Luke 13

Luke 13:1 the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices

Although not recorded elsewhere in the Bible, this episode of bloodshed may have been recorded by the Jewish historian, Josephus. He described a seditious uprising of the Jews that resulted in the deaths of many innocent bystanders. At the time, Pilate had been having difficulties with the Jews and their disdain for all things Roman. Pilate had planned on building an aqueduct that would bring water to Jerusalem (the Roman Empire is famous for its system of elaborate aqueducts). His mistake was to use money from the temple donations to fund his project. This, of course, did not set well with the Jews who gathered together to make yet another protest. Pilate, therefore, sent his armed soldiers amongst the crowd to control them by force if needed.

"So he [Pilate] bid the Jews himself go away; but they boldly casting reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; who laid upon them much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not; nor did they spare them in the least: and since the people were unarmed, and were caught by men prepared for what they were about, there were a great number of them slain by this means, and others of them ran away wounded. And thus an end was put to this sedition." (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, book 18, chap. 3, verse 2)

The footnote reads as follows:

"These Jews, as they are here called, whose blood Pilate shed on this occasion, may very well be those very Galilean Jews, 'whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices,' (Luke 13:1-2) these tumults being usually excited at some of the Jews' great festivals, when they slew abundance of sacrifices, and the Galileans being commonly much more busy in such tumults than those of Judea and Jerusalem."

Luke 13:2 Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things?

The tone taken by the inquisitors seems to take on a tone of superiority. "Certainly, these Galileans were great sinners and therefore suffered such a calamity." The same self-righteous logic asks the question, 'Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?' (John 9:2) The underlying implication is that all illness, deformity, calamity, or suffering come as a direct consequence of sin. The converse of this argument states that those without deformity or calamity must, of necessity, be more righteous. The Master warns against such a conclusion.

"Some have mistakenly held that all misfortunes and/or pleasures come directly from God and that God is therefore solely responsible for every man's condition. Along with this follows the belief that all difficulties are the direct and immediate consequence of sin. Sadly, some members of the Church even tend to believe this. How often do we hear someone say, 'What have I done to deserve this?' The Savior taught, however, that affliction or suffering was not necessarily God's punishment for sin (see Luke 13:1-5; John 9:2-3, 34)." (Robert J. Matthews, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Jan. 1981, 33)

Bruce R. McConkie

"True it is, as a general principle, that God sends disasters, calamities, plagues, and suffering upon the rebellious, and that he preserves and protects those who love and serve him. Such indeed were the very promises given to Israel-obedience would net them the preserving and protecting care of the Lord, disobedience would bring death, destruction, desolation, disaster, war, and a host of evils upon them.

"But to say that particular individuals slain in war, killed in accidents, smitten with disease, stricken with plagues, or shorn of their property by natural calamities, have been singled out from among their fellows as especially deserving of such supposed retribution is wholly unwarranted. It is not man's prerogative to conclude in individual cases of suffering or accident that such has befallen a person as a just retribution for an ungodly course." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 475.)

Joseph Smith

" is an unhallowed principle to say that such and such have transgressed because they have been preyed upon by disease or death, for all flesh is subject to death; and the Savior has said, 'Judge not, lest ye be judged.'" (Teachings, pp. 162-63.)

Luke 13:6-9 A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard

Bruce R. McConkie

"A certain husbandman (God) had a fig tree (the Jewish remnant of Israel) planted in his vineyard (the world); and he came (in the meridian of time) and sought fruit thereon (faith, righteousness, good works, gifts of the Spirit), and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard (the Son of God), Behold, these three years (the period of Jesus' ministry) I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down (destroy the Jewish nation as an organized kingdom); why cumbereth it the ground (why should it prevent the conversion of the world by occupying the ground and preempting the time of my servants)? And he (the Son of God) answering said unto him (God, the husbandman), Lord, let it alone this year also till I shall dig about it, and dung it (preach the gospel, raise the warning voice, show forth signs and wonders, organize the Church, and offer every opportunity for the conversion of the Jewish nation). And if it bear fruit, the tree is saved (the Jewish nation shall be preserved as such and its members gain salvation), and if not, after that thou shalt cut it down (destroy the Jews as a nation, make them a hiss and a byword, and scatter them among all nations)." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 477.)"

Luke 13:14 There are six days in which men ought to work...and not on the Sabbath day

Bruce R. McConkie

"Sowing and reaping are clearly work. But suppose only a few seeds are scattered on unploughed land, is such an act sinful? If oxen bear a yoke and pull a plough, it is work, but if they only carry the weight of a rope, what then? Is it permissible to set a broken arm, to give medicine to sick persons, or for a lame man to use his crutches? Can an author write a page, a single line, or even one letter from the alphabet? Is it permissible to read, or walk, or boil water, or what have you, and if so, how limited or extensive may the exertions be? If a man stumbles and falls, must he lie prone until the Sabbath's end? How heavy a burden may he bear without breaking the divine decree? These and ten thousand other tickish, petty questions occupied the time of the brightest minds in all Jewry, and the answers they gave and the rules they adopted can scarcely be believed." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 1: 205 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels, by Pinegar, Bassett, and Earl, p. 240)

Luke 13:15 Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?

The rabbinical law allowed for better treatment of animals than it did for humans-particularly on the Sabbath day. A man was exempted from the strictness of the law when extracting an ox out of the mire or feeding and watering his oxen, but to help another Israelite was forbidden if it required even the appearance of work. The law stated: "that if one saw an ass or an ox fall down by the way, he should not hide himself, but should surely help the owner to lift the creature up again. (Deut. 22:4) If such was their duty toward a brother's beast, much greater was their obligation when a brother himself was in so extreme a plight." (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 400)

The latter-day saints have to be careful to avoid latter-day forms of rabbinical hypocrisy.

Harold B. Lee

"'Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?' (Luke 13:15-16.)

"I remember a sister who came into my office from a foreign country. She was working in the bishop's storehouse in Logan, Utah. She had gone storming in to Elder Joseph F. Merrill of the Council of the Twelve and said, 'Why, Brother Merrill, they are distributing pork from the bishop's storehouse up there where I have been working, and it is summertime.' Elder Merrill very wisely said, 'Go in and talk that over with Brother Lee.'

"So she came in to me and repeated her comment, since I was at that time working with the welfare program. I asked, 'Why are you so much disturbed about that?'

"'Why,' she said, 'the Lord said we should not eat pork or meat in the summertime.'

"I said, 'Oh, where did he say that? I haven't read that.'

"'Why, in the Word of Wisdom.'

"I said, 'Not in my Doctrine and Covenants, it doesn't say that. Will you open the Doctrine and Covenants and read me what you have just said?'

"Well, she tried to justify what she had said. I suggested that she read D&C 49 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and told her I was not sure what a famine was as mentioned in D&C 89. We should eat meat sparingly, yes, as the Lord counsels. But when we reach a hard and fast conclusion contrary to what the Lord has said, be careful.

"I find some of our brethren who are engaged in leadership positions justifying their neglect of their families because they say that they are engaged in the Lord's work. I say to them, 'My dear brother, do you realize that the most important part of the Lord's work that you will do is the work that you do within the walls of your own home? That is the most important work of the Lord. Don't get your sense of values mixed up.'" (Ye Are the Light of the World: Selected Sermons and Writings of Harold B. Lee [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974], Chap. 3)

Luke 13:18-19 the kingdom of like a grain of mustard seed

"Jesus loved a contrast, even a hyperbolic contrast, to teach a lesson. He called the mustard seed 'less than all the seeds that be in the earth.' (See Mark 4:31.) But he likened it to the kingdom of God, 'which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.' (Luke 13:19.) Though the mustard seed is tiny, mustard plants can grow to a height of fifteen feet.

"Thus, the seed can denote the strength and power inherent in even the smallest particle: 'If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.' (Matt. 17:20.)

"That the glorious kingdom of God would begin in such a small and obscure way was a very un-Jewish teaching-that the kingdom would be 'the least' of all kingdoms was near heresy. Most Jews in the days of Jesus expected the Messiah to come and champion their cause, overthrow the Romans (as Judas Maccabaeus had overthrown the Greeks), and reestablish a mighty kingdom with the Anointed One ruling as king. Jesus, however, implanted a different concept of greatness arising out of something small." (D. Kelly Ogden, "A Sampler of Biblical Plants," Ensign, Aug. 1990, 38-39)

Joseph Smith

"Now we can discover plainly that this figure is given to represent the Church as it shall come forth in the last days. Behold, the Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto it. Now, what is like unto it?

"Let us take the Book of Mormon, which a man took and hid in his field, securing it by his faith, to spring up in the last days, or in due time; let us behold it coming forth out of the ground, which is indeed accounted the least of all seeds, but behold it branching forth, yea, even towering, with lofty branches, and God-like majesty, until it, like the mustard seed, becomes the greatest of all herbs. And it is truth, and it has sprouted and come forth out of the earth, and righteousness begins to look down from heaven, and God is sending down His powers, gifts and angels, to lodge in the branches thereof.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a mustard seed. Behold, then is not this the Kingdom of Heaven that is raising its head in the last days in the majesty of God, even the Church of the Latter-day Saints." (Teachings, pp. 98-99.)

Luke 13:21 the kingdom of like leaven...hid in three measures of meal

Christ chose the details of his parables very carefully. Why then did he say that the leaven would be hid in three measures of meal? We are reminded of his statement, 'other sheep I have, which are not of this fold' (John 10:16). Again to the Nephites, he declared, 'verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem' (3 Ne. 16:1). The Good Shepherd actually had three folds of sheep: the saints of Jerusalem, the Nephites, and the lost tribes. These three groups are represented by the leaven "hid" in three measures of meal. The Lord's goal eventually, is to have 'one fold and one shepherd' (John 10:16), just as his goal in leavening three separate lumps is eventually to leaven 'the whole,' meaning that in the Millennial day, these three groups-the house of Judah, the house of Joseph, and the lost tribes-will no longer be separate or hidden but gathered into one.

Luke 13:23 Lord are there few that be saved?

Are there only a few that will be saved? To answer the question, we must first define what is meant by the word "saved" as used in this verse. Jesus' answer referenced the 'strait gate,' which is the gateway into the celestial kingdom of God. The gate is entered into by baptism as Nephi taught, 'the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh...the Holy Ghost' (2 Ne. 31:17).

Are there only a few that will be saved in the celestial kingdom of God? The answer is "yes," for 'strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it' (Matt 7:14). Joseph Fielding Smith taught, "I have always tried to impress upon the people the fact that the gate is strait and the way is narrow which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it,-in reference to the celestial kingdom of God." (Conference Report, April 1923, Third Day-Morning Session 138.) However, while few will be saved-that is relatively speaking. Relative to the population of the entire earth, a small proportion will attain a celestial glory. The actual number of recipients will be a very large number. In the spirit world, the Savior visited 'an innumerable company of the spirits of the just' (DC 138:12). Furthermore, we know that 'all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven' (DC 137:10). That's a lot of people! But, for those of us who are accountable, the gate is strait, the way is narrow, and the road is mostly empty.

Bruce R. McConkie

"Few as compared to the hosts of men in our present worldly society (Matt 7:13-14), but many when all who so obtain are counted together...The expansion of world population being what it is, we can suppose that the billions who live on earth during the Millennium-and who 'grow up without sin unto salvation' (DC 45:58)-shall far exceed in number the total hosts of men who have lived during the preceding six thousand years. Truly, in the aggregate, there are many who shall be saved!" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:475 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels, by Pinegar, Bassett, and Earl, p. 250)

George Q. Cannon

"There will be but comparatively few of the human family that will attain to celestial glory, because they will not listen to the voice of God. Many there will be that will fall by the wayside and will yield to an influence that is not of God, and the result will be that they will lose that exaltation which God is desirous to bestow upon His children. But we shall all be rewarded according to our deeds. The men and the women who keep the commandments of God will most assuredly receive the reward therefore. As I have read in your hearing, whatever spirit we are influenced by we shall receive a fullness of it. If it be the spirit of the telestial glory, or of the terrestrial glory, a fullness of that will be our reward. If, on the other hand, we desire a celestial glory, and live for it, having a determination that, with the help of God, we will be as our Savior was in the flesh-obedient, humble, meek and lowly, enduring, all things for the glory that awaiteth us-then we shall attain to the fullness of that glory, and that will be the reward bestowed upon us." (Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992], vol. 4, Aug. 26, 1894)

Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate

Bruce R. McConkie

"To enter in at the strait gate is to forsake the world, repent of one's sins, and be baptized under the hands of a legal administrator, thus getting on the straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life. (2 Ne. 31:17-18; 3 Ne. 14:13-14; 27:33; Matt. 7:13-14; Luke 13:23-24.) The strait gate opens the door or gate to the kingdom of God on earth (which is the Church) and to the kingdom of God in heaven (which is the celestial kingdom). It is a narrow, restricted, limited entrance and 'few there be that find it.'" (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 769.)

Bruce R. McConkie

"The course leading to eternal life is both strait and straight. It is straight because it has an invariable direction - always it is the same. There are no diversions, crooked paths, or tangents leading to the kingdom of God. It is strait because it is narrow and restricted, a course where full obedience to the full law is required. Straightness has reference to direction, straitness to width. The gate is strait; the path is both strait and straight." (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 769.)

Harold B. Lee

"'Strive to enter in at the strait gate.' Strive means to struggle in opposition or contention, to contend, to battle for or against a person or a thing opposed, to strive as against temptation, and to strive for truth.

"Well, in all that striving, remember Temple Bailey's parable for mothers:

"The young mother said to the guide at the beginning of her way, 'Is the way long?' And the guide replied, 'Yes, and the way is hard, and you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.'

"Oh, that we might think of these warnings and remember the prayer of the Prophet Joseph in the midst of his persecutions, when he cried out, asking why the Lord would not see and hear the sufferings of the Saints, and then hear the Lord answer: 'My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.' (D & C 121:7-8.)" (Conference Report, April 1956, Afternoon Meeting 111.)

Luke 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door

James E. Talmage

"I ask your attention to a very grievous mistranslation in that scripture. The error is expressed by misleading punctuation. This division of the scriptures into chapters and verses, is, as you know, a comparatively modern innovation and it has been made by the best skill and wisdom of men, but men's skill sometimes fails and men's wisdom may come to naught...I want to read to you again the passage as it is, and then read it to you as it should be, according to the best authority we have. Christ said to them in response to their question: 'Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able.' There endeth the twenty-fourth verse, and the twenty-fifth verse, beginning a new sentence, reads: 'When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door and ye begin to stand without and to knock at the door,' and so forth. Now, there should he no period there; there should be no division in the verses and the passage should read in this wise:

'Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able when once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door.'

"Do you see the difference in meaning? One is an indicative statement only, however great its portent; the other brings in the time element and the fact that there is opportunity which will pass-Strive to enter in now because many will come seeking to get in and will not be able when once the master of the house hath risen up and hath shut to the door. It is all in line with the tenor of the scripture, with the words of Paul and the other apostles. Do you call to mind the urgent behest-Lay hold on the kingdom and on eternal life while you can. Don't procrastinate." (Conference Report, October 1917, Second Meeting Outdoors. 140.)

Luke 13:25 Lord, Lord, open unto us...We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets

We are reminded that in the parable of the ten virgins, only five of the virgins were ready at the coming of the Bridegroom. President Kimball likened the ten virgins to the church members. Wilford Woodruff has said, "when the Lord of heaven comes in power and great glory to reward every man according to the deeds done in the body, if he finds one-half of those professing to be members of his Church prepared for salvation, it will be as many as can be expected, judging by the course that many are pursuing." (12 September 1875, Journal of Discourses, 18:110.)

These frightening statistics give this passage great import. What would it feel like to be a member of the church but be found unworthy at that day? What will we say? "We have eaten and drunk in thy presence. We have attended some church meetings. We have paid some tithing. We have heard thy prophets teach in our churches and conferences." The Lord has warned the members of the church, 'ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings' (DC 41:1). How painful would it be to hear those words, 'I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.' One failsafe way to avoid such a disaster of discipleship is to receive the ordinances of the temple and be faithful to the covenants made therein.

Joseph B. Wirthlin

"None would want to hear the Lord speak such disappointing words. That is why we need to do everything in our power to be certain our spiritual bonfire of testimony is burning brightly enough to keep the wolves of darkness away. We can always use more dry kindling. As the Apostle Paul taught, each of us has 'come short of the glory of God.' (Romans 3:23.) None of us has progressed so far in this life that we do not need to continually fortify our testimonies." (Finding Peace in Our Lives, p. 126)

Chieko Okazaki

"This passage is a powerful one to me for two reasons. First, it reminds me that there is no work more important for me than to do the works of righteousness every day, to repent of my sins, to ask for forgiveness, to pray, and to serve others so that I may be a true disciple of the Savior and so that he will recognize me. But the second message is that it is not for me to judge the righteousness of others. The Lord is the master of the house. He knows who has served him wholeheartedly, while others who claim his acquaintance in the street or even to have been intimate friends who have eaten at his table have hearts that are far from him and cannot be permitted to enter his presence at the last day. I am the only person who can make my heart right before the Lord." (Sanctuary [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 30 - 31.)

Luke 13:29 ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out

Christ's teachings hit a chord with the people. He knew just what to say to get their attention. To declare that they were not worthy of the blessings of the Fathers was, to them, doctrinal heresy. See commentary for Matthew 8:12.

"...according to the common notion of the time, the vials of wrath were to be poured out only on the Gentiles, while they, as Abraham's children, were sure of escape-in the words of the Talmud, that 'the night' (Isa. 21:12) was 'only to the nations of the world, but the morning to Israel'? (Jer. Taan. 64a).

"For, no principle was more fully established in the popular conviction, than that all Israel had part in the world to come (Sanh. 10.1), and this, specifically, because of their connection with Abraham...'The merits of the Fathers,' is one of the commonest phrases in the mouth of the Rabbis. Abraham was represented as sitting at the gate of Gehenna (hell), to deliver any Israelite who otherwise might have been consigned to its terrors. In fact, by their descent from Abraham, all the children of Israel were nobles, infinitely higher than any proselytes. 'What,' exclaims the Talmud, 'shall the born Israelite stand upon the earth, and the proselyte be in heaven?' (Jer. Chag. 76a)." (Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, p. 187-88)

Luke 13:31 the Pharisees [said] Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee

"Although it is remotely possible that these particular Pharisees were honestly concerned for the welfare of Jesus and that this warning to him was prompted by a genuine interest for his bodily safety, it seems more likely that the Pharisees were only feigning friendship for Jesus and that their real motive was to lure Jesus out of Galilee and back into Judea, where Herod had no jurisdiction but where Jesus would fall into the hands of the Jewish rulers. The Lord's reply to them is instructive. The Pharisees and Herod had little in common, except a dislike for Jesus; yet Jesus' reply indicates that he knew that the Pharisees and Herod were in communication with one another. Said he, 'Go ye, and tell that fox... I must walk to day, and tomorrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem' (Luke 13:32-33). Such a reply not only gave notice to the Pharisees that Jesus was not about to buy their supposed act of friendship, but also gave a message to them-and to Herod-that Jesus' death, when it did occur, would not be in Galilee but in Jerusalem, and he did not fear what they could do to him in Galilee. It is likely that these clever Pharisees, who had successfully plotted with Herod in the capture of John, were now attempting the same kind of strategy (in reverse) to capture Jesus." (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 59.)

Luke 13:32 the third day I shall be perfected

Russell M. Nelson

"...let us consider another highly significant statement made by the Lord. Just prior to His crucifixion, He said that on 'the third day I shall be perfected.' Think of that! The sinless, errorless Lord-already perfect by our mortal standards-proclaimed His own state of perfection yet to be in the future. His eternal perfection would follow His resurrection and receipt of 'all power . . . in heaven and in earth.'

"The perfection that the Savior envisions for us is much more than errorless performance. It is the eternal expectation as expressed by the Lord in His great intercessory prayer to His Father-that we might be made perfect and be able to dwell with them in the eternities ahead." (Perfection Pending, and Other Favorite Discourses [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 6.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"Of His utterance in Matthew 5:48 in which, in humility and in truth, He did not include Himself as a model of perfection, it was (to use Paul's intriguing phrase) accurate 'for the time then present.' It was only after the triumph of the Atonement and His resurrection that Jesus was fully perfected." (Even As I Am [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 16.)

Luke 13:33 it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem

Bruce R. McConkie

"...persecution comes from religious zealots. Those who are lukewarm or neutral in the realm of religion, those who have no interest in spiritual things, could not care less whether prophets succeed or fail. It is those who have strong religious convictions who rise up to oppose the truth and fight its exponents.

"There have been no more zealous religionists on earth than the inhabitants of Jerusalem, nor has there been another locale where more of the blood of the prophets has flowed. Truly, there is more than irony and sorrow in our Lord's pronouncement: 'It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee.' (Luke 13:33-34.)" (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 35.)

Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

"When he came to Jerusalem on that last mission and while preaching in the temple, he uttered that fierce denunciation against the Pharisees and the Scribes (Matt. 23), the fiercest that I know of in all history, called attention to the fact that they had persecuted and martyred the righteous, and then again broke forth in the same lament:

'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!' (Matthew 23:37.)

"That is the motif of all of God's dealings with mankind, always forgiving, always ready to accept us if we will but put ourselves where we may be accepted. His expression was an expression of divine love, and it is not without interest that in making his comparison he spoke of the love of the mother hen, mother love, the nearest thing we know to divine love." (Conference Report, April 1947, Second Day-Morning Meeting 78.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"His love and compassion are attributes that underlie the mercy-filled and moving statement: 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!' Do we not hear a longitudinal lamentation from Jehovah, now Jesus of Nazareth, reflecting centuries of insensitivity and unresponsiveness toward Him on the part of ancient Israel? Whoever constituted the immediate audience the day of that lamentation, they were, in a sense, stand-ins for earlier throngs." (Even As I Am [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 25.)

Luke 13:35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate

Russell M. Nelson

"The first sacred temple of Jerusalem was constructed on Mount Moriah. At that site, Jesus attended the remodeled second temple. Initially He called it 'my Father's house.' There He accomplished the first cleansing of the temple by driving out the money-changers.

"At the time of the second cleansing, He called it 'my house.' And He said unto them, 'It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.'

"Finally and sadly, He called it 'your house' when He said in desperation, 'Behold, your house is left unto you desolate,' and predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, of which one stone would not be left upon the other. How could these important messages regarding the temple have been delivered in any other land? For His own mortal ministry He chose the land with the temple." (Perfection Pending, and Other Favorite Discourses [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 179.)