J.B. Phillips New Testament
Jesus is asked about the supposed significance of disasters
13 1-5 It was just at this moment that some people came up to tell him the story of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with that of their own sacrifices. Jesus made this reply to them: “Are you thinking that these Galileans were worse sinners than any other men of Galilee because this happened to them? I assure you that is not so. You will all die just as miserable a death unless your hearts are changed! You remember those eighteen people who were killed at Siloam when the tower collapsed upon them? Are you imagining that they were worse offenders than any of the other people who lived in Jerusalem? I assure you they were not. You will all die as tragically unless your whole outlook is changed!”
And hints at God’s patience with the Jewish nation
6-9 Then he gave them this parable: “Once upon a time a man had a fig-tree growing in his garden, and when he came to look for the figs, he found none at all. So he said to his gardener, ‘Look, I have come expecting fruit on this fig-tree for three years running and never found any. Better cut it down. Why should it use up valuable space?’ And the gardener replied, ‘Master, don’t touch it this year till I have had a chance to dig round it and give it a bit of manure. Then, if it bears after that, it will be all right. But if it doesn’t, then you can cut it down.’”
Jesus reduces the sabbatarians to silence
10-12 It happened that he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath day. In the congregation was a woman who for eighteen years had been ill from some psychological cause; she was bent double and was quite unable to straighten herself up. When Jesus noticed her, he called her and said, “You are set free from your illness!”
13-14 And he put his hands upon her, and at once she stood upright and praised God. But the president of the synagogue, in his annoyance at Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath, announced to the congregation, “There are six days in which men may work. Come on one of them and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day!”
15-16 But the Lord answered him, saying, “You hypocrites, every single one of you unties his ox or his ass from the stall on the Sabbath day and leads him away to water! This woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom you all know Satan has kept bound for eighteen years—surely she should be released from such bonds on the Sabbath day!”
17 These words reduced his opponents to shame, but the crowd was thrilled at all the glorious things he did.
18-19 Then he went on, “What is the kingdom of God like? What illustration can I use to make it plain to you? It is like a grain of mustard-seed which a man took and dropped in his own garden. It grew and became a tree and the birds came and nested in its branches.
20-21 Then again he said, “What can I say the kingdom of God is like? It is like the yeast which a woman took and covered up in three measures of flour until the whole lot had risen.”
The kingdom is not entered by drifting but by decision
22-30 So he went on his way through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way towards Jerusalem. Someone remarked, “Lord, are only a few men to be saved?” And Jesus told them, “You must do your utmost to get in through the narrow door, for many, I assure you, will try to do so and will not succeed, once the master of the house has got up and shut the door. Then you may find yourselves standing outside and knocking at the door crying, ‘Lord, please open the door for us.’ He will reply to you, ‘I don’t know who you are or where you come from.’ ‘But ...’ you will protest, ‘we have had meals with you, and you taught in our streets!’ Yet he will say to you, ‘I tell you I do not know where you have come from. Be off, you scoundrels!’ At that time there will be tears and bitter regret—to see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets inside the kingdom of God, and you yourselves excluded, outside! Yes, and people will come from the east and the west, and from the north and the south, and take their seats in the kingdom of God. There are some at the back now who will be in the front then, and there are some in front now who will then be far behind.”
The Pharisees warn Jesus of Herod; he replies
31 Just then some Pharisees arrived to tell him, “You must get right away from here, for Herod intends to kill you.”
32-33 “Go and tell that fox,” returned Jesus, “today and tomorrow I am expelling evil spirits and continuing my work of healing, and on the third day my work will be finished. But I must journey on today, tomorrow, and the next day, for it would never do for a prophet to meet his death outside Jerusalem!
34-35 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you murder the prophets and stone the messengers that are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children round me like a bird gathering her brood together under her wings, but you would never have it. Now, all that is left is yourselves, and your house. For I tell you that you will never see me again till the day when you cry, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”