The Advent Tree of Life

Friday, December 13, 2013

When some people brought a paralytic man to Jesus for healing, Jesus saw their faith and said to the man, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." Further reading from this passage (Matthew 9:1-6), shows that Jesus is also trying to teach the blasphemy-accusing scribes a lesson. Jesus asked, "For which is easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? So that you know that the Son of Man has authority..." The paralytic man walks as Jesus commands.

We would love to see our Lord do a show-and-tell with us, wouldn't we? We think it would make our faith life much easier--but would it? How many times have you and I muttered in quiet desperation for God to act on our immediate concerns, while just as quickly completely forgot that we survived to live in fullness another day? Even if we don't get what we want, we so often fail to see the proverbial forest for the trees--we are eternally saved!

None other than John the Baptist sent his disciple to Jesus to ask Him, "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" Instead of ousting the Romans and glorifying His chosen Israel, Jesus points to His Kingdom work such as," ...the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them." (Matthew 11:2-15)

In the midst of the Garden were two trees of special recognition that stood in the midst of the other trees. One was the Tree of Life and the other was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. (Genesis 2) God told them that they could eat of any tree except the latter one. Of course, they disobeyed God and hid from Him, Adam announcing that he was ashamed that he was naked. Obviously God had no problem with their nakedness, but the serpent had told them both a lie and a truth. The truth was that their eyes would be opened, but the lie was the same one we are told today--they would be like God, knowing good from evil.

This Advent, enjoy your Christmas tree at home and recall the two Trees of Genesis. After the eviction of our two ancestors from the Garden, God sent cherubim (angels) with flaming swords to guard against any access to the Tree of Life. The tree from which Adam and Eve ate is never mentioned again. But the Tree of Life makes another appearance--in the last chapter of the Holy Bible in Revelation 22. God promises access once again to the Tree of Life to those who recognize Him as the One who was and is to come. The Garden's serpent denied the truth of God's Word and Eve "saw" that it was okay to eat the forbidden fruit, attempting the role of God for which she and Adam were most unsuited.

Psalm 146 is a good read for Advent, "Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation." Ponder that as God/Man Jesus said (Matthew 11:6), "Blessed is the one who is not offended by Me." Gloria Deo--Glory to God

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