As He often did Jesus uses an agricultural setting to teach about the kingdom of God; in Luke 13:6-9 He tells the story of a man that had a vineyard and planted a fig tree in it, expecting it to produce fruit; however after returning to it season after season and finding no fruit he told his Gardner to cut it down, but the Gardner interceded to give it one more season while he gave it special attention if perhaps it would then produce. The immediate application was to the Nation of Israel whom God had chosen, Deuteronomy 14:2, to be a people separated from the other nations as His own inheritance, 1 Kings 8:53, and accordingly instructed them to separate themselves from the evil and adulterous ways of the rest of the world; they were to be a guide and light to the Gentiles, Romans 2:17-24, but time and again they intermingled with the nations and refused to hear the reproof and instructions of God’s servants the prophets, Jeremiah 25:4 and faced disciplinary action. By Jesus day it was not so much the idolatrous ways, but a religious ritualism that had gotten out of line with God’s word and they were about to be cut down, but Jesus came to bring them one last opportunity, which they rejected. They would be cut down but not uprooted; they would grow back from the roots! Meanwhile their being broken off or cut down opened wide the door of salvation to the Gentiles, Romans 11:17-20, thus allowing God’s plan to take both Jew and Gentile and form them into one new family, Ephesians 2:15, the Church, who are now the recipients of that last opportunity, to be “His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” 1 Peter 2:9. It is now our responsibility and mandate to bear His fruit and represent Him before the world, lest we also be cut off, Romans 11:19-22!
A final opportunity
By Rose Hill
A fig tree in trouble be,
If no fruit on it you see.
But the tree that begins much fruit to bear,
The farmer is pleased to let it growing there.
Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version copyright …1982 by Thomas Nelson Co. used by permission