The Three Gardens of the Bible
It is a fairly safe assumption that most people appreciate, even love, to see gardens in all their beauty and glory. Whether you are one who likes gardening is another matter. The opportunity to wander around a beautiful garden brings a sense of relaxation and peace. No doubt this is one of the purposes of God in having gardens.
I understand that a Quaker once said that there were two fitting hobbies for Christians – gardening and history: In gardening we see the works of God; In history we see the ways of God.
My purpose in writing is not to develop these two thoughts, but rather to remind you that the most important events recorded in Biblical History were centred in gardens. A reading of Genesis 2:8-25 teaches us that God in His wisdom, having created Adam placed him in a garden, where there was every provision for him to live and take care of the garden. He then went further by providing a wife for him as a helper.
The Garden of Eden
The garden was pleasant to look at, it also provided food to eat. Two trees are mentioned by name: The tree of life, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. A river was provided which flowed and watered the garden. There was just one prohibition given to Adam which was that he was not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The story is well known, how when temptation came Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s Word resulting in sin entering into the world with all its consequences down through the ages of time. It is as we read in Genesis 3:15, we have the promise of the ‘seed of the woman’. Down through the pages of the Old Testament this is developed, details giving concerning the coming of the Messiah as a Babe, born of a virgin at Bethlehem (Isaiah 9:6-7, 7:14, Micah 5:2). We shall soon be reminded of the precious truth as to the wonder of our God becoming man and living here on earth as the Christmas season is once again celebrated.
The Garden of Gethsemane
All four Gospel writers mention the visit our Lord Jesus made to this garden prior to His crucifixion (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 4:32-42, Luke 22:39-46, John 18:1-14). This in itself suggests its importance. The meaning of the name ‘Gethsemane’ is ‘an oil press’, due to the olive trees that were growing and providing fruit for oil.
The garden was a little beyond the Brook Kidron, very near to the Mount of Olives. It would appear that our Lord regularly visited this garden, to pray to His Father and to have time of quietness and fellowship with His Father and God. Just prior to our Lord’s suffering on the cross, this garden became a place of agony as the full implication of what our Lord was to endure in making atonement for the sin of the world and provide salvation for those who would believe. ‘His sweat became like great drops of blood’ (Luke 22:41-44) thus indicating something of the anguish, pain and horror of what was shortly to take place. For apart from the excruciating physical pain of crucifixion, our Saviour was to endure the wrath of a Holy God upon Himself in order to accomplish this salvation for others. ‘He who knew no sin was made sin for us’ (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is something that was unique to the Lord Jesus and we as believers can only wonder in amazement at the love this shows that our Saviour had for fallen men and women who are spiritually dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1). God’s holiness demanded this for as Mrs C.F. Alexander wrote in her hymn for children:
“He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good,
That we might go at last to heaven, saved by His precious blood,
There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin,
He only could unlock the gate of heaven, and let us in.”
The Resurrection Garden
The Apostle John is the one to give us details of the garden which contained a tomb. The garden belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. It contained a tomb which had never been used. Into this tomb was placed the lifeless body of our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. Joseph was responsible for His burial together with Nicodemus (John 19:38-42).
BUT this garden was the place of RESURRECTION on the third day - the first day of the week. Mary Magdalene was the first person at the tomb after the Sabbath. She saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb (John 20:1-10). After Peter and the other disciples had come and seen what had happened they went away. Mary stayed and had the wonder of being the first person to see the risen Christ (John 20:11-18). Further, Luke in chapter 24 verse 5 records a very important word spoken by the angelic beings to the disciples: ‘why do you seek the living amongst the dead? He is not here, but is risen!’
To sum up these three gardens we have:
The first garden (Eden) is associated with disobedience, the result was the virus of sin
The second garden (Gethsamene) is associated with redemption, leading to forgiveness and cleansing
The third garden (of the tomb) is associated with salvation being completed once and for all, never needing to be repeated (Hebrews 9:28, 1 Peter 3:18).
R. John Wheeler