If you think about it, our history, life, the universe and everything is a story about two trees, and what two men did with each of those trees. In the beginning, all was perfect, and Adam chose to follow his wife in to sin (A sin, likely, he'd been thinking about already, due to his proximity to the tree when the initial sin took place), by eating of the tree that God forbade him to eat from (the ONLY thing God forbade). He thought he would gain knowledge, and was tricked in to believing that he would become something that he already was: he was deceived in to thinking he would be like God. And so from One man and One Tree, sin and death entered in to the world. Adam's deception became ingrained in to our DNA. We only get worse from there. Cain killed Abel, the world got worse and Baptism by Flood, in which only one family was saved, was the verdict. Fast forward to an old man with a barren wife. Abram was given a promise that through Him all nations of the world would be blessed, and that, barren as his wife was, his seed would outnumber the stars. Men came and men died, and not a one could "bless the nations." David was a decent king, but he was as flawed as the rest. Solomon was wise, but followed God halfheartedly, and was deceived by women and foreign gods. Eventually, the line of Solomon was reduced to carpenters. BUT from that small family, Joseph, and his virgin bride, a son came (yes, from a virgin!), who was the fulfillment of that promise to Abraham. Jesus was the God-man. The Heir of God the Father, Immanuel, God with Us. He lived a perfect life, tempted in every way, and yet not giving in to sin (Hebrews 4:15). He taught with an Authority like none ever had, did works the prophets could...but BETTER, and walked in the Power and Authority of God the Father through the Holy Spirit. And so, they nailed Him to a tree.
BUT He went as a willing sacrifice. He spoke no word in His own defense, allowed Himself to be beaten, humiliated, and rejected, and went willingly to that tree of death. He became a curse, that we may not bear the curse that comes alongside sin. He became sin, that the Covenant with Abraham (Abram), may be completed, and with His death, the ransom that sin demanded was paid. From One tree came death, and from this tree of death, life eternal. The grave could not hold Him, and on the third day, He walked out, the first fruits of resurrection to New Life. From one tree we received death, but the tree of death, through the blood of Jesus Christ, we, if we believe, are reconciled to the Father, and the penalty of Sin has been paid.
Christ’s Example of Humility
1So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,a 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,b 7but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,c being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Lights in the World
12Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
19I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22But you know Timothy’sd proven worth, how as a sone with a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.
25I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30for he nearly diedf for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
Footnotes: a 5 Or which was also in Christ Jesus b 6 Or a thing to be held on to for advantage c 7 Or slave (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see >Preface) d 22 Greek his e 22 Greek child f 30 Or he drew near to the point of death; compare verse 8