Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Religion

October 7, 2011

WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY CLUB: Luke 13 includes barren fig tree parable

By Linda Farmer | Special to the Index

The Mineral Wells Bible Study Club met Sept. 28 at Leaning Tree Church hosted by Becky Poynor.  There were 14 members present who were served a delicious assortment of cookies, tea or coffee.  Becky opened in prayer then Nikki Murphy gave the lesson on Luke 13 which had been prepared in its entirety by Rhoda Moore. Rhoda was absent due to illness.

 The chapter opens with the message, “Except Ye Repent” (vs. 1-9). These verses provide the only information we have about the Galileans slaughtered by Pilate as they were offering their sacrifices, and about the 18 upon whom the Tower of Siloam fell. At this time Jesus was “journeying toward Jerusalem,” seeking to turn His nation from self-destruction to God. 

 Vs. 6 begins with a parable of the barren fig tree. The difference between a parable and an allegory is a parable is a short, fictitious story that could have happened that teaches a moral or truth. The allegory is a story, such as Pilgrims’ Progress, in which the events have a meaning other than the one apparent in the story. Jesus gave the parable of the fig tree as a further warning to Israel. The fig tree was a symbol of Israel. The landowner came and there was no fruit on the tree so he wanted it cut down. Jesus begged for the opportunity to fertilize it for another year to see if it would produce. Probably Jesus saw his journey to Jerusalem as a final attempt to bring Israel to repentance.

 A Spirit of Infirmity vs. 10-17: There was a woman who had an illness which left her bent over for 18 years. When Jesus laid hands on her and healed her, she was made straight. The indignant synagogue ruler condemned Jesus for his sabbath healing. Jesus was concerned for the woman, not for sabbath rules. When Jesus healed the bent over woman, she began to glorify God, and the crowd rejoiced over all the goodness Jesus did, but the adversaries were humiliated as was the ruler of the synagogue who was critical because it was done on the sabbath and violated their traditions.

 Vs. 18-21 deals with Parables of Mustard Seed and Leaven. The parable of the mustard seed illustrates the phenomenal growth of the kingdom, the extension of its rule over the earth, evidenced by the spread of the church on earth. The smallness of the mustard seed was proverbial. The kingdom of God came in a tiny baby and confronted the world in a man from Nazareth.

Rhoda believes the parable of the leaven probably illustrates the dynamic and invincible nature of the kingdom. It comes in Jesus Christ as a personal and transforming presence. It works like leaven works – inwardly and silently – yet with transforming power.

 Vs. 22-30 is salvation in the future world which is under consideration here. The door of repentance calls man to renounce his arrogance and self will. In the gospel of Jesus, the sinner is addressed by the word of grace; the self-righteous, by the word of judgment. Jesus explained that some who think themselves to be first will be last, and some who think themselves to be last will be first. Salvation is entered thru the narrow door of faith in Jesus Christ into the kingdom of God.

 Vs. 31-35: Jerusalem Loved and Lost. Rhoda says it is not clear whether the Pharisees who warned Jesus about the intention of Herod to kill him were friends or foes. In any event, Jesus refused to be intimidated. Salvation may be offered but not imposed. Fates are not fixed by divine decree but by man’s response to God’s offer.

 After prayer requests were shared, the meeting was closed with members reciting the club prayer.

The next meeting is Wednesday, Oct. 12, hosted by Carol Noeding. Members will meet at the Black Horse Restaurant Carol will also be program leader teaching from Luke, Chapter 14.

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