Day 57 | Kingdom of God
April 28, 2015 - WEEK NINE
James Tissot, Accursed Fig Tree, Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription.
CONSIDER AS YOU READ
- What about the tiny mustard seed makes it perfect for Christ’s parable?
- What lesson can you learn from the parable of the leaven?
- Are there any Mormon traditions or preferences that we promote, but shouldn’t?
The barren fig tree has at least two levels of meaning:
First, the fig tree signifies the Jewish nation during the first century A.D., which God planted in his vineyard. The tree’s barrenness symbolizes the Jews’ failure to produce good works or their failure to accept Jesus Christ and his gospel….
In [Isaiah’s] song [Isaiah 5:1–7], the Lord exerts great effort to care for his vineyard and fig tree so that they might produce much fruit. He builds a fence around it to keep out predators, he removes the stones, he plants his choicest vine, he builds a watchtower, and he makes a winepress in anticipation of a bounteous harvest. But after all that, the vineyard produces nothing but sour grapes. So, too, with the parable’s fig tree: God takes special interest in it but in the end it fails to produce fruit.
Second, the parable’s barren fig tree also symbolizes people from all ages who fail to bring forth righteousness or good works…. Standing in contrast to the barren fig tree are symbolic trees that produce fruit….
God, the owner of the vineyard, provides sufficient time for the fig tree to mature. A fig tree grows slowly, taking several years to bear fruit. After the tree in the parable has grown to the point that it should have become a fruit-bearing tree, the owner of the vineyard gives it yet another three years to produce fruit, but it does not.
Following the symbolism …, the parable suggests that vineyard’s dresser was Jesus Christ. The three years corresponds to the time of Jesus’ ministry, when he worked with the Jewish community and gave them time to repent. The vineyard’s owner instructs the dresser to cut down the fig tree because it is taking up valuable space that could be occupied by a fruitful tree (Donald W. Parry and Jay A. Parry, “The Barren Fig Tree,” Understanding the Parables of Jesus Christ, Salt Lake City:Deseret Book, 2006).
FOR YOUNGER DISCIPLES
QUESTIONS FOR YOUNGER DISCIPLES
- Are there any lost coins in your life that you can try to find?
- Can you think of others who are happy when you repent?