Summary: Three Events that Changed Everything: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
Three Events that Changed Everything:
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
This week we begin a three week series, Three Events in the Life of Jesus that Changed Everything, covering the Garden of Gethsemane, the cross, and the resurrection. Every one of these events was pivotal for history and for our faith. If any of the three had not happened, our redemption would not have been secured and we would have no hope of eternal joy. Today I want look at Jesus’ experience in the garden, but to grasp the depth of this event and its place in the scope of Gods history I want to look at its place in redemptive history. History, from a biblical perspective (Gods story), is divided into Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation. Creation tells where we are from, the fall tells us what happened and why life is the way it is; redemption tells us of God’s radical pursuit of humanity, and consummation tells us where we are heading and what awaits us.
I want to tie three things together today - Humanity disobeyed God in a garden and lost relationship with God; Jesus obeyed God in a garden and secured salvation for us; and we will spend all eternity in a garden like environment.
1. The Garden of Eden and the First Adam (Gen 2:8-10)
Garden in Scripture symbolizes fellowship or relationship with God. God created the Garden of Eden specifically for Adam and Eve to live and enjoy Him and everything he created. God put them there with all kinds of trees that were pleasing for food. There were also two trees in the middle of the garden - the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God gave Adam and Eve great freedom to eat of all the trees except one – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The knowledge of good and evil was the ability to judge, independent of God, what was good and evil; what was beneficial and harmful for them. When God forbid them to eat of that tree he was protecting from acting independently of him in their evaluation of things. He was commanding them to live by faith in his wise and loving care of them. God warned them that when they ate of it they would die spiritually, separation from God (15-17). Adam turned away from trusting God, acting independently of God and deciding for himself what was good and not good for him. Adam set his own standard, deciding that which God said was good was instead evil and that which God said was evil was instead good.
They were guilty of sin and guilt requires punishment so Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden. All of life has been disfigured and stained by sin and evil since. Everything we see bad in the world finds its cause in this act. The world makes sense only because of the fall. So we have creation and the fall but God did not leave us to our own devices but has passionately and persistently pursued us with redeeming love. So whereas the first Adam failed in the original garden; we will now see that the second Adam, Christ, prevailed in a garden.
2. The Garden of Gethsemane and the Second Adam (Matthew 26:36-46)
Notice the parallels – the first Adam enjoyed fellowship with God in the garden; second Adam goes to a garden to pray, have fellowship with God. The first Adam disobeyed God in the garden; the second Adam obeyed God in the garden. The first Adam died for his sin; the second Adam chooses to die to pay for sin. The first Adam was deceived by Satan; the Second Adam crushed Satan’s head. The first Adam was expelled from the garden because of his sin; the Second Adam we taken from the garden because of the First Adams sin. The first Adam was subject to judgment and wrath; the Second Adam willingly and joyfully submitted himself to Fathers wrath (Ps 75:6-10; Isa 51:17; Jer 25:15-20).
Jesus said yes to his Father’s will because that was the only way to pay for our sin. Scripture says he died on a tree in a garden because sin came into the world by the eating of a tree in a garden and then Jesus was buried in a tomb in a garden (Gal 3:13; Acts 10:37; Luke 23:43).
So we have creation, the fall, redemption, and now consummation. Jesus tells the thief on the cross, ‘today you will be with me in Paradise (Luk 23:43).’ That word paradise is the same word in the Greek version of the Old Testament for the Garden of Eden. The two words are interchangeable in Jewish writings. That leads us to the eternal garden found in the last book of the bible, Revelation.