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Spring 2021 Bible Reading Plan, Week 8: Luke 13 - Continuing toward Jerusalem, The Narrow Door


This week's Scripture passage is Luke 13.

(Click here for a PDF of this week's study.)


In Luke 13, Jesus continues His ministry, with His intention to go to Jerusalem one final time. (v. 22, 31-35). Also confirmed in Luke 9:51 where He 'set His face’ to go to Jerusalem.

In verses 1-5, He teaches on the importance of repentance to avoid perishing. As He taught in John 9:1-3, He teaches that personal calamity does not come because of excessive personal sin. But without repentance, all people will perish.

In verses 6-9, in the parable of the barren fig tree, He teaches that God's patience with sinners is neither indefinite nor unlimited. Men should repent from their sin now and turn to God and not wait. 

In verses 10-17, on the Sabbath, Jesus heals a woman of a disabling spirit that had tormented her for 18 years. He then confronts the ruler of the synagogue for his hypocrisy and criticism of Jesus' healing on the Sabbath, rather than rejoicing in the woman's miraculous deliverance and healing.

In verses 18-21, by giving two examples: the very small mustard seed and leaven (yeast), Jesus teaches on the growth of the Kingdom of God from very small and seemingly insignificant beginnings that will reach and profoundly influence the entire world.

In verses 22-30,  Jesus teaches that the door to salvation is narrow and will not be open forever. He again commands sincere repentance from sin and response to His Gospel which goes out to both Jews and Gentiles.  See Matthew 20:1-16 on His teaching of the last will be first and the first will be last.

In verses 31-35, Jesus is warned to flee and protect himself from Herod, but He restates His commitment to 'finish His course' by going to Jerusalem. He laments deeply over Jerusalem which has rejected and killed God's prophets and will reject and kill Him, the One who will come in the name of the Lord.


Questions for Reflection and Discussion:

1. As we examine our lives, are we finding the good fruit of repentance ( v.6-9)?  We should not take our salvation for granted. Regular 'fruit inspection' is healthy, humbling, and necessary.

2. In verses 22 -30,  Jesus talks about 'the narrow door' to salvation, but He doesn't say what the narrow door is. What other scriptures help us to understand what He is referring to?  Look at the following verses:

John 10:9 - I am the door... 

John 14:6 - ...“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Matthew 7:14 - The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Psalm 16:11 - You make known to me the path of life...

3. It is easy to find fault with the ruler of the synagogue who is so obviously missing the greater truth of Jesus' divinely compassionate ministry on the Sabbath (v.10-17).  But are there areas in our lives where we are 'looking good' by focusing intently on minor issues and missing the more important issues the Lord is after in our hearts?

4. Jesus would not be detoured or kept away from His costly mission to go to Jerusalem and ultimately the cross (v. 31-35).  How does His example give us strength and courage to stay the course He has laid out for each of our lives? 

Matthew 10:38-39 - “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”