Making Much of the Resurrection


This series is being put together in an effort to help us make much of special days throughout the year the highlight significant Christian events. So far we’ve tried to make much of the Incarnation and the Crucifixion and this post will attempt to do that with the Resurrection. It is impossible to make much of the Resurrection without the Crucifixion, and vice versa, so there will be some overlapping themes between the last post and this one. Following the Resurrection, this series will make much of the Ascension and Pentecost.

When we left off making much of the Crucifixion, we were left with a cliffhanger. Would the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross work? Of course we already know the answer but if we could, suspend that belief for a few brief seconds.
While we wait for three days in anticipation of whether or not Christ was truly who he said he was, let’s reflect on how this all started and the three gardens, three battlegrounds, that we’ve read about in the Scriptures so far. (I’m not sure if this idea is original to him or not but the “Four Gardens” is something I came across in a book called Side by Side by Ed Welch pg. 123-128.)

When we think of the different gardens in Scripture, probably the first one that we think of is indeed the first one: the Garden of Eden. This was the first battleground in all of Scripture. Here the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, squared off against Satan. In Genesis 3:1-5 we read about the famous lies that Satan threw at Adam and Eve and we know what happened. Adam and Eve lost. They failed and humanity has been cursed ever since. The Garden of Eden was closed and cursed.

The second garden is unexpected until we stop and think about it. A perfect garden is flowing with streams, plants everywhere, life and smells. A cursed garden would be the exact opposite: a wasteland, dried out and reeking of death. It would be a desert, which is exactly where the next battle between man and Satan would occur. Except this time, things went different. In Luke 4:1-13, Jesus, the perfect man, was led into the desert and there was tempted by Satan in exactly the same way the first man was. Satan appealed to Jesus’ senses and his desires. He accused God the Father before God the Son and the Son resisted. When Satan accused, Jesus was not led astray. This should be understood as a turning point in all of history. Where Adam failed, Jesus was victorious.

Just a few pages later in Scripture, there is another battleground and another garden. Jesus is being led to his death and his friends are with him in the Garden of Gethsemane. In this grove of olive trees, Mark tells us that a massive spiritual battle is taking place. In Mark 14:32-38, he records that Jesus begged his friends to stay awake, pray, and battle. They failed. If we were there with Jesus, we would have failed too. But once again, in a situation where anyone but Christ would have failed, he did not. He obediently went to his death. The climax of the battle and we are left breathless and awaiting the outcome.

Three gardens and three battlegrounds.
Three days have passed and the earth is groaning. Mary is weeping and comes in the early morning hours to visit her son. In John 20:15-16, as Mary is outside the burial place of her son, a man asks her “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

John has already told us who this man was, but Mary has no idea. In fact, she mistakes him for the caretaker of the grounds around her.

She thinks he is the gardener.

Dear friends this Easter Sunday as we celebrate the Resurrection, make much of the last garden. In this garden, there is no longer any battle. No accuser. No death. The centerpiece of this garden is an empty tomb which stands as proof for all of us that God the Father has looked upon the death of Jesus as an acceptable atonement. God the Father smiled upon his Son and raised him back from the dead as proof for all of us of that in Jesus there is life forever.

Make much of the Resurrection. Preach it to our hearts, to our spouses, to our children, and our families. Man was cursed and walking in a dark and deserted wasteland. The perfect man has come and brought light and life forever.
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