Summary: Theme: Repentance and Transformation leading to Bearing Life Giving Fruit for Christ - being more than just Church - but a Church that bears life giving fruit - fruit that a sin broken world needs and desires
Theme: Repentance and Transformation leading to Bearing Life Giving Fruit for Christ
Proposition: In Luke 13:1-9 we find the Parable of the Barren Tree. Jesus speaks of an 1. Inspection and an Indictment 2. An Intercession and an Infusion 3. An Insistence of Grace that will lead us to being able to bear life giving fruit for Christ
Grace and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world!
What do you say when someone around you sneezes? Most of us will quickly say " God Bless You " or Gezundheit (which is the German word for Good Health). Have you ever wondered why we say "God Bless You" when someone sneezes? Jewish sages tell us that it has to do with an ancient belief that the Lord just blessed that person with another day here on His earth.1
In the Midrash (commentary on Jewish scriptures) it is written that the Patriarch Jacob was the first person to die of an illness. At the age of 147, Jacob became sick and simply passed away. Before Jacob, according to the Midrash, when it was a person's time to die they simply sneezed and died. It was believed that just as God breathed into everyone giving them life, a sneeze was the way that God would take away that life giving breath. Therefore, when a person sneezed and was still alive and breathing, it was a moment of rejoicing and celebration. Saying "God Bless You" was a both a praise and a thanksgiving for your loved one still being alive. It was a time to rejoice.
This morning, I would like for us to focus on the Parable of the Barren Fig tree that we find in verses 6 - 9. As you meditate on this parable you can almost hear the man saying to the Fig Tree - "GOD BLESS YOU" as it has been granted more time to repent ( to turn around ) and to become the tree that it was designed to be by the LORD. You can almost hear the words "GOD BLESS YOU" as the tree is encouraged to live and bear life giving fruit.
Before Jesus shared the story of the barren fig tree he had to first address a misguided view of sin recorded in verses 1 - 5. Luke tells us that there had been two recent events that once again stirred up the old question surrounding theodicy. The first event had to do with some people who had been violently murdered by Pilate as they worshipped and the second event had to do with 18 people who lost their lives in a natural disaster. The tower in which they were staying collapsed and all 18 were tragically killed.
The people around Jesus began to question why both groups died in such horrible tragedies. The common consensus was that they all must have been guilty of committing some horrible sins which resulted in God having to severely punish them. Many Jews believed that such things as illness, poverty, disease, loneliness and death were God's punishment for sin(s) either known or unknown. Logically therefore, those who had suffered such tragedies must have all been great sinners.
Jesus confronts that misguided view by explaining to everyone that these groups were no more sinful than anyone else. God had not singled them out because of their sinfulness. God had not willed their deaths. The reality is bad things happen to good people. We live in a fallen, broken world in which violence and suffering strike without reason or meaning. In fact, as Luke writes later in his Gospel the One without sin suffered the most and died on a cruel cross at Calvary. Luke shares with everyone that Jesus suffered more than any other man and yet He was without sin. Just because a bad thing happens to a person does not mean that they are sinners.
In verses 3 and 5, Jesus wants to redirect their attention to their own individual lives. He tells them that everyone must repent of their own sins and be born from above. Jesus wants all of them to focus on their own spiritual state and not waste time speculating on the spiritual lives of others. He wants them to make sure that whenever their time comes to die that they are ready to meet the LORD.
To press His point home, Jesus shares the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree. Let's spend some time looking at what Jesus wants us to understand this morning:
I. Jesus shares in this Parable that there was an Inspection that lead to an Indictment
Jesus' story centered on a particular fig tree that growing in a certain man's vineyard. Since the time of King Solomon (1 Kings 4:25) families were encouraged to grow both fig trees and grape vines near their homes. They were companion plants that grew well together and symbolically they represented the Lord's presence, peace and favor. Each family rejoiced when both their fig trees and their vineyards yielded great crops. It was seen as a sign of being blessed by the LORD.