Genesis 3:15; Mark 14:32-41; Mark 15:42-47 (John 19:41-42)
Mark 14:12-21, 32-52
The Prayer in the Garden
32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” 35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” 37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. 41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”
Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane
43 And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” 45 As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 46 Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. 47 And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled.
A Young Man Flees Naked
51 Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, 52 and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.
Gardens are revealing: design, care, provision, comfort, beauty, symmetry, seasons, places of rest and refection, tranquility and meditation. In a secondary way, gardens reveal the plan of a master gardener and they reveal the bounty of provision. Gardens are also important in Scripture: Garden of Eden; Gethsemane & Jesus’ betrayal; Jesus burial.
Gardens Have a Central Place in the Gospel and The Gospel Can Be Discovered in the Gardens of God. Let’s see how this works as we look at:
1) A GARDEN OF PROMISE The Garden of Eden was the first
2) A GARDEN OF SHELTER Jesus was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane
3) A GARDEN OF VICTORY Jesus was buried in the garden of the tomb
1) A GARDEN OF PROMISE (Gen. 3:15) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.
Once God finished creating: a garden was planted, The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed (2:8). This wasn’t an ordinary garden: It was one of beauty (pleasing to the sight), and it was a garden of plenty (good for consumption). The Garden also served as a place of refuge for the first humans where all their needs were met and as a bonus, God met with them daily in the Garden for fellowship.
There was only one restriction in the Garden: the forbidden tree, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die (v. 3).
Insubordination led to enticement and the Fall, Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” 12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” 13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate. (vv. 4-13).
It was in this garden where God gave us His promise for our emancipation, And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel (v. 15). Christ, the promised One of the Father, would bruise the Serpent’s head.
2) A GARDEN OF SHELTER
(Matthew 26:36) Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there
The time to bruise the Serpent’s head has drawn near, bringing the promise of the first garden into consummation, Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, 2 “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified (Genesis 1:1).
The conflict between Jesus Kingdom and the forces of darkness was about to culminate as the conflict of the ages. But let me know say that Gethsemane was a far greater struggle than the Wilderness Temptation. In the wilderness, the temptation was external and came in the form of a full on frontal attack. In Gethsemane, the struggle was internal, as Jesus struggled with the reality of His purpose, becoming sin for us, For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). But before the conflict, there was…
Meal Time Mark writes with intentionality. He deliberately ties each of the meal stories together even as he addresses the Last Supper and how this leads to Gethsemane. Mark does this by identifying that the disciples ask Jesus where the food is coming from, just as they did with the feeding of the multitudes (6:37). In both that activity and now, they share in the preparation of the meals we will see later in Mark 2-3, Jesus manner of eating and His choices for company, lead to the Pharisees and Herodians wanting see His death. After the second mealtime story, Jesus tells His disciples to beware the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod (8:15). Jesus was telling that their desire for signs and wonders apart from conversion and faith were illegitimate.
Unleavened bread (14:12) Jesus Celebrates the Passover with His Disciples
12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?” 13 And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. 14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.” 16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.
Jesus establishes the difference between His real bread and there false leaven. Our lesson from this is: discipleship means sharing Jesus table, which also means we are sharing His passion and death with just a promise of glory somewhere in the future. From Mark’s perspective, that is what the Eucharist is and it is the basis for genuine discipleship.
Jesus went to the Holy City of Jerusalem to celebrate the night of Israel’s redemption (Exodus 12), the night that Jewish tradition also saw as their future point of redemption. During the celebration, Jesus calmly tells His friends that the prophecy of Psalm 41:9 is being fulfilled, even my bosom friend whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted his heel against me, when He tells those who were gathered in the Upper Room that one of them will betray Him. Jesus woe pronouncement to the betrayer is a sharp contrast to the blessing of the woman in (14:9). Both will be remembered, one as a point of praise, the other in infamy.
As the bread and wine are used, Jesus gives us a new meaning that differs from the suffering and affliction the children of Israel suffered in Egypt. The suffering and infliction of pain will be His, not the peoples. And His focus is not on the bread, it’s on the wine in the cup. Jesus gives thanks (eucharistos). Three OT passages are invoked by His words, Exodus 24:6-8, which is the sealing of the covenant by the blood of sacrifice, Jeremiah 31:31-33, the promise of the new covenant, and Isaiah 53:12, “the many” for whom the suffering servant offers His life, as foretold by Mark 10:45. The Eucharist becomes a sacrificial meal that encompasses the entire meaning of Jesus’ life and death. The cup particularly summarizes discipleship (10:38, 14:36), as table fellowship with Jesus is also a commitment to martyrdom. It is also clear from verse 25 that Jesus vows to abstain from drinking of the 4th cup of Passover, which celebrates the consummation of the covenant, where God comes to take His people into the covenant of union completely. The first cup is called Sanctification (I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians), the second is Blessing (I will free you from being slaves to them), the third is Redemption (I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and mighty acts of judgment) and the fourth is Acceptance (I will take you as my people and I will be your God.)
GETHSEMANE DEMONSTRATES THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STRUGGLING & CHARACTER
Let me point out a painful truth that Scripture holds out to us, The Cross is Holy Spirit’s primary instrument for shaping our character. The events in Gethsemane represent a Man who—though He’s the sinless Son of God and knows that what He’s asking for isn’t why He’s there—still He cries out for reprieve from the Cross.
Jesus wasn’t seeking to escape His responsibility, but He is struggling with the horrendous pressure of a situation that any human being would rather avoid. This isn’t cowardice or rebellion; this is a Human Being experiencing His life’s purpose hammered out on an anvil of circumstance, and it’s going to cost Him His life. Jesus is asking if it can be worked out another way. Each of us have gone through tough times in which we’ve said to God, “I don’t want this to happen to me.” Under those pressures, many abandon their availability to that process. Jesus didn’t.
Character is the willingness to do the right thing when everything around you is going wrong. We each face at some time in life a pivotal moment out of a commitment we’ve made to the Lord’s way, even though everything in us screams for its own way. It involves a dying, a surrender of things. Everything in our serve-your-own-interest society argues against this surrender, and apart from a careful assessment of Jesus and His approach to the Cross, this same self-gratification creeps into the lives of believers, crumbling the foundations of many who end up far removed from what the Lord has created them to be in Him.
Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Peter, James, and John accompanied Him: From Transfiguration to Temptation. The Liberator of the Adamic races’ torment was poured out in this Garden. Angelic ministers came to fortify Him, Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him (Luke 22:43). Immense drops of blood fell to the ground during His extreme praying. The hardest prayer to pray is “Your will done.”
3) A GARDEN OF VICTORY
(John 19:41-42) Now 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. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby
We are fast forwarding. The Crucifixion is over. Christ has died for sinners, for you and me! As a temporary measure, Jesus is placed in Joseph’s tomb that John says is in a garden. This allows the Prophetic Scriptures to be fulfilled (Isaiah 53). The garden tomb becomes the scene of the Resurrection. The stone closing the tomb was rolled away, Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb (John 20:1). The linen burial clothes were there but not Jesus, And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in (20:5). Death could not hold our Savior Jesus!
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTIMACY & WILLINGNESSAND THE CROSS IN OUR LIFE
When we bring our struggles to the Cross, they are book-ended by two things:
- An intimacy of relationship and trust
- A willingness, restfulness and surrender
Back to Gethsemane, The intimacy of relationship is found in the opening words of Jesus prayer: Abba, Father. They describe Jesus’ trust in and availability to the Father; his readiness to reach up and take “Daddy’s” hand for support.
What is the heart of the heavenly Father who, if there were another way, would delight in nothing more than to send 10,000 angels and rescue His Son from this moment? But there is no other way. In that light, can you still call God “Daddy” when there is no other way out but through? Your character will tell you the answer. It will say “No,” unless it has been shaped by Calvary. “Nevertheless not what I will, but what You will” are not words of resignation. They are words of deliberate commitment.
REST LEADS TO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OUTBREAK & OVERFLOW
There are times in our lives when everything argues for another course, but deep in the integrity of your heart you know that isn’t the Father’s way. The living Jesus, who has come to forgive us and save us, comes to live in us to give us the same strength of character as He had. Having made the choice of the Cross and borne the price of that struggle, two things are unleashed:
- The outbreak of redemption
- The revelation of eternal life and glory
Because Jesus chooses the Father’s will, there will break upon this planet full redemption salvation. Three days later, there will become a manifest, explosive breakthrough of life that will crush the power of hell and, for all time, open the gates of glory to the redeemed.
Being available to God’s redemptive work through you
God not just building your character, but as He did with His Son, God is seeking to work something redemptive through you. It will cost you to become an instrument of redemption. But when it’s over, anything you thought you were losing, will be fully recovered, plus more than you can imagine.
As Jesus comes to the Cross, considering the cost to Himself, He is not asking for a way out on His own terms—the terms are scriptural: Father, all things are possible to You. We often miss the fact that within Jesus, blended in the one Person is the eternal God and a Human Being. His sinlessness is not altered by this encounter, but His humanness is screaming out loud in Gethsemane. Unless we can capture a reality of this that is spoken three times by Jesus, we won’t understand how entirely acceptable it is to God when your heart cries out in struggles and looks for a way out.
Learning how to bring our struggling to Christ’s Cross is to recognize that there’s nothing of your struggle that is unwelcome in heaven, or unwilling to be heard by the Father. Identifying with Jesus’ struggle is to recognize that He is focusing everything of His agony and bringing it before the Father. When we have a struggle, many times we opt to manage it in a way other than the will of God. The struggle isn’t brought to the Lord. We don’t say, Father if this is possible… we say, Father, this is impossible and so we choose our own way. It is the way of the flesh to find some justification before God for our doing it your own way rather than saying, I’ll come the way of the Cross.
God’s Gardens Reveal Our Promised, Praying, Powerful, Savior. Will You Trust Him to Save You Today? Will You Allow His Love to Bloom in the Garden Your Heart?