[Jesus] bore our sins in His own body on the tree. —1 Peter 2:24
The corkscrew willow tree stood vigil over our backyard for more than 20 years. It shaded all four of our children as they played in the yard, and it provided shelter for the neighborhood squirrels. But when springtime came and the tree didn’t awaken from its winter slumber, it was time to bring it down.
Every day for a week I worked on that tree—first to fell it and then to chop two decades of growth into manageable pieces. It gave me a lot of time to think about trees.
I thought about the first tree—the one on which hung the forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve just couldn’t resist (Gen. 3:6). God used that tree to test their loyalty and trust. Then there’s the tree in Psalm 1 that reminds us of the fruitfulness of godly living. And in Proverbs 3:18, wisdom is personified as a tree of life.
But it is a transplanted tree that is most important—the crude cross of Calvary that was hewn from a sturdy tree. There our Savior hung between heaven and earth to bear every sin of every generation on His shoulders. It stands above all trees as a symbol of love, sacrifice, and salvation.
At Calvary, God’s only Son suffered a horrible death on a cross. That’s the tree of life for us. —Dave Branon
Father, on this day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we’re grateful for the cross and for Your Son who gave His life so that we might have life. Thank You.
The cross of Christ reveals man’s sin at its worst and God’s love at its best.
INSIGHT: The “garrison” of Roman troops mentioned in verse 27 is a detail that adds to our understanding of the events surrounding Christ’s death. Mark’s account of the same event translates the word as cohort (15:16 NASB). Garrison or cohort was a Roman military term that described a company of soldiers consisting of at least 200 and perhaps as many as 600 men. The same Greek word is used in John 18:3 when a “detachment of troops” comes to arrest Jesus in the garden. Imagine, possibly hundreds of men were sent to arrest Jesus and hundreds gathered around Him when He was tormented.