The Story of the Three Gardens
As Easter approaches, you probably envision bunnies, baby chicks, and little lambs as part of the spring and garden décor, but certainly not roosters. However, roosters (and lambs) are part of the real Easter story. To understand the Easter account, let’s take a walk through three gardens.
In the first garden
In the beautiful Garden of Eden, there lived a man and a woman…and a crafty serpent, a troublemaker of sorts. God told the man and the woman they may eat from any tree in the garden, but there was one tree that was off limits. It was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and if they ate from it they would die. Up to this point, death had not occurred. Unfortunately, the serpent began to deceive the woman by questioning the goodness of God, “Did God really say…” “You shall surely not die…” Eve listened to the liar and ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. Her husband, Adam also ate of it. They disobeyed God’s one commandment and sinned against Him.
Like Adam and Eve, we too have partaken in things God calls forbidden. Since God is holy in nature, sin separates us from Him. So God lovingly bridged the gap by sending His one and only Son into the world to pay the penalty for our sins. God loved us so much that He wanted to be in a loving relationship with us and restore our union with Him, but the penalty meant death for His Son. God’s Son humbled Himself and took on the form of a human being. Shortly after His birth, the King [Herod] tried to have Jesus killed, but that didn’t stop God’s overall plan, as it wasn’t time for Him to die yet. Jesus grew up, performed many miracles, and taught the truth. However, not everyone was delighted to see Him.
In the second garden
In the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus was in His thirties He was arrested. He had been turned in by one of His followers. Judas turned out to be a crook and handed Him over to the authorities for thirty pieces of silver. They arrested Jesus and took Him to the home of the high priest where He was questioned. Two of Jesus’ disciples followed along; one of which was Peter. It was a cold night. Peter was outside in the courtyard trying to stay warm, when he was accused of being associated with Jesus, the one arrested. Peter denied it. As the night progressed, Peter was accused three times and each time he denied knowing Jesus. After the third denial, the cock crowed! Jesus heard the rooster and looked at Peter off in the distance. It’s as if the alarm went off in Peter’s mind and he was reminded of a conversation the two had earlier.
The old crafty serpent was at it again. Jesus had warned Peter that Satan, the serpent of old, “wants to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed that your faith may not fail. And when you return, strengthen your brethren.” The old dusty serpent had to ask God’s Son permission to mess with one of His own. Jesus didn’t say no, but prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. By all accounts it may seem like His prayer didn’t work, but it did. Jesus already knew the outcome. In the next breath, Jesus said, “And when you return…” Peter’s faith was going to be rocked to the core, but he would repent and get back up, dust off his shortcomings, and go strengthen his brethren, which would occur later…after the cross when they needed Peter. Until then, the man who was considered rock solid crumbled.
The cock crowed, Jesus turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered Jesus’ warning. Shamed, he left and wept bitterly!
In the third garden
Jesus was put on trial and sentenced to death. Remember, He was sent to pay the penalty for our sins and bring us back into a loving relationship with God. A relationship that had been fractured in the Garden of Eden. Near the cross, there was a garden with a new tomb that had not been used. After Jesus died, His body was wrapped and placed in the tomb with a large stone to secure it. Three days later, Mary Magdelene, a follower of Jesus, came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been moved. She told Peter who ran to see for himself. Overjoyed by what he saw, he went to tell the others who didn’t believe at first, but shortly thereafter came to realize, the Son of God had risen from the dead!
© By Sheri Lamas