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.…
A gentleman once entered a hall with his little son, when they saw a number of well-dressed people, some of them standing together in groups, while others sat at their ease. The lad's attention was arrested by a pleasant-looking man, in gaudy dress, and he inquired of his father who it could be. "Ask the gentleman who stands near you," answered the father, with unmoved gravity. "If you please," said the boy, addressing the stranger, "can you tell me who that gentleman opposite is?" No answer was given, and the lad looked amazed. At last the father said to him, "Those things which so much resemble men and women are only wax figures. There is no life in them, natural as they appear. Fair to look upon, they are without soul; all outside, and nothing else." Are mere nominal Christians much more than these wax figures? We may admire the artistic skill which can fashion matter into forms of beauty; but what are all the outside appearances of religion in the deceitful Pharisee compared with the holiness of life in the heart of the true believer? Happy would it be for us if we all sought for "the fruit of good living" in our own lives before God Himself comes to seek it. The ancient Greeks used to quote the proverb that "The feet of the avenging deities are shod with wool," intimating thereby the noiseless and unexpected manner in which they approach their victims. Thanks to God's tender forbearance, He always gives us timely warning before the fatal blow is struck. The parable of the barren fig-tree, from which the text is taken, was designed by our blessed Lord to be a warning to the Jewish nation, whose mercies, had been so many, but whose day of grace was so soon to end. It is, however, no less applicable to all, of every age and country, who have the opportunity of receiving the means of grace, and of securing the hope of glory.
(J. N. Norton, D. D.)
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.