Jesus gave a pointed parable about an unfruitful fig tree and most scholars think it was a direct comment to the Jewish religious leaders. The parable says, “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
There is a cry from dead religion to ‘try one more thing’ to get results. Increase attendance, more in the youth group, more programs and especially increase the giving. Or, in this text to dig around the tree, add manure and try again. The three years in the parable is what is called ‘a complete number’ meaning it represents the entire time of something… in this case the giving of the Law of Moses to the Hebrew people. (Some believe it was the three years of Jesus’ ministry… I don’t)
What I do believe is that the ‘one more year’ is a picture of the waiting Christ with extended grace for fruit to come forth… for everyone to have a chance… before the tree is cut down.
“Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.” Jesus