New Defender's Study Bible Notes
13:1 the Galilaeans. No extra-Biblical record of this blasphemous act of Pilate has been discovered as yet, but it would have been quite in keeping with his character, so there is no reason to question it.
13:3 repent. Earthly accidents, Jesus said, should not be given a judgmental connotation (Luke 13:2,4). The vital issue is true repentance toward God (repeated again in Luke 13:5 because of its importance) without which men will perish eternally.
13:6 vineyard. Jesus’ listeners should have recognized (from Isaiah 5:1-7) that “the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant.” In Isaiah’s parable, the vineyard produced only wild grapes and, in Jesus’ parable, the fig tree was barren. Later He cursed a barren fig tree on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 21:18-20) when it should have been bearing early figs, just as the tree in the parable. It should have been obvious that this was both an oral and a visual parable directed against the spiritually barren religious leaders of Israel.
13:15 the sabbath. The sabbath (meaning “rest”) had been instituted in commemoration of God’s completed work of creating and making all things in six days (Genesis 2:1-3), and its observance had been enjoined as a national holiday for the Israelites when Moses received the ten commandments (Exodus 20:8-11). However, it was not intended as a ritualistic burden, but as a blessing. As Jesus said: “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). It would both perpetually remind man of His Creator and also provide a much-needed weekly time of rest and spiritual renewal. Furthermore, since Christ Himself was the Creator, He could affirm that “the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28). Even though most believers now take their day of rest and worship on the first day of the week, commemorating Christ’s completed work of redemption as well as His completed work of creation, the principle is still the same. The day should be used for its created purpose, not as an excuse for extra gain or trivial pleasures. But as Jesus asked rhetorically: “Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9).
13:31 Herod. No longer impressed by Jesus’ miracles, evidently Herod had determined (perhaps at the instigation of the Pharisees) to rid himself of the uncomfortable teachings of Jesus, as he had those of John (Luke 9:7-9). But Jesus was not concerned, knowing that He must die in Jerusalem (Luke 13:33).
13:32 be perfected. The Greek word for “be perfected” is the word from which our word “teleology” (the study and evidences of goals and designs) is derived. In view of Luke 13:33, Jesus was probably referring to reaching Jerusalem. It could not be that Herod (Luke 13:31) or anyone else could kill Him anywhere else. It may also involve a cryptic reference to His certain resurrection on “the third day” after His coming execution in Jerusalem.
13:34 ye would not. This same lament is recorded in Matthew 23:37-39 following His final session of teaching the multitudes, with the Pharisees present. It was evidently first uttered here as He contemplated the sad fact that He, like other prophets before Him, was soon to perish in Jerusalem. His sad reminiscence of previous times the Lord had unsuccessfully called Jerusalem to repentance shows that, by this time if not before, He had a fully restored consciousness of His communion with the Father before His human incarnation.