Peace for the Day

Devotions for our daily angst.

Easter Garden

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Jerusalem_Gethsemane_tango7174

“Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.” John 18:1 MSG

“Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb…” John 19:41 RSV

When I consider God, I am awed. Get this. The fall of mankind occurred in a garden. Most of us have heard of the Garden of Eden, Adam, Eve, and the serpent. But did we ever tie this together with the fact that in a perfect counterbalance to the fall, the physical redemption of mankind also took place in a garden? Selah – pause and think carefully.

That rocks my world. So I started researching Biblical gardens. Until recently, I don’t think I recognized how many gardens God intertwined in his book. Sometimes I read the words of the Bible without really, well, reading the words of the Bible. How many times have I read about the crucifixion and the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid without seeing the words “in the garden”?

Then there’s Gethsemane, the Olive Garden. Per the National Research Council of Italy, the olive trees in what is considered to be the Garden of Gethsemane, are some of the oldest trees known to science. (Reuters (October 20, 2012)) The name itself speaks to what happened to Jesus while he was there prior to being arrested. Gethsemane translates “olive press”. In ancient times, the oil was pressed out of olives by a large millstone. It rolled over and over them breaking down the olive flesh to extract the precious oil.

Jesus understood the agony of a Roman crucifixion. The Romans made sure the executions occurred in a very public place, like the main road in and out of town, where all could see as the passed by. When he entered the garden, Jesus knew exactly what he was about to face. Each Gospel writer explained the event from a unique perspective but the point was the same. Compiled they provide insight into the pressure Jesus must have felt. He plunged into an agonizing sorrow, a sinkhole of dreadful agony. He said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out.” He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.[1]

That the stress and weight – pressure – of what he was about to endure occurred in a garden called The Olive Press was no coincidence. It was, simply put, God.

[1] Matthew 26:38, Mark 14:32-34, Luke 22:41-44 The Message

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2 thoughts on “Easter Garden

  1. A very new slant on the crucifiication and much appreciated!

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  2. Who knew? Thanks! Funny that “In the Garden,” my favorite hymn (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aIhta9exts&feature=player_detailpage), has been on my mind for weeks.

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