The Perfect Tree *
In the morning darkness the young Nazarene prepared for his task. Hitching up the donkey cart and loading his tools the anticipation filled his mind with an excitement he had never experienced before.
Just last evening he’d been given instructions for this day. It was the first time his father was sending him into the forest alone to find the perfect tree for the project a customer had ordered.
“This must be a dense tree son and straight as if we were going to build a fine piece of furniture from it. We will need one piece 6 cubits long and another 4 cubits long.”
“But, why a live tree, father? Why don’t we use some dry lumber from the woodshed”?
“Because son, the customer wants this project to be especially heavy and you know dried wood is considerably lighter.”
“I don’t understand father, why would someone want an extremely heavy piece of timber to build their project”?
“ In time, you shall understand, my son. Now get to sleep, you have a busy day ahead.”
Dew clothed the ground around Jerusalem as the boy led the donkey to the forest at the foot of the nearby hills. Knowing that his father was depending on him to return with the perfect wood, he silently prayed as he rode toward the trees.
The boy loved to be in the forest especially in the early spring like today. The fresh foliage reminded him of the birth of new things and it provided a silence not experienced anywhere else he had ever been. Snapping back to reality he began his search for, “the tree,” that would please his father.
Suddenly it stood there before him. He jumped down from the donkey and excitedly grabbed his ax. Approaching the tree he swung the ax. The dull thud upon striking the tree let him know that this was the tree that would make his father proud of his successful quest. He quickly began the task of felling the tree, thanking his Heavenly Father and praying for strength as he worked.
The boy had never cut a tree before that required him to stop and re-sharpen his ax five times just to get through the trunk. When it finally lay on the ground he still had to cut it to the lengths his father had requested. Proudly nearing exhaustion, he looked at the two sections of wood now disrobed of their branches and bark. The wood had a green hue that the boy had never noticed before, but he paid it little attention. He still needed to get the sections onto his cart and get back to town before nightfall.
Arriving back at the carpenter shop and hearing his fathers, “well done,” the boy retreated to his bed in utter fatigue, dinner not even being a consideration. He could eat tomorrow.
The form of a man, beaten and bruised, was led down the street by an angry mob. The cross that he carried prevented him from standing fully as he walked. It looked like the one his father had made in the shop just last week. Is this all his labor had been for, to put an unbearable burden on the back of a man already condemned to die? The crowd headed to a hill called Golgotha, outside of the city. At the summit, the man’s cross was laid down and soldiers nailed his hands and feet on to the wood. Then they raised the cross for all to see.
After a time the man spoke in a loud voice then he hung his head and died. Suddenly the heavens opened up with lightening and thunder like the boy had never heard or seen. Amid the turbulent storm and the blood running down the cross the boy again saw the green hue emitting from the wood.
Yes, a man had died here today. His final words were, “IT IS FINISHED.” The boy knew, from his studies of the Torah, “what was finished.” This was the Messiah who came to redeem God’s people.
The boy furthermore realized the green hue emitting from the cross represented the birth of new things just as the foliage in the spring. He believed that Messiah had paid the penalty for man’s sin. He also understood, through faith in Messiah, all things become new, just like the perfect tree.
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