At the Garden Gate

“Who is it you’re looking for?”  This is the question Jesus asks several times during His final hours. They were coming to arrest Him, Judas leading the charge, armed with lanterns, torches, and weapons they come to a garden. It was not just any garden, it was a place Jesus “had often met with His disciples”. We don’t have accounts of Jesus in this garden with the crowds or masses that would follow Him, but we can read this garden was used for Jesus’ prayer time and teaching time with disciples. It was a place of growth, intimacy and peace, and truly HIGHER Education.

As Judas brings the mob near, Jesus “answers the door to trouble”, by meeting them head-on at the garden gate: “Then Jesus, knowing everything that was about to happen to Him, went out and said to them, “Who is it you’re looking for?”. Jesus met evil at the door, the mob answered: “Jesus the Nazarene”, to which Jesus said: “I am He”… at that “they stepped back and fell to the ground”. Why would they fall to the ground?

Amazingly, whatever our intention is in seeking Him, Jesus shows up….in the showing up we are offered a choice. We’ve just come face to face with Jesus – now what? Will we choose Him or not? The “not” option results are in the Greek definition to “fell”: – Strong’s G4098 – piptō

1) to descend from a higher place to a lower
a) to fall (either from or upon)
1) to be thrust down
b) metaph. to fall under judgment, came under condemnation
2) to descend from an erect to a prostrate position
a) to fall down
1) to be prostrated, fall prostrate
2) of those overcome by terror or astonishment or grief or under the attack of an evil spirit or of falling dead suddenly
3) the dismemberment of a corpse by decay
4) to prostrate one’s self
5) used of suppliants and persons rendering homage or worship to one
6) to fall out, fall from i.e. shall perish or be lost
7) to fall down, fall into ruin: of buildings, walls etc.
b) to be cast down from a state of prosperity
1) to fall from a state of uprightness
2) to perish, i.e come to an end, disappear, cease
a) of virtues
3) to lose authority, no longer have force
a) of sayings, precepts, etc.
4) to be removed from power by death
5) to fail of participating in, miss a share in

So, I don’t believe they literally fell to the ground, but I believe in that moment there was a choice made in those people and in that choice they were eternally lost. Evil entered into them, thrusting them down into judgment and condemnation, missing their share in the inheritance Christ was about to make a way for, they became part of the enemy’s camp to carry out the gruesome treatment of Christ.

Jesus not only answers the door to trouble for us, but when He does He saves us. When faced with the mob, Jesus says:” “So if you’re looking for me, let these men go”. This was to fulfill the words He had said: “I have not lost one of those You have given Me.”” In confronting the mob He was saving the disciples from the very real and present danger. He does the same now, because He is the same now. When we pray for help, The Helper shows up and stands between the danger and us. He is our shield, our defender. His words in the garden still echo today “let these men go”. When He said on the Cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” – He was still saying: “let these men go” – in forgiveness of sin, to be released from the chains that bind us, to walk in freedom, and to have eternal life in Heaven.

The Cross – the beatings He endured, beating His head as He wore the crown of thorns, flesh ripped away, more pain than any of us could bear – then to carry wooden beams most of us couldn’t lift through stone streets and up to a mountain top to then be nailed to it. The question asked from this study was: “Why did He have to go through so much?” What Jesus responded with was that the painful Cross was hell on earth – He lived it for us that we would not have to live it daily in hell for eternity. In going to hell, we go with the senses we have: hearing, touch, taste, smell, sight. We would know we were burning, we would feel it and the bugs crawling through our torn hanging flesh, we would see what is around us, we would know we were being ripped apart by demons, but we would not die. There is no dying to escape hell, and the only verbal communication in hell is screaming. It is a place that has nothing to do with God, for those who want nothing to do with God.

But Jesus, made a way for us – “Let these men go”, He lived it so we might not – it’s a choice. Today, Jesus intercedes for us before God still saying “let these men go” in all the troubles of our lives. He longs to see us free, to see us healed, and to see us spiritually strong! All we have to do is seek Him and He will be there. 

References:
Bible – John 18
Book: 23 Minutes in Hell

In dreams: Gardens are places of growth, intimacy, love, and romance.  Gates are ways of entrance, power and authority.

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