Jesus used parables often…comparing spiritual things with things found in nature. Now for the attentive ear of the Believer, the parable gave better understanding and a deeper meaning to His message. But to the unbeliever, it was just a story about a barren tree. Our lives here on earth are like that fig tree, effective and producing good fruit or desolate. So the central theme of this parable Jesus wants us to remember is…repent or perish. “For trees not producing good fruit will be cut down.” (Matthew 3:10)
Mark 4:34 ” But when He was alone with His own disciples He explained everything.”
Jesus taught the crowds that clamored around Him with parables…but when He was alone with His disciples, He would explain the meaning behind them. It tells us in Mark 4:10 that, “When He was alone, the Twelve and the others around Him asked Him about the parables.” Reading about God from some author isn’t the same as being alone with God yourself. Solitary time with God and His Word enables you to ask those tough questions you’re confused about. And as you probe deeper into His Word, that alone time with God becomes even more important…for it’s then that He can teach, edify, and exhort you.
Luke 15:17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!’ “
This verse comes from the Parable of the prodigal son…a young man, who after squandering his portion of his inheritance, found himself starving to death in the middle of a pigsty. It was in those deplorable conditions, that he finally came to himself…recovering his right mind, and realizing just how far he had wandered away. Repentance is a change of mind…leading to a change of heart…which leads to a change of our actions. Unfortunately for many of us, Godly sorrow is only attained when we find ourselves in the middle of the pigsties of life.
Luke 18:14 “…For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
This comes from the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector that Jesus taught to a group of self-righteous, haughty people. It says in verse 10 that both men went up to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee pushed his way up to the front of the crowd in order to be seen and heard by everyone, and once there, proceeded to pray loudly and arrogantly…basically telling God how lucky He was to have him. On the other hand, the Tax Collector stood way back in the courtyard, daring not to even look up to heaven, but rather beating his breast and whispering, “God have mercy on me.” In Jeremiah 31:19 it says, “After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understanding, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.” The road from self-deception to self-awareness requires acknowledgement…admitting I’m just as sinful as those around me and not one bit more righteous.
Luke 15:24 ” For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found…”
If you think about it…we’re all like the prodigal son. We were all spiritually dead – separated from God the Father, with no hope of eternal life…when we were made live again, by the blood of Jesus Christ. For we all had wandered away from our Heavenly Father, just like the prodigal son…and just like the prodigal son, when we had come to our senses in the middle of that pig pen – we realized we couldn’t make it on our own. That’s when we returned. We returned to a loving Father with outstretched arms, rushing to meet us and draw us to Him.