Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Tree, The Branches, The Fruit

Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. -Isaiah 11:1

David was Jesse's son. Because of Israel's sins, the people were sent into exile and the line of Kings descended from David's family tree was cut off--this is the stump being spoken of. But in this passage, Isaiah promises that there is hope for restoration. Job had also prophesied this hope:

For there is hope for a tree, When it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that its shoots will not cease. Though its roots grow old in the earth and it's stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will bud/flourish and put forth branches like a young plant -Job 14:7

Jesus, the Son of David, was the new tree that grew. He is the King of Kings. But here is the cool part. WE, as Christians are part of His family tree. The branch from his roots that will bear fruit is US. Jesus said:

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. -John 15:5

Vine is a word for a young tree or shoot. Jesus did die and was put in the earth, Yet He rose again and Christians are the branches that are growing everywhere and cannot be stopped. When I was home for Thanksgiving I was looking at a couple of rapidly growing Peach trees at my parent's house. Those trees are absolutely covered with buds where new branches have started to form and then been pruned. The picture of the Church is like a fruit tree that cannot be stopped as it constantly sprouts new branches and each branch sprouts more young branches and all of them produce fruit. The family tree of God is an unstoppable and rapidly growing tree. When Job's prophecy said that it's shoots will not cease, this gives a picture of endless growth and promised flourishing of God's church and it demonstrates that the spread of His kingdom will be like a tree, endlessly sprouting new branches. Jesus has taken up David's throne and established it as His own. As Isaiah 9:7 tells us:

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

One of the fruits of the Kingdom of Heaven is bringing others into the family tree by sharing the good news about Jesus:

1. He was born, like a new tree, from the remnant, or stump of the family of Jesse

2. He lived and walked among us producing fruit in the form of good works, teaching, miracles and making disciples

3. He died and was in the ground, like the stump from Job's prophecy

4. He Came Back to Life, like the tree from the prophecy.

5. He is growing the branches of His family tree, and Believers are those branches. 

6. Like a branch can be grafted onto a tree and become a part of it, anyone who believes can be grafted into Jesus' family tree and be part of the family of God.

7. The water that brings the stump back to life is like the Holy Spirit, who revives and refreshes our souls. God brings our souls to life on this earth and he will ultimately raise us from the dead into eternal life.

When Jesus said that we could do nothing apart from Him, to an unbeliever that is a threat, but to a Believer it is a Promise. He is always with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. Like the water that brings a stump back to life, when we have the living water of God's Holy Spirit in our lives, we will produce fruit in the form of good works, sharing our faith and living a godly life. We will also exhibit the fruits of this water, listed in Galatians 5:22

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness and self-control.  

I hope you are well watered and refreshed throughout this Advent Season as we celebrate the Birth of Jesus. 

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