This past Sunday (4/15/12), we were in Luke 13:6-9. We had visited this passage the week before from the base camp of Mark 11 – another mention of a leafed-out tree bearing no fruit. This past week we discussed several things related to Lk 13, but our main focus was:
(1) What kind of fruit did/does God expect to find on us? Short answer: fruit of
repentance (Matt 3:8)
a. Acknowledgement of sin paired with change in attitude toward the sin which
results in change of behavior.
b. Testimony and service to others, not out of duty but because of what God has
done for us. (Matt 25:31-37)
(2) Possible reasons the vinedresser in Lk 13 may have requested time to “dig around
and fertilize” the tree.
a. To improve the soil so that the tree would be better able to bear fruit.
b. To possibly transplant the tree “out of darkness and into … light” (Col 1: 13).
c. To mark the tree as set apart for a special purpose.
But we still don’t really know what happened to the tree in Lk 13. Did it bear fruit after the 4th year, or was it cut down? I told you last week that I was playing with possible meanings of the 3 + 1 years. Well, I have considered the possibilities even more this week, and this Sunday (4/22/12) we will start digging deeper into one of them (the one I feel fits the essence of Jesus’ message most closely). We won’t yet have a satisfactory answer to the question posed in class, i.e. “What happens to the tree?”, but know that we’re working toward it together.
For now, we know this. The man came looking for fruit on the fig tree in Lk 13, and the vinedresser pleaded with him to give it one more year. Jesus came hungry to a fig tree in Mk 11, and the tree was cursed. I wonder if He had walked by that fig tree every year of His 3-year ministry. I wonder if its time was up. God more than wants His children to produce fruit; He expects it. Are we producing fruit?