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The Third Sunday of Lent – March 20, 2022

The Third Sunday of Lent – March 20, 2022

 Week of March 14, 2022 | Sunday, March 20, 2022

Luke 13:1-9

“Then if it should bear fruit next year,
well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”
(vs. 9).

Pity the fig tree. It has no idea whether it is a good tree that produces fruit if it is properly tended, or whether it is a bad tree that produces no fruit even if it is properly tended. Jesus orders its removal. The vinedresser proposes an alternate solution: Let it be. The vinedresser takes responsibility for tending to the fig tree properly. Proper tending would give the pitiful tree every opportunity to bear fruit if it was a good tree. Should the fig tree be a bad tree, even proper tending would not entice it to bear fruit. Jesus is the judge of trees; John the Baptist said so (Lk. 3:9). Fruit production is the sole criteria, do they produce, or don’t they? Good trees properly tended to produce fruit. Bad trees, even if properly tended, do not. What sort of fruit; fruit worthy of repentance. What is repentance; the move from unbelief to belief… the move from death to life… being established as a new creature in Christ instead of remaining the old creature in sin. Pity the fig tree. It has no idea whether it’s a good tree or a bad tree. Even its proper tending comes from outside of itself—the vinedresser.

Prayers from one who is a fearful fig tree and must trust in the proper tending of the vinedresser…

Father in heaven, you have claimed me through your Son, Jesus Christ. Without   Him and his proper tending of me, I am but a bad tree with no fruit. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Father in heaven, you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to be your love for me. As I am held in that love and receive Christ’s life, I am confident I will bear fruit. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Father in heaven, your Son, Jesus Christ, is my life as I live out my mortal days. Grant that the demise of this fleshly body does not strike fear within me but instead grant relief from the sufferings of this sin-broken body and world. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Father in heaven, your Son, Jesus Christ, gathers all my vision to Him. He opens my ears to hear the Word of God. Through  Him I both see my neighbor and hear my neighbor so that I might be useful to them. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Father in heaven, your Son, Jesus Christ, sent out apostles in the same manner in which you sent  Him. Grant that such an apostle come to be my preacher… my preacher of Christ,  Him crucified, and  Him alone handed over to be the life of this dead sinner. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Father in heaven, you have appointed the Institute of Lutheran Theology to be a place of training, educating, and raising up such preachers. Continue to uphold it in its task. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

Father in heaven, your Son, Jesus Christ, has promised to come again in his glory and take me, this pitiful fig tree, to be with  Him and to bear fruit for all eternity. For Jesus’ sake. Amen