Lesson from the Fig Tree

by Timothy Tay

2010 was the warmest year since records are kept and the past decade was also the warmest ever – laying to rest any doubt about global warming.

Queensland floods had been traced to the La Nina effect of this climatic change.

 The record floods came after record droughts, an occurrence that struck many regions of the globe.

Some have attributed major disasters as divine retributions for the collective guilt of the states affected – the voodoo practices in Haiti for the earthquake or the persecution of Christians in Pakistan for the massive floods in 2010. Similarly, some had tried to seek agreement from Jesus linking guilt to disastrous happenings in their times away from Jerusalem (Luke 13:1-9).

However, the Lord responded that the people of Jerusalem were just as guilty as those struck by disasters, “unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Jesus told those present 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. 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?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” 

It is of no coincidence that the fig tree was mentioned in this parable in reference to the Jerusalem whose residents were filled with pride as guardians to the holy temple of God. In another passage also associating the fig tree to Jerusalem had Jesus making His way from Bethany to Jerusalem when He came upon a fruitless fig tree and placed a curse against it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again. (Mark 11:12-21)

Was Jesus unfair to the fig tree, in particular, it was not the season for fruiting?

It will become clear when we relate the fig tree to Jerusalem, a city that had become so barren of fruits that like wicked Nineveh at the time of Jonah the time for destruction was at hand. 

Catastrophe indeed visited the Israelites and it took almost 2000 years before the nation of Israel was restored. There is a lesson to be learned, even a sign given for today, “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”1)Luke 21 vs29-31 (Luke 21:5-36)

How shall we respond to the signs of our days?

Let us pay heed to the warnings given by Jesus in the passage: “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.2)Luke 21 vs 34-36

Like the fig tree, the world is destined for destruction, we are living in time of grace that is ticking over – fast.

References   [ + ]

1. Luke 21 vs29-31
2. Luke 21 vs 34-36

Timothy Tay

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