Luke 13:6-9

In verse 6 we read of a fig tree that did not produce fruit. The man who owned the tree wanted it cut down but the care taker talked the owner into waiting one more year while he loosened up the soil and added fertilizer to see if that would help.

Jesus spent three years proclaiming to Israel, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17 NASB

Israel did not receive Him or His message. By rejecting Him, Jesus had made clear in His teaching, they were rejecting God. The fig tree he cursed that final week represented Israel and they were not producing any fruit for God. Matthew 21:19

In this parable Jesus warned that the fig tree was about to be cut down because it was not bearing fruit.

Israel remained as a nation for one generation after Jesus was crucified. In 70 AD the nation was destroyed by Rome and the people scattered. What Jesus is saying is that the nation has one generation remaining in their present state. If they do not repent the nation will be cut down and the task of bearing fruit will be given to the church. This does not mean however, that God is done with Israel. On the contrary, one day the nation will be restored and become fruitful.

In those days any fertilizer the farmer had was organic in nature. There is a lot of interest today in organic fertilizers. Personally I like them and use them for the produce we grow and sell in our stand. What is interesting about organic fertilizer is that plants can’t use them in the organic state. Plants can only benefit from fertilizers in their mineral state. Therefore organic fertilizer must be converted from the organic form to the mineral form and this is done with the biological activity in the soil which is why organic fertilizers need to be incorporated in the soil to be effective. This process of conversion also takes time which is why organic fertilizers are an ideal slow release fertilizer.

The digging in the soil around the fig tree and adding fertilizer illustrates the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. When Jesus was proclaiming His ministry the nation by and large rejected Him. It was not until after He was crucified, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven that He was received. The Church was started in Jerusalem and the first converts were Jews. The Church grew and bore fruit while the fig tree seems dead. In fact Jesus did curse a fig tree that last week He was in Jerusalem and its leaves withered but during that week when Jesus spoke of the signs of the coming Great Tribulation, He said to watch the fig tree starting to leaf out as a sign that the time is getting close. That fig tree is Israel and after 70 AD when Rome destroyed the Temple and the people dispersed, the nation was no more. It looked like the fig tree was cut down and dead.   This is not the case.

We have a few fig trees on our property eventhough we live in a harsh environment for figs. Many years the winter gets cold enough to “winter kill” the tree. Normally fig trees produce a late spring crop of fruit and a fall crop. But if the tree has been frozen in the winter when spring comes the tree does not leaf out and there is no fruit to be had. In late spring or early summer though new leaves will start to appear and what looked like a dead tree comes to life and produces a fall crop.

The nation of Israel looked like it was dead for centuries but it was not. In 1948 Israel became a nation again. The dead fig tree was starting to leaf out. One day this nation will embrace Jesus as the King of Kings and become fruitful for the Lord because they will look upon Him who was pierced for their transgressions. As King, Jesus will put this world right. He will set up His kingdom for 1000 years. It will be a time of peace and prosperity like the world has never known. Jesus paid the redemption price for you, me, and Israel with His death for our sins. His resurrection is the evidence that He died for our sins. The price for sin is death but death could not hold Him because he committed no sin. He died for our sin. When He ascended to heaven and was seated on the throne with the Father it sealed our hope that He will come again as King of the entire world. Israel will be the capital. Satan will be bound and the world will be fruitful.

Jesus said in Luke 21:28-30, “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. And He told a Parable, ‘Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is near.’” NASB

The time is short.

Pastor Dave