Can you believe it's 2016? A new year, a fresh perspective on what we hope this year will bring. One thing that remains pivotal is that Jesus will be at the center of this year. As we continue with the Parables devotional series, it is perfect timing for the next one in Luke 13. Here, Jesus taught on the Parable of the Unfruitful Tree. How fitting for this time of year, as we begin a new year, we need to make proactive steps in our trees yielding fruit. This means we need to see what we are watering our trees with and what kind of soil we are grounding them in.
Luke 13 | The Parable of the Unfruitful Tree
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 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? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." 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. 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.'"
There are three entities in this parable:
- The owner of the vineyard is God.
- The man who is the keeper of the tree is Jesus.
- The tree is symbolic to individuals and Israel.
God does not want to have to cut down the tree. But, he is a God of justice. He sent Jesus to intercede on r behalf, "Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25) Jesus desires for us to be with Him. He died on the cross so we could be in relationship with God. He works hard at providing opportunities for us to choose Him. To love Him. To make decisions that further His kingdom. While ultimately everything is in the hands of God and He in is control, He provides opportunities for us to choose Him, to exercise our free will.
In this parable, the owner of the vineyard (God) is frustrated that this tree is not providing any fruit. He knew the keeper of the tree (Jesus) had worked hard at making conditions best for the tree (people) to bear fruit; however, the tree itself did not bear any. The keeper (Jesus) then intervenes pleading with the owner (God) for a little more time for the tree (people) to be fruitful. The owner (God) agrees, but only for one years time.
See friends, there is an urgency and a call for us a believers of Jesus to be seeking Him. This seeking is not a checklist. God wants us to be in community with Him daily. The scriptures say, "Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Luke 11:9) Jesus is here, if you are a believer or not - He is always present. Seek Him and you will find Him. I challenge you to get rid of the things in your life that are keeping you from bearing fruit, that are holding you back from what God has for you. Even if whatever you are holding on to seems to give you temporary satisfaction, time is precious and God wants to see your life bearing fruit.
I pray that this year brings much joy to you and that God will reveal Himself in a mighty wonderful way to you.