Day 6: The Tree
Today’s reading: Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19
Today, Jesus was crucified.
Crucifixion is one of the most graphic and grotesque methods of execution in the history of mankind. Only the vilest criminals received this intense torture. The point is, Jesus should never have been crucified. But, he was.
So why would God choose to have His only Son suffer the horrors of the cross?
The answer requires that we go back to the beginning of God’s story.
The Tree That Brought Death
In the beginning, when God created man and woman in His image, He gave them everything. It was the way God intended—a life free of pain, free of suffering, free of sin and in constant communion with the Creator.
However, in the Garden there was a tree—the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. You see, Adam and Eve already knew good, but they didn’t have any knowledge of evil. As a way to protect them from that evil, God asked not to eat of that tree.
As the story goes, Eve made the choice to eat from the tree and she gave some to her husband. Once the juices of the fruit dripped from their mouths, they received the knowledge of evil. Sin and separation from God thrust itself into the Garden and into the story.
Through their disobedience, the lineage of mankind was condemned to the knowledge of evil.
This is the tree that brought death.
The Tree That Brought Life
But God didn’t leave mankind without an option. He promised them a Savior. Thousands of years later, we find ourselves here, walking through Passion Week.
We’ve seen Jesus, this self-proclaimed Savior, enter Jerusalem in the most uncommon way and dwell with the most uncommon people. We’ve seen Him challenge the religious establishment and promise a new paradigm. We’ve seen Him teach of living from an abundant heart. And even in the midst of betrayal and abandonment, we’ve seen Him become the example.
Yet still the people didn’t believe.
Now Jesus is handed over to be beaten, mocked, and crucified.
Then, He’s nailed……to a tree.
If mankind was condemned through a tree, mankind would be redeemed through a tree.
You see, God went back to the tree as an act of love. If one man’s disobedience on the tree brought death, one man’s obedience on the tree would bring life.
As the Apostle Paul would later write:
“For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, Adam, how much more did God’s grace on the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” —Romans 5
Jesus took the knowledge of evil on Himself and let it die on the tree. He chose the cross. As John writes, Jesus “gave up His spirit.”
Before Jesus, when God saw us, He said, “I remember what happened on the tree.” Now, because of Jesus, God says, “I remember what happened on the tree.”
Today, I ask you to join me in remembering what happened on the tree. One man’s choice brought sin and slavery. One man’s choice brought freedom and life.
Now, the choice is ours.
To believe, or to not believe.
But, the story isn’t over. While conquering evil on the tree would mean death, now it’s time for Jesus to conquer death itself.
1. Jesus had a choice. So do you.
Are you willing to go back to the tree today and lay it all down at the foot of the cross?
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