Where are we? Don't WANT it, don't WASTE it and lastly, don’t WAIT on Suffering (to act, I mean).
The parable in V6-9 is saying one thing: God graciously gives us a little extra time to sort things out with God. But do it. Do it now. Do it tonight. Do it in front of your computer. Because you have a limited time: in this text, maybe only a year.
The old language of Christians used to talk about Jesus as 'Prophet, Priest and King'. But we mostly speak of Jesus as just Priest and King now. That is, he is my "Savior and Lord." We like Jesus as Priest: He died to take away my sins. We are used to Jesus as King: We need to submit every area of our life to him.
But we rarely talk about him as Prophet.
Prophets railed against sin and injustice and moved people to act and act now. And that’s what Jesus is doing in the parable in V6-9. He's bugging you.
V6: A man had a fig tree in a vineyard that bore no fruit on it. And V7: he had looked for fruit for three years and so V7: “Why should it not be cut down"?
A fig tree is a symbol for Israel. Much like the Bald Eagle is a symbol for America. And fruit is a symbol of Israel acting righteously. And no fruit is Israel gone off. Gone bad. So Jesus is a Prophet here saying: "Israel – You are the problem. Not Rome. Not the 'Galileans' and so the fig tree of your hopes and dreams will be cut down."
But the Gardener in V8 says: Just be gracious to the tree for one year.
Please. One year.
This is grace. This is mercy. And the point for you and me is this: This word of Jesus "Unless you too repent" is not just interesting. It has a deadline. You all know this at work: When you get a project, you also get a deadline. And the deadline prompts you to get the project done. That is part of the deadline.
Brothers and sisters, a day will come when God will call you to account, and it could be soon. Do not wait – even if confronted by suffering. And when we suffer, or see suffering, we tend not to act in that moment. And Jesus is saying: "Maybe this is exactly the moment to act."
Can you lock away or underline the words: "One more year"?
Why have I been asking you to underline three things?
The conclusion, soon...