The bent tree was a silver grey. There were no leaves on it and the vast expanse of the white hot prairie was in the distance. Several buzzards were circling above. Off to the side of the tree, a skull with horns laid bleached white from the daily exposure to the sun.
From one branch, hung a partial piece of an old rope, discolored and frayed, it stood as a testimony to what had happened there many years ago. This was the old west hanging tree. This was where old fashioned justice was meted out, sometimes by people who did not know what true justice was. Their motive was only one of vengeance.
As is the case in most societies, there are visible signs of past injustices. Man at his best still has trouble really knowing the true right or wrongs in life. For many, simply being good is their aim. This winds up coming short of their own mark, as many cannot fulfill their own desires or aims. They simply lack the ability and power to follow a corrective course. Ever since man roamed the world, an outcast from the Garden of Eden, the search for real truth and justice has been on.
For one society, truth is what they perceive it to be. While yet another may follow some holy book or tradition handed down. Man at his best, brings religion and traditions to the table. This, for many, is the way that truth is meted out and justice is formed. When people then violate the laws of the society or traditions of men, justice is given to the offenders. Many times, this justice is not justice at all, but pure vengeance for not following the man made traditions that have formed the society they live in.
Such was the case when another came upon the scene in the occupied lands of Israel. Rome was the justice, and mans tradition was followed closely as the Jews religious leaders fiercely controlled the masses. Working close with Rome, the religious leaders could work their strong opinions on the system of the Roman Empire. This system tolerated religious and mythical religions as long as it did not pose a threat to Rome’s stability.
At this time, Rome had conquered the world. They brought some stability and safety, roads, transportation, commerce, and one common language among many things. It was into this world that the Son of God was born of a virgin.
In the temple at Jerusalem, a man ministered unto the Lord. This man was called Simeon a very just and devout person. He had been waiting for the ‘consolation’ of Israel. That is the one who would come to save Israel and fulfill the covenant promised by the Lord God. This ‘consolation of Israel” would be the fulfillment of the covenant of Abraham and the one whom the prophets spoke about. Simeon was shown by the Holy Ghost that he would not see death until he had seen the one whom the scriptures spoke about.
It was one day among the many Simeon had spent before the Lord. Then there was the one whom the scriptures spoke. After the days of the purification of Mary according to the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple. They were going to offer a sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. It was then Simeon, who came by the Spirit into the temple, that Simeon took the baby Jesus up in his arms and blessed God. It was then Simeon spoke and prophesied of Jesus:
Luke 2:29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
This event was unique in all history and in the eternal realm of the Lord God. For at no other time had God, gave up all his glory, so he could come in the form of flesh to be the Savior of mankind. It was the Lamb, the Son of God, blameless, fulfilling the law who would die for the sins of man. This baby was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). This was Gods masterpiece of design to bring sinful man back in relationship to God. It was Christ, who would redeem man from the curse of the law. It was Christ who would die on a tree, being made a curse, taking on our guilt and penalty for sin.
Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
It would be his blood which would be shed for our sins, bringing us back to the Father. It would be Christ who died upon the tree, who was placed in a burial chamber, and then three days later rose from the dead. It was Christ who was seen of over five hundred people, being made witnesses to the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Romans 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
The tree stained by a curse associated with hanging, hung the sinless Son of God. He could have called out to the angels standing by to rescue him, but he did not. He could have overthrown mans court and justice, but he did not. He could have escaped, saving his own life, but he did not. He submitted himself to the plan of the Father, so that you and I could be saved. Thus, the cursed tree became the mercy tree that day. The mercy tree brought you and me the hope of God, which is being justified not by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
To this fact, the early Apostles lived, breathed, and died in the faith of Christ. This faith was resolute and steadfast. For these men and women saw the Son of God and were witnesses to the fact of the event.
Acts 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
Acts 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
It was to the blessing of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who brought us into the abundant mercy we have today. This mercy is a living hope, which is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We who were not the people of God, and had not obtained mercy, now are the ones who have obtained mercy. We are the people of God, according to the Faith of Christ.
1 Peter 1:3 ¶Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Have you obtained mercy at the Mercy Tree? If not, I encourage you to find this mercy. It is a gift for you. A gift that was not free. A Gift that cost the Son of God his life, his suffering, and his dedication to the Fathers will. Are you willing to follow this Son of God? Are you willing to make him both Lord and Savior?
1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.