This post is part of the teaching series Truth Un-Mixed. If you are new to this series I encourage you to start from the beginning and read all the way through as the teachings build one upon the other. To Find all the posts in the series click here for the Table of Contents. May you be blessed by His Truth alone!
Gentile believers in Jesus are grafted into Israel, and this grafting is made possible because the 2 types of trees being grafted together are olive trees, they are like species. Meaning that they both bear the same kind of fruit. God didn’t say Israel is an apple tree and the Gentiles a lemon tree, because if so there would be no hope of unity, no singular bride for Him to claim as His own. But instead, we are both olive trees bearing olives, the same fruit produced from one tree. The only difference is in how the branch began. One olive is produced from a cultivated branch and the other from a wild one. According to Romans 11, the gentiles, or all people not of Israel but instead of the nations, are wild olive branches because they grow in the wild. They have had no direct care, no structure, no master to oversee them and help them bear as much fruit as possible. So when they are cut off of the wild tree and grafted into the cultivated one they now become a full part of that cultivated tree. They take on the responsibility of God’s commands, the purpose of His people, and the functions of His body. We now can become one in Messiah Jesus.
We, His people, His olives if you will, are commissioned to be the light of the world. In the Hebraic mind light is always associated with oil, because their light came from lamps that burned with oil. Without oil, there was no light. Not only was oil used in homes but it was also an integral part of their worship to God in the temple. It was used to light the lights on the lamp stand as well as for anointing. The difference in the oil used in the temple compared to that used in homes was that the temple oil was the purest oil available and it was only to be used in worship and handled by the priests. This was later extended to prophets and kings, but no commoner was allowed to touch such pure oil. This is because it was set apart, unmixed, and dedicated unto the Lord. In order to produce this oil for their lamps and for temple worship first the olives had to be pressed. Is it any wonder that our Father grafted us into the olive tree, into a historic culture that depended on oil to light their lamps and worship their King?
We too are pressed in order to bring forth worship to the one we love and also to provide light in the darkness. But notice that it was the pure olives, the ones that were fully ripe, and set apart that were used for the oil of worship. We were made to be olives not because there is anything inherently wonderful in an olive. In fact it is quite the contrary. Olives are never eaten raw right off the tree because they are bitter, hard, and not suitable for consumption. They must ALWAYS go through a process of being made into something other to become useful. So to we must under go this transformational process of being cut out of our comfortable beginning, moved into a new unfamiliar place, taking on the identity of a new family tree, being pruned and shaped by the master, patiently producing much fruit, and then being picked and put under pressure all in order to produce oil. We can only become light through this process of transformation. And it is what is inside us that determines what kind of flame our life will become and what kind of light we will produce. So what does His word say about light, what will help us produce pure oil and hence the brightest and longest lasting light?
First we must be filled with His whole word, because it is light.
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. Psalms 119:105
Notice here that this Psalm was written pre New Testament scriptures. So the Psalmist is declaring that God’s word from Genesis through Malachi is His light.
Second we must know the life of Jesus from beginning to end, studying Him carefully, so as to emulate Him in all things because He is the one who is light and is the living Word.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12
The greek word used here for “follow” is akoloutheó. It means to join one as to become, or to accompany closely. Can you imagine if you were to join yourself to Jesus, a Jewish Rabbi, in order to become like Him in every way possible? Or if you were to have accompanied Him wherever He went? I would guess that you would be going places you don’t currently go and that your life would begin to look differently than it does now, I know mine would.
Third we must be sealed with Holy Spirit which is our deposit of our future resurrection to come. The word tells us that the Spirit of God is the very oil that anointed Jesus for His ministry on earth and is our enabling power to become like Him.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners Isaiah 61:1
And lastly, we must seek to understand God’s word in context in its entirety not for knowledge sake, but in order to seek out what pleases Him.
Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Isaiah 8:20
In order to carry His light we must, in all things, consult God’s instructions for living found in the five books of Moses. These instructions or ancient paths are what purifies us, sets us apart, and helps us identify fully with our Messiah and His body. We don’t seek out His instructions in order to gain salvation, but in order to live out our salvation as light. He has given us His instructions because they are what please His heart and bring blessing and light to His body. And as followers of Him, those of us seeking to be light, obeying His instructions provide us with the oil we need to fuel our flame. This is why light is always understood by its appearance. Without seeing light there is no light, only darkness. Light is experienced and is seen, because it is the substance of the pure oil within. Or you could say it is the evidence of faith within those who follow Him.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Men cannot follow that which they cannot see. And just as pure oil produces pure light. So to obeying the pure word of God within us produces the light of salvation for men to see. We become oil and then light because we allow ourselves to be pressed and crushed. God the Father expressed this in Isaiah when speaking of giving Jesus as an offering for many.
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10
This is why it is imperative that we first must be filled with His words, His life, His spirit, and His instructions. So that when we too are pressed and crushed, when we share in the sufferings of our Messiah we will produce pure oil. Oil that not only produces light for all to see, but is also pure and worthy of be taken into the temple and burned as worship unto Him.