fruit tree

Revelation 22:2-3 “On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

Do you remember what Jesus said his ministry was supposed to accomplish for us in John 10, the chapter in which he describes himself as the Good Shepherd? “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Or, as the King James translated it, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

That full and abundant life does not mean earthly wealth and health. Jesus also tells us that following him in this world will mean bearing a cross, seeing our relationships strained and families divided, enduring much trouble: in short, losing our lives for him.

At the same time we do know the blessings of living in his promises by faith: the relief of having our guilt lifted from us, the peace of knowing God will give us our daily bread, the joy of growing in a life of love for others. All of this is a foretaste of the full and abundant life to come.

The life with God in heaven is the full banquet, not merely a foretaste. The life he gives his people there is abundant in every way. The tree of life keeps producing its life-giving fruit, 12 crops a year. There is no need to ration food, no scrimping, no difficulty getting by. The Lord provides plenty of everything for all. John’s Greek in this verse also suggests the fruit may be a different kind each month. God’s bounty is not boring sameness, but endless variety.

And all of it never ends. The River of Life keeps flowing. The Tree of Life keeps bearing. The people who live in God’s home keep on living, forever. The curses the Lord pronounced on Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden– pain in childbirth, strained marriages, tiring, frustrating work, and death– are no more. All have been healed, and God’s abundance continues without end.

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