Part Two - The Garden Of Gethsemane
In Genesis 3, we have the true account of Adam and Eve's temptation in The Garden of Eden (see part one of this series of studies). Due to their heeding the Devil's lies they disobeyed God's clear command and brought sin into the world. As a consequence, God's punishment fell upon them and their descendents (all mankind):
Genesis 3:17-19 And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.
From the above passage, we can see that the consequences of their fall brought, among other effects, a curse on the world, sorrow, thorns, sweat, and death (unto dust thou shalt return). But the Lord God also left them (and their descendents) a promise of the coming Redeemer (Messiah) who would pay the ransom needed to save the souls of all who would put their faith in Him for salvation. This Saviour would be the virgin-born Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. On His way to the cross, He would encounter all of sins' effects, and then would shed His sinless blood and die for the sins of the world.
This takes us to the second of four gardens in the story of Redemption, the Garden of Gethsemane.
John 18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples.
Matthew 26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
"This place was called 'Gethsemane' = 'the oil press.'
Originally among the olive trees there must have been an oil press to press out the oil from the olive berries. The name remained even though the press may have no longer been there. The name remained because under the providence of God it is going to have spiritual significance.
Here in this garden the Lord will labor in prayer and spiritually press out the oil from the olive which will become for many a wounded lamb and sheep.
Adam was placed in a Garden and he learned about disobedience and its consequences.
The Second Adam voluntarily went to a Garden and He learned obedience by the things that He suffered. The victory was won in the Garden for Christ departs victorious. The actual defeat of Satan was not accomplished, of course, until Calvary.
Adam hid himself from God in the Garden; Christ agonized before the Lord in another Garden.
It was in the Garden when man lost his right to live, and it is in a garden when Christ gained His right to resurrection: 'Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared' (Heb. 5:7)."
(Taken from The Six Trials Of Christ by John W. Lawrence)
Isaiah 53:3-4 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
In facing the cross, Jesus was overwhelmed and was heavy in spirit knowing what He would soon endure in dealing with the sins of mankind. It wasn't the physical pain and suffering He knew He would face that discouraged Him, but the spiritual suffering that He would soon go through: taking the cup of God's wrath upon Himself for our sins; He who knew no sin would have all our sins placed upon Himself; and be separated (while on the cross) from God the Father, who could not look upon sin (see Habakkuk 1:13). From all eternity there had never been any separation of any sort between the members of the Trinity, but now there soon would be when Jesus hung upon the cross, bearing the sins of the world upon Himself. That is what He faced within a matter of hours. No wonder the sinless Son of God was heavy in spirit! (See Mark 14:33)
Matthew 26:36-39 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me. And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.
Thus He petitioned His heavenly Father three times to take away the cup of His wrath - but there was no other way for Jesus to pay for the sins of the world and to redeem mankind than for Him to go to the cross. (See Matthew 26:42-44) If there was any other way to save fallen man, Jesus could have done it - but there wasn't. This shows the Lord's great love for us in that He was willing to go through all that it took to save our souls! The next time someone asks to see proof of God's love for them, tell them to Take A Second Look At Calvary! (See Romans 5:8)
Luke 22:43-44 And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
The following account is of benefit in understanding a bit more of the spiritual struggle that Jesus went through in the Garden Of Gethsemane - the struggle that He went through to save us:
"One phrase in particular, which is found in Mark's account, is of terrible import. This is it: 'He... prayed that... the hour might pass from Him.' He who had set His face as a flint to go up to Jerusalem for this very hour, now prays that it might pass away from Him. He had constantly spoken of 'the hour,' and it was vividly in His consciousness. To the owner of the upper room He had sent the message, 'My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with My disciples.' Luke says, 'When the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.' John says, 'Jesus knew that His hour was come; . . . having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.' Just before Gethsemane, according to John, Jesus had said, 'Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour.' And just after His discourse in the upper room, in His high-priestly prayer, He had turned to His Father with the words, 'Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify Thee.'
I do not suppose the human mind can grasp the import of the prayer that the hour might pass away from Christ. This was the hour for which He had left His throne and come into the world. This was the hour to which the eternal counsels of the Almighty had pointed when the Lamb had been slain from the foundation of the world. This was the hour of the redemption of God's whole creation, the central hour of the ages, the hour when the holiness of God would meet the sin and unholiness of a rebel world, and redeem it from destruction. But when the hour actually comes and its force strikes against Him, Jesus falls to the ground and prays to His Father that the hour might pass away from Him.
What if the hour had passed away from Him! What if the cost had proved too high! What if He had not been willing to drink the cup! The heart can hardly conceive the infinite loss and disaster that would have come to mankind if He had been saved from that hour, if the very hour for which He had come into the world had been allowed to pass from Him, and He had been unable to drink the cup. And Jesus knew this. Then what was facing Him in that hour that caused such a prayer? What did that cup contain to make the strong Son of God shrink from it in sorrow and amazement and horror?
(Jerry's Note: The author then goes on to relate his own experience with a nervous breakdown, where he endured such unspeakable thoughts and mental horrors for about two years.)
...How could I forget such an experience? How shall I ever forget! But it was that experience which helped me to understand to some extent Christ's agony in Gethsemane. When my mind grasped a little of the impurity and the wickedness and the foul loathsomeness which He faced in that hour when He bore our sin, my question was answered; and it changed to deep, adoring wonder that He had been willing to face that cup for our sakes. I found myself exclaiming, 'Father, if He had not shrunk from that unspeakably detestable cup, if His soul had not been filled with sorrow even unto death, and with infinite aversion and abhorrence when 'the hour' brought before Him the shame and impurity and wickedness and iniquity of 'us all' that was 'laid on Him,' then He could not have been Thy most holy Son, sharing Thy holy nature.'
...Gethsemane's prayer is Love's agony in the face of Sin!"
(Taken from Gethsemane by Robert W. Cummings)
Hebrews 12:2-4 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Here we see that Jesus' struggling and striving against sin (and the temptation to bypass the cross) was so intense that He literally sweated out great drops of blood in His agony. But He was completely submissive to His Father's will, and got up from His knees strengthened and determined to endure the cross - for us! (See Hebrews 10:5-7, 10)
Within moments of arising from His fervent praying, Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss and He is led away by the multitude, while all His disciples fled for their lives. During the course of that night, He faced mock trials with false witnesses, was whipped and beaten, was spit upon and scorned. And then the soldiers cruelly mocked Him:
Matthew 27:28-30 And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head.
John 19:5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said unto them, Behold the Man!
Matthew 27:31 And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him and put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.
On the cross, Jesus bore the sins of the whole world, and there He bore our curse.
Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
Deuteronomy 21:22-23 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
Here we see the reason why it was so important for the Jews to take Jesus down off the cross before the night was upon them. Not only did Jesus bear the curse of the cross, He bore the curse of our sins being placed upon Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Isaiah 53:5-6, 11 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.
1 Peter 2:24 Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
On the cross, Jesus bore the judgment and wrath which we deserved when He died in our place. While there is some overlap with the point above, I will also add a quote from the Apostle Paul in this regard:
Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
The Lord Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, took our punishment upon Him, and died in our place. He did this by the grace of God! We could never deserve salvation, but God the Father, by His grace alone, provided a sinless Substitute in the person of His Son - a Substitute who bore our sins and experienced the death and separation from the Heavenly Father that we deserve because of our sin. By the grace of God, we are offered something we could never deserve: a Saviour to save us, a Substitute to die in our place, our sins forgiven, a home in Heaven, an inheritance in Christ, and most of all, reconciliation and fellowship with God whom we have offended and sinned against. Someone has well defined Grace by this acrostic:
Praise the Lord for His grace!
Matthew 27:57-60 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
John 19:41-42 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
This is the third garden in the Biblical story of Redemption, The Garden With The Empty Tomb, which will be the next study in this series.
7) Sealed Tomb.
Matthew 27:62-66 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
For further reading: Consider the following short devotional from Days Of Praise, Make It As Sure As You Can. Though I read this several years after this study was originally preached and written, this devotion definitely adds to this part of the study.
Ah, but what could a sealed tomb and armed guards do to stop Jesus from rising? If He was a mere man, there would not have even been a need for a sealed tomb and guards...
Psalms 2:1-3 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
- but because He is the Son of God, even the attempts of the whole world set in array against Him could never succeed!
Psalms 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
8) The Saviour.
For anyone who knows their Bible or has any familiarity with the life of Jesus, you know that the story doesn't end there.
Acts 2:23-24 Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.
Psalms 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.
Romans 1:3-4 Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
The Devil couldn't defeat Him!
After three days and three nights in the tomb, Jesus arose victorious over the grave!
Our sins were completely paid for!
1 Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
(Lyrics: Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1868)
There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold.
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me;
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep.”
But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry,
Sick and helpless and ready to die;
Sick and helpless and ready to die.
“Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They are pierced tonight by many a thorn;
They are pierced tonight by many a thorn.”
And all through the mountains, thunder riven
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven,
“Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”
Study written November 9th, 2004/Edited October 31st/05
The Story Of Four Gardens:
Part One - The Garden Of Eden
Part Two - The Garden Of Gethsemane (above)
Part Three - The Garden With The Empty Tomb (coming soon)
Part Four - Paradise, The Garden Of Eternity (coming soon)