When we survey the great, epic battlegrounds of history, we never suspect a garden as a likely location. But in two very key places in Scripture, a garden became a battlefield. Heaven and Hell clashing for the heart of man.
The first battle—Garden of Eden
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. … When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened . . . Genesis 3:4, 6-7a NIV
Incredibly bad news for the brotherhood of man. In our first battle with the enemy, and as a son and soldier of God, we lost, not because we didn’t fight hard enough, but simply by not lifting a finger.
Through the centuries, this battle still rages. Daily, we’re all both casualties and accomplices. We make choices to continue the compliance, complacency, and cowardice of the First Adam. (1 Corinthians 15:45)
The second battle—Garden of Gethsemane
Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” … Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” —Mark 14:32, 35-36 NIV
Believing that Jesus was all God, yet all man—God’s Spirit contained in the human form of flesh—the God in Jesus knew the man in Jesus had to fight this battle, to once again face the enemy, but win. Eden revisited. This explains the deep struggle in which we see and hear Jesus engaged in Mark 14 above. Jesus had to show us the battle can be won and the key will always lie in His prayer and plea, “Abba, father, everything is possible for you.”
Jesus won by lifting Himself up, thereby gaining back all that was taken away in the first garden. The Second Adam redeeming the loss of the First Adam.
As we re-visit the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, let us come away knowing that we can die to the First Adam and be raised anew in the Second Adam, facing our seemingly-endless battles, yet again knowing, we can win, only because “Abba, father, everything is possible for you.”