Today: Proverbs 11:29-31; Proverbs 12:1-7; John 7:14-44; Judges 14 & 15
“The fruit of righteousness is a tree of life.” Proverbs 11:30
I absolutely LOVE all the tree imagery in the Bible. I LOVE TREES! I have trees tattooed all over my arms and legs, I love them so much. The symbolism of trees is so fantastic. The message of the Bible is saturated with TREES.
Genesis begins with trees. God created the earth, the “seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it…” (Genesis 1:11) In the Garden of Eden “the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9)
Psalms begins with a tree. The person “whose delight is in the law of the LORD… is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.” Psalms 1:2-3
Revelation ends with a tree. In the last chapter of Revelation, John sees “the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:2 All believers in Christ have a “share in the tree of life.” (Revelation 22:19)
Jesus often used tree imagery as well. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) JESUS is the vine, the trunk of the tree, and we are the branches connected to Him. WE are all part of this tree! Together we all create this incredible tree of life!
The Jews were so confused about Jesus. They continued to interpret Jesus’ messages about the spiritual world as if He were speaking of physical things. There was such a huge disconnect between His words and their understanding. They spoke two completely different languages.
They knew Jesus’ physical mother and family and so did not understand when He said, “I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. I do know Him, because I am from Him and He sent Me.'” (v.29) When Jesus said, “You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come,” (v.34) they wonder if He intends “to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks.” (v.35) Jesus was speaking of the eternal and they were hearing only the physical. No wonder they couldn’t understand Him.
Even all of Jesus’ many miracles only further confused them. But some of them DID believe because of the miracles. “But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, ‘When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has done, will He?'” (v.31). Then and now, there will always be a remnant of us who do believe (thank You, Jesus!).
This exchange between Jesus and the Jews happened during the Feast of Tabernacles, an important Jewish celebration when many Jewish people were gathered together at the temple. On the last day of the feast, Jesus gave His most important message. This final day of the Feast of Tabernacles commemorates the great river prophesied about in Ezekiel 47. Ezekiel was shown a great river flowing out from the Jerusalem temple. (Interestingly, in Ezekiel’s vision, the angel tells him about the exact same living trees that John describes at the end of Revelation: “Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:12)
So on the last day of the feast, Jesus revealed that HE was the actual source of this much awaited holy river. “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” (v.37-38) John explains that Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit who would soon come after the risen Jesus was glorified.
And that same holy river, the Holy Spirit, flows through each one of us today! How fantastic that the entire Bible speaks of this glorious living river. The more I delve into the Scriptures, the more my eyes are opened to see how magical and unified it is. Only God could have assembled this amazing book!