A Word from the Pastor
An Easter Meditation
Across the world, an ancient journey has begun. Commencing on Ash Wednesday, most of Christendom is now walking the ancient path toward the cross. It is a familiar journey for many of us. We will pass signposts that guide us each year. There will be teachings from Jesus, reactions from religious leaders, miracles performed by Jesus and questions from the Disciples. We will travel to the Upper Room and “listen in” on an intimate conversation between Jesus and His closest friends. We will observe an infamous betrayal by one of His own. Then – we will walk the Via Dolorosa – the way of suffering. Finally, we will stand once again at Golgotha and acknowledge the death of the Son of God. And then – we will marvel at the power of God when we stare at an empty tomb and are greeted by a risen Savior!
One of the places we will visit will be a garden. It is a memorable place. Gardens figure prominently in The Big Story. It was a garden in Eden where the human story began. It was in that garden where the first betrayal took place. Adam and Eve betrayed the command of God. In that garden, Satan appeared as a serpent. The purposes of God were interrupted by willful disobedience. That garden was transformed from a place of innocence to a place of judgment.
Quite fitting that Jesus visited a garden on the night of his arrest. Located on the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane was a favorite gathering spot for Jesus and His friends (John 18:2). In this garden, the Son of God was tested. However, unlike His forbear, the Second Adam (Romans 5:19; 1 Corinthians 15:45) chose the path of obedience. Satan showed up in this garden as well. Judas came with a detachment of soldiers to arrest Jesus. Once again, betrayal surfaced in a garden. However, Jesus chose to willfully obey the Father’s plan. He refused to choose the path of force and He allowed the guards to escort Him to a hastily planned trial.
The first garden is associated with the Curse. The second garden is the place where the Curse was answered. The prophecy given by God in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:15 was now being fulfilled in the Garden of Gethsemane. God’s plan of redemption would not be thwarted by Satan, Judas, Temple guards, priests or a Roman prefect.
Hymn-writer Charles Gabriel captured what happened in the Garden with his poetic expression:
For me it was in the garden
He prayed: Not My will, but Thine.
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.