What is the message of the Bible? Perhaps you heard that message many years ago. Perhaps you have never heard it. If you are willing to take a few minutes, you can learn about that message from The Story of the Three Trees.
The First Tree
If you have a Bible available, you may want to get it. If you turn to the very beginning, you will soon read about the first tree. No, not in the first chapter. In the first chapter you will read about God creating all things. The crowning piece of creation was man, male and female. In Genesis 1:26,27, we read that only mankind was made in God’s image. Man was given the task to rule over creation. What a high position! The tree, however, comes up in the second chapter. We are told how God made a special garden for man to live in. God planted many trees in that garden so that man could have food. But, and here we come to the first tree, in among all the trees there was one tree of which God said: “you must not eat… for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17). In the midst of all that abundance this would seem like a small request.
But, read on. The third chapter of the Bible is a very dark chapter. We read there about a serpent who can talk! This serpent is an enemy of God. Further in the Bible we will learn that this serpent has been taken over by the devil, also called Satan. The devil is an angel who has rebelled against God and wants to overthrow God. He urges the woman and the man to take from that one tree of which God said, “you must not eat.” Despite the strong warning from God, the woman and her husband ate. No sooner had the man and his wife taken from the forbidden tree and darkness fell over the wonderful creation. They hid from God their maker. They hid from each other! Read the whole chapter. What they did is called sin, that is, they disobeyed God! No doubt you remember the threat, “for when you eat of it you will surely die!”
The Second Tree
The first tree therefore points to the beginning of the Bible, of man disobeying God. Death came into the world. You will remember, however, that we said there are three trees. Already in the third chapter of the Bible we begin to get a glimpse of the second tree. We hear of it in verse 15. There we hear God’s words, which he actually spoke to that miserable serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
At the point where it appeared that the serpent had won, God makes clear that He did not concede defeat. The serpent may have led the man and the woman to eat of the forbidden tree, thinking he stole them away from God, but God was preparing to set up another tree. True, it’s not very clear at this point. However, it is in the words about the offspring of the woman we hear God’s promise that a child will be born. That child is going to defeat the serpent. It will happen on an unusual tree.
You have to look much further in the Bible to read more about this tree. You read about it in connection with the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible shows that Jesus Christ is that offspring of the woman spoken of in Genesis 3:15. You can read about His birth in the book of Luke, chapter. 1 and 2. In Luke 3 you can read about Jesus’ link to the first man, Adam. Though you may not know too much about Jesus, most likely you have heard how He was arrested, sentenced to death, and hung on a cross. A number of times the cross is described as a tree.
The cross is the second tree. The apostle Peter writes,“He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” (I Peter 2:24) To put it simply, by hanging on that barren tree Jesus came to undo the damage done by eating from the forbidden tree. On the tree of the cross, the serpent did indeed strike Jesus’ heel, but Jesus crushed the serpent’s head. He proved the stronger for He rose from the dead. And by His actions on the tree of the cross, and His resurrection, Jesus opened the way to the third tree.
The Third Tree
The third tree is again, a leafy, beautiful tree. We read about this tree in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. In the very last chapter of the Bible we read about the “tree of life” (Revelation 22:2). Access to the tree of life means that you have peace with God, that your sins are forgiven. Access to the tree of life is given again to all who believe in Jesus Christ who hung on the tree of the cross.
It is our prayer that God will use this brief message to stir your heart so that you will desire to learn more about the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. One way to learn is to read the Bible. God, however, uses especially the preaching and teaching that is done in Church every Sunday. As such, we invite you to come and join us this and every Sunday so that you may learn about Him who hung on the tree of cross to open up access to the tree of life.
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