FOR AUDIO VERSION CLICK HERE.As we come to chapter 13 of the gospel of Luke Jesus is speaking to the issue of repent or change your mind about yourself in relationship to God or you will most surely perish.
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 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? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
Jesus refers to two contemporary events in Palestine in order to deal with the question, "Who is it that needs mercy?" And, "Who is it that needs to repent?"
FIRST-Pilate killed some worshippers from Galilee who, presumably, have come to the temple to worship. SECOND-A tower, probably near the pool of Siloam, has collapsed and the falling stones have instantly killed eighteen people.
The normal Jewish reaction was to assume that those who experience tragedies must have sinned greatly to deserve such terrible deaths. But Jesus speaks to this and says, "I tell you, no." His point is that everyone will suffer terrible judgment unless they repent-change their minds about the Lord.
Jesus chooses to share a parable about a fruitless tree that will shed light on this issue of mercy and repentance.
Then he told 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."
This parable speaks to all who are not in a fruit-bearing position at the moment. The goal of followers is to bear fruit. The tree deserves to be cut down due to its lack of fruitfulness, but the gardener still has hope for it. He wants to give it one more chance.
This is exactly how God works with us. When we are unfruitful, we are useless. But the gardener responded to the owner who was demanding the removal of the fruitless tree. He offered a three-fold plan. And, this plan consists of three growth principles for us:
1. "Leave it alone for one year." Give the tree some time. That's exactly what we need in order to recover and grow-time.
2. 'Dig around it." In order for a tree to become fruitful, it must have a freshening of the dirt around it. In life, this digging around may be quite painful and a little frightening.
3. 'Fertilize it." Finally, the tree needs some food in order to grow. We, too need to be fed some good nutrients in order to grow.
So, what is Jesus saying here? Everyone is in need of repentance toward God-no matter their life situation, whether good or bad. Everyone is in need of the mercy and grace of God. If we were given what we deserve, we'd be cut down like the fruitless tree. BUT GOD, gives us more time, freshens up the soil around us and feeds us the nutrients we need. I believe God will do most anything to get you and I back into being fruitful. That's His mercy and it's for anyone. You know what that's called? AMAZING GRACE. It's all yours. Repent or change your mind about where you are and turn around toward God. The only thing that is required of you is that you be interested enough to change the direction of your life. Now, that is amazing grace.