The stories Jesus told were meant to unsettle his listeners. C. H. Dodd defines a parable as 'a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought.'
As you read the parable of the fig tree what struck you? Surprised you? What was vivid or strange? How does the story challenge or widen or deepen your faith?
We live in a very different context from Jesus. Stories about shepherds and farming are distant, almost mythic. Can you imagine a contemporary setting for the story Jesus told (for example, 'the Kingdom of God is like riding a Trimet bus ... or going to Pioneer Courthouse Square ...').
Feel free to post a response to the parable or to the sermon. I'd be glad to know how the stories Jesus told have teased your mind 'into active thought.'
Peace to you,
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree / Luke 13: 6-9
Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, “See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?” He replied, “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig round it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.” ’