From Garden to Garden

This month let us meditate on God’s good work done in various gardens from which His glory shines and through which He extends us every good thing for our body and spirit.

The Garden of Eden (Genesis 2: 7 – 25).  It is where “the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.” (Genesis 2: 8)    It was good and God tells us that He “made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2: 9)  It was in this good garden God tested Adam and Eve’s faith and love for Him through the devil’s deadly and unholy temptation.  Adam had walked with God, had received God’s command and single prohibition, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2: 16 – 17)  Adam and Eve failed the test of their faith by: providing for themselves; testing God; and worshipping Satan (Matthew 4: 1 – 11).  The first Adam plunged all mankind into sin, death and the power of the devil.  Yet, God promised Adam, Eve and all mankind a second Adam that would defeat these enemies and reconcile God to man.  God graciously covered their shame with innocent life and removed them from that garden so that they would look with eyes of faith for the promised Messiah.

The Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26: 36 – 46, Mark 14: 32 – 42, Luke 22: 39 – 46, John 18: 1).  The God/Man came into this garden with His disciples on the night when God tested Him to the extreme and the devil sought a more advantageous time to tempt Christ (Luke 4: 12).  Jesus prayed His Father’s will be done for He had come into the world not to judge it (the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil – John 3: 18 – 21) but to save it (the Tree of Life – John 3: 17).  Christ is the fruit of the Tree of Life that hung on the cursed tree.  He is the fruit that is pleasing in God’s sight and desirable for the salvation of mankind:  “…he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53: 2b – 3).  Unbelief, fear, darkness and chaos blinded men that night to the salvation with which God is reconciled with man and we are raised up as children of God.

The garden in which our risen Lord arose again on the third day (Matthew 28: 1 – 10 , Mark 16: 1 – 10, Luke 24: 1 – 12, John 20: 1 – 18).  In this garden God tested Mary, Peter and John’s faith while Satan tempted them with an empty tomb.  The Prince of Peace would not allow Mary to be overcome by the temptation to grieve but spoke to her, calling her by name (John 20: 16).  While the first Adam kept silent the second Adam spoke clearly and personally to her.  He proclaimed the reconciliation of God with man, commanding her to “go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20: 17).  From this garden our Lord and God points us to our future and final home.

As we live, move and breath in this veil of tears God will test us, proving Himself trustworthy and true as He sustains, strengthens and safeguards our faith, comforting us as He conforms us more and more into the image of His Son by the power of His Holy Spirit. 

These three gardens are historical and on which we should marvel and meditate upon God’s good and gracious provision.  Yet, God gives us eyes of faith that look – not for a return to a garden of testing and temptation but to the entrance into our heavenly Father’s home where He will have us recline at His eternal wedding feast that will never end.

God’s peace be upon you, your family and your work.

Pastor Bob