The Parable of the Fig Tree (Part 2)

Luke 13: 6-9

Part 2 of the The Fig Tree.  When I went to write today’s post, I remembered writing about a Fig Tree in the past and went to research my past post.  It was actually quite different than today’s verses.  The past post showed Jesus’ use of power and how he crumbled the Fig Tree.  It was one of Jesus’ very few examples of power in a more negative fashion.

Today’s reading is a different twist on Fig Trees.  In ancient times, Fig Trees were often used in stories as they are symbolic to Israel and are important to the Jewish community.  “Today Israel is full of fig trees – huge, well developed, shady and mature. They produce two harvests of fruit a year, the early crop around Passover time in the spring, even before the leaves have unfurled, and the biggest, best, most juicy fruits come into their own in September, close to the Jewish holidays of Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles respectively).”  Read more here.  Fig Trees are just one of a few trees used in the Bible.  Others include the “tree of life” and the “tree of knowledge of good and evil”.  My point here is to pay attention when the Bible refers to Fig Trees.  Take note, important message coming!

Our verses for today are short but right to the point.  The parable is about disappointment and also about patience.  The fig tree owner was not pleased with the fig tree.  He had been waiting for fruit for three years but still had none.  He was disappointed and most likely frustrated with the lack of progress in bearing fruit.  His impatience grew to the point of wanting to give up and cut the Fig Tree down.  In his mind, the tree had been barren long enough. Yet, the caretaker showed great patience.  He asked for another year.  Can you visualize him pleading his case as he lays out his plan for continuing to improve the health of the tree?

This story relates to our lives.  Jesus is the vineyard owner and we are the trees.  Jesus’ patience may run out with us, not necessarily after three years, but it he may ‘move on’ to others.  He may grant us mercy for yesterday, for today, but not forever if we don’t open our hearts for him.  He keeps knocking but will we answer?  Will we confess our sins?  Will we believe?  Do we take advantage of our borrowed time in the right manner?  Will we bear fruit on earth? These verses are short but certainly powerful.  Our lives on earth might be over.  He might not give us another year.  Kind of scary in a way IF we don’t believe.  The good news is he is a patient God.  He does have caretakers watching us, helping us, prodding us along in the word.  He does grant extra time to bear fruit.   A good lesson for us on repentance and on staying ready for his coming.

In case you wanted to read another parable about a Fig Tree, I have included my The Fig Tree post from February 10, 2017   Also included in this post are facts about the fig tree as a fruit again showing how important it was in ancient times and what a source of nutrition it is today, not only to the body, but in the case of the parables, to the mind.

For additional reading:  Psalm 102.