History Will One Day End In Another Garden!
The private ministry of our Lord with His disciples has now ended, and the public drama of redemption is about to begin. Man will do his worst, and God will respond with His very best. “But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.” (Rom. 5:20).
Perhaps the best way to see the truths in John 18:1-27, and grasp the lessons they convey, is to pay attention to the symbolism that is involved. John’s Gospel is saturated with symbols, some more obvious than others; and these symbols convey some important spiritual truths.
- The Garden—Obedience (John 18:1)
- The Kiss—Treachery (John 18:2-9)
- The Sword—Rebellion (John 18:10)
- The Cup—Submission (John 18:11-14)
- The Fire—Denial (John 18:15-27)
After Jesus had said these things, He went out with His disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, and He and His disciples went into it.
John 18:1 (HCSB)
Jesus often went to this Garden with His disciples, no doubt to rest, meditate, and pray (Luke 22:39). Jerusalem was filled with pilgrims attending the Passover, and Jesus would want to get away from the crowded city to a private place. He knew that Judas would come for Him there, and He was ready.
Human history began in a Garden (Gen. 2:8), and the first sin of man was committed in that Garden. The first Adam disobeyed God and was cast out of the Garden, but the Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45) was obedient as He went into the Garden of Gethsemane. In a Garden, the first Adam brought sin and death to mankind; but Jesus, by His obedience, brought righteousness and life to all who will trust Him. He “humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross“ (Phil. 2:8).
History will one day end in another garden, the heavenly city that John describes in Revelation 21 and 22. In that garden, there will be no more death and no more curse. The river of the water of life will flow ceaselessly and the tree of life will produce bountiful fruit.
- Eden was the Garden of disobedience and sin;
- Gethsemane was the Garden of obedience and submission; and
- Heaven shall be the eternal garden of delight and satisfaction, to the glory of God.
The name Gethsemane means, “Oil press.” Even today there are ancient olive trees in Gethsemane, though certainly not the ones that were there in Jesus’ day. The olives would be picked and put into the press for their oil. What a picture of suffering! So our Lord would go through the “oil press” and the “winepress” (Isa. 63:3) and taste our judgment for us.
The Brook Kidron is also significant. The name means “dusky, gloomy,” referring to the dark waters that were often stained by the blood from the temple sacrifices. Our Lord and His disciples were about to go through “dark waters,” and Jesus would experience the “waves and billows” of God’s wrath (Ps. 42:7; also note Jonah 2:3).
The Kidron had special historical significance, for King David crossed the Kidron when he was rejected by his nation and betrayed by his own son, Absalom (2 Sam. 15; also note John 18:23). Jesus had been rejected by His people and at that very moment was being betrayed by one of His own disciples!
It is interesting that David’s treacherous counselor Ahithophel hanged himself (2 Sam. 17:23), and David’s treacherous son Absalom was caught in a tree and killed while hanging there (2 Sam. 18:9-17). Judas, of course, went out and hanged himself (Matt. 27:3-10).
Jesus fully knew what lay before Him, yet He went to the Garden in obedience to the Father’s will. He left eight of the men near the entrance, and took Peter, James, and John and went to another part of the Garden to pray (Matt. 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42). His human soul longed for the kind of encouragement and companionship they could give Him at this critical hour; but, alas, they went to sleep! It was easy for the men to boast about their devotion to Christ, but when the test came, they failed miserably. Before we judge them too severely, however, we had better examine our own hearts.
To Be Continued…