News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. ~ Acts 11:22
READING: Acts 11:19-25
The banyan, the national tree of India, is a huge structure with long, deep roots. The enormous tree acts as a shield, which is why these trees are planted near homes, temples, villages and roadsides. With its many large aerial roots, a mature banyan looks more like a forest than an individual tree.
Located in the Indian Botanical Gardens, spreading by the River Hooghly from Kolkata, Howrah the Great Banyan was the widest tree in the world in terms of its collective canopy. The area occupied by the tree is about 14,500 square meters. The present crown of the tree has a circumference of about one kilometer and the highest branch rises to about 25 meters. At present it has 2,880 aerial roots reaching down to the ground. This tree now lives without its main trunk, which decayed and was removed in 1925.
The church in Jerusalem had “aerial roots” and thus became a great blessing to the Jews and Gentiles in the first century – extending its reach first to Samaria (Acts 8:5), then to Phoenicia and Cyprus; some from Cyprus to Antioch (Acts 11:19), and from Antioch to worldwide.
The first and primary trunk of the Great Banyan tree is not huge but its spread is remarkable. Church planters should have similar visions for aerial roots from their simple and small church plants. Sometimes the first church plant, like the first trunk of the Great Banyan tree, might disappear for one reason or other. Still, as the dead trunk enjoys pride of its canopy, church planters can be proud of their first fruit bearing but ceased church plants.
Father, Help me plant a Great Banyan Tree Church Plant; a plant that spreads every day; a single church plant that becomes a forest of mature churches! Amen.
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