Your Last Year: Luke 13:1-9

Focus Passage: Luke 13:1-9 (NIV)

 1 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, planted 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.’ ”

Read Luke 13:1-9 in context and/or in other translations on!

In this journal entry, we are looking at an ominous story Jesus tells about a fig tree. Most of Jesus’ parables are not all that vague, but when we read this one, it does seem to be less clear than most.

The big idea I want to point out about this parable is precisely what makes it very “unclear” – it’s missing its ending. The parable builds up the story, but then it leaves us waiting, wanting there to be an ending where none is supplied. Instead, we are left with the man who planted the tree giving the vineyard-keeper one more year to get fruit from the fig tree.

Why is this parable missing an ending? Does the fig tree produce fruit with the extra care that it is given? We don’t know, and here might be a reason why: The fig tree represents us.

If we read this parable with the perspective that we are the fig tree, would we live any differently? If God (the One who planted us) is waiting and watching for us to bear fruit (which is another way of saying to be productive with the gifts/life He has given), are we going to let life pass us by, or will we do something with the life that we were given?

If we are represented by the tree, and we were given one more year, wouldn’t that make the coming year a significant one?

This is one of those parables where I am glad there is no ending, because each time I read it I can be reminded that my time is not guaranteed, and what matters is what I am doing with my life today.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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