Luke 13:1-5 (NIV) 1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
On verses 1-5: There are a number of powerful lessons we can learn from this passage. I look forward to sharing them with you at a THRIVE service today. See you there!
Luke 13:6-9 (NIV) 6 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. 7 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?’ 8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'”
On verses 6-9: Jesus has just been talking to the crowd about the need to repent from sin or otherwise “perish” (v3, v5), that is, be separated from God forever (see John 3:16). So what is Jesus’ point in sharing this parable (or short story) about the barren fig tree that was given one more chance to bear fruit? I believe Jesus’ message here can be summarized as follows:
1. God has every right to cut us down and wipe us out because of our sin, but instead, in His love and mercy, God patiently waits for us to repent and turn back to Him.
2. Notice that the focus of verse 8 is on what the caretaker will do for the fig tree (digging around it and fertilizing it), not on what the fig tree needs to do. Similarly, it’s not about the work we need to do to reach God, but rather it is about us responding to the work that our caretaker Jesus has done for us. What work did Jesus do for us? Jesus lived the life that only God in the flesh could live, a life that fulfilled all of God’s requirements. Then Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that the debt that owed God and could never repay would be canceled. Even more Jesus rose from the grave, defeating sin, death and Satan on our behalf and has ascended to heaven where He intercedes on our behalf as our great high priest. Praise God that it’s not about what we need to do, but about responding in faith to what Jesus has done for us.
3. Though God is patient, God will not wait forever. We need to humbly respond to God before it’s too late.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your patience with me, how You had every right to cut me off and cut me down, but instead You waited for me to turn back to You. I pray that the people in my city who have yet to turn to You would turn to You without delay and do so before it’s too late. May we not take Your patience for granted but respond while there is still time. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!