February 28, 2016
Introduction: Jesus has been warning those who are listening to him to see what is happening around them. He notes for instance, that we are able to interpret the weather but not the present circumstances we are living in, and he goes on to make the point that if you have a conflict try to resolve it before you go before the judge. Of course Jesus is alluding to not an earthly judge, but to God. We now come to our present reading where some others may now have joined this group of disciples.
I) Jesus is now told about some Galileans whose blood was mingled with sacrifices they were offering to God by the order of Pilate. Their incredulity may well have been here they were inside a safe place doing what they should have been doing, sacrificing to God for their sins and they were struck down. The inference is what could they have done so horribly wrong that earned them this fate?
II) Jesus responds by stating that these people did nothing any more ‘wrong’ or were any worse sinners than anyone else. He points out that the 18 died when the tower of the inner courtyard fell upon them by the pool of Siloam, were certainly no worse sinners than these individuals.
III) Jesus concludes his remarks by using a parable of an owner wanting to cut down a fig tree that was not producing. His gardener urges him to wait a little longer and let him work with the tree by loosening its soil and fertilizing it so as to give it one last chance at becoming productive. The master agrees to this request. Jesus is noting that God is indeed patient with us, but will only be patient for so long. We must therefore act with a sense of urgency to do all we can while we have the time to act. This parable might well be an allegory with the fig tree being Israel, Jesus being the gardener, and the Father being the owner of the fig tree. As time went by after Jesus’ death, the early Christians saw themselves taking Israel’s place as the unfruitful fig tree. We are now invited to ask ourselves, how are we bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom? Are we ignoring the signs of our times and are we going along our way ignoring those whom we have hurt and failing to do all in our power to care for others and invite them to become fellow disciples in God’s Kingdom?