And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.Genesis 3:8 (NKJV)
I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. Leviticus 26:23 (NKJV)
God still walks in the garden. Remember how in the beginning God planted a garden in Eden, putting Adam and Eve there to tend the fruits. Then one day, a serpent tempted Eve to eat the one fruit God said not to eat, and she gave some to Adam who ate also. When they realized what they had done, they hid from God as He came walking through the garden. God was very sad to make Adam and Eve leave their beautiful garden home because of their sin, but He had a good, good plan.
God promised that one day, a Seed from the woman would bruise the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15). That Seed arrived thousands of years later, when Immanuel, God with us, Jesus the Son, arrived as a baby in Bethlehem. When Jesus lived on earth, He often went to the garden to pray to His Father God in heaven. In fact, He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas Iscariot led the soldiers there to arrest Jesus (John 17). Jesus was led away from His prayer garden to die for the sins of all humanity, those very sins which first began in that Garden of Eden.
Last week we remembered Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins and His glorious resurrection on Sunday morning. And where did someone first witness Jesus after He rose from the tomb? In a garden! It was the garden near the tomb where the stone had been rolled away. In this tomb garden, Jesus met Mary Magdalene who became the first witness of our risen Lord.
Dear One, Jesus still walks in the garden! As I type this, daffodils are standing bravely in my early spring garden, thawing out from the latest spring snow storm. The mulch has been catapulted in every direction by our free-range chickens whose quest is to rid our garden of every insect. Soon other perennials will be raising their heads, promising new garden life for another year.
Recently I counted the number of years we have had our garden and realized that this is the seventh or Sabbath year of rest for the garden (Leviticus 25:5-6). This is the year we are to eat what grows on its own. Too bad this is the same year there could be grocery shortages, but the Lord has a good, good plan and will bless all who follow His commandments. Perhaps we can do a few patio planters with veggies, we are praying about what to do.
Today’s TEA CUPP: For most of you ladies, it’s time to start planning your garden! Those in the north can start seeds inside. Those in the warmer south can begin planting outside. As you work in your garden this year, remember that God still walks in the garden. Jesus is there with you. He walks with you through every joy and sorrow. May all your seeds be planted in good soil and may you produce a bountiful crop for His glory!
The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11 (NKJV)
For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.Isaiah 61:11 (NKJV)
Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.Psalm 126:5-6
And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him.Luke 23:27 (NKJV)
This week, people from around the world remember the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Two of the most Holy celebrations come together in one, as the Jewish people celebrate the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread, recalling when our Yehovah God set them free from Egypt. And Christians remember the death of the Passover Lamb, Yeshua Messiah, who died on the cross for all the world. In my previous devotion, I encouraged you to get together with other ladies to pray for our world. Will you consider there was also such a ladies’ gathering around the cross? It was a group of broken-hearted ladies, just like you and me. Let’s meet these dear ladies:
And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. Matthew 27:55-56 (NKJV)
And certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons. Luke 8:2
Mary Magdalene was at the cross. Mary Magdalene was one of the devoted ladies who followed Jesus during His earthly ministry. She had great love for Jesus since He had cast out the seven demons from her. Mary followed Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus when they laid Jesus in the tomb and rolled the stone to cover the entrance. Then she went home for the Sabbath. But early Sunday morning, she came again to the tomb, hoping to anoint Jesus’ body with oil, only to find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Mary cried out to the “gardener,” “Where have you put Him?” And the “gardener” replied, “Mary.” Then she knew that Jesus is alive and ran to tell the disciples! Mary Magdalene was the first witness of our Risen Lord! (Mark 16:9).
Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses
There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome.Mark 15:40 (NKJV)
Mary, the mother of the disciple Little James, was also known as “The Other Mary” and “Wife of Clopas.” After witnessing Jesus’ crucifixion, she was found again at the tomb with Mary Magdalene where Joseph of Aramathea and Nicodemus buried Jesus’ body (Matthew 27:61, Mark 15:47). These devoted ladies came again on the first day of the week to visit the tomb and anoint Jesus’ body (Matthew 28:1), only to find the stone rolled away and the tomb was empty! Jesus is alive!
Salome, the wife of Zebedee, and mother of James and John
Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.Mark 16:1 (NKJV)
Salome, mother of James and John, also known as Jesus’ aunt, was at the cross. When I think of Salome, the story that comes to mind is when she brought James and John to Jesus and asked that they sit on His right and left sides in His Kingdom (Matthew 20:21). Imagine how James and John felt when the other disciples were upset about this request. Yet Salome asked because she believed in Jesus and His Kingdom. And someday she will receive her petition, for her sons James and John will be sitting on two of the twenty-four thrones around God the Father and Jesus the Son, where we all will be worshipping the Lord (Revelation 4:4,10).
Mary, the mother of Jesus
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.John 19:25 (NKJV)
Of all the Mary(s) at the cross, perhaps this one is most memorable, Mary, the mother of Jesus. Oh, what a journey this dear lady had, from trusting God with His divine conception and birth, to fleeing to Egypt, to searching for 12-year-old Jesus in Jerusalem, to bringing up a perfect Son in an imperfect world, to seeing His miracles and knowing He was fulfilling God’s plan, and yet, now, to witnessing His willing sacrifice on the cross, dying for the sins of all the world (John 3:16-17). Oh, what a life this blessed Mary lived, being mother of our Savior.
When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. John 19:26-27(NKJV)
But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.Luke 23:49 (NKJV)
And there were many other women, too. Perhaps Joanna was there and Susanna (Luke 8:3, 24:10) . They ministered to Him in Galilee and came up with Him to Jerusalem, observing the tomb and how His body was laid (Luke 23:55, Mark 15:41). Other women were there, too, just like YOU and me.
“I have loved you,” says the Lord…Malachi 1:2 (NKJV)
Yes, YOU were at the cross! As Jesus hung on the cross, shedding His blood for the sins of all humankind, He thought of YOU! He planned to die on the cross for YOU since before time began (Ephesians 1:4-5, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2). With eyes that could look down the halls of eternity, He saw YOU and He died for YOU! He saw your broken heart, He saw your sick body, He saw your hurting soul, He saw your fractured family and your dashed dreams, and He bore it all on the cross. He took the nails for your sins. He was bruised for your iniquities. And by His stripes YOU are healed. He poured out His life and blood and water for YOU (John 19:34), because He loves YOU and wants to be your Savior. But He didn’t stay dead, on the third day, Jesus rose again, conquering sin, death, and the devil forever, giving all who believe the promise of eternal life with Him.
…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NKJV)
Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear One, say as the centurions guarding the cross, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54). Find these Bible verses and read them again today. Choose one of the Gospel crucifixions to read each day this coming week: Matthew 27-28, Mark 15-16, Luke 23-24, John 19-20. Imagine standing with all these women before the cross. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He looked right at YOU with love in His eyes, waiting for you to accept His sacrificial death. Say as the thief did beside Jesus on the cross, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42)
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.John 3:14-17 (NKJV)❤️
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.Isaiah 53:4-5 (NKJV)
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.Revelation 1:5-6 (NKJV)