A Garden Discovery

Categories: Bible Study

I know the Bible gets deeper and wider the more we read it. Many truths are like gold that we have to dig and search for, as Solomon describes the way to seek wisdom as silver or hidden treasures in Proverbs 2.

But other insights are given to us like nuggets lying on the surface of the stream of His grace, just waiting for us to pick up and admire. God gave me one of those nuggets this morning as I was thinking about the first resurrection morning.

What first caught my attention was this quote by G. K. Chesterton:

“On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realized the new wonder; but even they hardly realized that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.” –GK Chesterton

I had never thought much about Mary Magdalene mistakenly identifying Jesus as the gardener in the story John tells of her visit to the tomb. Finding it empty Mary turns from the two angels to see Jesus, and:

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” (John 20:15)

What if Mary wasn’t mistaken about calling Jesus a gardener, but saw something true about the figure in front of her?

Wasn’t Adam’s job to be a gardener in Eden, to work it and keep it (Genesis 2:15)?

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

But when the first Adam sinned, he was sent out of the garden into a wilderness of thorns and thistles and painful toil. Christ as the Last Adam is the true Gardener returned to remove the thorns, “far as the curse is found,” as we sing in Isaac Watts’ hymn of joy at Christmas:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

Another interesting contrast in the two garden scenes is the different way Adam and Mary respond to the voice of God. When God calls to Adam, Adam turns away and hides because of the shame of his sin. When Jesus calls Mary by her name, rather than turning away, she immediately recognizes who He is and tries to cling to him (John 20:16-17).  Jesus, the new Gardener has made complete provision for our shame through his death and resurrection. We no longer need to hide. A new dawn has truly come.