by Dr. Samuel Lee   11/14/1995     0 reads



Luke 13:18-35

Key Verse: 13:19

"It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his

  garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched

  in its branches."

Study Questions

1.  With what did Jesus first compare the kingdom of God? (18-19) What does

  this parable tell us about the way the kingdom of God grows? Read verse

  20. How is the kingdom of God like yeast? In what ways is it


2.  Why was Jesus going to Jerusalem?(9:51) What was he doing along the

  way? (22) What did someone ask him? (23) How did he answer? (24-30)

  What does "narrow door" imply? In what way is Jesus the narrow door?

3.  What does it mean to "Make every effort..."? Why is timing important?

  What are the consequences of entering or not entering through the

  narrow door? What do these verses teach about the kingdom of God?

4.  What warning did some Pharisees give Jesus? (31) What did Jesus teach

  about his mission? (32-33) What was his attitude toward Herod? Why did

  Jesus weep over the Holy City? (34-35) What was his longing hope?





Luke 13:18-35

Key Verse: 13:19

"It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his

  garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched

  in its branches."

Today Jesus tells us how the kingdom of God grows in our hearts while on

earth. Let's listen very carefully how the kingdom of God grows. Jesus also

tells us to enter the narrow door. It sounds ridiculous. There are many

highways and tollways. This is the time of open opportunities. Why do we

have to enter the narrow door? Finally, Jesus sorrows looking at Jerusalem,

seeing that the holy city turned into a den of robbers.

First, the kingdom of God is like the mustard seed and the yeast (18-21).

Look at verses 18-19. "Then Jesus asked, 'What is the kingdom of God

like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man

took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of

the air perched in its branches.'" Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a

mustard seed. In the ancient eastern countries, mustard was not a garden

herb, but a field plant. It literally grew to be a tree. A height of seven

or eight feet is common. But a mustard seed is known as the smallest seed

among all seeds. It is common to see a cloud of birds around such trees.

Some rest in the tree. Others love to eat little black mustard seeds. To

Luke, the historian and evangelist, the mustard seed is well compared to

the kingdom of God, and it's a blessing to birds as well as to travelers.

This part teaches us that the kingdom of God always starts like the most

smallest mustard seed, but it grows up to be a big tree and becomes a

blessing. When Jesus came to this world to save men from their sins, he was

just like a mustard seed. Jesus is God himself (Jn 1:3,4). Jesus came to

this world to a poor family. Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She

wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room

for them in the inn (Lk 2:7). Jesus was born in the most fatalistic way and

laid in a manger. But baby Jesus is the everlasting King of kings. He is

the author of man's life and gives eternal life to those who come to him.

Luke, the historian and evangelist, wrote the story of the birth of

Jesus in chapter 2, making use of the Roman Empire as a background for his

birth. When we think about the Roman Empire, our immediate association is

with the glory and power of the throne of the Roman Emperor. At that time,

Judah was a part of Syria. Compared with the throne of the Roman Emperor,

the baby Jesus in a manger seems too small to look at. Baby Jesus was so

pitiful laid in a manger that he was the object of sympathy by the cow in

the stable. But to Luke, Jesus has the life of God in him. The Roman

Emperor, Caesar Augustus, was nothing but a political leader of the time.

He lived for a while and disappeared like the dew. But the baby Jesus in a

manger is the Most High God. He will reign forever and ever and his kingdom

will never end. Luke says, "But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid,

Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth

to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will

be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne

of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his

kingdom will never end'" (1:30-33).

Second, how the kingdom of God grew.

Once, Jesus wanted to have a retreat with his disciples so that he might

teach them more about the kingdom of God (Lk 9:10-11). Jesus and his

disciples made a secret attempt and got away from the people by boat. But

the people watched Jesus' and his disciples' movement very carefully and

they went around the lake shore and arrived before Jesus and his company.

And some of them said, "Good morning, Jesus! How are you Jesus?" They were

shameless people. Jesus should have rebuked them, saying, "Would you please

allow us to have a staff conference? Would you!" But Jesus did not rebuke

them. Out of his deep compassion, Jesus began to plant the seed of the

kingdom of God in the crowd of people, who were more than 5,000, not

counting women and children. On the previous day, Jesus had fed them with

the five loaves and two fish to their fill. Now, Jesus wanted to plant the

seed of the kingdom of God in their hearts. Jesus said to them, "I am the

bread of life." Then many began to grumble. Some of them said, "Is he not a

cannibal?" They all ran away except the twelve disciples. Jesus asked

Peter, "You do not want to leave too, do you?" (Jn 6:67) It meant, "Peter,

you are ready to run away from me." But Peter confessed, "Lord, to whom

shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that

you are the Holy One of God" (Jn 6:68,69). In this despairing situation,

Peter's impromptu speech flew from his soul. In this verse, "word of life"

clearly refers to the kingdom of God.

Through common life with his disciples, Jesus taught them that he is God

himself. Jesus also taught them God's purpose for him. It was Jesus'

crucifixion, through which he shed holy blood for sinners. It was Jesus'

resurrection, through which he promised to come again to judge the living

and dead. Jesus again and again predicted his death and resurrection to

plant the seed of the kingdom of God. Finally, Jesus showed them his

original image as God on the Transfiguration mount (Lk 9:28-36). At this

moment, Peter opened his spiritual eyes and began to see Jesus as the holy

God. Once Jesus tested them, how they thought of him. "Who do the crowds

say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and

still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life."

Most of his disciples were vague about Jesus' messiahship. Jesus asked,

"But what about you?" Peter answered, "The Christ of God" (Lk 9:18-20).

This was the shortest and most spiritual answer again in history.

Peter knew that Jesus is the Christ of God. But customarily, he was

involved in a political contest, with the motto, "I am the greatest!" Of

course, Peter thought that he was the greatest because he was the top

disciple. But John and James did not think so. They thought that they were

smarter than Peter, the hillbilly. Even Bartholomew thought that he might

be the prime minister in the kingdom of God, which they thought that Jesus

would establish on earth.

When he heard Jesus' calling, "Follow me," the kingdom of God was

planted in Peter's heart. Peter himself was sure that the best thing in the

world is the proclamation of the kingdom of God. Peter began to proclaim

the kingdom of God. After Jesus' ascension, Peter became a senior shepherd.

Most Christians believed that God's blessing would be overflowing. Instead,

they confronted fiery persecution. Because of persecution, the early

Christians had to split their families and scatter all over the place where

they could avoid persecution (1Pe 1:1). Peter did not sympathize with early

Christians. Rather, he urged the early Christians to proclaim the kingdom

of God wherever they might be. Peter also urged the early Christians to

participate in the remaining suffering of Jesus Christ (1Pe 4:13). The

early Christians were like a flaming fire.

When we review the life of St. Matthew, it is unbelievable that Matthew

was changed 180 degrees, so completely. He betrayed his suffering people.

He betrayed his country. Finally, he betrayed himself to make money in that

hard situation. When Jesus visited his tax collector's booth and knocked,

Matthew was pushing a peanut butter sandwich into his mouth. Jesus knew

that he was lonely because he was all by himself. To this lonely man, Jesus

said, "Follow me." As soon as Matthew heard Jesus' word, "follow me," he

was convinced that it was God's voice from above. Suddenly, his spiritual

eyes were opened to see Jesus as God. Now to him, money was nothing but a

piece of paper. He began to think that Jesus is the Son of God. He began to

believe that the kingdom of God is as small as a mustard seed. But when it

grows, it grows real big. Later, St. Matthew, the former tax collector,

wrote the Sermon on the Mount, the constitution of the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God is also like yeast. In Jesus' time, the word "yeast"

had a bad nuance of "corruption" or "fermentation." But here, Luke compares

the kingdom of God to yeast. Yeast has a power to work from inside. Yeast

has the power to explode the explosion, all of a sudden. When yeast gets

right inside, then unavoidable change comes. Let me tell you a story. There

was a very bright and ambitious young man. He had many-dimensional ability

to write a poem and at the same time he could be a politician. When he was

very young, he was not sentimental about his pathetic national situation.

He wanted to be a great man in his country situation. He was a Jew. At that

time, Judaism wanted to extinguish the early Christians. Paul managed to

get credentials to destroy all Christians.

But something happened. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly,

a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a

voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "Who are you,

Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied (Ac

9:3-5). At the moment, Jesus said to him, "Why do you persecute me?" At the

moment, the beam of the kingdom of God shone in his soul. In spite of his

wickedness, God forgave him in order to use him as an evangelist for the

Gentile world. The Lord called Ananias and asked him to help Saul. But

Ananias said, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he

has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority

from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name." But the Lord

said to Ananias, "Go!" (Ac 9:13-15). So God sent him as a shepherd for the

future shepherd for the Gentiles. Acts 9:15-16 says, "But the Lord said to

Ananias, 'Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the

Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him

how much he must suffer for my name." On the basis of seeing Jesus on the

road to Damascus, he appointed himself as an apostle. Finally Paul was

shackled and sent to Rome to be judged by Caesar, because he had Roman

citizenship (Ac 25:12). But they did not do anything. They just left him

alone in the jail. He had nothing to do. But he had something most

precious. He had the kingdom of God in his heart. He had also many sheep

around him. They were jailers. When St. Paul proclaimed the gospel of the

kingdom of God, they despised and rejected him outwardly. But inwardly they

accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Nobody thought that the gospel of

Jesus started in the hearts of prison guards through Paul. This story

explains how the kingdom of God, as small a mustard seed, grows and


Third, the narrow door (22-30).

One day Jesus went through the towns and villages teaching the word of

God on the way to Jerusalem (22). Someone asked Jesus, "Lord, are only a

few people going to be saved?" (23) This man knew that there are more

wicked people than innocent people. So only a few people can have a joy of

salvation. Jesus said to him, "Make every effort to enter through the

narrow door" (24). Here, the narrow door implies Christian lifestyle.

Ungodly people are very hostile to Christians because they hate to live a

holy life. Jesus told the man that he should be ready,  because our Lord

will come like a thief, anytime (Lk 12:39-40). Some said to Jesus, "I know

you. I know where you come from." But Jesus will say, "Away from me, all

you evildoers!" (27) Because they did not have the seed of the kingdom of

God, Jesus told them that their eternal condemnation will be great and

everlasting, while the holy saints will rejoice together with Abraham,

Isaac and Jacob. Let's read verses 28-30. This short story tells us the

theology of the millennium in a few words. We must decide to choose to go

through the narrow door, Jesus.

Fourth, Jesus' sorrow for Jerusalem (31-35).

At that time, some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, "Leave this

place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you." Jesus replied, "Go

tell that fox, 'I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow,

and on the third day I will reach my goal'" (32). Jesus meant that he would

do his mission and on the third day fulfill God's mission on the cross.

Jesus knew that God chose his people Israel as his own people of all

nations. God chose them as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Ex 19:6;

1Pe 2:9). But they abandoned God and were corrupt beyond recovery. Jesus

knew how God bore with them for 42 generations. But there was no sign that

they would repent. So Jesus began to weep, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...how

often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her

chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" (34)

May God help us to keep the seed of the kingdom of God in our hearts and

enter through the narrow door.