Gospel Message & Recording
In the book of Genesis, in both Chapter 1 and 2, God creates the heaven and the earth and all therein. From there, he created male and female in His own image. (verse 27) God also setup a suitable habitat for Adam and Eve—the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 2:8) There, he spoke to them and said not to eat of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.” They had dominion over all things but of that “tree” they had to stay away and could not eat from. In due time, Eve being tempted by Satan, took from the tree and eat. (Genesis 3:6) Then she gave it to Adam to eat. Here, at the account of creation, we see that the “forbidden tree” produced “forbidden fruit.” And it is therefore by eating this fruit that Adam and Eve transgressed against God, bringing forth sin, pain, suffering, and death into the world. Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, in due time, within human history, came into this world and died on a tree (Cross). As Christ hung on the tree (Cross) He became the fruit—the fruit of the Cross. Now, the fruit of the tree that once brought death and suffering, is restored by the Cross (tree) and the fruit that it yielded Jesus Christ, bringing forth, peace, healing, salvation and eternal life.
Christ tells us in the Gospel reading today that a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit. We can say, therefore, the tree in the Garden of Eden and its fruit is the bad tree that bore bad fruit; and the tree of the Cross, and its fruit, Jesus Christ, is the good tree that bore good fruit.
It is our calling as Christians to pick from the tree of life, the Cross, and eat of its fruit, Jesus Christ. This is a reality for the Orthodox (and Catholic) Christian because every Sunday we eat of the fruit of Cross by partaking in the Body and Blood of Christ. This “fruit” gives us the power and strength to live a Christian life and to defeat the plans of the evil one, which raid against us. Those who eat of this fruit have a greater chance of fleeing temptation and living a victorious life.
When the fruit of the Cross, Jesus Christ, was pierced, blood flowed from His body and into the earth. This blood redeemed not only man but also all living things. That is, through the blood soaking into the earth, the earth was redeemed. It is with this blood (soaked into the earth) that we Christian sprouted up as trees, and God-willing to bear good fruit. Are we good or bad trees? Are we bearing good fruit?
What does it mean to bear good fruit? Here are a few examples of bearing good fruit:
- Having deep relationship with Christ. (Isaiah 40:31)
- Praying, fasting and reading the Bible on a regular basis, without being forced. (Acts 13:2)
- Overcoming temptation and living a holy life, through regularly receiving Holy Communion and fasting. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-3)
- Our children following our footsteps in loving Christ, living for Him and being an active part of the Orthodox Church. (Proverbs 22:6)
- Having a Godly family that is a model for other people. (Mark 10:8)
- Doing well in the career that the Lord has given us. (Colossians 3:23-24)
- Having a good reputation in the community. (Acts 12:1-2) (Proverbs 22:1)
- Managing wealth properly. Giving to the Church and to other charities. (Proverbs 13:11)
Let us pray to God that when we pass from this world that we are departing as good trees that bore good fruit. We should try in our lives to be the trees that God wants us to be and produce good fruit that will last for a long time.]
Small Group Discussion Questions
- Discuss the typology of the tree of the Eden, the tree of Cross and the Fruit that it
bore, Jesus Christ, and the difference between the two.
- Do you feel the difference when you take Communion on a regular bases as compared to when you don’t?
- Do you consider yourself to be a good tree? If so, why? If not, why?
- Is the evidence of good fruit visible in your life? If so, explain?
- What changes could you make in your life to bear good fruit?