New birth

Messages 2003

The Parable of the almond tree.

January 27th 2003

Received by H.

Cuenca, Ecuador.

 

“Once upon a time there was a man, the owner of a precious orchard. Right in the middle of his garden there was a tall almond. Every year in spring, the tree was bedecked with an ocean of wonderful white blossoms, and the owner delighted in looking at its beautiful crown and expecting a rich harvest.

However, as it happens in life, the sun does not shine every day, and the wind is not always like a gentle breeze caressing the cheeks. Every year, the winter clings to its domain; it does not want to give way to the spring, and suddenly returns with icy storms and torrential rains.

While the other plants in the orchard endured the lashes of the winter’s agonizing fury, of its last intent to prolong its stay, the almond tree suffered too much. It did not have enough strength to resist the forces of the elements, and its beautiful petals dropped dead onto the ground. It seemed as if a thick layer of snow covered the roots of the almond tree, but it was only the sad remnants of the tree’s past greatness.

With the blossoms, their owner’s spirit fell. He had shown great patience with his dear tree, but when he observed year after year how the sad scenario repeated, he finally ordered his farmhands to cut the almond tree down and plant another little shoot, so that it would occupy the place of the almond tree and fulfill its purpose of existence.”

You see, my dear brother: I promised you that I would tell you of Jesus’ parables that are not found in the Bible. Here you have an example.

I mentioned to you previously that Jesus found open ears amongst many Pharisees, but that some opposed and even challenged him. They had very little success, by the way, and this was the reason why they would later on take recourse to less attractive methods than the verbal attacks, that is to say, they exhausted every means to defame and to revile the Master, inventing lies and propagating supposed “shameful secrets” of Jesus’ life, such as, for example, the slander that he was a bastard, born of an illegitimate union.

You understand that the Pharisees — I am referring to the core of this movement — boasted of their virtues and, filled with pride, they displayed publicly their obedience to the letter of the law. However, when they were confronted with situations they could not handle, situations which caused them a headache or something worse, and when they had exhausted all their resources in vain, they did not hesitate to toss all their principles overboard and use methods which they presumably rejected as sin — from slander to murder.

Of course, what I have just said is an unjustified generalization. Many Pharisees, the great majority of them, were good men. But I believe that you understand what I mean. You may read a quite inoffensive example in one of my last messages, where I described a discussion between Jesus and a group of Pharisees over the meaning of Psalm 110. The Pharisees had insisted that this Psalm was the work of King David. Then, when they were unable to sustain their argument — and what was worse, when they could no longer play down Jesus’ superiority in scriptural knowledge — they changed tack and they suggested that this Psalm did not originate from David’s pen. Jesus, of course, immediately brought their maneuvers to light in front of a multitude of listeners, and the Pharisees preferred to abandon the dispute and the place, crestfallen and embarrassed, thinking of the means by which they could retaliate against such a shameful defeat. At that time, any means seemed appropriate to them, be it legal or illegal, they no longer cared.

It will not be difficult for you to imagine that situations like this one took place with some frequency. When they happened, Jesus used to conclude his speech with the parable of the almond tree. It compared the Pharisees to the sick tree that showed a great wealth of blossoms (principles or apparent virtues) that promised an abundant harvest of fruit (sanctity), but that with the change of the weather fell to the ground, the same way that the Pharisees dropped their moral and ethical principles whenever they considered it advisable.

At that time everybody understood that the tree was sick. You have observed a very similar case: Your magnificent avocado tree that one year dropped all its blossoms. It recovered later on through a treatment with phosphorus and phyto-hormones. But the ancient Jews understood nothing of this. To them, there was only one thing to do: To cut down the tree, to tear its roots from the earth, and to replace it with another plant, exactly as the wise owner of the orchard did in the parable.

The allegory of the sick almond tree also implied another teaching: The owner of the orchard, God, would demonstrate much patience, but His great forbearance would become exhausted at some given moment. He would pull out the tree and plant another one — and here he was, Jesus, the healthy tree whose fruit would feed the people and please God.

If you now ask me why this parable does not figure in the New Testament, I can only answer with a conjecture: I suppose that many of the later church leaders felt uncomfortably alluded to by it. Therefore, they opted to erase this passage from the manuscripts... just in case!

Very well, my dear brother - wiith this I conclude my message. Have a day full of blessings. See you soon!

Judas of Kerioth.

 

© Copyright is asserted in this message by Geoff Cutler 2013