Summary: It was in a garden that humanity fell and it was in a garden that humanity was redeemed!
1. A mother was teaching her young son to use the phone. She showed him which numbers to push and explained about the dial tone and the sound of the other phone ringing. The process had begun. The son waited anxiously for the call to be completed, but no one picked up the phone on the other end. Mom told him to hang up the phone. “We’ll try again later, son.” The boy was not so easily discouraged. “Wait a minute, Mommy, I think I hear someone coming!”
2. What is your #1 hope for this world? What do you desire more than anything else to happen? What is your #1 hope for yourself? What would you want to hear on the other end of the line?
3. That young boy is us! We are creatures of hope! We live with a yearning, a deep desire to find the phone answered. To experience a happy ending. We are desperate for fulfillment. We seek to be satisfied, to be at peace with ourselves and with others. Where does this desire come from?
4. This desire goes all the way back to the beginning of the Bible and it has never grown cold. It comes from our origins. It comes from being created in the image of God. It is a statement that we are incomplete creatures until we are satisfied in a deeply, deeply spiritual way. What we really yearn for is the voice of God on the other end of the line.
5. Two passages of scripture, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament that has already been read, is the ground upon which we walk this Easter Sunday 2002. One sets the stage for the other and the other undoes the results of the first.
6. Garden #1 – The Garden of Eden (Read Genesis 3: 1- 24)
Notice the following:
A. The problem in verses 1 to 5. The temptation to become like God is presented to Eve and then to Adam. There is only one God and we are not Him. Evil rears its head in paradise.
B. The decision in verses 6 and 7. Eve took the bait and so did Adam. It was just too good to pass up. Wow, think about it Adam! We can become wise like God!
C. The result in verses 8 through 19. Five major battles are the result of this decision.
1. Battle #1 – A broken relationship with God. No longer do Adam and Eve enjoy the perfect relationship with God they once had. They did something wrong and their relationship with their creator is broken.
2. Battle #2 – The environmental balance is smashed. The Fall of Humanity has more than just spiritual implications. The Fall affected every part of creation. There was a perfect balance between humanity and the natural world that is ruined by Adam and Eve’s choice. Verses 14 and 15 point to this.
3. Battle #3 – Human relationships became strained. Adam and Eve’s own relationship forever change because of the choice they made. Conflict and unfulfilled desires became the norm. Marital tensions and family violence as we read in Genesis 4 become a way of life. The home is affected.
4. Battle #4 – Life becomes hard. The struggle to live and love and survive became a way of life. All needs had been met in Eden. There was not the stresses and strains of life that Adam and all of us since Adam have faced.
D. How is all of this mess solved? Banishment as we see in verses 23 and 24. And life is never the same for Adam and Eve and us.
7. Have you ever wondered what went through God’s mind as He watched the centerpiece of His creation walk away from Him? How did He feel? Angry? Grieved? Full of regret? Somewhere along the line He made up His mind that He was going to do something to get them back. He was not going to just sit by and let them go. He loved them too much. And that bring us to our second garden in Mark 16.
8. Garden #2 (Mark 16: 1 – 8) Now, there is no name for this garden in the gospel accounts. We do know that is was a new tomb and Jesus is hastily buried there because the Sabbath is about to start and all work must cease. There is an implied reference to it being some time of garden because in John’s account Mary mistakes Jesus for the gardener and so we could assume that this tomb was in the midst of a garden. Maybe a vineyard. Notice in this garden scene the following:
A. Two women, one the mother of Jesus who have come to finish the embalming process. The Sabbath is over and the embalming process was not finished.