The Parable of the Fruitless Fig Tree-Luke 13:6-9

Luke 13:6-9 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. 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.'”

Luca 13:6-9 “Disse anche questa parabola: «Un tale aveva un fico piantato nella sua vigna; andò a cercarvi del frutto e non ne trovò. Disse dunque al vignaiuolo: “Ecco, sono ormai tre anni che vengo a cercare frutto da questo fico e non ne trovo. Taglialo! Perché sta lì a sfruttare il terreno?” Ma l’altro gli rispose: “Signore, lascialo ancora quest’anno; gli zapperò intorno e gli metterò del concime. Forse darà frutto in avvenire; se no, lo taglierai”».

This parable of the fig tree is an extension of previous verses that states unless there is repentance, punishment is inevitable. It points out in a straightforward command that if the fruit of repentance does not show up in one’s life, judgment will surely follow.

It takes about three years for a fig tree to produce fruit. Here, the owner noticed that after three years, the tree bore no figs (not even a bud). The prudent act of the owner would be to cut it down. There was no reason for it to continue to live with the implication that the tree was depleting minerals in the soil as well as occupying space that a fruitful tree could utilize. Any owner of a vineyard would respond this way because the tree was unproductive. It is noteworthy that this fig tree was planted in a vineyard which means there was great care taken to see that it had all the nutrients necessary to be productive. This was not a wild fig tree along the side of the road.

In this parable, the caretaker intercedes on behalf of the fig tree by offering to postpone its judgment for one year while extra attention was given to see if it would bear fruit. If nothing happened, then it would be cut down.

Oh how we love the fact that God is merciful and He continues to plead with the sinner outside the vineyard. But this parable is more directed to those who are already in the vineyard! For the believer, the fruit of repentance must be present. There must be a visible change in someone who claims to be a follower of Christ. God is patient and He waits to see if repentance leads to the fruit of righteousness. But as severe as it may seem in the parable of the fruitless fig tree, if there is no visible change, judgment will follow.

Pray with me:  Lord, I know that when I repent, You expect me to learn and apply the correction to my life. Help me to look at repentance as more than just an initial prayer but as a life change that will affect my thoughts, heart and actions.

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