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The Tale of Two Gardens

December 14, 2011

The Garden of Eden

God created a beautiful Garden for Adam and Eve to enjoy. He made them responsible for the Garden and commanded the man, saying, “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.” Some time after God created Eve, a serpent was found in the garden. Did Adam know that the serpent was there? Why didn’t Adam drive the serpent from the Garden, especially since the serpent was “more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.

The serpent came to Eve and questioned her asking, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’? Eve replied that they could eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Eve added additional restrictions on the prohibition God gave them. Had Adam failed to clearly communicate God’s expectation? Where was Adam when Eve was being tempted? We don’t know the extent of Adam’s involvement in Eve’s decision to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, but we do know that Adam joined in Eve’s sin by eating of the forbidden tree himself.

Thankfully, after man sinned, God drove Adam and Eve from the garden lest they reach out and “take also of the tree of life, and live forever”. If God had allowed Adam and Eve to partake of the tree of the life in their sinful condition, they would have been eternally condemned. God had something better in mind. We get our first glimpse into God’s wonderful plan in Genesis chapter three when God punished Satan saying “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” God’s words reveal that Satan would “bruise the heal” of Jesus and Jesus would “bruise the head” of Satan. This figurative language is the earliest prophecy describing the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus when he was crucified.

The Garden of Gethsemane

In the hours before Jesus was arrested, “tried” and ultimately crucified, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. It is here that Jesus began to feel the weight of bearing man’s sins. In his quiet time of prayer leading up to his ultimate submission to God’s plan for redeeming man, Jesus said “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” He prayed two more times asking the same thing each time. Even though Jesus did not want to go to the cross, in each of his prayers he stated “may your will be done.”

Jesus was in agony as he was approaching his crucifixion, yet despite the agony he was beginning to face and the numerous physical tortures he was about to endure, Jesus willingly went to the cross. Jesus endured the pain of a Roman scourging (being beaten with a whip with multiple tails, the tips of which often contained bits of stone or glass), carried his cross until he fell under its weight, was nailed to a cross before it was ultimately dropped into place at Golgotha. He hung on his cross for three hours, during which he had to raise himself up by his hands and feet in order to take each breath. Knowing that this was the kind of death he would endure, Jesus knowingly followed God’s will so the we could be saved.

Now salvation is a free gift of God, offered to each of us in the sacrifice of Jesus. Will you receive the free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus?

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