“Let it alone for one more year” (v. 8)

Luke 13:6-9 Wednesday 27 June 2018

Psalm: Psalm 92


This parable about a barren fig tree is a parable about imminent judgement. It brings with it echoes of John the Baptist’s words: “Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:9). John was calling the people to return to living the way that God was leading, rather than following their own paths.

Jesus is reinforcing the idea that unless the people turn back to God and become fruitful then destruction will come. The warning here is that just because destruction hasn’t come, it does not mean fruit is being produced.

God’s patience and mercy are central in this parable, the fig tree was to be given all the resources it needed to produce fruit. In the Hebrew Bible the fruitful tree was used as a symbol of godly living (eg Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:7-8). Jesus was speaking to an audience that would have immediately made the links between his words and those in Scripture.

This parable isn’t explained by Jesus to his disciples and they are left in suspense, not knowing if the tree went on to be cut down or not. They would, however, have understood the message that if they were living godly lives, they would produce fruit.

Life is portrayed by Jesus in this parable as a gift. The grace of God provides humanity with all that is needed to become fruitful.

To Ponder

  • How do you know if you are living a fruitful life?
  • If Jesus was addressing you with this parable, what parts of your life would he be calling on you to ‘give a year’?
  • What aspects of church life do we need to ‘give a year’ to produce fruit?


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