In repenting, one makes a complete change of direction (180° turn) toward God
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 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? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
6 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. 7 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?’
8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
I remember when my cousin got chased by the police: he was trapped midway on a one way bridge, the cops waiting on the other side of the bridge, as the police drove towards him. He sped towards them, pulled the handbrake, spun around floored it and got away… he did a 180° burnout completely changing direction and gapped it! Not the best story to lead with regarding repentance, but repenting means to do a 180° turn and that was a textbook180° turn.
In ancient times, it was assumed that calamity would befall only the extremely sinful. Many still think the same way today. But suffering and calamity does not mean that we have done something wrong and now we get what we deserve. In this passage Jesus addresses this attitude in people and flips it back on everyone. Jesus says: “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
A little closer to home for us, imagine 9-12, the day after 9-11. Many people were quick to pronounce God’s judgement regarding these events. Yet we can imagine Jesus echoing a similar tone: “Of those 2,135 civilians, who died in the World Trade Centre attacks — do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in New York?”
Jesus wants us to understand that we ALL need to repent, because there is an ultimate day of judgement coming and He (Jesus) is the only way that we can be saved and reconciled to God the Father.
Then Jesus shares a parable. In the original context this parable is a judgement on the nation of Israel. The fig tree represents an unfruitful Israel. The owner comes seeking fruit, however there is no fruit on the tree, so he wants it axed and gone. That is logical; an unfruitful tree using up soil is uneconomical. But what if we are the unfruitful one? The parable reflects Jesus offering a chance for all to come to repentance and forgiveness of sin. Jesus is a loving Saviour who cares for our eternal destiny so much that he would give up his own life that we will not perish, but live, live as fruitful image- bearers of God.
conclusion to be drawn from the parable is that God is patient, which gives humanity
time for repentance, but there is a limit. The apostle Paul puts it this way Romans 2:4 Or do you
show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not
realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
How comforting it is to know that God’s grace and mercy to us in sending Jesus is so much greater than his judgement. Letus back that up with fruit production that honours him Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
Head: What have you learnt about Gods Character today?
Heart: How does your heart feel when you hear Jesus say “Cut it down! “Why should it use up the soil”? Are you that person? Meditate on John 15.5.
Hands: What is one
fruit-bearing discipline you could start to do that Honours God this week?
12 week challenge habit tracker?
Prayer: Holy Father thank you for loving me so much. Help me to choose Jesus daily and bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Help me live a fruitful life so people around me may see Jesus living in me, so that you alone would be glorified. Amen.
A song to listen to Living Hope
G Rangiawha – Living Church Creek Road