Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Redeeming Eden

Creation and the fall began in a garden. So did redemption. The more I look at Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, the more I see that he was re-enacting what happened in the Garden of Eden.

As God was betrayed by Adam and Eve, so Jesus was betrayed by humanity in Gethsemane. Denied by Peter three times, abandoned three times by his sleepy disciples, and eventually deserted by them all at his arrest, he experienced human relationships at their most fickle. His betrayal was particularly brutal. The 'Judas kiss' was the kiss of a disciple to his Rabbi - the so-called sign of affection and belonging from an apprentice to his mentor. Gethsemane reveals the dark underbelly of humanity. It has not evolved since Eden. Humanity is shown to be in moral decay.

Jesus' vision of the cup that He would drink at the cross literally brought him to his knees. Pleading with His Father to find another way of redeeming humanity, he sweats drops of blood as he sees what he will endure on our behalf. He is overcome with horror, overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. The cup he will drink is the cup of the Father's holy wrath at humanity's revolt against God.

What stuns me about this passage is not only Jesus' willingness to endure the cup. It is his willingness to endure it on behalf of such a fickle, two-faced, sleepy, greedy creepy bunch of people. People like you and me. The bitter cup of redeeming humanity must have been made that much more bitter by his sense of betrayal by his closest friends. Those he had invested his life into. How tempted he must have been to harden his heart? To allow bitterness to take root? But that is the whole point isn't it? It is at our lowest, darkest, most unfaithful point that Jesus sees us and is faithful to stay, and pay for us with his own life.

He is not just the betrayed God, re-enacting Eden. He is the faithful second Adam, tempted to disobey God, but obeying instead, and therefore redeeming Eden! What an indescribably loving Savior!

He not only redeems us, tasting God's wrath on our behalf, He is able to empower us in moments of temptation because he was tempted but remained faithful - not only in areas like lust, greed, addiction - also in the area of relationships. A husband left you, a business partner cheated on you, a parent abandoned you, a best friend found a new best friend, a child rebelled. When we feel betrayed ourselves and are tempted towards bitterness and retaliation, He is the One who overcame the greatest betrayal and remained faithful. He is able to help us. We are not victims. he empowers us to say, like he said, "Not my will but Yours be done."

Gethsemane means 'Wine press of Olives.' In Gethsemane, Jesus was relationally and emotionally crushed like an olive, so that we would not be. In fact, because he was crushed, we can drink the oil of intimacy with His Father, experiencing his joy and healing when we feel relationally and emotionally crushed. Jesus sweated blood in the
dark night of the Gethsemane, so that we could walk with God again in the cool day of Eden.

1 comment:

  1. Great Blog Post! So looking forward to this message on Sunday and how God will minister healing to His people.