Tuesday, September 17, 2019


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The Rev Andries Combrink is a Presbyterian Minister of the Gospel. He lives in Centurion, South Africa. 
To teach the Word of God is his calling,  based on the Reformed tradition. 

 

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It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ Mt 4:4.

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Mar 28

Written by: Andries
Thursday, March 28, 2019 2:22:42 AM  RssIcon

The Biblical narrative of our pilgrimage with God begins with the "Garden of Eden." In this garden, fellowship between God and his human friends was established. In this garden, God was our friend.
But then came our fall into sin. The God/man/woman relationship was ruined. That's why Adam and Eve had to be evicted from the garden. The alienation between God and us had begun. The tough journey that will take us back to Paradise began.
 
On the other hand, the Biblical narrative ends with telling us about the glory-filled garden at the end of our journey with the Lord, the garden called “Paradise”. The Book of Revelation tells us that unlike Eden, nothing impure will ever enter this garden, nor anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful. And there will be no more judgment, no more evil temptation and those who share God’s presence forever, will never fall into sin again.
 
Between the Garden of Eden and the eternal garden of Paradise, lies the "Garden of Gethsemane - that the Scriptures may be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" (Mt 26:54)
 
Gethsemane represents “sorrow to the point of death”. It reminds of fear, terror, horror, sorrow, grief, distress, anguish, of being troubled and being disturbed. Gethsemane reminds of the anguish of being a lost sinner, a lifelong enemy of God, standing before the throne of judgment, realising the consequences of not accepting the Lord’s invitation to receive his grace, mercy and redemption. This is the sorrow, the fear and the distress that Jesus experienced in the garden of Gethsemane, in our place.
 
In order to bring God’s people back into fellowship with him, the Lord Jesus had to experience the temptation and suffering of Gethsemane. Jesus suffered the hostility between God and humankind that Eden caused.
In a way, Gethsemane was the second Eden. Jesus experienced the fear for God’s judgment that the sin in the first Eden caused.
But Gethsemane was also the overturning of the outcome of Eden. In the first Eden, Adam was tempted and fell. In the second Eden, Jesus Christ was tempted and remained obedient.
 
In a way we still live in the Garden of Gethsemane. Until Jesus returns, we are to keep watch with him, work with him and experience distress for his church with him and see the overturning of the Eden events with him. Thus we are prepared for the Garden of Paradise in heaven.
 
The question remains. As we linger in this holy place of fear, reconciliation, obedience and sacrifice with Jesus, taking up our cross to follow Christ, are we doing better than the friends of Jesus did 2000 years ago?
 
Are we as clueless as Peter who draws his sword, picking a fight and more importantly, missing the whole point of the arrest of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Are we like Judas, ruthless betrayers and malicious enemies, even as we share this holy space with Christ?
Or are we like the rest of the disciples - despondent fugitives!
 
As part of his reprimand to Peter, Jesus said:
"... how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" (Mt 26:54). And, "... this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled" (Mt 26:56).
 
Jesus did what the Bible told him to do.
Nothing on earth or heaven would stop Jesus to accomplish our redemption as revealed through God’s Word in the Scriptures.
 
This is how we live in Gethsemane - and then journey to Paradise:
Believing what the Bible says.
And so follow our Saviour from Eden, through Gethsemane, Calvary and resurrection, to our glorious destination in Paradise! 

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