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21. THE BARREN FIG TREE (Luke 13:6-9)

BACKGROUND: This parable originally referred to Israel. For three years Jesus had been active among this nation without finding much fruit in it. The parable, however, speaks about us as well. You are the fig tree, God is your owner, and Jesus is the man who takes care of the tree. For background information, look also at Matt.21:18-19.
  1. The soil in the vineyard is usually the best soil possible. What did Jesus want to say about Israel by placing the fig tree of his parable among the vines?
    • What harm did the barren fig tree cause to the vines surrounding it?
  2. What might the fruit be that God has expected to get from your life for the last three years? (You can answer in your heart.)
    • What are the reasons, which hinder you from bearing fruit for the kingdom of God?
  3. What are the feelings of the gardener toward his barren fig tree?
    • Why does Jesus love even those Christians who don't bear any fruit?
  4. Imagine Jesus standing before his Father and praying for some extra time for you. What makes him do that?
  5. The gardener promises to dig around the tree and fertilize it. What has Jesus done in your life during the past three years in order to enable you to bear fruit for his Heavenly Father?
    • How do the disappointments and sorrows in our lives contribute to our bearing fruit?
  6. According to this parable, what will happen to a Christian who eventually will bear no fruit?
  7. Now turn to Matt.21:18-19. (The leader may read the passage.) This event took place during the last week of the life of Jesus. Think of various reasons why Jesus suddenly wanted to curse a barren fig tree?
    • What do these two verses have to do with the death of Jesus?
GLAD TIDINGS: After having cursed the barren fig tree Jesus took its place - the place of Israel and the place of you and me. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree" (Gal.3:13).

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