April 09, 2020
Humanity’s greatest downfall and the dawning of humanity’s greatest hope took place in two gardens.
Everything was beautiful (Genesis 1).
The fields danced with the gentle wind, waving like the sea, radiating bright colors of yellow and green. The rivers and streams teemed with life. They flowed through the entire garden, giving life to all the birds and the beasts that lived in it.
In this beautiful garden, God enjoyed a perfect, intimate relationship with the man and the woman. They were fully secure and fully satisfied in Him, and God put them in charge of everything.
Everything was beautiful.
But a dark creature lurked in the shadows. Just like most villains in children’s storybooks, the creature was sinister and cunning. He breathed nothing but poison, and his tongue was full of deceit. The venom of his lies stung the man and the woman.
Genesis 3 lets us into the scene of the crime.
Just like in any crime movie, the day started out like any other, but things took a fateful turn when the creature spoke his lies. Questions were thrown at the unsuspecting victim—the woman. The serpent’s cunning words were too alluring that the woman’s heart was deceived. Soon enough, the man, who was with her, joined in.
Both of them took pleasure in the fruit of the forbidden tree.
The issue here isn’t just that they disobeyed a simple command; it’s that they walked away from a perfect relationship.
If you’ve ever been deeply in love with someone, you’d understand the pain in this story. You will only taste the bitterness of humanity’s betrayal in this story if you’ve experienced loving someone to the best of your abilities. You gave all of your trust, invested so much, dreamed beautiful dreams, and believed all things, yet you were left behind for someone else.
As the forbidden fruit fell from their hands to the ground, the beauty of creation fell with it. Sin entered the world, infecting humanity with evil, violence, and death.
But thank heavens that’s not the end of the story.
In another garden and in another time, we see another Man (Matthew 26).
It wasn’t like any other night. The Man, Jesus, was about to experience a terrible death because of the crime that took place in the Garden of Eden.
In Gethsemane, olives were crushed to produce valuable oil. It was in this garden where Jesus felt the crushing weight of sin—the painful vision of the thorn and the nails; the torment of loneliness, rejection, and betrayal.
As He prayed, He was overcome with sorrow to the point of death. Anxiety, fear, and panic crushed His soul, just like the olives being crushed in the olive press.
He had seen what it would be like; He was fully aware of that plan. He knew how painful it would be.
As He knelt to the ground, the soldiers were closing in. It was a point of no return. His heart rebelled within Him, so He asked the Father for another way, an easier path, a less painful alternative to settle the issue.
But He decided to drink of the cup of God’s wrath and let out a cry of surrender: “Not My will, but Your will be done.”
In the Garden of Eden, man chose the fruit that brought death to humankind.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus chose the cup of the Father’s wrath, so we can have life—life to the full.
He chose the cross and the nails so we can be restored to the perfect, loving relationship that humanity once enjoyed with God.
It was the “joy set before Him” that made Him endure the cross: an eternity with us in the new Garden that God will establish, where evil is no more and where everything is beautiful.