I’ll never forget this news story…

“Three teenagers, who were trying to walk across a frozen lake in Show Low, Arizona, were horrified when the ice started to break beneath their feet, and so they clung to a dead tree that was poking up through the frozen surface. The temperatures fell to the deathly 20’s by the time the boys were rescued. Two of them were treated for hypothermia, but otherwise turned out just fine. Without that tree, rescuers surmised that they would have been recovering bodies instead of saving them.” Without that tree stump to hold them, the boys would have perished. Following the event, the mother of one of the boys, Bonnie Van Aller, said to her child’s rescuers, “Thank you, thank you, thank you…this is my only child. And Thank God the tree was there!”

As we enter the Easter Season, this story represents what the Cross of Christ symbolizes for all people: The way to escape from drowning after falling through thin ice! The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ became our life-saver, a Tree of Life, when he was crucified on a Roman cross for our sins. It says in the Bible, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” – Galatians 3:13. In other words, Jesus’ death on a Roman cross - also referred to as a “tree” in the Bible - is man’s only hope for spiritual salvation and the only means of deliverance from an eternity separated from God. The Bible states that Christ Jesus became a “curse” for us when he died on that cross, so that we could have life instead of the curse of death. Jesus took the “curse” of death upon himself, a curse meant for sinners like you and me - so that we could receive “the blessing of life” instead. Suddenly, a Roman cross, “a tree of death” for Jesus becomes instead a potential “Tree of Life” for us! Christ died on that tree so that an instrument of death for Him could become a means of life for you and me! Clinging to Christ, the “Tree of Life” takes place when we turn from living on our own in sin, having “fallen through thin ice” and instead turn to faith in Christ Jesus. Because everyone is a sinner by birth and by practice, every one of us has already “fallen through thin ice” and is trying desperately to survive! The only question is: Will you take hold of Christ Jesus, and cling to him as your only means of salvation? This thought is beautifully expressed in the hymn The Old Rugged Cross, “And I will cling to the old rugged cross…. and exchange it some day for a crown.”

Do you cling to the Old Rugged Cross? Do you cling to the Savior who was hung there for you personally? Have you placed your faith in Christ Jesus alone for salvation, the “Tree of Life” available for you now, before it’s too late? Something to think about…

May the joy of the Easter Season be yours in Christ Jesus, as you thankfully cling to Him, the Tree of Life!

Grateful for Christ Jesus,

Pastor Eric Durre

St. Jacob’s Church, Payne