Summary: Jesus was responding to news about a calamity Luke 13:1-5. He was told of how Pilate (the Roman governor) had killed some Galileans (Jews from Galilee, the same region Jesus was from), and had anticipated the thinking of those who brought Him this news.
THE BARREN FIG TREE—Luke 13:6-9
As we were making our way through the parables of Jesus as recorded in Matthew’s gospel, we noticed several that were directed toward the nation of Israel in particular. "The Two Sons", this speaks of the rejection of John the Baptist- Mt 21:28-32. "The Wicked Vinedressers’, which applied to how Israel rejected God’s prophets, and eventually His Own Son – Matt 21:33-46. "The Wedding Feast", which provided a more vivid depiction of wickedness and rebelliousness of the religious leaders - Mt 22:1-14 (Note that these three parables were told during the last week of Jesus’ ministry, shortly before His crucifixion)
Earlier, Jesus taught another parable that some believe was along a similar theme, that is, related to God’s dealings with the nation of Israel as a whole And how the nation of Israel would be destroyed if it did not receive Jesus as the Messiah. This parable is known as "The Barren Fig Tree", recorded in Luke 13:6-9. This parable of particular interest to us today, as we attempt to learn from our Lord what He was teaching about the need to repent
THE SETTING FOR THE PARABLE
Jesus was responding to news about a calamity Luke 13:1-5. He was told of how Pilate (the Roman governor) had killed some Galileans (Jews from Galilee, the same region Jesus was from), and had anticipated the thinking of those who brought Him this news.
Question? Were those who suffered such atrocities worse sinners than other Galileans? No, and unless they repented they would likewise perish! Jesus reinforces His point with a reference to a similar calamity in which a tower in Siloam (in Jerusalem) collapsed and killed eighteen people and those victims were no worse sinners than others in Jerusalem. He then repeats his warning by saying, that unless they repent, they will all likewise perish! Some understand this to be a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70
THE PARABLE OF THE BARREN FIG TREE – luke13: 6-9 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, for three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any’. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil? ’8 " ’Sir, ’the man replied, ’leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it 9 If it bears Fruit next year, fine! if not, then cut it down.’
THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF THE PARABLE
A man is disappointed that a fig tree in his vineyard is unfruitful and he wants to cut it down, but is persuaded by the keeper of the vineyard to give it one more year, then if no fruit is borne, then the tree is to be cut down
The central lessons of verses 1-5 are dear: "Repent!" The parable in verses 6-9 takes the call to repentance one-step further: "Repent NOW!" (HENDRIKSEN) Fruitlessness will not be endured forever!
Those who heard Jesus would appreciate the point, for what farmer desires to put up with a tree that won’t bear fruit? But do we today appreciate the point?
To help make it even clearer, consider what we can glean from this Parable.
WHERE GOD HAS EXTENDED PRIVILEGES, HE EXPECTS RETURNS...
The owner of the vineyard expected the fig tree to bear fruit, he had given it good soil and had looked after it for three years and he was now giving it an extra year, but only for the purpose of bearing fruit. So too God blessed Israel, and He was disappointed when it did not bear fruit- Isa 5:1-7 and now He has blessed us through His Son Jesus, and we are to glorify God by bearing fruit - Jn 15:8
Are we being fruitful by utilising the privileges God has given us?
THE LORD IS LONGSUFFERING BUT IT DOESN’T LAST FOREVER...
We see the longsuffering of the owner of the vineyard, he had given the fig tree three years to produce fruit and was persuaded to give it another year with special care but that last year was the final opportunity the tree would be given
We see the longsuffering of the Lord in His dealing with nation of Israel
His long-suffering in the wilderness! and His long suffering in the times of the judges! His long-suffering during the reigns of the kings and yet, He did take the "kingdom of God" away from them and give it to a nation bearing the fruits of it - Mt 21:43
So the Lord has been longsuffering to us for He does not want anyone to be lost -2 Pet 3:9, longsuffering has been for our salvation -2 Pet 3:15 but the longsuffering will one day end, and the "day of the Lord" will come -2 Pet 3: 7; 10