There are three gardens of note in the Bible which held my attention this Easter weekend.
The first garden was literally the first.
- The Garden of Eden. (Genesis 2:8-17, 3:22-24)
The Garden of Eden was planted in the eastern corner of Eden, and was well watered by four rivers surrounding it. At the center of this garden, planted by God Himself, were the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God made the garden for Adam to live, work & care for, and walk with Him in. He instructed Adam never to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil before Eve entered the garden.
Sin entered the garden through the crafty tongue of the serpent, and the choice of Eve and Adam. (If you read the scene carefully, Adam was with Eve when she ate the fruit, and was conversing with the serpent)
As a result of their liaison with disobedience, and the choice to hid away under cover from God’s sight, Adam and Eve were forced to leave Eden. God did not want them eating from the tree of life, and the entrance way back to Eden is guarded by a flaming sword and cherubim.
Sin separates us from the closeness of His Presence.
God spent years trying to help humanity deal with their sin problem through deliverers (Noah, Joseph, Moses, Samson…) priests (Samuel), prophets (Deborah, Nehemiah, Hosea…) and kings (David, Solomon…) with ups and downs depending on His people’s willingness to follow their current leadership. Sin lingered throughout every generation.
This was no surprise, as before the fall in Garden of Eden, Jesus was already the plan for meeting our desperate need to deal with our sin problem, which came to ahead in another garden.
2. The Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-55)
In this garden (Gethsemane means ‘pressing’) Jesus went to pray and ask His Abba if there was another way to deal with sin, but He would obey as His Father led. All but one of His disciples went with Him.
Shortly after, Judas, the last of His disciples, showed up with the chief priests and authorities, and betrayed Jesus with a kiss, for about $10,000 in our currency.
Jesus could have spoken up and defended Himself in the court system, but instead He offered Himself as the full payment for sin.
For God knew (and knows) that in order to defeat a supernatural foe like sin, we would need a supernatural act to do so, one which only He could do.
3. The Garden at the Tomb (John 20:11-18)
Last year, I noticed something which all cemeteries have in common – gardens. We recently had to find a plot of a family member out of town, and needed directions from the groundskeeper to find it. Which made the following verses come to life in a new way for me this Easter. When Mary went to Jesus’ tomb early Sunday morning, she found the tomb open. When she peered inside, she saw two angels sitting where Jesus’ body had been laid. She has just finished responding to their question of who she was seeking, when…
“Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). (John 20:14-16)
In her shock, Mary mistook Jesus for the gardener outside His tomb. Yet notice that it was Jesus who initiated the conversation, just as it was Jesus who initiated making things right for us. The same Jesus who
In the first garden, sin separated us from God.
In the second garden, God laid Himself down to pay the cost.
In the third, God not only supernaturally defeated sin and turned death upside down, He sought us out.
In each of these three gardens, God dealt with the consequences of what we could not – our sin.
- He paid the price we owed.
- He defeated our foes.
- He rose victorious & took His place on His throne.
The next time you find yourself in a garden, take a moment and ask Him to meet you there. For God is with us everywhere we go, and longs to walk and talk with us each moment of every day. He not only set us free once and for all from the eternal cost of sin, He longs to free you to see the right way to walk every time sin entices you.