It’s official….Spring is in the air! If you are lucky, you may be one of the fortunate few who lives in a part of the world where almond trees are bursting with blooms. They are usually far too edgy and enthusiastic to wait until winter is fully put away.
Interestingly, almond trees have profound spiritual significance.
To discover it we have to go back in time a bit to the days when the Israelites were grumbling in the wilderness (if you’re interested in reading the story, it’s in Numbers 17). During a week when the people didn’t particularly like the ways of God, they bellyached and tried to appoint their own leaders apart from Aaron, God’s chosen priest.
So the Lord decided to clear things up quickly by telling each tribe to choose a suggested leader. Each of 12 contestants would place his wooden staff in the Tent of Meeting and wait until morning.
At the dawn of the next day, Moses went into the Tent of Meeting and saw that Aaron’s staff, made of dried up dead wood, had burst into blossom! His staff was pulsing with life and was now a flowering almond branch bearing nutritious fruit.
What did this strange miracle say about Aaron? First and foremost, it showed that the life he was living was drawn from Jesus Christ Himself. The divine life of Jesus, when we allow it to soak in, will ALWAYS bring life out of death. The earth-shaking beginning of this reality was when the man Jesus emerged out of the grave and ascended into heaven to pour out brand new life to us through His Spirit. And so we who were once dried up and dead can now live moment by moment from divine life.
But Aaron was not only filled with the Holy Spirit, he was also responding to the life within him through his actions. The almond is the very first tree to respond to the light of spring. And because of this it bears nutritious (and delicious) fruit.
The Lord was basically telling the grumbling people that He is the vine and that Aaron is one of the faithful, abiding branches which bears fruit (John 15:5). Back in the tabernacle where Aaron served, many of these almond branches together held up a constantly burning light in the darkness (the golden lampstand– Exodus 25:31-40).
The same is true for all of us who have been born into Jesus Christ. We now live like a riot of almond blossoms….living by divine life that has emerged from the dead of winter. Just like in the tabernacle, we together hold the true light for all to see with new eyes. And for the rest of eternity:
“….the darkness has never [and will never] put it out.” (John 1:5)