EATING NOT DOING
I have already commented on how different God’s approach to Adam was from what mine would have been. God showed no interest in telling him what to do or how to behave. It is the human concept of religion that promotes doing—worship, good behavior, proper relationships with others. Religion presents man with a long list of do’s and don’ts.
God’s concern for man was that he choose the right food. All would go well as long as he ate properly. Death would result if he chose the wrong food. This concern implied that man could take God in as his life. Man was not given the divine life when he was created; rather, he was given a free will to choose that life, symbolized by the tree of life.
THE IDENTITY OF THE TREE OF LIFE
I used to wonder what the tree of life was. Peach and apple trees I knew, and pear trees I was familiar with, but what was the life tree? Eventually I found some clues in the writings of John. At the end of Revelation the tree of life reappears. “And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (22:2). Does it puzzle you that a tree could grow on both banks of a river? Surely this tree is a vine, spreading along the banks.
And we know who the true vine is from John 15:1. This is the very One who said, “I am the life” (14:6) and “I came that they may have life and may have it abundantly” (10:10). The Lord Jesus Himself is surely the tree of life.
THE LORD JESUS AS LIFE
The tree of life declares that God offers Himself to man in an edible form. The Lord Jesus brought this same message to man about Himself.
Bread, Not a King
“I am the bread of life. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die” (John 6:48, 50). Earlier in this chapter the Lord had miraculously fed the five thousand. The crowd then decided they would forcibly make Him their king. He slipped away and the next day came back and talked with them, not about reigning and lording it over them, but about being a loaf of bread for them to eat and thus receive eternal life. Rather than externally control them, He wanted to be received into them and to become part of them.
The Prince of Life
When Peter was preaching, he told the Israelites that they had killed the “Prince of life” (Acts 3:15). The word translated prince could also be rendered inaugurator, author, or pioneer. However it is translated, we can surely infer that life has its source in Him.
John 1:4 tells us that “in Him was life.” Not only was this the case; He Himself was life (14:6) and came to bring us life (10:10). Further than this, Paul describes Him as “Christ, who is our life” (Col. 3:4). Life, then, is this Person.
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 26, by Witness Lee)