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

3. The kingdom and judgment, 12:35-13:21

vi] Inevitable victory of the kingdom


Jesus is teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath and acts to heal a woman crippled for eighteen years. The ruler of the synagogue suggests that Jesus has just broken Sabbath law. Jesus responds by pointing out that he has restored its proper meaning, a meaning hidden behind a maze of scribal regulations. The ruler is furious, but the congregation is overjoyed. Luke follows up this incident with two of Jesus' kingdom parables, the mustard seed and the yeast.


The healing of the crippled woman on the Sabbath and the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast, together illustrate the presence and power of the coming kingdom of God and thus the need to repent before it's too late.


i] Context: See 12:35-40. The inevitable victory of the kingdom is the sixth episode in the teaching section dealing with The coming of the kingdom of God and judgement, 12:35-13:21. With this structural arrangement Ellis takes us into the contextual nature of the related episodes (although his division of six episodes per section leaves one nervous, but somewhat fascinated!). From 12:35 we learn that the kingdom comes with the "fire" of judgment and even now divides and disturbs. Having reminded his readers that the only response possible in the face of the coming kingdom of God is "repent or perish", 13:1-9, Luke now encourages those who struggle through this time of test and trial with the truth that the kingdom will inevitably be victorious, 13:10-21. The presence and power of the coming kingdom is proclaimed in the two kingdom parables, although only for those with eyes to see, and is revealed in the healing miracle, a miracle which serves as a sign that the promised time of God's sabbath-rest has come.


ii] Structure: This passage, The inevitable victory of the kingdom, presents as follows:

Healing of the cripple woman, v10-17:

Setting, v10-11;

Healing, v12-13;

Reaction of the synagogue leader, v14;

Jesus' response, v15-16;

"should not this woman ...... be set free on the Sabbath day ...."

Response of onlookers, v17;

Kingdom parables, v18-21:

The mustard seed, v18-19;

The leaven, v20-21.


iii] Interpretation:

Within the context of judgment and the call to repent or perish, Jesus performs a miracle which announces that God's long promised Sabbath rest has come upon the children of Abraham. A woman, a daughter of Abraham, bound by Satan, is set free, and this on the special day that looks forward to the promised day of rest. Yet, instead of repenting in the face of the dawning day, the religious officials, Jesus' "opponents", fall back on the Law, willingly treating animals with more love than a daughter of Abraham. Thus their judgment is at hand, a fact reinforced by the two kingdom parables which serve to announce that the kingdom of God is hand. Faced with the coming kingdom it is repent or perish.


The parable of the Mustard Seed. This parable (more precisely, The Parable of the Mature Khardel Tree) proclaims the immediacy of the kingdom; it is at hand, upon us. The parable does not concern the difference between the beginning and end, or the growth that achieves the end, but rather the present reality of the end; the kingdom of God is at hand / bursting in upon us, the day has come and so the end is neigh. As we might put it, it's a minute before midnight and the bell is about to toll." See "Kingdom parables" below. Yet, this is not how it is usually interpreted. It is usually taken to illustrate the following ideas:

Growth, the small beginning in Jesus expanding to the world-wide church today, Bock, Johnson, Plummer, Fitzmyer;

A little / large comparison, the ineffectual coming of Christ to Palestine in the first century is actually the coming of the kingdom, "the beginning of a mighty kingdom", Marshall, the culmination of which, the "not yet", awaits us (the tree and birds) Nolland, Stein, Caird.


The parable of the Leaven: This parable (better The Parable of the Leavened Dough) takes the same line as the mustard seed, namely completion. Again, as with the parable of the Mustard Seed, many commentators opt for an allegorical approach:

Growth: as leaven infects the dough so the kingdom will gradually infect the world - "influence", Marshall, "the whole world will be transformed", Nolland .....

The Iittle / large comparison: "when the consummation comes, the kingdom will be obvious, ... what [now] appears to be a little speck of yeast will be a large leavened mass", Stein. ............., etc.


Kingdom parables: The two parables are classic kingdom parables, as opposed to teaching parables (illustrations). Although usually regarded as parables of growth, Dodd in Parables treats them as examples of realized eschatology. The mustard seed has now grown into a tree which is large enough for the birds of the air to rest within its branches; the dough is now mixed and leavened, ready for the oven = the kingdom of God is now. Of course, the word realized is a rather tainted word, thanks to Albert Schweitzer and his friends, so yes, realized, but also inaugurated, ie. the kingdom is a now / not yet reality.

Kingdom parables do nothing more than proclaim the gospel: "the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand (is upon us), repent and believe the gospel." Kingdom parables enshrine this message, but do so in the form of a riddle, so that "seeing they do not perceive", Matt.13:10-17. In simple terms, kingdom parables are an instrument of judgment upon a people who have rejected a clear message from God. For Jesus' "opponents", the message is muffled and their end is but to "perish", but for the seeker, the few with eyes to see, the message prompts repentance and thus life.


iv] Synoptics:

The miracle is unique to Luke, while the two kingdom parables are paralleled in Matthew 13:31-33 and Mark 4:30-32, although in different contexts. Unlike Matthew, who likes using kingdom parables, Luke limits the number he uses.


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

Text - 13:10

The presence and power of the coming kingdom: i] The healing of the cripple woman, v10-17. a) Setting, v10-11: Jesus, functioning as a Rabbi, "teaching in one of the synagogues", uses a healing for teaching purposes. In typical style, Luke, with the eye of a doctor, details the crippled woman's complaint. She has "a spirit of infirmity" which Luke tells us is demonic in origin, but not a symptom of demon possession.

hn didaskwn (didaskw) pres. part. "Jesus was teaching" - he was teaching. Probably a periphrastic imperfect, serving to accentuate durative action in the past, but then the participle could be taken as adverbial forming a temporal clause, "when ("while", Berkeley) he was teaching", Moffatt, or even complementary, completing the thought of the verb to-be / exist / happen, "It happened that he was teaching", Phillips.

en mia/ twn sunagwgwn "in one of the synagogues" - Indefinite, so "in a synagogue." The preposition en is locative, expressing space/sphere, and the genitive twn sunagwgwn is adjectival, partitive.


kai idou "-" - and behold.

hn (eimi) "[a woman] was there" - The Textus Receptus adds the imperfect verb to-be after woman, probably to fix up the grammar. "There was a woman", Moffatt.

ecousa (ecw) pres. part. "who had been" - having. The participle is adjectival, attributive, forming a relative clause limiting "the woman", as NIV. "Have" here may mean "possessing", or "experiencing" ..., see below.

asqeneiaV (a) "crippled by [a spirit]" - [a spirit] of infirmity, weakness. The genitive is adjectival, either attributive, or epexegetic, or even of material, and so limiting "spirit" by describing, or explaining / defining, the type of "spirit" she had. The simplest explanation is that the "spirit" is her spirit, so she "suffered from a weakening spirit", Berkeley, she had "been ill from some psychological cause", Phillips. Luke does not describe the healing as an exorcism so it is unlikely that she is possessed by an evil "spirit", the symptom of which is her illness; "who had a spirit in her that had made her a cripple", NCV. If an evil "spirit", possibly better, "having a sickness caused by a spirit (an evil spirit)", TNT.

hn sugkuptousa (sugkuptw) pres. part. "she was bent over" - she was having been bent over. As with the negated participle mh dunamenh, "not being able", the imperfect verb to-be with the present participle forms a paraphrastic imperfect construction, treated as a simple finite verb, possibly emphasizing the durative nature of the condition. The condition may be skoliosis, or spondylitis, or even psychological.

anakuyai (anakuptw) aor. inf. "straighten" - [she was not able] to stand up, straighten up, raise up [toward the complete]. The infinitive is complemenatry, completing the sense of the negated verb "she was not able" - not able to straighten up, or raise her head up. The qualifying prepositional phrase eiV to panteleV, "at all / completely", is somewhat unclear. Is she completely unable, ie., can do nothing about straightening herself, or is she unable completely to straighten herself, ie., she can straighten herself up a bit? "She was bent over double and quite unable to straighten herself", Barclay.


b) The healing, v12-13: As usual, Jesus heals with a word of authority. He also uses his hands to signify that he is transmitting power to the paralyzed woman, although this is not a necessary element of the healing.

idwn (eidon) aor. part. "when [Jesus] saw [her]" - The participle is adverbial, best translated as a temporal clause, as NIV.

auth/ dat. pro. "[said] to her" - Dative of indirect object.

apolelusai (apoluw) perf. pas. + gen. "you are set free" - you have been set free, released. The perfect tense expressing an action with ongoing results, namely, "the permanent nature of the cure", Marshall.

thV asqeneiaV (a) gen. "from [your] infirmity" - of the infirmity, weakness, sickness. The genitive may be classified as a genitive of direct object after an apo prefix verb where separation is being expressed, "set free from", or ablative, of separation. The genitive pronoun sou, "your", is adjectival, possessive, she was characterized by her infirmity.


epeqhken (epitiqhmi) aor. "he put his [hands]" - Another example of Jesus touching a person, obviously not an essential element in healing, but one often used, probably for psychological reasons, reassurance, intimacy, involvement....

auth/ dat. pro. "on her" - The prefix epi is spacial, "to place upon", and so may be followed by an accusative or, as here, a dative, ie. dative of direct object.

paracrhma adv. "immediately" - at once. Always an evidential sign.

anwrqwqh (anaorqow) aor. pas. "she straightened up" - she was restored, made straight, set upright, made to recover. Note passive. "Suddenly she was standing straight and tall", Peterson.

edoxazen (doxaqw) imperf. "praised [God]" - she was glorifying. The imperfect expressing durative action; she wouldn't stop praising God.


c) The ruler of the synagogue literally applies Exodus 20:9, v14. The President of the Synagogue judges Jesus' act by the Mosaic Law. As a typical legalist, he fails to understand what is meant by "work", and more particularly, he fails to understand the significance of the Sabbath. The day of rest signifies the good and proper end of creation. For a creation, now bound in the curse of sin and under Satan's control, this "rest" is but a future hope. The healing (the release) of the paralyzed woman on the Sabbath day, serves as a sign that the day of God's rest is close at hand and therefore her healing should prompt rejoicing rather than condemnation.

apokriqeiV (apokrinomai) aor. pas. part. "-" - having answered. Redundant attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "he was saying [to the crowd]. So also "[the synagogue ruler] having answered [said]", possibly "he began to answer and say to the people."

aganaktwn (aganaktew) pres. part. "indignant" - being indignant, annoyed/angry at a perceived wrong. The participle is best taken as adjectival, attributive, limiting by describing the ruler of the synagogue, "who was indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day."

oJti "because" - that. Expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why the synagogue leader was indignant.

tw/ sabbatw/ (on) dat. "on the Sabbath" - Temporal dative.

tw/ oclw/ (oV) dat. "[said] to the people" - Dative of indirect object.

oJti "-" - Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of direct speech expressing what the synagogue leader said.

dei "-" - [there are six days in which] it is necessary [to work]. "There are six days on which work ought to be done", NRSV.

ergazesqai (ergazomai) pres. inf. "for work" - to work. The infinitive is functioning as the subject of the verb "is necessary", "to work is necessary", it is also epexegetic in nature, explaining what is necessary.

oun "so" - therefore. Inferential / drawing a logical conclusion.

ercomenoi (ercomai) pres. part. "come [and be healed]" - coming. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb, "be healed", so treated as an imperative joined to "be healed" by "and"; "come and be healed."

th/ hJmera/ (a) dat. "on the" - in/on the day. Temporal dative.

tou sabbatou (on) gen. "Sabbath" - of the Sabbath. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "day"; "the Sabbath day."


d) Jesus' response, v15-16: The Qumran sect strictly applied the letter of the Law, but even they would give water to a thirsty animal on the Sabbath. In the final analysis, the Pharisees are "hypocrites" - play-actors, good on form, but poor on substance. As a "daughter of Abraham", this woman can rightly look forward to her sabbath-rest in the coming messianic kingdom. Sadly, the Pharisees fail to recognize her healing as a deliverance from Satan's bondage.

autw/ dat. pro. "[the lord answered] him" - [the Lord answered and said] to him. Dative of indirect object.

uJpakritai (hV ou) pl. "you hypocrites" - hypocrites. Those who pretend to be other than what they are. The person is plural indicating that Jesus is speaking to a wider group than just the ruler of the synagogue. "Your religion is no more than a facade of conventional piety", Barclay.

ou luei (luw) pres. "doesn't [each of you on the Sabbath] untie" - does he not untie, loosen. This negation in a question expects a positive answer.

uJmwn gen. pro. "[each] of you" - The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

tw/ sabbatw/ (on) dat. "on the Sabbath" - Temporal dative.

apo + gen. "from [the stall]" - Expressing separation.

apagagwn (apagw) aor. part. "lead it out" - having led it out, away. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action that accompanies the verb "give a drink", so "[doesn't each of you] lead it out and give it a drink?" = "lead it away to water it", TNT.


ouk edei "should not" - is it not necessary. In a question, this negation produces an affirmative answer. This verb is often used to imply a divine necessity. If not a divine necessity, at least Jesus is making the point that, irrespective of it being the Sabbath day, he is bound to "set her loose", given that he is able to do so and she is a daughter of Abraham.

tauthn acc. pro. "this" - this one. Emphatic by position. The pronoun here functions as a substantive, being the accusative subject of the infinitive "to be set free" = "that this woman ............ be set free [is necessary]..."

ousan (eimi) pres. part. "[a daughter of Abraham]" - being [a daughter of abraham]. The participle is adjectival, so "the one being" = "who is a daughter of Abraham." The argument seems to be that if it is proper to untie an animal to give it a drink, then it is obviously proper to "untie", release from an illness, a woman who is a Jew. "Daughter of Abraham" may refer to a person who possesses the faith of Abraham, but is more likely a reference to her birthright.

oJ SatanaV "Satan" - Identified as the source of all sickness, although, as noted above, her condition is probably not the consequence of demon possession, as such.

edhsen (dew) aor. "has kept bound" - bound. The aorist expresses punctiliar action, so the immediacy of her being bound and now no longer bound, is in mind.

idou "-" - behold. This interjection here serves to emphasize how long this woman has been affected by her illness. This emphasis can be brought out by word order; "For eighteen years Satan has fettered her", Barclay.

luqhnai (luw) aor. pas. inf. "be set free" - to be loosed. The infinitive is an epexegetic subject of the verb "it is necessary", explaining what is necessary, namely "to be loosed." The passive may be a divine passive, God does the loosing.

apo + gen. "from [what bound her]" - Expressing separation.


e) Response of the onlookers, v17: This verse defines the message of the episode. In the face of the coming kingdom, Jesus "reduced his opponents to shame" and "the people rejoiced." The healing miracle displays the presence and power of the coming reign of God in Christ; it reminds us of the day when God will break Satan's power to enslave and usher in an eternal heavenly rest. The following two parables remind us of the immediacy of this reality, namely the kingdom of God is upon us.

legontoV (legw) pres. part. gen. "when [he] said [this]" - [this] saying [he]. The genitive participle + genitive personal pronoun, "he", = a genitive absolute construction and is usually translated as a temporal clause, as NIV, but means (instrumental), "by means of", or causal, "because of", are also possible; "his opponents were all shamed by what he said", Barclay.

oiJ antikeimenoi (antikeimai) pres. part. "[all his] opponents" - [all] the ones being opposed to [him]. The participle serves as a substantive. This verb takes a dative complement, so autw/, "to him", is a dative of direct object.

kathscunonto (kataiscunw) imperf. pas. "were humiliated" - were being put to shame. Durative action may be intended, while the sense may be something like "confused", "were covered with confusion", REB.

epi + dat. "[the people were delighted] with" - Probably expressing ground or cause; "on the basis of / because of."

toiV endoxoiV dat. adj. "[all] the wonderful things" - Adjective used as a substantive, so "the glorious/wonderful ???", possibly "deeds", or "things", but possibly "words".

toiV ginomenoiV (ginomai) dat. pres. part. "[he] was doing" - becoming, being accomplished [by him]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "the glorious / wonderful things / deeds / words"; "the wonderful deeds which he was accomplishing. "Accomplished" generally expresses what Jesus was doing, but in the immediate context it is "debating". Still, the reference may well be to the healing, cf. Isa.45:16. "His critics were looking quite silly and red-faced. The congregation was delighted and cheered him on", Peterson.

uJp (uJpo) + gen. "[he was doing]" - by [him]. Expressing agency.


ii] Two Kingdom Parables, v18-21: a) The parable of the mustard seed, v18-19. Luke gives us a clue to the hidden meaning of the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast by linking them with the healing of the crippled woman. Although usually seen as parables of growth, often of the church growing from humble beginnings, they are more likely proclaiming the immediacy of God's kingdom, of the inauguration of God's eternal reign in Christ. So, these parables proclaim that "the day" is upon us; a mighty tree stands before us, the bread is ready for the oven. The powers of darkness have been defeated, God's Sabbath rest is here - "the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the gospel."

oun "-" - Possibly continuative, so not translated, as NIV, but often expressing cause/reason, "he said therefore." It is likely that Luke is telling us that these parables are "commenting on what has just happened", Marshall. The crowds may be overjoyed with all that they have witnessed and/or heard, but have they understood the full import of it? What they have witnessed is a sign of the coming kingdom: it is now "at hand", the tree has reached maturity, the yeast leavened, the kingdom upon them. "Rejoicing" is a good first step, but must be followed by repentance and faith. So, in typical form, the miracle, and it's associated debate, is followed up by the gospel, here in the form of a kingdom parable. "Then he went on", Phillips.

hJ basileia tou qeou "the kingdom of God" - A highly charged phrase. The genitive tou qeou, "of God", may be classified as: adjectival, possessive; ablative, source/origin; or verbal, subjective. The kingdom of God is an entity which consists of the people of God under the reign/rule of God. This entity has been realized in history in the kingdom of Israel, and to a lesser degree, the restored kingdom of Israel which, at the time Jesus told this parable, was subject to Rome. The prophets made it clear that these historic entities but imaged a coming kingdom which would be realized in and through the Davidic messiah. In Jesus, God's divine rule is inaugurated, and is /will be realized in the enthronement / coming of Chirst.

oJmoia adj. + dat. of the pers. or thing compared "like" - like, similar = comparison (as a substantive). So tini, "what", serves as a dative of direct object; "to what comparison is the kingdom of God?"

oJmoiwsw (oJmoiow) aor. subj. "shall I compare" - [to what] shall I make like, compare [it]. Deliberative subjunctive. The double question sets up v19


oJmoia "[it is] like" - The kingdom of God is not like a mustard seed, rather "the kingdom of God may be compared with the situation where a man takes a mustard seed and plants it in his field and it grows ......"

kakkw/ sinapewV "mustard seed" - The genitive sinapweV, "mustard", is adjectival, attributive. Sinapis Nigra, a very small seed growing to a large shrub around 2 metres tall, or a Salvadora Persica, the Khardel tree, local to Palestine, the seeds of which were used in mustards, a tall tree, 5 + metres.

labwn (lambanw) aor. part. "took and [planted]" - having taken [planted (threw = put)]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "planted". A bit redundant so "plants a mustard seed in a garden", CEV.

khpon (oV) "garden" - The mustard bush was planted in the orchard with the fruit trees rather the vegetable garden, so possibly, "put it in his orchard", Moffatt.

eiV dendron (on) "[it grew] became a tree" - it became to / into / toward a tree. The preposition eiV + acc., serving as a predicate nominative, is a Semitic construction, cf. Wallace 47; "it became a tree" = "It grew till it was a big tree", Barclay.

tou ouranou (oV) gen. "[the birds] of the air" - [the birds] of the heaven. The genitive is probably ablative, expressing source, but possibly adjectival, possessive in that the sky is their domain. With regard the "birds", these may represent the Gentiles (the "children of faith") cf. Dan.4:20ff. Yet, such an interpretation moves the parable toward allegory and is therefore best avoided. The birds perching on the branches illustrate that the tree has reached its maturity, so Dodd's interpretation above.


b) The parable of the yeast, v20-21.

kai palin "again" - and again. Expressing both continuation and repetition. So, "let me put it another way."


zumh/ (h) dat. "yeast" - leaven. Dative of direct object after oJmoia. Bread at this time was a version of sour dough formed with a wild yeast leaven, part of which is held back and fed and then used to leaven the next day's bread mix. This mixture is cultivated until the day of unleavened bread, after which celebration a new batch of leaven is grown. A piece of rhubarb can be used as a starter.

labousa (lambanw) aor. part. "took [and mixed]" - having taken [hid]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "hid / mixed."

enekpuyen (enkuptw) "mixed" - hid in.

aleurou (on) gen. "[about sixty pounds] of flour" - [three measures] of grain, meal, flour. The genitive is adjectival, expressing content, "full of / containing", or material, "consisting of", if the grain, rather than the measure, is in mind.

eJwV ou| "until" - Introducing a temporal clause describing an actual past fact, although this fact does not prove that the parable images "completion", as argued in these notes. The addition of the gen. pro. ou| produces the idiomatic phrase "at which time / until the time when", Culy.


Luke Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]