Taking Us and the Garden Back

Good morning…it’s Good Friday!

I always struggle with calling today Good Friday.  When we get to this day, my heart hurts when I think of what Jesus endured on this day so long ago.  It doesn’t feel good. My 8 year old even asked me that about a week ago, why it was called “Good” when it was the day Jesus died, and I needed to hear the answer again for myself.  It’s Good because of what Jesus did for us.  It’s Good because this is the day He showed us just how much He loves us by giving His life for us in the most painful and shameful way.  “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death–even death on a cross!”  (Philippians 2:8)

If He hadn’t done it, things wouldn’t look good.  There would be no hope.  It’s a paradox…it’s good coming out of something awful…it’s Romans 8:28“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Jesus said in John 12:27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’?  But for this purpose I came to this hour.”  Jesus was obedient to death, fulfilling the purpose that the Father had for Him on earth…He went to the cross to pay for ALL of our sins, and out of it came good.

I was reading John 19 this morning…the Good Friday story…and as I got to the end, I got really excited about something that I noticed that I don’t think I’ve ever noticed before. There have probably been thousands of sermons and blog posts about it…but this morning it was fresh for me!!  (You should read the story too…click on John 19 and it’ll take you straight to the passage!!)

Here’s where I got excited…

41Now 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. 42Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.”

In the garden…they laid Jesus there.

the garden tomb

In the garden.

Does your mind go the same place mine did??

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.  The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.  Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  (Genesis 2:7-9)

The first garden we know of was planted here in Genesis 2 by the LORD God Himself.  And this garden is where everything fell apart.  Where “…through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners…”  (Romans 5:19)  It’s the garden where sin entered the world through Adam.

butterfly on flowers

Then I saw it this morning…the place where Jesus was buried was a tomb…in a garden.  

We know that this is the place where He walked out of.  He got up and death was defeated and He walked out of the tomb that was located in a garden.

He rose, and that sin that entered in through the garden was defeated when He rose from the grave.  How convenient that He rose from a grave in a garden.  God planted the first garden and we ruined it by our disobedience.  But Jesus made it all right…He redeemed us…and the garden.

“For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”  (Romans 5:19)

The garden part is a small detail in the big picture.  But not really.  The big part is, of course, that because of what Jesus did, we can be right with God again like it was in the beginning, before sin.  We have hope now…hope of eternity with Him instead of eternity separated from Him in hell, which is what we deserve.

But God is into details.  Why is it that when we think of “garden” in relation to the Bible, we automatically go to the garden in Genesis where we messed up, instead of the garden where Jesus walked out victorious??  Isn’t that what we do??  We hear things like “love”, “relationships”, “purity”, and just like “garden”, we go to the broken place instead of the place of victory.  We sit in the wrong garden.  Jesus came to restore the things that sin destroyed.  Love.  Relationships.  Purity.  Whatever it is that is broken for you, He came to restore it and offer you victory and NEW life in Him!!  I LOVE that in God’s sovereignty He worked it out for Jesus to walk out of the tomb into a garden!! He redeemed us…and the garden!!

butterfly on flowers2

God took the garden back!

The Fall of man happened in the garden…and sin was defeated in the garden.

One man’s sin in a garden doomed us all.

THE ONE, Jesus, freed us all from the doom of sin by walking out of a grave, victorious, in a garden.

  • What is it today…today on Good Friday that doesn’t feel good but when we dig to the core of it, it IS GOOD, what is it that is your “garden”??  What is it that, when you think of it, you think of brokenness and shame?  Jesus died on this day so long ago to restore.  To heal.  To remove your shame.  To give you NEW LIFE IN HIM.

           The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
            Because the LORD has anointed me
            To bring good news to the afflicted;
            He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
            To proclaim liberty to captives
            And freedom to prisoners;

            To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD
            And the day of vengeance of our God;
            To comfort all who mourn,

         To grant those who mourn in Zion,
            Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
            The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
            The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
            So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
            The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

Isaiah 61:1-3

  • Will you let Him replace your ashes with a garland today??
  • Will you let Him take the “garden” where everything fell apart and give you a NEW garden where you are victorious in Christ?

Father, thank you for this day.  It is the day that Jesus died…even on a cross…so that I could be restored to You.  So that my great debt of sin would be paid for by the unblemished, perfect blood of Your own Son, Jesus.  Thank You for being into details…for restoring me to You and for redeeming the places that were broken.  Thank You for taking the “garden of sin” and giving me a “garden of victory” in Christ!!  Thank You for restoring all things, thank You for replacing my ashes with a garland…a garland that should have been a crown of thorns on my own head.  Jesus, thank You isn’t enough.  I thank You, though, with my life.  In Your holy and precious Name, Amen.

Blessings,

“Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you…”

Colossians 3:16a

~Nicole

wildflowers

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