“No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”
Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:5-8
God gives us so many chances. He does so many things to set us up to win.
We know we need to do better. We know we need to repent of certain actions and attitudes. Like the fig tree with no fruit, we disappoint God.
But Jesus is merciful. In the parable he gives the fig tree more time to bear fruit. We don’t deserve more time, but we get it. In the parable, he fertilizes the fig tree. In our lives, Jesus puts people in our lives who can help us do what we are supposed to do. He puts us in situations that will enrich us, inspire us, motivate us, and teach us. He gives us special attention, even though we are failures.
Israel failed God. He had designated them as His chosen people, but they broke their covenant and went after other gods, time and time again.
Yet God didn’t give up on his people. He preserved a remnant, and established a new covenant with them. He set it up in the future so that we can all flourish.
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.“ ‘I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’” Ezekiel 17:22-24