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The Fruit Inspector – Luke 13:1-9

Henri Matisse Still Life with Green Sideboard 150x150 The Fruit Inspector   Luke 13:1 9Luke 13:1-5 Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Luke 13:6-9 And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. 7 And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; 9 and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'”

I’ve gone back through about five messages/commentaries on these passages. The prevailing view seems to be lining these verses up with the likes of Matthew 5:45 “…for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Or, John 9:3 “Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents…'” So in other words, good and evil fall on both the righteous and unrighteous irregardless of their status.

But that doesn’t seem to be the right way to read these passages at all. Luke 13:1-5, pre-resurrection sinners in need of repentance, we must be talking about the unrighteous. In both cases, unless you repent, you will likewise (homoios) perish. Luke 13:6-9 God is convinced to allow one more year to see fruit, or He will cut the object of his wrath down.

This is again the hardcore fruit inspector. This is not the rain and the sun shining on unrepentant and saved alike. This is I’m about to drop a building on the head of the unsaved.

Repent, accept Jesus. From there, Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” He has some good Godly stuff for us to be involved in which will produce fruit. Or else, Romans 9:22 “What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?” He is going to take you out at an opportune moment to further His plans.

2 Comments

  1. Sometimes we want to be the fruit inspectors….Are we then doing something only God should do?

  2. Great point Byron. It’s an area where I struggle. Check out this article on Judgment & Discernment, http://www.james317.org/judgment-discernment/ . It has some points taken from a discussion and a related mp3 sermon on the subject. I’ve found it extremely useful.

    Briefly,
    – Using discernment while ascribing unsurpassable worth to a person, creates compassion.
    – Judgment tends to evoke a feeling of revulsion. It’s evil.

    Judgment is up to God. We are to practice discernment and only to express it when we have the appropriate relationship.

    I found the mp3 message by Greg Boyd well worth listening to, http://media.whchurch.org/2002/2002-09-01_Boyd_Judge-and-Discern.mp3 .

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