The Real Trees of Christ

The Real Trees of Christ

The true Christmas story begins in Genesis and it is not completed until Revelation. And throughout the story, there are trees that mark the beginning, the climax and the end of the story.

The tree in the garden: On the 6th day of creation, God took the dust of the earth, formed it into the body of a man, and then breathed life into that body. He made man in His own image. And then on that same day, He caused Adam to go to sleep, and formed for him a help mate. The first gift ever given was a wife – and she wasn’t even wrapped!

God placed these two perfect persons in a perfect environment. There was no danger, there were no sicknesses, there was no cause for crying. In the middle of that garden, God placed two trees. He said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil . . . “ And He said that if there ever came a time that chose to eat of that tree, then there was going to be a consequence. “. . . when you eat of it, you will surely die.”

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” She ate of the fruit of the tree, and then she gave to Adam, and he ate. At that moment, something changed in Adam and Eve and in the world that they lived in. With one act of disobedience, sin entered the world. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”

That first tree brought death because of disobedience.

The tree on a hillside: On that day, Jesus died on a tree. Adam’s act of sin brought death, but Jesus’ act of obedience brought life. The second tree brought life.

The tree in heaven: When Adam and Eve sinned against God, part of the result was that they were banned from the Garden of Eden. But unto those that become partakers of the second tree – The Cross of Calvary – and experience its reality in obedience to Acts 2:38 – they shall be partakers of eternal life in a New Garden with the Tree of Life – forever.

These are the real “trees” of Christ.


Don’t Miss Christmas!
Luke 2:1-20

Who were those that missed that first Christmas?

The Innkeeper missed Christmas (that is the REAL and ONLY Christ)

That night in Bethlehem, an Innkeeper was confronted by a man and his expectant wife. He turned away from them saying he had no room for them. Not only did he turn Mary and Joseph away, but he apparently did not even call for anyone to help a young mother about to give birth.

The Jewish people were civilized, intelligent, educated and, above all, hospitable people who cared deeply about human life. It would have been highly unusual for a young woman about to give birth to be turned away from an inn and left to give birth alone in a stable. And yet, that is what happened.

The Bible does not specify what kind of inn the Innkeeper had. The Greek word translated inn can mean “guest room, hostel, or (simply) shelter.” Whatever it was, the hospitality that Joseph and Mary sought from the Innkeeper was unavailable to them. They were therefore turned away. The result was that the Innkeeper in Bethlehem missed that first Christmas. Bethlehem was crowded. The Innkeeper was busy. There is no indication that he was hostile or even unsympathetic. He was just busy, that’s all.

The Innkeeper was exactly like so many people today. They are consumed with activity—not necessarily sinful activity. They are just active with things that keep them busy. Working, shopping, parties, concerts, studying, school activities, and other things all compete for attention. And in the clutter of activity, many preoccupied people miss the miracle of the Son!

Second, the entire city of Jerusalem also missed Christmas. Out of the whole society of Jerusalem God picked a band of shepherds to hear the news of Jesus’ birth. The very nature of their work kept them from entering the mainstream of society. They couldn’t observe all the religious feasts and festivals. Most likely, since they were so close to Jerusalem, the shepherds were taking care of sheep that would be used as sacrifices in the Temple.

We are told that the shepherds “spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.” But what is so amazing is that even though “all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them,” not a single person went to see what had happened for themselves! Everyone in Jerusalem missed that first Christmas.

Bethlehem was literally within walking distance of Jerusalem, and Jesus’ birth was the fulfillment of all that the Jewish nation had hoped for. But the entire city of Jerusalem missed the birth of Jesus.

Why did Jerusalem miss Christmas? The answer in one word may surprise you: religion. The people of Jerusalem were very religious. Jerusalem was the hub of religious activity in Israel. The Temple was there, and everyone who wanted to make a sacrifice had to come to Jerusalem. The people were so busy with religious ritual that they missed the reality. Consumed with the activity of their feasts and festivals and ceremonies, they missed the reality of God.

And third, another person who missed that first Christmas was Herod. Herod was different than the Innkeeper. He wasn’t preoccupied; he was very well informed. Herod pretended that he wanted to worship Jesus, but in truth he was afraid of this One who was called King of the Jews. Herod did not want any competition to his throne. And so Matthew records that “when King Herod heard this [i.e., that there had been One born King of the Jews] he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.”

The phrase he was disturbed in Greek means “agitated, stirred up, and shaken up.” The word conveys the idea of panic. And Herod panicked because his supremacy was in jeopardy. He had no use for any other King of the Jews.

If the Innkeeper’s problem was preoccupation, and the citizens of Jerusalem was religion, then Herod’s was fear. Herod immediately felt threatened—even though Jesus was a baby. Herod’s panic and paranoia were legendary. When Herod realized that the Wise Men had outwitted him and that they were not going to reveal the identity of Jesus, he ordered that all male children under the age of two be killed in Bethlehem.

In his mad effort to wipe out one child, Herod had scores of children killed. Meanwhile God had already warned Joseph and Mary, and they had fled to Egypt with Jesus. So, Herod failed. Not only did he miss that first Christmas, but his rebellion propagated a great tragedy. All this was because of fear—jealous fear.

There are Herod types even today. Herod’s fear was that someone else would take his throne. Lots of people are like him. They won’t allow anything to interfere with their career, their position, their power, their ambition, their plans, or their lifestyle. They are not about to let someone else be the king of their lives. They see Jesus as a threat, and so they miss Christmas too.

“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12).

Will you miss Christmas due to circumstances like these that missed the real Christmas?


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