“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” When you read the first line of Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities, and compare the garden of Eden to the garden of Gethsemane, there is an interesting spiritual correlation.
While humanity’s time in the garden was a high point for us, our exit was truly the worst of times. In foolishness, we believed the serpent, and we were incredulous to the commands of God. In darkness and despair, we were cast from the garden. Without the love and grace of God we had nothing before us, and we were going “direct the other way.” Romans 5:12 reads, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Thanks be to God that we were not left in that state. In our despair and hopelessness, God loved us. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17).
Gethsemane was the beginning of the sacrifice of the Christ. It was the best of times for us. “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:17-19). The Christ and all His sacrifice is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24); He is the basis for our belief (Acts 8:37) and the reason for our hope (1 Tim. 1:1). Those who are in Christ can confidently say, “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).
As we think about the two gardens, they represent two very different points in our relationship with God. The choices made in one marked our condemnation. The choices made in the other, our salvation.