The Tree is Green, but what will happen when it becomes Dry Wood?
A memorable utterance the Lord left for us to ponder. But what does this mean?…
“If this can happen when the tree is green what will happen when it is dry?”-Luke 23:31
**Have you ever noticed when the Lord gave to us a riddle, He provided an opportunity to draw nearer in discussing its meaning with Him. For, any time we spend in pondering or musing over the depth of what He meant, we have opportunity to consult and include His presence along side us as we ask Him questions in conversational prayer with Him. The precious treasure in the riddle question is the opportunity for deeper closeness with Him, and not necessarily THE one right answer. One single answer is often not enough to satisfy. In many things He said, I have found at length that the question is often more important than the answer. This too is called meditating on God’s word.**
Calvin, as well as others of his time, viewed this statement of Jesus, on His way to the cross, as being a solemn pronouncement that while innocents on earth may suffer at the hands of the guilty, it will not always be so.
“[T]he lamentation of the women is misplaced, if they do not likewise expect and dread the awful judgment of God which hangs over the wicked. And whenever our distress of mind, arising from the bitterness of the cross, goes to excess, it is proper to soothe it by this consolation, that God, who now permits his own people to be unjustly oppressed, will not ultimately allow the wicked to escape punishment. If we were not sustained by this hope, we must unavoidably sink under our afflictions.[i] John Calvin Commentary for Luke 23.31
Perhaps, being two thousand years along in history can add even more insight to the Savior’s meaning. As we consider the hindsight of past experiences in church history, the state of our contemporary cultural status — its position and the direction of its heading, as it flows through bible prophecy; insights being revealed like pages of a book being turned, bringing further divine illumination with such scrutiny. It is even more evident that this is as true today as when Christ uttered the statement with labored breath, dragging the cross on His shoulder toward Golgotha.
My further perspective: if they can crucify Christ with all the physical evidence of over-riding eye-witnesses of who He is while he was in the world, how much more will they crucify his followers? And how much more so as time goes by and his message is old news, though ageless and exceedingly relevant good news, still?
As the message of the cross is saturate across our culture, how many more deaf ears has it fallen on just for the reason of its ready availability? Its bold and staid truth is not innovative and trendy enough, not snappy and NOW enough. It is steadfast truth of two thousand years of proving itself absolutely reliable. But it’s yesterdays news for so many and not worth a second glance…unless! There are always the “unless” events in the lives of the those who suddenly gain enough sight in one eye to take a closer second or third look. We might even say the Christ of glory is hiding in plain sight amongst us because of the ennui the general populace develop towards His ever-presence.
We must also include the obvious growing resistance and open hatred of the name of Jesus. Including anything Christian from the cultural shapers whose stated goal is to actively and “fundamentally” change the social structure. Not only of this country but all of Western society. That this is openly taking place is not hidden from anybody and is an unabashedly stated goal. A very wide swath of Western governments, news media, entertainment media, print media, and others of cultural influence is brazenly and determinedly bending the direction of our culture in direct opposition of the Christian-oriented roots of our heritage.
Further thoughts on this verse include additional things Jesus taught us about the end days — saying that the hearts of the people will be cold —Matthew 24. Then, chapters 2 & 3 of Revelation picture that deadness and coldness in the church. Matthew 7 tells of supposed Christians claiming to have done great things for Jesus — but Jesus will tell them to depart from Him because they practice lawlessness.
That lawlessness can be seen in many modern churches, as they have accepted the ways and traditions of this world. Though they imagine they are alive and green because of all their activities, popularity, and riches, they are dry, dead wood because they have no love for their Savior.They have forgotten their first love and have pursued acceptance, relevance, and status from the powers and institutions of this fallen world for the sake of compromise, at the loss of standing before Christ.
The world became evil at the Fall. It was very evil in Jesus’ day, when the gospel was new, fresh, and green. So, what will the world be like when the hearts of the people become even more dry, dead and cold? Only Jesus can strengthen us to persevere and He has promised to shorten the time of tribulation for our sake. Matt. 24:21-22
The Lord knows who are His and will not let even one fall through the cracks of our culture.
The believing heart should take very seriously, and well note, where our culture departs from the word of Christ. And choose the way appointed for us as sojourners in a world not capable of providing solace for those who have “heard rumors of another land,” and have glimpsed delicate images of the heart beyond the veil, toward Life; that thin, gossamer-like veil that barely separates the physical from the eternal, the profane from the sacred, the spiritual realm from the dust of the earth.
Let us, therefore, press on toward the goal of our upward calling in Christ Jesus, Author and Finisher of our salvation, to Whom be the Glory forever and ever, AMEN.
12 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-17)