A heavenly gardener once planted a tree and called it Israel. The seed of the tree was a man named Abraham, and through him came the roots. The roots gave way to a trunk and limbs and branches. The limbs and branches came to be known as the Jews. The limbs and branches grew and became spectacular and glorious.
But there was a problem. The limbs and branches themselves thought they were the life of the tree. But they were mistaken. They were only limbs and branches. What made the tree special and alive could only be found in the very center of the trunk of the tree. It was what started with Abraham and it was located inside the contents of his seed. It was called faith.
Eventually, some of the branches and the limbs of the tree died and were cut off. The tree was in disarray and barely alive. But the gardener was not worried. This was actually the gardener’s plan. He had a design for his tree. It was planted to become more lovely and different than all the other trees ever created.
The gardener found healthy limbs from a wild olive tree and grafted them in. He filled the holes left behind by the dead limbs and branches. This made the tree more beautiful and fruitful. It gave honor and glory to the gardener. These grafted in limbs and branches were the Gentiles. These new branches would often set their eyes upon the dead limbs and branches. They were humbled and amazed that at the loss of a dead pile of once fruitful limbs they themselves had become a part of the tree. They understood the gracious and loving nature of the gardener.
The healthy tree continued to be healthy and grow for one simple reason. The remaining branches, both original and grafted, lived by faith. The seed that had begun with Abraham was also their source of life and strength. Every day the limbs and branches of the tree knew they were totally dependent upon the faith that constantly resonated from the center of the tree. This source of Abrahamic faith matured into the true Seed that had actually existed from the foundation of the world. That Seed was Christ. Christ was the true Seed of Abraham. Every living component of the tree was in essence living by faith in Jesus Christ. The mystery of the power of the tree had finally been revealed.
As the tree continued to grow, something amazing began to happen with the dead limbs and branches, the ones that had once been a part of the tree. They began to look at the new tree with its beautiful original style and also its wild olive branches. They saw its increasing fruitfulness. They saw the gardener watering it daily. They began to realize that they had been foolish. They learned that they had never been the source of the life of the tree, but rather it was the gardener and the power of the seed. They wanted to be part of the tree again. They began to beg the gardener to pluck them from the pile of dead branches and graft them back into the tree like the wild olive branches.
One by one the gardener rejoiced as he responded to each individual branch that begged to be a part of the tree. This time, they were not added because of Abraham, but grafted in by faith in Jesus. And it was easy to graft in branches that had already once been a part of the tree. As time went on the tree grew with such beauty and strength that even more olive branches and original limbs desired to be a part of the tree. The bigger the tree became, and the more fruit it bore, the more the gardener was glorified. Abraham’s Seed was also magnified and praised and honored by the growth and beauty of the tree.
God once planted a tree and called it Israel. It was Israel when it was only made up of branches and limbs that were Jews. It was Israel when some of the branches were lost and it became a tree of Jews and Gentiles. It remained Israel when old Jewish branches were grafted back in and more wild Gentile branches were also added. As the years went by that tree grew and grew and filled the whole earth. It is still called Israel. But it has another name. It is also called the church.
On a Friday, mankind once erected a tree of its own. Hanging from the center of that tree there was also a source of life. The men who raised that tree intended it to be an instrument of death. But the gardener knew better. There was a power source flowing from the man-made tree that was taken and added to the tree that the gardener had been watering for centuries. It was the key ingredient that made grafting possible. This made both trees beautiful. This made both trees come to life. This glorified the gardener and magnified the Seed.
The gardener is still adding branches to his tree. Have you been grafted in?
“And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” – Romans 11:23
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.” – Galatians 6:15-16