Have you ever planted a garden? For me, there is a certain amount of excitement that goes into a garden’s existence. Consideration as to where this garden will be located, what will be the types of plants living in the garden and how large of an area will the garden take up are but just a few questions that come to mind. There are vegetable gardens, flower gardens, water gardens, windowsill gardens not to mention herb gardens and formal gardens. As a matter of fact there are magazines like Better Homes and Gardens that offer various ideas for those looking to begin or perhaps improve their garden spaces.
My blog entry today however, doesn’t necessarily take into consideration the garden itself, although the garden itself is very important, but what I would like to offer to you in this entry relates to the one who cares for the garden or better stated, the gardener. I want to offer two or three scripture passages from the old and new testament of the bible that I hope will invite the reader to explore with me the importance of the gardener.
In Genesis 2:8 the scripture reads, “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man he had created.” I suppose the significance of this garden, if I had to guess, came from the One who planted it. That being the case, what was to take place there, if you know the story, has been told and re-told with so many twists and turns. Placing the man God created in the garden causes me to consider the importance God placed upon his created being. After all, if you planted a garden, would it matter what you placed in it? What I hold up for us to consider is the significance of the presence of God, who was the Gardener by the way, and His initial choices.
The next garden I would like to include in this entry is the garden of Gethsemane. You can read about the significant happenings in this garden in the new testament gospels of Matthew chapter 26 and Mark chapter 14. It occurs to me that in light of the presence of God, substantial happenings take place within gardens. Within the garden of Gethsemane the night Jesus of Nazareth was betrayed began the suffering he would endure at the hands of sinners. “Sin” is taken from the greek word hamartia. It has been translated as “missing the mark.” If sin is missing the mark, then what mark are we consistently missing? I hold up for you to consider that being blind to who we really are in Christ Jesus is in essence sin. Jesus came to reveal the Father to us, who is our Source. but we were so blind to this truth that all we could think to do when our ignorance was revealed was to kill him and that’s what we did. When Jesus reported to those around him that if you had seen him, you had seen the Father then I hold up the idea that we crucified the Gardener.
The last garden I want to include is spoken of in the gospels of the new testament. But the gospel of John is the record I want to offer as we consider the garden tomb where it was recorded the body of Jesus was placed after he died on the cross. Scripture indicates that this garden tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathaea. What is so significant about this garden has to do with Mary Magdalene. When she and the other women discovered the garden tomb to be empty, she is overcome with distress. As she is contemplating what actions she needed to take in order to care for the deceased body of Jesus, she makes an inquiry to someone she thought was the gardener. “If only you could tell me where they have laid him…” Then the Gardener spoke her name and she recognized him to be Jesus.
Three gardens, one gardener. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” God said he was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to himself. Once a garden has been planted the skill of the gardener brings that which is included to maturity. When the Gardener was resurrected from that garden tomb outside of Jerusalem he brought new life to the one included in the original garden. That’s you and me! We exist because we are included. Waking up to this truth dispels our ignorance and this truth takes away the “sin” of the world.