Jesus used plants and trees in His parables and teachings in order to communicate His messages about the Kingdom of God to a population of farmers and harvesters. The LORD is all knowing and I’m glad He didn’t use calculus or robotics or astrophysics to explain to us His Kingdom and Salvation (although they also do reveal Jesus Christ, but that is not our topic for today). He used the level of language that everyone understands. This shows The Lord’s heart that He wants EVERYONE to be saved; literate or illiterate, upper class or lower class, Christ wants everyone saved! Like a highly experienced teacher, Christ used analogies and comparisons that related man to plants and trees. He used the analogy a lot of times to the point that I believe God created plants and trees to give us a clearer picture about ourselves and our relationship with Jesus Christ.
How did Jesus used plants and trees as symbols and analogies to simplify His plan of Salvation so that man could understand?
The Seed is The Word of God (Luke 8:11). In the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8), Christ enumerated the 4 outcomes of hearing the word of God. First, the seeds that fell along the path and were eaten by birds; these are people who reject the word of God. Second, the seeds that fell on rock that grew only to a certain point and then died because of the lack of moisture in the roots. These are people who accept the word of God not because of the revelation but because it makes them ‘feel good’. However, without having the proper foundations of faith, they soon abandon their Christian lives and beliefs. Third, the seeds that grew among thorns. The word of God is planted in a person but because of life’s stress and worries (thorns), they do not mature as sons of God (thorns choke the plants). Lastly, seeds that are planted in good soil; these are people who readily and happily receive the word of God and retain it. This type of people produce a good crop; meaning that they end up doing good and they contribute more to the Kingdom of God.
A Mustard Tree from the tiny mustard seed.
Plants from the good seed are the people of God while weeds are of the devil (Matthew 13:24-29). In the Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13), Christ is revealing to us the truth that He is the creator and the owner of the earth. He planted us so He can love us and nourish us. The devil, on the other hand, comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10); he will spread his lies and counterfeits to ruin the good and perfect creation of our Lord. Another truth that is revealed here is that God, although all powerful, all loving and all knowing, will not destroy evil readily IF destroying evil means hurting one of His people. That’s how much He cares for each one of us! In the end, we don’t need to do much; we just have to believe that Christ is watching over us and in all His wisdom waiting for the right time to pluck out all the weeds that don’t belong to His divine plan.
Jesus is The True Vine (John 15). Since we are all likened as plants, then Jesus revealed Himself as The True Vine. We, children of The Most High, are connected to Jesus Christ and like plants; this is where we draw our water, our nutrition, our life! It is this connection where we draw His love, grace and favour!
Jesus – True Vine – Wine – Blood – Salvation (No it’s not a coincidence)
From all of His sharing about plants, Jesus Christ is giving us the secret to Salvation. It is Christ Who said that a good tree bears good fruit. The secret behind here is that in order for us to bear good fruit, we have to be good trees. In order to be a good and healthy tree, we need only one thing – Jesus Christ, The True Vine.
We cannot depend on human behavioral laws of rewards and punishment; it’s just like thinking that cutting off a rotten fruit from a tree would change the whole tree into a healthy one. If a tree bears bad fruit then the whole tree has to be changed. This is the reason why Jesus cursed the fig tree for having no fruit (Mark 11: 12-14). The whole tree was cursed so that it could be re-planted. Cutting off the branches will not change the tree. Re-planting the tree with the seed of faith in Christ will guarantee that it will produce good fruits.
Let us learn from Christ’s lessons of plants and trees. We cannot help people by condemning them and cutting off their rotten fruits. Instead, people can change by changing their roots that was once drawing water from this world to roots that draw limitless grace from Jesus Christ! Punishing me won’t save me; I need to be a new creation re-planted in Jesus Christ!
If we are all plants, we don’t ask among ourselves what fruits we produce. What really matters is Who do we draw water from?
* Image taken from Google Images