Spiritual Warfare and the Tree of Life: Thoughts during Holy Week

I spent the afternoon listening to a presentation on spiritual warfare given by one of my seminary NT profs. It is a bit long, but worth a listen. Dr. Matheson is a baptist pastor who reads mysteries for fun (if I recall class anecdotes correctly) and seems an unlikely person to have a widely renowned deliverance ministry. But that’s what he does. Why think about spiritual warfare during Holy Week? Because our true identity in Christ is crucial to being able to participate in spiritual warfare, and our identity in Christ is founded upon the redemptive work of Jesus, which is what Passion Week or Holy Week is all about.

Lately I’ve been looking at images of the Tree of Life. Here are a couple that I’ve found:

Interesting stuff. Not quite what I picture when I think about the tree of life. I’ve been finding images of the tree of life because said tree showed up in an unexpected place almost two months ago. I found the tree of life all over wisdom literature, starting with Proverbs 15:4 “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life…” I realized after thinking for a bit that I should have known that the tree of life shows up in wisdom literature because there is a whole book called — wait for it — The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature by Roland E. Murphy. I’d actually had my eye on the book because I’ve appreciated things I’ve read by Murphy on wisdom literature. So I looked up some images. I’ve not yet thought too hard about the tree of life imagery in wisdom literature, just noted that it is there, and is a yet-to-be-explored area of interest for me. We’ll see what comes of it. Why the tree of life in Holy Week? Some of the images that pop up in a google search are of crosses. Really? I thought. Then I said ok, I kind of get that. Cross, made of a tree, Jesus’s cross often called a Tree, Jesus’s cross brings life. But it feels like a stretch to me, like people are trying too hard for a connection. Is this an over reaction? What do you think?

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