A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard ...
I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
The transition in this passage from repentance to a parable about a tree that does not bear fruit is compelling. Do you find it interesting that Jesus used three years, the length of his messianic ministry, as the time that the owner of the vineyard came looking for fruit? I wonder how the crowds heard this parable and if they caught the connection between the barren fig tree and themselves? Do you think that they understood what he was teaching them in the parable?
On a more contemporary note, do you think that religious people these days are concerned about fruits of repentance or are they happy to merely produce the colorful leaves of religious activity. I wonder if the Holy Spirit responds in a manner similar to the vinedresser in the parable? How many years does He patiently dig around in our lives spreading heavenly manure hoping that we will respond and produce the spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace and patience?
Thank you Lord for your steadfast love that never comes to an end as you spread heavenly manure on my life.