Have you ever thought about the Tree of Life and all of the mystery that surrounds it?
We have very little information to go on when it comes to the Tree of Life; but the information we do have reveals an interesting mystery to us.
Genesis speaks of the Tree of Life being in the Garden of Eden [Genesis 2:9]. A tree that Adam and Eve could eat freely from [Genesis 2:16-17].
The idea of this tree sends your imagination wild. A tree whose fruit can give you eternal life!
We’ve all seen myths and legends in movies and books that surround trees like this; but there is no denying that the Tree of Life was a very real tree when we look at the Hebrew words originally used.
The word used for “Tree” in Genesis is “`ets” or “עֵץ” in the Hebrew text. It is pronounced “ates” and it literally means “Tree”, “Trees” or “Wood”. So there is no doubt that the author intended to portray a literal tree in the garden.
So what is the mystery behind the Tree of Life and how does it connect with Jesus?
When man sinned, he was banished from the Garden of Eden and also banished from the fruit of the Tree of Life [Genesis 3: 23-24]. This meant that man was condemned to die and eternal life would be unobtainable.
Genesis 3:24 also states that God banished man from “the way to the Tree of Life”; this is symbolic because for at least 4000 years Jesus Christ would not be in the world and there would be no way back to God.
But when Jesus came back and died for our sins, the way back to God was restored, and Jesus became our new Tree of Life. He was hung upon the cross, or “tree” [1 Peter 2:24] and became the fruit of the Tree of Life for us, restoring the path back to God and eternal life [John 14:6]. So when Jesus said that he is the Bread of Life, and that we must eat of his body and drink of his blood, he is speaking of himself as the fruit of the Tree of Life [John 6:35][Matthew 26:26-28].
And just as the Tree of Life is in the center of the Garden of Eden, so is Jesus the center of a true followers life.
The Tree of Life is said to be in “the midst” of the garden, or “the middle” [Genesis 2:9]; but not only is the Tree of Life in the middle, but the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is also in the middle [Genesis 3:3].
This represents a choice that each of us have in our lives. Do we want Jesus to be the center of our lives, or do we want ourselves to be the center of our lives?
God requires one or the other. You cannot have Jesus in the center of your life as well as yourself. This is the same as it was in the Garden of Eden; once they had chosen themselves over God, they were banished from the garden, and banished from the eternal life that went with it. This is why it is important to give up all worldly desires and ties, and to instead follow Jesus completely [Matthew 19:21-22].
I will leave you with the words of Jesus, “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23.