13:1 At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
13:2 He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?
13:3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.
13:4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them–do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?
13:5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”
13:6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.
13:7 So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’
13:8 He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it.
13:9 If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”
During this time, there was a popular belief that those who suffered was a result of sin in their lives. Not that this is may not be true, however, the key to true repentance is not do it out of fear of being punished or suffering some horrible fate.
The conversation that was taking place here is that there are some who think they are less of sinners then others and because of that they will not experience harsh punishments. Here Christ is referring to the ultimate rejection of the gospel and He is calling us to repent and turn from sin.
Our repentance should be done out of a healthy fear and love for God. We repent over our sin because we know that our sin will only lead to destruction. However, if we come to the saving knowledge of Christ, no matter what happens in our lives we can have the full confidence and assurance that our lives are in God’s hands and that one day we will spend eternity with Him.
There is a message of hope that is calling out to each and everyone of us. Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’
In another parallel Jesus says that “the ax is already at the root of the trees that do not produce fruit.” (Matthew 3:10/Luke 3:9) Jesus spends a lot of time talking about fruit in the gospels. In Matthew he said,
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16)
So what’s the point? The point is that all who are called to follow the Lord will be judged by their fruit. If we are serving God we should be producing good things that point to Him. If we claim to be a Christian yet our fruit does not show that then we will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
What is good fruit? I think we can point to many things in the gospel but I think a good starting point is Matthew 25. Take care of the needy, the widows, the hungry, the oppressed.
If we are truly serving Jesus we will be serving the most vulnerable in our society.
[Featured image from preparingtheway.net]