A few years ago, I mentioned the Methuselah tree, grown from date plant seeds, found in an archeological site at Masada in Israel from around the time of Jesus. They were the extinct remnants of the kind of Palm trees probably used on Palm Sunday to herald the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11).
The seeds, excavated about 40 years ago, lay locked up until Sarah Sallon, director of the Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center at the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, decided to experiment. She would plant a seed and see what happened. So 16 years ago, she, along with Dr. Elaine Soloway of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, made a miraculous discovery—the seed sprouted and grew into an awe-inspiring palm tree named Methuselah. The rest is ancient history! Since then, other seeds have sprouted and been named Adam, Jonah, Uriel, Boaz Judith, and Hannah.
Now, hit pause and think of this fantastic event. Something dead brought back from extinction, alive and well after two millennia?!
Both Jesus and Paul tell us that a seed must first die before it can grow and bear fruit (John 12:24; 1 Corinthians 15:5,36), using this as a metaphor for resurrection. We now have every reason to believe we could plant seeds from Abraham’s time (4000 years ago), and they would produce living plants. The amount of time doesn’t seem to matter. God has so arranged things that life springs from death.
This abundant life from cold death is a beautiful image of what God has planned for us at life’s End—vividly demonstrated in time and space by our Lord and Savior Jesus’ resurrection. We will be gifted with bodies as physical as our present ones, but on a higher level, not only immortal but possessing greater capabilities fit for a New Heaven and New Earth (Isaiah 65:17 & 66:22; Matthew 19:28; Acts 3:20, 21; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 20:1-4).
How do these events inspire us? How do they get us through our discouragement or depression, disheartened over our “light and momentary afflictions” (2 Corinthians 4:17)? It’s simple. When we trust the truth of God’s promises—the physical resurrection of our bodies and the restoration of the entire physical creation, we can toss our hats in the air in joyous anticipation of what’s to come. It reshapes our state of mind and the quality of life we live in the here and now—it gives us joyful hope for a better day.
Consider the caterpillars. The reason caterpillars morph into spectacular flying machines doesn’t impress us much because it happens every day. It’s too common to get our attention. But what if it never happened before, and you were hearing the story for the first time? A slow-moving, fuzzy bug crawled into a tiny sleeping bag, looking something like a burial shroud, and several days later emerged as an exotically painted flying flower!
Let’s be creative. Imagine driving a campervan or motorhome into a spacious garage, then wrapping it up in a white tarp, leaving it alone and untouched for several days. After the allotted time has passed, you return to remove the tarp, and without any human help, your campervan has mysteriously morphed into an approximately $1 billion Boeing 747-8I VIP!
What seems impossible to us is commonplace to our Creator—the massive reorganization of molecules required to produce his brilliant creation. He gave us butterflies to illustrate his incredible handiwork and to get our minds thinking in his direction. Through the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are given access to all this majestic power for us believers.
So whatever you are facing today, there is a way out and a reason to live. Because of Jesus, nothing is impossible. Every problem, every addiction, every grief and sorrow, every Judas, every cross—bring and lay them at the foot of the cross. In his time and in his way, God will bring to pass his rescue and best plan for your life.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” -Revelation 21:1-4