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. So 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?’” ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”Luke 13:6-9
* The context and setting of this parable being told is when Jesus was approached by some dudes wanting to tell Him about Gallieans who were persecuted and killed, and about some who died in a tower collapse.
* When Jesus responds to the reports he does it with a teaching on repentance, highlighting the notion that we will all die, and that troubles are a part of life not a result of sin. He then launches into a parable to illustrate the necessity of bearing fruit in our lives.
* This parable is intended to enforce the warning immediately going before it, "...But unless you repent, you too will all perish...” in other words unless you become changed you will be ruined like the barren tree that will be cut down unless it bears fruit.
* The man had a fig-tree in his vineyard. Vineyards were used for vines, fig-trees grew in the wild, alongside roads as seen elsewhere in the Bible. This fig-tree had more care and nurturing than most fig-trees.
* The owner of the tree expected fruit and he checked it for fruit and when it had none after a period of time he wanted it cut down because it took up room of fruitful plants.
* The gardener of the vine extended the period of time for the tree beyond that which was reasonable and then decided it would be cut down if it didn't bear fruit after this time.
Some people believe that this parable is about the nation of Israel but I do not so if you want to check that theory out (and I suggest you do) then you should. I won't talk about it much, except to say that a fig-tree in a vineyard is transplanted, just the same as a non-Jew is transplanted and grafted into Gods kingdom. That is a discussion for another day.
This discussion will be easier broken up into chunks of parably-goodness-
"A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard..."
The man owns the fig-tree and has chosen to plant it in a vineyard where it can be look after. What a lucky plant. In the same way God (the Father) owns His Church and has chosen to place Christians in a place where they believe and have the privilege of being cared for and nurtured in His kingdom.
"...and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any..."
the man (who represents God the Father) wants and is looking for fruit in believers, this fruit (as talked about in other places in the Bible) is fruits of the Spirit which are a result of turning away from old ways and turning to God (repentance).
"...So 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!"
He has been patient with the vine and there has been no fruit. This shows Gods patience. As he was not unreasonable and only wanted fruit, it is a reasonable response to cut it down. This shows Gods justice."Why should it use up the soil?"
I'm not sure about this... is there some sort of harm the tree is causing the other plants? is there harm caused to fruit-bearing Church? People will disagree put I think that this is God purifying His Church so that He can return for a bride "without blemish". What do you think?
‘Sir,’ the man (looking after the vineyard) replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’
Is this Jesus interceding for us? After all He does call Himself His Fathers "vine dresser". Notice He doesn't ask to leave it outright, but for a time. Jesus is asking for justice, put prolonged to Judgement day, giving us time to get our asses into gear.
Jesus teaches us that God will not tolerate a lack of productivity forever- that God wants fruit when we turn to Him. Sometimes I think I have been enjoying the grace of God and the love of God without giving anything in return. If you are like me then you need to get your but into gear as well, otherwise we're in danger. Lets begin to produce the fruit that God is calling us to produce.
God thanks for being so patient and I want to apologise sincerely for sometimes mistaking Your patience for something else. I know You are just and I want to ask You to forgive my unfruitfulness. Thank You for pouring out wrath for my sin onto Jesus and not onto me. Now help me to produce fruit in my life.
Questions for comment/discussion
* What do you agree/disagree with?
* What have I missed? I know there is so much more to this parable its amazing!!!!
* What is an appropriate response to a knowledge of Gods justice?
* Do we individually/corporately forget sometimes that we are going to die and stand before God?