Midweek Lent 4
Tree to Tree: The Tree of Life to the Cross
- Genesis 2:15–17; 3:22–24
- 1 Peter 2:21–25
- John 3:14–15
The hymn “The Tree of Life” by Stephen Starke (Lutheran Service Book 561) is an excellent overview of this motif. While Adam and Eve are cut off from this life-giving tree because of their sin, the Lord God promises to provide—not only a way back into the garden, but also a way to new life by the tree of life: the cross of Calvary. Ultimately, we will see this tree of life again in the courts of everlasting life as described in Revelation 22.
There are other connections to this tree motif. As Abraham and Isaac ascend Mount Moriah to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice, Isaac bears the wood upon which he will be sacrificed. In Hebrew, wood and tree are the same word. During the Exodus, when there are bitter waters of death, Moses throws a piece of wood into the waters, and they become sweet and life-giving.
In the “Tree” motif, the wood of the tree is a means by which life is given, whether by way of nourishment or through sacrifice. So, the tree of life in the Garden of Eden points to the tree of life where Christ dies that we might live, and then it points further to the new Eden, the heavenly courts, where the tree of life bears the twelve fruits for the life of the nations.