Spring has sprung. Well, at least in our neck of the woods, with the dogwood trees in full bloom and our front yard shrubs donning colorful attire. Several dogwoods line our driveway and they’re real pretty now. Which brings to mind, I once heard a story about the ‘dogwood tree’ and how it resembles Christ’s crucifixion.
Legend has it: at the time of crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree. So strong and firm was the wood that it was the chosen timber for Jesus’ cross. Sadly, to be used for such cruel purposes greatly distressed the dogwood. While nailed upon the tree, Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said:
“Because of your pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its’ blossoms shall be in the form of a cross—two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails. In the center of the flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so that all who see it will remember.” (Adapted from Appleseeds.org).
Real fact? Can’t say for sure, but, makes sense to me. Look with me now to a story that is true.
In His word, God tells us to remember or rehearse (often) His merciful goodness in order to never forget what He has done for His people. Recalling what God decreed long ago gives assurance that we can rely on His loving mercy and grace in our lifetime. Hence, the Passover feast (celebrated today) is a wonderful time of memorial.
This ritual referred to the sacrifice of a lamb in Egypt when the people of Israel were slaves and Pharaoh would not set them free from bondage. Amid the confrontation between God and Pharaoh, the Hebrews smeared the blood of a lamb on their doorposts as a sign to God that He “pass over” their houses while destroying all the firstborn people of Egypt including firstborn animals.
Fast forward to New Testament times and we find ‘Passover Remembrance’ becoming a yearly pilgrim festival and large numbers gathered in the holy city to observe this annual celebration. It was during the time of Passover or Pesach (Hebrew) that Jesus was crucified just outside Jerusalem’s walls. On the eve of His death, Jesus and the disciples ate the Passover meal called Seder.
Like the blood of the lamb that saved the Hebrew children from destruction in Egypt, His blood, as the ultimate Passover sacrifice, redeems us from the power of sin and death.