The Parable of the Tree; On Repentance

In this parable, Jesus is teaching about repentance. Now there are a lot of different opinions about repentance. For example, the famous poet Lord Byron said, “… the weak alone repent!” Yet Shakespeare  said in one of his characters, “I’ll repent, and that suddenly … I shall be out of heart shortly, and then I shall have no strength to repent.” Do you see? The one poet says, “It takes weakness to repent,” whereas Shakespeare sees it as taking strength to repent. He sees it as being an achievement.

Now who is right? Is repentance a sign of strength or is it a sign of weakness? Shakespeare is much more profound at this point, and he’s much closer to what Jesus Christ says. Jesus says repentance is the key to everything. Jesus says repentance is the way in which we should process everything that comes to us — it is the grid through which everything should pass. He tells us 1) we need it, 2) how to do it, and 3) how he brings it about in us.

This sermon was preached by Rev. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on July 10, 1994. Series “The Parables of Jesus (1994)”. Scripture: Luke 13:1-9.

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