6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing 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.’”
Jesus’ parable of the fig tree is not a heart warming parable. It is not difficult instructions. It’s not even a hyperbolic teaching. It’s a strong warning. It’s a warning to the Jews. The fig tree classically represents the nation of Israel.
“When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.” (Hosea 9:10)
“Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings 4:25)
So why was Jesus issuing a warning to the Jews? This warning was issued to a nation that had (in Jesus’ view) abandoned serving the Lord. They were chumming up to Rome which was the great Babylon of the day. The ones who did actually care about the law were smug and prideful. Jesus was warning them that their disobedience had gone on long enough.
However, like most biblical warnings this one ended with a second chance. As change to do things right. Jesus gave all humanity a second change. That grace aught not be taken for granted. We must not be like withering fig tree. We must produce the good fruit that the Lord is seeking. Out actions, our relationships, and our lives should reflect a healthy fig tree.
Jesus is always on the move to bring His children closer to Him. His desire is that we grow closer to Him each day and that our lives bear fruit. If we are truly pursuing an on going relationship with Christ, then our lives will bear evidence of Jesus living in our hearts.
This parable is referring to the nation of Israel and how Jesus was actively trying to preach the Gospel and bring out a heart of obedience. The nation of Israel, and much like us Christians today, there is the struggle to maintain our relationship with God due to other temptations that the world has to offer us. Much like Israel, we too need constant reminders of God’s ongoing faithfulness in our lives.
The end of this parable draws out a warning that applies to us today. In being exposed to the Gospel and choosing to reject it and live in our sin, there will come a day in which we will all face judgment. There is a final judgment in which the entire world will be held accountable for either choosing to accept Christ or reject Him. However, if we are living in pursuit of loving Him and living for Him, then our lives will bear fruit and be a shining light to the world around us.