Lessons to grow on: Gardens play prominent roles in Bible

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2002

How is your garden doing?

My raspberries are stunted and not spreading like raspberry plants normally do. While other people may have green thumbs, I think our household is not talented in the plant-growing department. My wife says plants scream when they come to our house, knowing their fate is not good.

It is interesting to note the gardens that are mentioned in the Bible, and how they play such a prominent part in what was happening.

First of all, Adam and Eve were created in a garden. The garden of Eden was a special place, full of life and growth. It was made even more special by the presence of God, who visited there with his human creation.

The assignment of Adam as a gardener was significant. He could have been given any number of other trades I suppose, but a garden was where he was to work.

God wanted him to tend to living, productive plants. He had to care for and cultivate the garden as a place of life. A lot of his work had to be done on his knees, where he could reflect on the wonders of God's abundant creation and commune with him.

In contrast, man's choice to partake of the forbidden fruit caused drastic change. The devil's temptation of Eve, her disobedience and then that of Adam, brought changes they could not foresee. Disobedience to God's word will always cause problems. Sin brings about separation from God and his blessing, not the pleasure and satisfaction it promises.

God's efforts to restore man to fellowship with him involved another garden. This one was called Gethsemane, named in the gospels as the place Jesus prayed. His prayer was not one of serenity and peace, which a garden can provide. Instead, he prayed with great anguish and agony as he wrestled with the sin problem of mankind. He knew he would soon be arrested, beaten and nailed to a cross to pay the penalty of sin.

The three disciples who accompanied him fell asleep, succumbing to their fatigue and the restful atmosphere of the garden. They didn't comprehend the struggle that was going on in the Savior for the provision of salvation. To them the garden was a place of rest, not wrestling with insurmountable problems.

Finally, following the crucifixion and Christ's death on the cross, his body was placed in a garden sepulchre. His followers had heard him pray as he hung on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Tenderly, and with tears, his disciples prepared his body for burial. Their hopes and dreams were being buried, too. The many miracles performed by the messiah were now just memories. The beauty of the garden could not mask the fact that it was a grave.

Days later, some women approached the garden grave with fear and apprehension. In wonder, they observed that the stone covering was rolled aside. To their amazement, the tomb was empty! The angelic announcement was, "He is not here, for he is risen!"

Resurrection had taken place as he had promised in his word. More than perennial plants that burst forth into life every spring, his resurrection promises power over death and the provision of eternal life.

Whether your life is a peaceful garden or a disastrous dump, you can find more blessings, life and peace as you seek to know about Jesus Christ. Let the Lord give you abundant life as you follow his word. Isaiah 58:11

Mitch Glover is the pastor of the Sterling United Pentecostal Church on Swanson River Road and Entrada. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. and worship at 11 a.m.

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