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Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

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The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6–9[1]) written in the New Testament is a parable of Jesus. It is a parable about a fig tree which does not produce fruit, unlike the parable of the budding fig tree.

What Jesus said[change | change source]

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.

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 round it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down."

— Luke 13:6–9[2]

What it means[change | change source]

The owner of the vineyard represents God. The fig tree is a symbol for Jerusalem[3] (and also for Jesus's church).[4] The vineyard where the tree was planted is the earth. The tree was meant to bear the good fruit of the Holy Spirit and the gardener (vinedresser) is Jesus.[3] Fig trees are often planted in vineyards.[4]

The parable indicates Jesus is giving his hearers one last chance to repent their sins.[4] "These three years" refers to the period of his ministry on earth. The parable is connected to the miracle of cursing the fig tree. Richard Whately commented that this parable "is one which our Lord may be said to have put before his hearers twice; once in words, once in action."[5]

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References[change | change source]

  1. Biblos.com: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages.
  2. Passage Lookup – NIVUK – BibleGateway.com
  3. 3.0 3.1 Timothy Maurice Pianzin, Parables of Jesus: In the Light of Its Historical, Geographical & Socio-Cultural Setting, Tate Publishing, 2008, ISBN 1602479232, pp. 235–237.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Peter Rhea Jones, Studying the Parables of Jesus, Smyth & Helwys, 1999, ISBN 1573121673, pp. 123–133.
  5. Richard Whately, Lectures on Some of the Scripture Parables, John W. Parker and Son, 1859, p. 153.