Gethsemane – The Garden Restored
Jesus must have defined work differently than we do. To accomplish God’s work doesn’t mean we have finished everything on the world’s to-do list. Jesus said,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29, NASB).
This proves, indeed, to be work for us. Though we still sweat and labor, Christ has labored for us. He accomplished the work God sent Him to do. Though painful and uncomfortable, we head to the garden, once again, to find the fulfillment of the work curse. In the garden, in the thick darkness, Jesus agonized in private prayer, tormented over the coming sacrifice: “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.’ Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22: 42-44, NASB).
The Scriptures tell us that the entire Roman cohort made a mockery of the assertion that Jesus was a king. They dressed Him up in a purple robe, wove a crown of thorns, and crushed it on His head, shouting “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:29; Mark 15:18; John 19:3). They spit at him and alternately knelt and bowed before Him and beat Jesus’ thorn-circled head with a reed. But Christ ended this part of the curse when those who mocked and betrayed Him rammed a crown of thorns into His brow. In one more instance of turning cursing into blessings, those thorns of mockery from the enemies actually signaled the end of an era. Isaiah prophesied of a time when: “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the LORD, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off” (Isaiah 55:13, NASB).
Eden’s curse of thorns and thistles would be no more, their absence an eternal sign of the presence and power of God. By accepting that crown of thorns, and with His subsequent victory over sin and death, Christ had “put all His enemies under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25) and crushed the head of the serpent. This is hard to hear. Especially in light of the thorns and thistles I allowed to grow in my home, in my garden-heart, this week. Thorns of anger, self-pity, and self-absorption. Thistles that barricaded me from loved ones, God, and friends. I cordoned off my soul and my joy by allowing those cursed weeds to live here, take root, and poison me. Amazingly, my thorns-and-thistles self does not alter Christ’s work and provision for the end of the curse. After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him” (Mark 15:20, NASB).
In every curse, God moves between us and total realization of the effects of the curse, providing and becoming bread, working by the sweat of our brows, fulfilling the work for us, cursing the land with thorns, wearing a mocking crown of thorns to signal their riddance. Never have we had to live totally without provision in the place of between. Never have we fully been left to feel the entire ramifications of the curses. This is grace. This is Christ. This is Gethsemane and Golgotha and a crown of thorns.