Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. – Genesis 2:8-10
The history of man begins in a garden, Eden. Eden was a perfect paradise. God had planted the garden with every imaginable plant and tree. He placed in the garden all the animals he had created. A beautiful river flowed through the garden to water it. There in the lush garden God also located Adam and Eve, the first human beings.
But paradise was soon horribly ruined by man’s fall into sin. By disobeying the voice of God and instead following the trickery of satan, man brought sin and death into the garden, into the world. “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”
The Passion of our Lord Jesus also began in a garden, Gethsemane. 39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground’ .-Luke 22:39-49 Later in Gethsemane, Judas arrived with a band of armed men. He betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Jesus was arrested, bound, and led to stand before the High Priest, Caiaphas and Annas. The next day Jesus was condemned by the Roman Governor, Pilate. He was crucified outside the city gates. In giving up his spirit into the hands of the Father, Jesus’ passion was finished. Salvation for all had been won in a stunning victory.
Jesus was buried in a garden. “Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby” -John 19:41,42. In that nameless garden, the Lord of Life arose three days later. The world was forever changed. The curse of sin and death was demolished. The grave was conquered. Death itself was put to death. Jesus promised that he was the “first fruits” of the resurrection. We who believe in him will rise from death like him. What more appropriate place than a garden for the appearance of the first fruits!
It all started in a garden, and it all ends up in a garden- a restoration of Paradise. “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” – Revelation 22:1-5
Man ruined the original garden of God, Eden, when he fell into sin and brought death into the world. He was expelled from the beautiful garden into the howling wilderness. From that day, mankind has always yearned for a return to paradise. We try to find paradise on earth. We try to build paradise in our great cities. But paradise found is soon paradise lost, and the work of our hands is always tainted with sin and decay. We have that genuine, lasting paradise waiting for us through faith in Christ. He calls it his Father’s House and heaven. When our service to the Lord here is finished, we long to be called to the Savior’s side, to see the crystal river of life, and to eat of the fruit of the tree of life forever.
Father in heaven, keep our eyes focussed on the path of life which leads to your paradise in heaven. In our yearning for paradise, do not let us slack off on the work you have given us to do here on earth, to love you and to serve our fellow man. Amen.