Ellis. "I finish my work", NRSV.


ii] Saying - Jesus restates v32 underlining two points, v33. First, his journey to Jerusalem is one determined by God, "it is necessary" and he cannot turn aside from it. Second, the journey will inevitably follow its course to suffering and death. Of course, prophets have died outside of Jerusalem, but Jesus ironically makes the point that it is "inappropriate" for a messenger from God, in particular this messenger, to be set upon and murdered outside of Jerusalem.

plhn "in any case" - nevertheless, but / and. Usually taken here as an adversative; "I am completed, but / nevertheless (despite the plans of Herod) ........." Sometimes as a transitional connective / coordinative, so "moreover / and indeed", Marshall, so developing the thought of v32, namely that Jesus intends pressing on with his ministry to the end; "and indeed, I must press on, because it is unthinkable that a prophet should die anywhere else other than in Jerusalem."

dei pres. "I must" - it is necessary. Often expressing divine necessity, as is likely the sense here.

poreuesqai (poreuomai) pres. inf. "keep going / press on" - to go, travel. The infinitive functions as the subject of the of the verb "is necessary"; "to keep going today, tomorrow and the next day, is necessary." For a complementary classification see grayai, 1:3. Presumably, the going is the messianic mission of Jesus = his journey to Jerusalem, in words and signs, with death as its inevitable conclusion.

th/ ecomenh/ (ecw) dat. pres. mid. part. "the next day" - [today and tomorrow and] to = on, at the one having = following. The participle serves as a substantive, dative of time - proximity of. A stereotypical phrase of a period of time meaning "the immediately following day", "the next day", as NIV. Presumably the whole clause restates the similar clause in v32, and thus again describing the mission of Jesus, of setting his face toward Jerusalem and its "completion" there.

oJti "for" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why it is necessary to press on - "because ..."

ouk endecetai (endecomai) pres. "surely" - it is not possible, imaginable, thinkable, right. Possibly reflecting the divine imperative; "it is impossible", Fitzmyer.

apolesqai (apollumi) aor. inf. "[can] die" - [a prophet] to die. Many translations, as NIV, assume the verb "is [not] able" such that the infinitive is complementary, but technically it serves as the subject of the verb endecetai, "it is [not] possible"; "to die outside of Jerusalem is not possible."

exw + gen. "outside" - outside [jerusalem]. Spatial. A very cutting tongue-in-cheek statement by Jesus - an example of NT satire. Did the audience laugh? Probably not the Pharisees.


iii] A lament over Israel's rejection of God's gracious kindness revealed through his messengers, particularly through Christ, v34-35. a) Jesus' lament for Jerusalem, v34. Although Jesus' words are directed toward Jerusalem, his focus is not on the city and its inhabitants, but the people of Israel as a whole - Jerusalem is representative. The people of Israel have rejected their messiah. Jesus speaks as the prophet of the Lord, personalising God's word to his people (note how Jesus' words are similar to the words of Stephen in Acts 6). The people of Israel have continually rejected God's gracious kindness extended toward them through his prophets, and now they reject this kindness in Jesus.

Jesus may be functioning as a prophet at this point, uttering a divine word from the Lord, Yhwh, albeit without the introduction, "thus says the Lord." Jesus' use of the first person supports this view.

Ierousalhm voc. "O Jerusalem" - jerusalem, jerusalem. Vocative, the double vocative being emphatic. Repetition adds force. Jerusalem is the heart of Israel and thus representative of the people of Israel.

hJ apokteinousa (apokteinw) pres. part. "you who kill" - the one killing [the prophets]. The participle serves as a substantive, standing in apposition to "Jerusalem". The present tense expressing the constant murdering and stoning of God's messengers, ie. violently rejecting - Israel is "ever ready to kill and stone", Marshall.

hJ .... liqobolousa (liqobolew) pres. part. "stone" - [and] stoning. The participle serves as a substantive, standing in apposition to "Jerusalem". "Pelt to death by stoning", TH.

touV apestalmenouV (apostellw) perf. pas. part. "those sent" - the ones having been sent. The participle serves as a substantive, accusative direct object of the participle "stoning". The perfect tense refers to the prophets sent in the past to Israel, and all the way through to the present. Unlikely to refer here to the apostles as the sent ones, although they were indeed sent.

authn pro. 3rd. sing. "you" - [toward] her. A direct address to Jerusalem as "her", rather than "you". Semitic style.

posakiV adv. "how often" - how often. Interrogative adverb introducing a rhetorical question, although more likely here as an exclamation, so Culy. As already noted, Jerusalem is representative of Israel as a whole. It seems likely that the expressed desire to gather in Israel is that of the Godhead rather than just Jesus.

episunaxai (episunagw) aor. inf. "to gather" - [i wanted, willed] to gather together. Colloquial 1st. aor. form. The infinitive, serves as the direct object of the cognitive verb "I have longed / willed" / dependent statement of perception, hoping / wishing / desiring, expressing what Jesus / God wants for Israel, although usually classified as complementary, completing the sense of "I wanted." "How often have I yearned to gather", Williams.

ta tekna "children" - the children [of you]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to gather." The children of Jerusalem are her inhabitants = the children of Israel. "Your people", CEV.

oJn tropon acc. "as" - which in manner [a hen]. This relative construction serves as an adverbial accusative introducing a comparative; "even as, as, like", cf., Ex.2:14, LXX. Culy suggests it is intensive; "in the very same manner."

eJauthV gen. "her [chicks]" - [gathers the chicks] of her [under the wings, and you were not willing]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive. "And you refused", RJB.


b) Jesus concludes with a prophetic word of doom for the people of Israel, v35. The imagery Jesus uses is of the departure of God's glorious presence from the temple. The final state for God's rebellious people is the withdrawal of his Spirit from their midst. Jesus would soon enter Jerusalem for the last time, and on that day the disciples would affirm Christ's coronation in the words of Psalm 118:26. These words were sung at the enthronement of David, along with the other kings of the Davidic line, and they will be sung for Jesus as he enters the throne room of the Ancient of Days for his coronation. There is a mystical sense where, not just rebellious Israel, but also rebellious mankind, will witness this moment, even utter the words, but at the same time weep, for it is all too late - "her house is forsaken".

oJ oikoV (oV) "[your] house" - [behold, pay attention,] the house [of you]. Nominative subject of the verb "to abandon." Some translators opt for "temple", and indeed, the people of Israel are the Lord's house, his temple. None-the-less, it is likely that "the people of Jerusalem" is intended = "the people of Israel."

afietai (afihmi) pres. pas. "is left" - is abandoned. The use of the present tense here may express "fate already sealed", Nolland. The sense is, God abandons the house of Israel, taking away his protection etc., so leaving the people to look after themselves. "Israel is forsaken"; "Now it's too late", Peterson; "God no longer has his home among you", Barclay.

uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - to you. Dative of interest, disadvantage.

erhmoV adj. "desolate" - desolate, deserted. This variant, accepted by the NIV, is probably an assimilation to Jer.22:5, so Metzger.

ou mh idhte (eidon) aor. subj. "you will not see" - [but/and i say to you] not not = never you may see [me]. This construction, the double negatives + subj., forms a subjunctive of emphatic negation; "you will never see me again", Williams; "you will not see me at all", Berkeley.

eJwV + subj. "until [you say]" - until [you may say]. The conjunction, eJwV + subj., introduces an indefinite temporal clause. Note the variant hJxei oJte, "until the time / day when you will say ..."

euloghmenoV (eulogew) perf. pas. part. "Blessed" - having been blessed is. The participle serves as a substantive, predicate of the assumed verb to-be; "the one who comes in the name of the Lord is blessed. "Blessed in the name of God / blessed of God is he who comes in the name of the Lord". Possibly hortatory, "God bless him who ....", Barclay.

oJ ercomenoV (ercomai) pres. part. "he who comes" - the one coming. The participle serves as a substantive, subject of the assumed verb to-be. A descriptive of Christ's enthronement.

en + dat. "in" - in [the name of the lord]. Adverbial use of the preposition, modal, expressing manner.


Luke Introduction


Exegetical Commentaries


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