Everything in Jesus’ life is the fulfillment of God’s Word and plan; even what appear to be the smallest details reported in the Gospels teach not only of His authority and sovereignty, but testify to us personally as to His authority and work in our life. The final chapters of the first book of the New Covenant bring full circle the events of the first few chapters of the very first book of the Old Covenant. Therefore we will begin this week’s study with a review of events in the “first” garden.
First read through Genesis 2 & 3 before beginning the lesson.
Read Genesis 2:8-9, 15-18, 22
Q: Where does it all start? What is the commonly referred to name of this place?
A: The Garden of Eden.
Q: What are the 3 types of trees God causes to grow in this garden?
“...every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food...”
“...the tree of life...”
“...the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Q: What is the difference between the first two types of tree? Don’t they BOTH provide “life”?
A: It’s an indication that God’s plan has ALWAYS been to provide not just physical, earthly life but eternal, spiritual life. These last two trees provide insight into God’s plan for man beyond merely “existing”.
Q: What was Eve’s original role? For what purpose was she created?
A: Man’s helper. This is not to be thought of as a “subordinate” or “servant” but as an advocate, supporter, sustainer. She is someone looking out for man’s best interests, a partner in the same cause.
Read Genesis 3:1-7
Q: Into what situation does Satan place the woman?
Q: What is significant about “temptation”? How does it cause one to sin?
A: Trick question: It DOESN’T “cause” one to sin. It’s a situation in which one makes a choice, a decision whether to be obedient or disobedient to what one already knows is “right” or “wrong.” Eve was responsible for the little that was already communicated by God.
Q: What is the process? How does it go from “talk” or “temptation” to “action” or “sin”?
“...saw that the tree was good for food...”
“...and that it was a delight to the eyes...”
“...and that the tree was desirable to make one wise...”
By taking her focus off God’s Word, and meditating on the object of desire, the woman came up with personal justifications for her decision. In effect, the wrong decision came about by changing the focus from obedience to God’s commands to the pursuit of personal desire. It’s the difference between obedience to God’s long-term plan for the sake of short-term personal pleasure.
Read Genesis 3:14-17a
Q: Who is the first person God deals with? Who does he hold responsible first and foremost and why?
A: Satan, who produced the circumstances of temptation. He is the first one God deals with.
Q: What is the significance of v.15? What is this indicating?
A: It’s the first witness of the Messiah and His work to provide mankind with the opportunity to undo the choices made in the Garden of Eden.
Q: What is the meaning of the “bruising” of the head and the heel?
A: The serpent – in reality Satan – will be permitted to afflict the humanity of the Messiah and bring suffering and persecution on His people; however, the Messiah will effect a fatal blow to ultimately prevail for all time. Essentially this is God’s promise to provide a way to undo what was done in the Garden of Eden.
Q: Who does God deal with next and why?
A: He deals with Eve before Adam because she was the first to sin.
Read Genesis 3:22-24
Q: Give a brief review of everyone appearing in the Garden and their basic role in this account.
God: Provided an original plan to fellowship with man and, subsequently, a promise to provide mankind with an avenue back to that plan.
Adam: The first man, created for fellowship with God and given a suitable helper to support his pursuit of a relationship with, and obedience to, God.
Eve: Originally a co-equal with Adam, the first to sin by making a choice in favor of short-term personal desire over long-term obedience to God’s Word and plan.
Satan: Revealed as one that cannot cause sin to happen in and of itself but merely provides an environment of choice, which decisions can lead man to sin.
Cherubim: The guards preventing access to the tree of life, cutting off man’s access.
Read Matthew 26:36-46
Q: To where does it all come full circle? What is the commonly referred to name of this place?
A: The Garden of Gethsemane.
Q: What are the comparisons and contrasts to what is happening in this garden as opposed to the first garden?
Whereas the first Adam was tempted and failed, the Second Adam is tempted but does not fail.
Whereas the focus in the first garden was shifted from the Father to personal desire, the focus in the second garden continues to stay on the Father even in the face of personal desire.
In both cases, each of Adam’s helpers failed.
Whereas the first Adam did not discern the intentions and motives of Satan his betrayer and what Satan was trying to do through Eve, the Second Adam is acutely aware of what Satan is doing through the betrayal and person of Judas because His focus and obedience is unchanged.
Q: How might we summarize Jesus’ purpose and actions in the Garden of Gethsemane in relation to what occurred in the Garden of Eden?
A: Jesus had to first undergo, and overcome, the same situation. In the flesh, with all the physical, emotional and psychological pressures and pain, Jesus successfully overcame the environment Satan creates to provide an opportunity to make a decision for or against God. Although Jesus is referred to as the “Second Adam”, He is actually the “first” to overcome and lead mankind to be reconciled to God’s original plan for them.
Read Matthew 27:57-61
Q: Jesus is betrayed, tried, tortured, crucified, and killed. To where is Jesus’ body taken?
A: In the Gospel of John more information is given, “Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.” (John 19:41)
Jesus’ tomb is in a garden.
Read Matthew 27:62-66
Q: To what similar event in the first garden might we compare this to?
A: A guard was set at the entrance of the first garden to prevent man’s access to the tree of life.
Read Matthew 28:1-7
Q: What are the differences and similarities between the first garden and this?
The first garden produced failure, defeat; this garden produces victory.
Mankind was thrown out of the first garden and a guard placed at its entrance; the guard and stone covering the entrance of this garden has been removed.
In the first garden, man’s helpmate conveyed the words and desires of Satan; in this garden man’s helpmate conveys God’s.
The result of sin in the first garden led mankind to run and hide from God; victory over sin in this garden leads mankind to run and seek God.
Read Matthew 28:8-9
Q: With whom did Jesus deal with first?
A: Just the same as in Genesis, the first person Jesus deals with is Satan, having defeated him in the course of his death and resurrection during the preceding days. The first earthly contact He makes is with woman, an appropriate response to the sequence of events that originally transpired in Genesis. He seeks to reconcile first those who fell first.
Read Matthew 28:16-20
Q: What in v.17 indicates that God’s original plan has been restored?
A: “...they worshiped Him...” The original fellowship and relationship between God and man is restored.
Point: It’s not about signs, it’s not about miracles, it’s not about heavenly wonders: It’s about worship. You can believe in the existence of God but you can’t have fellowship if mere belief does not give way to worship.
Q: What in v.18 indicates that God’s original plan has been restored in the Person of Jesus Christ?
A: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” The temporary focus away from God accomplished by Satan’s provision of temptation has been restored to its proper, central point in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Q: What are the 3 commands of God through Christ to us, restored again to Him, that define our work in this life?
“...baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit...”
“...teaching them to observe all that I command you...”
Q: How do these commands compare with what happened in the first garden?
A: It’s about producing obedience to God’s Word and not disobedience for one’s self.
Making disciples means a lifetime of mentoring and training, not just a one-time conversion experience.
Baptizing is the public and personal declaration to place the Trinity’s name over consideration of one’s own.
Teaching observance of God’s commands is instilling a legacy of obedience through each day’s choices.
Points to Ponder
Do we fully understand that when it comes to sin, we have a choice? And the result of that choice is not just personal consequences in regard to sin but the expression of our real opinion of God?
To what choices/decisions does the Spirit bear witness to you personally that need to be reconsidered or strengthened towards God instead of away from Him?
Do you see in Adam’s and Eve’s examples that bad choices can be overcome, that reconciliation is always possible, even desired by God?