Olive trees rarely reach 20 feet high. This ancient tree, with is gnarled trunk, is still very productive after 100 or more years of bearing olives. The root system of olive trees spreads wide to obtain the necessary moisture in Israel’s relatively dry climate. Because of this, trees in groves like this one in Galilee are far away from each other.
The olive tree is known for its beauty, in part because its ancient trunk often has the look of a productive past. Its leaves are light green on the top and much lighter green on the bottom, so the leaves shimmer in the wind
When olive trees get very old (often hundred of years old), the branches are cut off. Soon new shoots grow out of the stump, and the tree begins producing olives again. The roots and the trunk can survive for centuries. This tree provides an image of Isaiah’s prophecy, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit? (Isa. 11:1). Jesus was the shoot from the stump of Jesse (David’s father).
The old tree shown here helps illustrate God’s plan of salvation. In Romans 11:11-24, Paul described Christians as either natural branches (those of Jewish background) or branches that have been grafted onto Jesus (Gentiles). As branches on this tree, our fruit is Jesus’ fruit. We will bear fruit if we are attached to him.
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