by Pastor David Nkenchor
The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it….. That evening Jesus and the disciples leftthe city. The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!” Mark 11:12-14,19-20 NLT
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. 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? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. Luke 13:6-9 KJV
In the parable in Luke 13, the fig tree did not produce fruit though the basic characters of a fig tree are:
- That it’s deep rooted (Col. 2:7, Eph. 3:17-19)
- That it bears fruits before or at the same time it produces leaves.
- And once it starts bearing fruits, it continues throughout the year (at least twice annually) Ps.1:1-5
- It is fruits and not leaves that satisfies its owner (Jn 15:1-6, Rev. 4:11)
In the parable in Luke 13 efforts were made to redeem the fig tree. She was very well nurtured in the owner’s vineyard. The owner of the vineyard patiently allowed and continued to nurture it for at least three full seasons even thought it produced no fruit. The owner had high expectations of her but she dashed owner’s expectations for at least three full seasons/cycles of life. He kept coming back over and over for 3 years, looking for fruit. After three full cycles of frustrating the owner, of cumbering the ground, of having leaves without producing fruit, it was given another extra full season on compassionate (long-suffering) grounds.
In the passage in Mark 11 Jesus was hungry but when He came to the fig tree He found only leaves on the fig tree, no fruit. By having leaves the tree called for Jesus’ attention and Jesus honoured the tree’s invite, expecting fruits but found only leaves on it.
A ‘leaf-ful’ tree with no fruits represents:
- Barrenness – Rev. 3:14-19
- Deception & Distraction – Mt. 23:15-16, Is.9:13-17; 56:10-12
- Self-seeking (“I”-Christian) – Phil. 3:18-19, Rom. 8:5-8
- Frustration & Wastefulness – Gal. 2:21 (NLT/TLB)
- Hindrance to others – Mt. 23:13-14, Lk. 11:52(NIV)
- Depletion / Weakening the ground (Body) Mt. 15:6-9
The following verses list the Lord’s pronouncements of woe upon fruitless vines: Hos. 8:12-14; Jer. 2:28; 12:10-11; 22:21-26; 23:1-2. Mt, 23:12-33
God is calling for a genuine repentance, for us return unto the true God and for us to be fruitful (Eze. 14:1-6, Rev. 2:5,16; 3:3, Eze. 18:29-32; Is. 23:3-6).
The owner of the vineyard represents the Holy Spirit. Since you got born again, have you been producing fruit for the Master’s pleasure? Don’t continue to grieve the Holy Spirit by not producing fruit.
In the Parable of The Sheep & The Goats (Matt. 25:30-40) the separating factor between the sheep and the goats was a heart-born holiness with works. It was not a mere profession of the mouth. This is God’s food, what satisfies His hunger.