Jesus tells The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree in response to a question from the crowd regarding the cruel execution of Galilean pilgrims at the hands of the Roman governor, Pilate. Luke 11:54 and numerous other scriptures expose the motives behind such questions by the scribes and Pharisees as intended “to catch him in something he might say.” Jesus avoiding the political trap of this question instead focuses the crowd on the universal need for repentance (Luke 13:3, 5).
The parable itself served as both a warning and an opportunity for ancient Israel. It was a warning to Israel as God’s people to repent or face certain judgment. It was an opportunity in that God is patient and willing to restore them should they repent. While there are theological differences between Israel as God’s people and the church, there are essential lessons in this parable for Christians today.
What do the following scriptures reveal about the necessity of repentance in both salvation and everyday Christian life?
Acts 3:19; 5:31; and 11:18--
Ezekiel 18:23; and 2 Peter 3:9--
In a related teaching recorded in John 15:1 Jesus declared, “I am the true vine and my Father is the Vinedresser.” Read John 15:1-11. What does it mean to abide in Christ? How does the Christian experience “pruning”? What is the “fruit” spoken of by Jesus in this passage?
In between His calls for repentance Jesus references a calamity that occurred when the “tower in Siloam fell and killed” eighteen people. (Luke 13:4). The correct response to calamity is compassion. How does living a repentant life lead you to a greater capacity for compassion?
John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.