If The Wood is Green...
Luke 23:31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
This is the comment made in the face of the death sentence Jesus was about to receive. Jesus is the green wood - he is the tree of life -- and green wood is hard to burn for it is filled with water and life, but kill him they would. Jesus' judgement was being pronounced upon the religious leaders and Jerusalem itself. They had become dry wood, the kind that we use for kindling. If they will burn and destroy the green wood, just imagine what happens when a spark is put to their dry wood! The city would soon be destroyed and the religious leaders themselves deposed. Beware when the dry wood plots destruction of the green.
Think of the suffering that Jesus faced at the hands of the religious leaders who were really dead spiritually. Jesus was the one who was alive and yet they thought they could take him on. Jesus, even though he was alive spiritually, had to go through great suffering to bring about the freedom of all of humanity.
I would guess that we are each somewhere where on the spectrum of dry to green in our spiritual lives. The goal should be to be as green as possible as the life-giving Spirit of God fills us with himself. Beware of thinking that because you are filled with life that you will not have to face difficulties in life. Jesus had to face death -- and he was life itself! The good news, however, is that when the wood is green -- Jesus -- experienced resurrection power -- and we will too! The life-giving water which flows through us will take us through the trials of life and we will be able to come out preserved and full of him!
Now, if that is the experience of the one who is green -- just imagine the experience of those who are dry. The religious leaders should have been alive spiritually, but they were dead. Even those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ may find themselves in the dry kindling and the problem is when the difficulties come -- when a small spark is placed on the dry wood -- it far too easily catches fire and burns. This is the danger for those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ and yet do not remain connected to the root source.
We must stay connected to him so that his green life flows through us and so that we can pass through the fire. Remaining connected to him means that we do all that we can to stay in a right relationship with him on a daily basis. We discover that our lives are a journey in which we are falling ever more desperately in love with him -- and we allow his life-giving Holy Spirit to fill every corner of our being. If this is not our experience, we will become dry.
A woman came up to me a few weeks ago and said she had been a believer for many, many years now, but had never thought about falling desperately in love with Jesus! Her religion had been a dry religion, one in which she had been faithful to the structures, the systems and the rules, but had never realized there was green life to be found in an intimate and loving relationship with our Savior, Jesus. Her prayer was that she would fall desperately in love with Jesus. You see, if the wood is green….
Lord, may my wood be green. Amen.