2 October, 2022


by | 5 July, 2021

By Jon Wren

Olive trees might be the hardiest plants in the world. On average they can live up to 500 years, but many live more than 1,000 years. They can survive being cut down, chopped up, and even burned in a fire. So long as even a tiny part of their root system remains, they will always come back. And when they do, they rise from the ground or a stump in the form of a small, tender, green shoot. The ancient Israelites had a word for these new sprigs of life, netzer.

Sometime in the first century, as Jewish refugees returned from exile, they settled in an area near the Sea of Galilee and named their new town Nazareth after the tender, new shoots of the Olive tree. Jesus grew up and lived most of his life in Nazareth. In fact, the Gospels say that throughout his life, many people called him “Jesus of Nazareth.” From almost the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he was associated with the idea of new life and new beginnings.

When we take Communion, in many ways we celebrate the same idea—that because of his death and resurrection, we have a new life in Christ. His work at the cross removes the curse of sin and death and provides a promise of something new. The Old Testament prophet anticipated Jesus when he wrote, “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. . . . For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:2, 12).

Communion is more than a reminder of what Christ has done for us, it is also a reminder that he is still at work in us, giving us a new life. Our sin and shame are no longer what define us. We have a story of new hope and possibilities because of him!

Jon Wren works with the Office of Civil Rights, addressing the impact of gentrification on school desegregation. He loves history, college football, and once got a ticket for driving too slowly.

<a href="https://christianstandard.com/author/admin/" target="_self">Christian Standard</a>

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com


Latest Articles

Help Wanted

Wildwood (Mo.) Christian Church is seeking a senior pastor. Lycoming Christian Church (Linden, PA) is seeking a full-time minister of children, youth, and young adults. Beechwold Christian Church in Columbus, OH, is searching for a student minister. Rising Sun (IN) Church of Christ is seeking a new lead minister.


By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

CCLF Concluding Strong First Year in Greater Cincinnati

In its first full year, the Christian Church Leadership Foundation has accomplished much to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people in the Greater Cincinnati area.

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.