He spoke also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.…
I. CONSIDER THE COMPLAINT ALLEGED IT IS THAT OF UNFRUITFULNESS. Fig-trees are generally three years before they bring forth any fruit to perfection; but this was perpetually barren, and likely to remain a cumberer of the ground.
1. Observe the patience and forbearance of God in His conduct towards the barren fig-tree, the barren and unprofitable professor. He endures with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction.
2. Though the Lord suffers long and is kind, He strictly observes all our conduct, and keeps an account of the advantages we enjoy, and the use we make of them.
3. Great as is the danger of unfruitfulness, nothing but heavenly culture, nothing but Divine influence can produce in us the fruits of righteousness.
4. Divine forbearance, though long continued, will finally have an end. Though He bears long, He will not bear always. The longer the storm has been gathering, the heavier it will fall; the longer the sword has been whetting, the sharper it will cut, and the deeper it will wound. Longsuffering on God's past, if it do trot lead to repentance, will be followed by more grievous suffering on our part.
II. THE DOOM THAT IS PASSED UPON THE BARREN FIG-TREE: "Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground."
1. A sentence like this is sometimes passed against unprofitable characters, even in the present life.
2. The barren fig-tree is cut down at death, when it is not only cast out of the Church, but out of the world.
3. The stroke will fall still heavier in the day of judgment, when the barren tree shall not only be cut down, but cast into the fire.
III. THE REASON GIVEN FOR THE AWFUL SENTENCE; THE FIG-TREE WAS NOT ONLY UNPRODUCTIVE, BUT INJURIOUS; it "cumbereth the ground."
1. It was unprofitable, and so is every sinner that does not bring forth fruit unto God.
2. The fig-tree was injurious, as well as unprofitable; for it encumbered the ground, and occupied a place which might be filled to more advantage.
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.