Garden sermon ideas

Gardens are plots of irrigated fertile ground that typically produce fruit, vegetables, or herbs.

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Where does the Bible talk about gardens?

  • Genesis 2:8-9, God planted a garden in Eden
  • Genesis 2:15-17, God commands Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil
  • Genesis 3:6, Eve and Adam ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil
  • Genesis 3:24, God drove Adam and Eve from the garden
  • Psalm 36:8-9, "They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights."
  • Psalm 137:1, "By the rivers of Babylon — there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion."
  • Isaiah 58:11, ". . . you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail."
  • Amos 4:9, "I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards."
  • Mark 14:32-36, Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane
  • John 19:41-42, the tomb where Jesus was laid was in a garden
  • John 20:15-16, Mary thought the gardener was asking her why she was weeping but it was Jesus
  • Revelation 21:2, "I saw the holy city, the newJerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."
  • Revelation 22:1-2, "The angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."

Sermon ideas about gardens

Gardens in Scripture are irrigated and fertile places. Good things grow in them, including fruit, vegetables, and herbs. Sometimes the Hebrew word we translate as "garden" might just as well be translated as "orchard." So a Middle Eastern olive orchard is a garden, featuring trees with both flowers and fruit.

Gardens generate food, but they are also delightful places to dwell. They are centers of outdoor living, good for strolling, lounging, banqueting, or shading oneself from the Middle Eastern sun. They are also quiet, restful places to bury family members. Because of these benefits, flourishing gardens become symbols of the thriving of God's people (Isa. 58:11) and devastated gardens become the symbol of God's people under judgment (Amos 4:9). (R. K. Harrison, "Garden," The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Vol. 2, Eerdmans, 1982, p. 400.)

Christians commonly describe the narrative arc of Scripture as the linked sequence of its four epic movements: creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. This standard account is classic and firm. But we might just as well describe the narrative arc of Scripture as the story of four gardens.

Garden of Eden

In the Garden of Eden, God gave his brand-new human beings acres of delight. God had formed a man from the dust of the ground, breathing life into him, setting him in a flourishing garden. The garden is a wonder, with rhododendron blossoms the size of softballs and peonies pink and fragrant enough to break your heart. But the garden of delight turns into the garden of heartbreak when Adam and Eve step out of the embrace of God and try to find power and happiness on their own. Guilty, threadbare, and vulnerable, they start the history of human shame whose only antidote is the grace of God. In their shame, Adam and Eve must also have begun the history of weeping for lost glory as they are banished. In this history, the Israelites exiled to Babylon sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept when they remembered Zion.

Garden of Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane, widely thought to have been an olive orchard at the foot of the Mount of Olives, was the scene of Jesus's pre-crucifixion agony. He wrestles with the will of his father and with the horror of drinking the cup of suffering in front of him. Jesus knew what a Roman crucifixion looked like and sounded like. He naturally dreaded it. But he still drank the cup down to its dregs because there was no other way to save the people he and his father loved.

The Garden of the Resurrrection

According to John 19, Jesus's crucified body was laid in a new tomb in a garden. So this garden became the scene of the central event of the Christian religion and of human history. "On the third day he rose again from the dead." This was not the resurrection of faith in the disciples, or of hope in the women at the tomb, or of tulips in spring, but the coming back to life of a horribly dead Jesus. The news of this event has straightened Christian spines for all these centuries. "The Lordis risen." If sin first showed up in a garden, how fitting that resurrection should too!

The narrative arc of redemptive history begins in Eden, runs through Gethsemane and the resurrection garden, and then ends in the garden of the city of God. It's a city because it contains cultural treasures of the ages, including urban architecturaltreasures. But it's also a gloriously watered garden with trees whose leaves are "for the healing of the nations." The story of four gardens ends with the city of God descending to us and, once more, God dwelling with his people in a garden of delight.