Adam was called to guard and keep the Garden. This certainly included his need to protect his bride from the temptations of the evil one. When Jesus entered into his sufferings on the cross, he did so with His bride—the church—with him there in the Garden. As Adam should have warned Eve to “watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41), so Jesus warns his bride—the Church—to do that very thing. There is a striking parallel between the events of the two Gardens—Eden and Gethsemane.
The Scriptures tell us that the Son of God began His sufferings in a Garden and brought them to a close in a Garden. That is an absolutely amazing display of God’s wisdom. After all, Jesus is the second Adam undoing what Adam did and doing what Adam failed to do (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:47-49). He is the Heavenly Bridegroom, entering into his sufferings in a Garden for the redemption of his bride, the Church. He is the Heavenly Gardener, giving himself to the cultivation of the souls of his people through his atoning sacrifice and continual intercession.
When he hung on the cross, Jesus spoke of Glory under the name of “Paradise”—an evident allusion to the paradise in which our first parents dwelt and the paradise from which they fell. He is the second Adam who, by the shedding of his blood, secured the New Creation. As we consider the double entendres of the fourth Gospel, we come to those specifically concerning the biblical theology of the second Adam in the Garden. Consider the theological significance of the following two Garden settings in which Christ carried out the work of redemption.
1. Jesus began His sufferings in a Garden in order to show that He came to undo what Adam had done.
In his soul-stirring book, Looking Unto Jesus, Isaac Ambrose explained the theological significance of the Garden motif in the Gospels—both with regard to the beginning of Christ’s sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane and at the end of his sufferings in the Garden where his body was laid to rest in the tomb. Concerning the first of these symbolic gardens, Ambrose suggested:
“Jesus went forth with his disciples over the brook Kidron, where there was a garden [John 18:1];” many mysteries are included in this word, and I believe it is not without reason that our Savior goes into a garden…Because a garden was the place wherein we fell, and therefore Christ made choice of a garden to begin there the greatest work of our redemption: in the first garden was the beginning of all evils; and in this garden was the beginning of our restitution from all evils; in the first garden, the first Adam was overthrown by Satan, and in this garden the second Adam overcame, and Satan himself was by him overcome; in the first garden sin was contracted; and we were indebted by our sins to God, and in this garden sin was paid for by that great and precious price of the blood of God: in the first garden man surfeited by eating the forbidden fruit, and in this garden Christ sweat it out wonderfully, even by a bloody sweat; in the first garden, death first made its entrance into the world; and in this garden life enters to restore us from death to life again; in the first garden Adam’s liberty to sin brought himself and all of us into bondage; and, in this garden, Christ being bound and fettered, we are thereby freed and restored to liberty. I might thus descant in respect of every circumstance, but this is the sum, in a garden first began our sin, and in this garden first began the passion, that great work and merit of our redemption.
Since “a garden was the place wherein we fell…therefore Christ made choice of a garden to begin there the greatest work of our redemption,” Jesus is the second Adam. It is fitting, therefore, that his work of undoing all that Adam did should begin in a Garden. Charles Spurgeon drew out this same observation, stating:
May we not conceive that as in a garden Adam’s self-indulgence ruined us, so in another garden the agonies of the second Adam should restore us. Gethsemane supplies the medicine for the ills which followed upon the forbidden fruit of Eden. No flowers which bloomed upon the banks of the four-fold river were ever so precious to our race as the bitter herbs which grew hard by the black and sullen stream of Kedron.