The Parables of Jesus
Luke 13:6-9

Parable of the Unfruitful Fig Tree

Luke 13:1-6
    1.   There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had
         mingled with their sacrifices.
    2.   And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the
         Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
    3.   I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
    4.   Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were
         sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
    5.   I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Verse 1 - There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled
  with their sacrifices.

  [A] Prior to this passage of scripture, Jesus had been talking to a large group of people,
          [1] It says in the opening verses of chapter twelve that there was a huge crown, there that day
                  innumerable in size.
          [2] If we were to go back and study chapter twelve we would notice that much of what is written
                  there is the same as Jesus taught in his sermon on the mount.

  [B] There were present there that day some who when Jesus paused in his preaching for a moment,
          asked him about the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices.
          [1]  This was no doubt an event that had happened recently
                    [a] It’s probable, that Jesus had not before heard of it.
          [2] Why they told him of it we can only guess
                  [a] It may have been to get him to express his opinion on Pilate
                  [B] It may have  been just a matter of news.
          [3] From the answer Jesus gave them, it would appear that whoever told him, believed the
                  Galileans deserved what had happened and they wanted to pass judgment on the character
                  of those who had been involved

  [C] Galileans.
          [1] They were the people who lived in Galilee.
          [2] They were not under the jurisdiction of Pilate, but were under the jurisdiction of Herod.  
          [3] The Galileans, in the time of Christ, were very wicked.  

  [D] Whose blood Pilate had mingled,
          [1] While these Galileans were sacrificing at Jerusalem, Pilate came suddenly upon them and                        
                  slew them. Their blood was mingled with the blood of the animals that they were slaying
                  for sacrifice.
          [2] It does not mean that Pilate offered their blood in sacrifice, but only that while they were
                  sacrificing he slew them.
          [3] Pilate and Herod did not get along, but is not improbable that this was the  reason Pilate
                  killed the people. It is more likely that the Galileans causes a ruckus at the temple, and                 that
                  Pilate took occasion to come suddenly upon them, and show his opposition to them                                 
                  and Herod by slaying them.

Verse 2 - And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the
  Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

  [A] Jesus asked the people if they thought that the Galilaeans were bigger sinners that others because
          they had been killed by Pilate

  [B] Another way of looking at this verse is to say, Do you think their sins were worse than your own,
          simply because of the violent death they suffered.
          [1] Does God make some suffer more than others, because they are a sinner?
          [2] Does not hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters kill the righteous as well as the
                  Unrighteous?

Verse 3 - I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

  [A]  Except ye repent. Except you forsake your sins and turn to God.  
          [1] Jesus took this occasion to make a the fact, and warn them of their own danger.
          [2] The simple act of their judging the Galilaeans was a sin in itself, giving them a need to repent
                  [a] It is awful easy for us to judge others or to feel justice has been done when we see
                          someone who has harmed us, or someone wicked suffer - Isn’t it?
                  [b] When our enemy suffers, what should our reaction be?
                  [c] Should we be happy when our enemies or those who have hurt us suffer?

  [B] Ye shall likewise perish
          [1] Luke 6:35-37
                  35. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your
                        reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto
                        the unthankful and to the evil.
                   36. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
                   37. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned:
                        forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
          [2] In your own words, what does these verses mean?

Verse 4 - Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners
  above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

  [A] Jesus than referred to some other men, who had been killed when a tower fell,

  [D] He asked a question, did this make these men worse sinners than everyone else

Verse 5 - I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

  [A] Jesus told them unless they repent they would perish as well.
          [1] This is an interesting concept, if we judge others, will we face the same fate at they did?
          [2] When we pass judgment on others, does this mean that we will have judgment passed on us
                  as well?
          [3] Does it necessarily mean that we will  have judgment passed on us here on this earth?

  [B] Take notice that Jesus is not simply talking about judging someone, he is speaking of their need to
          repent.
          [1] Their heart was not right, nor did they have love for their fellowmen, for they were quick to         
                  judge and quick to believe that the people who had died deserved to die.
           [2] Unless they were willing to repent of their own sins, and willing to turn from their
                  wickedness, they would face the wrath of God.
  [C] What Jesus is teaching us is that we should look into the mirror of our own soul, and clean it up
          instead of looking at others lives and judging them.
          [1] It is impossible not to see sin in people but it is not our job top judge them, our job is to help
                  them change, and become Christ-like
          [2] Before we can help others, we must first help ourselves.

This brings us to the parable for this evening. In this parable, Jesus tells us how we are to treat those who are not
producing for him, and those who have problems and sins in their life.

Luke 13:6-9
    6.   He spake also this parable; a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and
         sought fruit thereon, and found none.
    7.   Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this
         fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
    8.   And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
    9.   And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Verse 6 - He spake also this parable; a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and
  sought fruit thereon, and found none.

  [A] First lets define who the people and the images are in this verse
          [1] A Certain Man
                  [a] The certain man as we have seen in the other parables is Jesus or God
          [2] Fig Tree
                  [a] The Fig tree in this instance represents a person who is supposedly a believer
          [3] Vineyard
                  [a] As we have seen before, the vineyard is the world,
          [4] Fruit
                  [a] What the believer produces,
                  [b] The spiritual thing of God
                  [c] The willingness to follow his commandments
                  [d] Growth in one’s belief’s and faith
                  [e] A deeper lover for God and for our fellowmen

  [B] The owner of the vineyard, God, came to his vineyard, to check the fruit
          [1] When he arrived, he found a fig tree which  had not produced any fruit
          [2] The sole purpose of having the fig tree was for it to produce fruit for him.

Verse 7 - Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this
        fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
  [A] Definition
          [1] Dresser
                  [a] One who cared for the vineyard
                  [b] In this case it refers to the religions leaders and teachers as well as all who follow
                          Jesus Christ, and are to help their brothers and sisters grow in Christ

  [B] He came to the dresser, and said
          [1] I have been coming here for three years seeking fruit from this tree
          [2] I have given it ample time to grow, and produce
                  [a] I don’t know how long it takes for a tree to produce, but I do know it will not produce
                          the first year or so
                  [b] I also do not know how long it is to take a Christian to produce fruit, but they should
                          be learning and preparing to bear fruit from day one, but they cannot produce
                          unless we teach them what they should do and what is expected of them.                  
          [3] Because the tree had not produced fruit, the owner told the dresser to cut it down and make                  
                  room for the trees that were producing fruit

Verse  8 - And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

  [A] The dresser, which represent the religious leaders and teachers, as well as fellow Christians (I say
          this because all Christians are preachers and teachers) plead with the owner on behalf of the one
          not producing fruit.
          [1] How do we do this
                  [a] In our prayers of supplication for others
           
  [B] Lord, let it alone this year also
          [1] Intercessory prayer for others
          [2] Seeking God’s grace and mercy for someone else
                  [a] When I think of this type of praying, I am reminded of Moses who prayed so hard for
                          the Children of Israel when he begged God not to destroy them,
                  [b] This same sort of prayer is what we ought to be praying for those who are lost, as we
                          beg God to touch their heart and soul, and to forgive their sins,
                  [c] I believe this is something we do entirely too little of, Instead of praying for their
                          salvation, we are more like the ones we looked at a while ago, and want to see                                
                          these people destroyed
  [3] If we love our neighbor as ourselves, we are going to be concerned about their salvation, and
                  their way of life.   
                  [a] When we see them sin, we will pray for them
                  [b] When they have a need we will give it.

  [C] I shall dig about it, and dung it:
          [1] This is what Jesus is speaking of here,
                  [a] We can pray all we want, and we should pray all the time
                  [b] But simply praying is not enough
          [2] First the dresser asked the owner to give him more time
          [3] Than he said he would cultivate the tree
          [4] Than he would put dung around it.
          [5] Consider this
                  [a] First he prayed for time and for God’s grace to be given to the person who had not
                          been growing and producing fruit
                  [b] Then he told God he would cultivate the ground, in other words he would start
                          working on the person, start tilling the soil around him and give him room to                                    
                          grow, and allow the nourishment that God sent in the form of rain and so on to
                          get in.
                          [1-a] When we till the ground around someone, we have to do so lovingly, and                               
                                  with tender care. We must be careful no to cut the roots away, but
                                  instead to till around the root and allow the root to remain firmly planted in the
                                  soil.
                          [2-a] The purpose of tilling the ground is not to uproot the tree, but instead to
                                  show it love, and allow it to open itself up for the nourishment we are
                                  about to give it in the form of fertilizer
                  [c] He would put dung around it - he would fertilize the soil and give the tree the
                          nutrients it needed to establish a greater root system, and to give the tree
                          everything it needed to produce fruit
                          [1-a] We must give our Christian brothers and sisters everything they need in
                                  order to help them produce fruit        
                          [2-a] We must teach them, give them instruction, and we must take time to mentor
                                  and show them how they are to live

Verse 9 -  And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
  
  [A] We are to do everything we can to help the person bear fruit
          [1] We are to work with them,
          [2] We are to instruct them
          [3] We are to give them opportunity
          [4] We are to give them time,
          [5] We are to give them love
  
  [B] If the tree than does not bear fruit, then cut it down
          [1] In other words, we are to do everything we can for that person
          [2] We are to use every means possible to help them produce fruit
          [3] We are to give them love and opportunity
          [4] We are not to give up, either praying for them or in trying to nurture them        
          [5] The bottom line is this, we can only try, they have to produce if they do not produce fruit,
                  they will be cut down, and cast aside but we will be able to stand before the Lord
                  knowing in our heart we did all we could do to prevent their being cast aside.