At this time of the year one of the traditions of the Christmas season is the Christmas tree. Everyone admires the Christmas tree. It is a televised event when the tree at the White House in Washington D.C. or the tree at Rockefeller Center in New York is lit. We admire the beauty of the Christmas tree in our homes and kids admire the gifts under the tree.
While studying the book of Genesis this month God showed me something that I had never noticed. When the Bible is describing the Garden of Eden, there are two trees mentioned in Genesis 2:9.
Gen. 2:9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
I admit I have always focused on the tree that is the source of rebellion against God, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But another tree is named in the garden before that tree; it is the tree of eternal life. This is the tree that I had so often overlooked when studying the creation story.
God had provided the tree of eternal life before the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was ever mentioned. Sin and death entered the world when Adam and Eve ate from this forbidden tree. But God had already planted a tree that had the cure for sin and death.
I am sure you are asking, “How can a tree cure sin and death?” The Bible teaches in 1 John 4 that God loved us so much that he sent his Son to die for our sins. So then, how did God’s son, Jesus die?
1Jn. 4:9-11 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. (10) In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (11) Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
The Bible also teaches in Galatians 3 and 1 Peter 2 that Christ bore our sin on a tree, the cross of Calvary, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
Gal. 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”–
1Pe. 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
The thought that I want to leave you with is this: In this time of the year when we focus on the Christmas tree and the baby Jesus in the manager, I want you to think about the story of two other trees. The forbidden tree leads to death but the tree at Mount Calvary, the cross of Christ Jesus, leads to eternal life with God in heaven.
Acts 5:30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.
Acts 10:39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree,
2 Cor. 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.