Posted by: pmarkrobb | April 7, 2020

the facet of the two gardens

As you would expect in moving the looking glass closer to things, one sees things they might otherwise miss. This is day two-in-a-row of that for me. I wonder if it will be that way for you as well. In sitting each day of this Lenten season with a bite-sized piece of the “last several pages” of the greatest chapter in the greatest story ever told, new details have lept from the pages. Things I feel I should have seen before. How in the world could I have missed them?! This is one of the great beauties of scripture: you can run or saunter; you can fly high over or dig down intently; the Word of God takes a lifetime to consume, and every truth has a new layer … and then another. It should be the Book on your shelf you’ve read most often, and it will never fail to feed you, comfort you, convict you or thrill you.

So, here are the two dots I had never connected: both the birth and the death of the great curse of sin began in a garden. As Jesus sweats blood in the most intense prayer session in all of human history, a long train of glowing orange is snaking its way up the hillside. The venomous brood is a surly rabble of priests and pages, Sadducees and soldiers. The betrayer, one of the twelve chosen followers of Jesus, is at the head of the snake. Its hiss is the sound of a sack of silver as it slivers up the hill. It will coil soon and strike with the betrayer’s kiss.

Amid all the significance and substance in the series of events that night, lies a facet that I’ve always missed … the setting. In showing the full extent of His love to His disciples, Jesus kneeled, wrapped a towel around His waist, drew a basin of water near, and washed their feet.  In showing the full extent of His love for us, God purposefully chose a garden from which to launch His great plan of redemption. In choosing the father of lies, Adam and Eve brought the deadly curse of sin into the world. In choosing the father of lies and sealing that choice with a kiss, Judas set in motion God’s grand plan to crush that curse once and for all. The need for our redemption had its beginning in Adam’s betrayal in the midst of God’s perfect garden. Its completion began with the betrayal of the Second Adam in the garden of Gethsemane. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight as the truth of this first came to mind, then sank deep into my soul.

I was instantly reminded of Peter, and my favorite part of the Resurrection after-story. Three times Peter had denied Jesus. Who among us can’t go to the place of the intense loathing and self-hatred that must have beset Peter in the moment the rooster crowed, and his eyes locked with Jesus? How, too, it must have grown as they dragged Jesus away to trial after trial, then to Pilot, and then on to Golgotha. Then what must it have been like on the saddest of all Sabbath’s for the proud pupil of Jesus? But then an angel of God tells those who arrived first at the tomb on Resurrection morning to, “go tell his disciples and Peter (Mark 16:7 – emphasis is mine). And then in seeing Peter later, Jesus lavishly and intentionally restores him by asking the same probing question of him three times.

In the grander story of Jesus’ final week, where does this garden detail rank? Is it a foundational truth upon which our faith rests? The answers are … it might barely even register, and it is not. And yet I clearly see God’s choice of the two gardens as iron-clad evidence of how deliberately and deeply He cares for us. And it is most certainly one of the countless facets that makes redemption’s narrative burst forth with the most brilliant shimmer and shine. How good is our God and how deep is His love for us! Let me count the facets.


Responses

  1. I Never saw those dots connected before, thanks

    I come to the garden alone,
    While the dew is still on the roses;
    And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
    The Son of God discloses.

    And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
    And He tells me I am His own,

    And the joy we share as we tarry there,

    None other has ever known.


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