The Olive Tree – Communion Message – Sunday 28 October 2007, 10h00
by Stephan Wever
Psalm 52:8 “But I am like an olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. I will praise You forever, because You have done it; and in the presence of Your saints, I will wait on Your Name, for it is good.”What an interesting scripture. David gives us this picture of how he sees himself in the Lord (olive tree in God’s house). I will come back to the significance of the olive tree, but let’s first look at the rest of the scripture.
David praises God, because He has made him an olive tree in His presence. ”And in the presence of Your saints, I will wait on Your Name” Here we see the importance of the gathering of the saints. This is what we are dong today and the word says it is good.
Let’s turn to Romans 11:17b. “And you, being a wild olive tree, where grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness/richness of the olive tree.
Here Paul explains how we are grafted into the body, the church, so that we may partake of the root… And who is the root? Jesus, He is our root and foundation and we grow by partaking of His richness and we live by every word from His mouth.
Now going back to the olive tree, what is the significance? Some interesting facts about the olive tree: it requires a long, hot growing season to properly ripen the fruit, and sufficient winter chill to insure fruit set. Olive trees are long-lived with a life expectancy of 500 years. The trees are also tenacious, easily sprouting back even when chopped to the ground. The olive tree is a symbol of abundance, glory and peace. Its leafy branches where also used to crown the victorious in friendly games and bloody war, and the oil of its fruit used to anoint the noblest of heads throughout history. Olive crowns and olive branches where emblems of benediction and purification.
In the biblical times, the olive tree yielded oil that was highly valued and the best oil came from the olives that were plucked before being fully ripe, and then beaten or squeezed to release the oil.
This is why David said he is like an olive tree in Gods presence, because he understood the fact that there will be suffering, but that it will yield forth highly valued oil.
The Word says you will know someone by the fruits they bear. Jesus had to reveal who He was through His deeds here on earth. So just as beating the olives is an important step in producing the oil, so is suffering in our life important to produce the fruits of the Spirit.
The second significant connection is in 1 Kings 6:31. “For the entrance of the inner sanctuary he made doors of olive wood; the lintel and door posts where one fifth of the wall.” This refers to the specifications according to which the temple was build.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through Me. The entrance into the inner sanctuary where made of olive wood. This is that which Paul spoke about in Romans 11 when he said Jesus is the olive tree into which we are grafted, He is the way to the holy of holies.
Romans 8:29 says: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
We are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ! To be grafted into Christ, to bear the fruit of the Spirit, to reflect Christ to the world, to bring people into the House of God so that they may become like an olive tree rooted in Him.
So when we have communion remember what Jesus has done for us, that He made a way for us into the sanctuary through His body, which is the church!