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The Fig Tree

The Passage:
Luke 13:1-9

The Parameters

Someone tells Jesus about the Galileans who were killed when Pilate desecrated the temple by sacrificing a pig there.

Jesus asks if these Galileans were more sinful than other Galileans. In the Jewish culture, health and prosperity was a sign of God’s blessing. In the same way, poverty, sickness, etc. were signs that one was sinful and disobeying God.

Jesus then asks them about the Judeans killed when the tower of Siloam fell down. Were they more wicked than the rest? They were not.

If you don’t want to perish, what do you need to do? Repent.

In the broader context we need to remember that Jesus cursed a fig tree later on in His ministry. The parable of the fig tree and the miracle of the fig tree are related. There were leaves, but no fruit.

The Problem

What is the reason for the impending judgment which is threatening Israel? Why is God’s judgment delayed

The Progression - Logical

The progression is logical. It is cause and effect. The cause of judgment is a lack of fruit and the reason for the delay is to give time for repentance.

    The desire for fruit (vs. 6)

Why do you have a fruit tree? To get fruit from it.

    The decision of fatality (vs. 7)

Fruit trees that do not bear fruit don’t deserve to live. They are worthless.

    The determination for fertilizer (vs. 8)

The vineyard-keeper wants to wait and fertilize and give the tree a chance.

    The delay of fatality (vs. 9)

The Point

In order to motivate people to show forth the fruits of repentance, God graciously delays His judgment.

The Relation of the Parable to the Kingdom Program of God

Jesus extends a “year” of grace to Israel before the cursing of the fig tree in hope that they would respond in repentance as had been preached by John the Baptist.

Remember that Peter preaches repentance in Acts 3 because the kingdom was at hand.

The Particulars

  • The historical tragedies.
  • The image of the vineyard - they were often planted in vineyards and would usually produce three crops per year. So this fig tree had missed nine crops.
  • The cursing of the Fig Tree.

The Principles

  • Times of suffering are sovereignly allowed by God to bring purpose and truth to light.
  • The place of privilege is the place of responsibility (Isa 5:)
  • Responsibility brings accountability.
  • God’s gracious delay of judgment is designed to prompt repentance. (2Pe 3:, 2Co 7:8-10) The repentance is the change of mind that turns from dead works to faith in God.

In our culture who you know is very important. We drop names to make ourselves seem more important. Now that Chuck Swindoll is the president of DTS, I will probably run into him from time to time. If I say, “The other day, when I was talking to Chuck, he said....” then that is name dropping. This is not a new phenomenon. Jesus deals with a similar thing in Luke 14.

Related Topics: Dispensational / Covenantal Theology