Monday, September 24, 2007

Between the Trees

If you look through the Bible, you will notice that there is one object that basically begins the story of faith and ends the story of faith. From the beginning in Genesis 2, to the end of Revelation, the tree of life is mentioned. It’s the key to life and anyone who touches it will have life everlasting.

One problem: in Genesis, there is another tree, the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve, goaded by the serpent to become like God, take a taste of the fruit of that tree, and suddenly, there is no access to the tree of life.

Incidentally, the fruit of this tree has traditionally been the apple, although the exact fruit is never mentioned in the Bible. One theory is that the Latin word for evil and for apple is the same: malus.

The wonderful thing about the Christian faith is that time and time again, the story is about failure, death, and hopelessness being completely turned around.

In 1 Peter 2:24, it says: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

The tree that the writer is talking about is the cross. Think about that for a moment. The crucifixion cross was the most horrific method of execution of the Roman Empire. It was known by some to be the tree of death. The crucifixion was such a horrific symbol, that it was not used as a symbol of Christianity for the first 300 years of the faith, until the Roman Emperor Constantine had a dream about the cross, and when he decided to follow the Way of Jesus, he made the cross the symbol of Christianity.

The reason? Because Jesus Christ, by his resurrection and triumph over death, has turned the tree of death into the new tree of life! We live between the trees but no matter what challenges face us, through Christ we have the possibility of that turning around for good. And that’s wonderful assurance.

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