NYDEGGER: Biblical Tips for Choosing the Right Christmas Tree – Part IV | Religion
Jesus Christ – the baby born in a Bethlehem manger and later crucified on Calvary – was the fulfillment of God’s promise to send a new “tree” which would become “the tree of life” for all who believed in him as their Lord and Savior.
As we saw last time, Jesus grew up in the insignificant market town of Nazareth, which roughly means “Branch City” or “Small Sprout / Germ City”. The long prophesied righteous branch of God, which sprouted from the lifeless stump of King David’s family tree, has come of age in Branch Town – Nazareth!
We ended the last article with the Tree of God – the righteous branch of David – nailed to the cruel tree of Calvary – a cross. If the story had ended there, it would be really sad. But this is not the case.
The God of life has sent new life. On the day of Pentecost – 50 days after Jesus was crucified and resurrected – the apostle Peter proclaimed the good news of the gospel message.
âYou men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man whom God has testified to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God has done through him in your midst, as you yourselves know, this Jesus, delivered according to the plan and foreknowledge of God, crucified and slain by the hands of men without faith or law. God resurrected him, releasing the pangs of death, for it was not possible for him to be held back by it. … This Jesus God raised him up, and we are all witnesses â(Acts 2: 22-24, 32).
The righteous branch of God was alive! Satan believed that by having Jesus nailed to the tree of Calvary, he had cut down that tree of God forever. But Satan was wrong. Just as Almighty God raised a new shoot and a new branch from the stump of Israel’s king David, God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The righteous branch of David has come out of the tomb!
Better yet, when the Tree of God was nailed to the tree of Calvary, and when God glorified that branch just at the Resurrection, the combination of trees became a ladder to Heaven. Jesus said, âI am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me â(John 14: 6). His one time sacrifice on the cross paid the price for all sins for all time for everyone.
Because of the Calvary tree, the tree of God has become a Christmas tree, offering the gift of God’s grace to those who believe in Jesus and are baptized in his name.
In this series, we have talked a lot about trees. What specific advice does God give us for choosing the right tree? We don’t have to wonder which tree God recommends.
Speaking of Jesus, the voice of Almighty God resounds from heaven: âThis is my Son, my Elect; listen to him â(Luke 9:35)!
To try to reach God in another way is to take the wrong tree! Jesus Christ is the righteous branch, the perfect Christmas tree of God, and the only ladder / way to God.
But there is another tree that we need to talk about, which we mentioned earlier: the tree of life. The sin of Adam and Eve prompted God to deny him access to humanity. He pulled it out of the earth. Where is he now ? Paradise!
Hallelujah, we regain access to it when we come to God through his righteous branch Jesus Christ.
âWhoever has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God â(Revelation 2: 7).
Adam and Eve chose the wrong tree in the Garden of Eden: Paradise Lost. But when we choose the right branch of God, the ladder of salvation, the chosen one of God Jesus Christ, it is paradise found! This is the good news of the gospel.
Adam and Eve’s disastrous choice brought death, rot, and disease to the world. But when we follow God’s counsel and choose Jesus Christ, we reach heaven with His eternal blessings.
“Happy are those who wash their robes, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter the city by the gates” (Revelation 22:14).
Acts 4:12 says, “And there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
Pick the right tree this Christmas. Choose God’s Christmas tree: the righteous branch, Jesus Christ.
Gregg Nydegger is the evangelist at the Church of Christ in Monticello.