Sunday, April 4, 2010

Jesus the Tree of Life

One way of thinking about this wonderful day is that Jesus is our tree of life. In Eden, God placed one tree in the garden which would sustain humanity with life, the so-called 'tree of life' (Gen 2:9). In Ezekiel 47:12 Ezekiel speaks of trees lining the river that flows from the temple of God, the leaves of the trees bring healing. In Acts, Jesus is hung on a tree, another way of describing the cross (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29). In the new heaven and earth, the new Jerusalem, where heaven and earth are merged, eternal life granted, evil vanquished and our joy complete, the tree of life will be found again. In its leaves will be the healing of the nations (Rev 22:2, 14, 19). The problem of the tree of knowledge and good and evil which brought death is resolved, access is now free to the tree that sustains. 
In a spiritual sense Jesus is the tree of life. John goes close to this when he describes Jesus as a vine. We are grafted into Jesus (cf. Rom 11:17-24). We are branches in this vine. He is our life, if we are broken off, we die. If we remain or abide in him, we bear fruit. We must eat of the fruit of the vine that is Jesus to live. The fruit we bear will be eaten by others, and they will too experience life. The key is 'remain in me, and I will remain in you' (Jn 15:4). The alternative is death, 'such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.'

So, as we think of Easter, we can think of Jesus' resurrection as the reopening of Eden. The stone is rolled away from the tomb that is death, we can now walk into a new world. This new creation has begun in Jesus, from this tomb. As in Narnia, where the raised Aslan treads brings life in new flowers and hope. From this small tomb of death, life is now flowing into all humanity, into all the world.

We can eat of the tree of life now, we don't have to wait until the culmination of the world. The garden is open, the cheribum says 'come and eat.' We can eat of the tree of life today, because Jesus is risen.

To eat is to believe in Jesus. John again records Jesus saying 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty' (Joh 6:35). Faith which is trust lived out each day (not perfectly, but intentionally), is akin to eating of the fruit that hangs of the tree of life. The one who hung on a tree of death has risen, and is now the tree of life. All we do is abide, eat of his fruit, walk in faith, and we will know life. And we bear fruit, fruit that brings life to others as they eat of it. Our leaves are healing to others, just as Jesus' leaves are healing for us.

So will you eat. I choose to dine of the tree. Thanks, that the curse of death is broken. Thanks that life is now here. Thanks that our greatest enemy is history because of Jesus. Bring on that day. Maranatha.

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