And There was a Garden

Bible Readings:
John 19:31-41 and then John 20:1-9

Text verse
John 19:41
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden;
and in the garden a new sepulchre,
wherein was never man yet laid.

Please note the words:
There was a garden

George Bernard Shaw once said that dispite the fact that Medical Science Statistics prove that
less people die today of this or that sickness or disease
- that this or that disease has been eradicated -
the final statistic will always remain constant.
The statistic that says that one out of one person will and must die !

Death is all around - Disease kills in spite of the advances of modern medicine.
Death comes to the palace and to the cottage.
Death comes to the good and the bad.
Death comes to the young and the old.
Death is always cruel and sudden.
And Death came to our family home this very week !
Not one of us can ever be certain that when we start a new day that we will finish that day.

The Bible reminds us that each and everyone of us will have an appointment with death.
It is the one appointment that each and everyone us must and will be compelled to keep !
Not one of us will be able to avoid our appointment with death.

Listen to the Word of God:
Hebrews 9:27
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.

History, the local cemetery and our daily newspapers together are a silent witness
and a constant reminder that there is no antidote against the cruel reaper -death !
No-one will escape his cruel visit !

Death's angel will stand still at the door of each and every person here present.
While not one of us knows the time and date of his cruel visit - it is certain that he will come !
There is no-body here present today that can give or even receive any guarantee that death's angel
will not stop at their home or door even this very day.

Friends and family - Life is too short to allow the shortcomings,
the faults and the sins of yesterday to cast a shadow over the future.
Don't allow the hurts, jealously, regrets and grudges of things past to rob you
of the joy and peace and happiness that can be yours today !

At this time I want to remind you all of the fact that in Christ Jesus there is forgiveness of sin.

Listen to the word of God:
Isaiah 1:18
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

But listen again to our text verse:
John 19:41
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre,
wherein was never man yet laid.

A grave - a sepulchre - a tomb and yet also a garden.
In the garden a tomb - a grave !
Jesus is laid in a grave in a garden.
The grave is in the midst of flowers and plants and olive trees !

A grave and yet also a garden !
Surrounding the grave a garden.

In this text there is a message for each and every one of us
- an important one for each and every one of us.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus was buried in a garden ?

Something that many people fail to remember is times of sorrow and times
like these is that Our Heaven Father understands and knows exactly how we feel
because you see it was HIS only begotten Son who was buried
in that cold grave in that Garden 2000 years ago.

We need to be reminded today that:
John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

We all see the dark cold grave but friends and family
we need to remember in times like these that
There was a garden !

In most cemeteries today we find a Garden of remembrance
- it is aptly called because each and everyone of us -
our lives and deeds can be liken unto a garden.
And each and every one of us is building and cultivating a garden of remembrance around us !
Yes, we will all leave behind a garden of remembrance behind us one day.

And now the important question - We all know the lovely garden -
the beautiful memories that Dad has left behind
- the garden of his memory will always be cherished -
but what about the garden that you will leave behind ?
What will be said about the garden of your heart ?

There is a Garden
There is one person we all miss today -our brother - Dad's eldest son - Chris -
Chris emigrated to the United States on Tuesday to start a new life for him and his small family
- because of the arrangements made which were beyond his control he could not delay his departure -
But as I thought of Chris this morning I remembered reading about
a Valley in California in that vast country to which Chris has emigrated.

The local people call it the Valley of Roses
-there is a road which goes through that valley and they tell me
that for kilometer after kilometer - mile after mile as you travel though that valley
all you can see are the beautiful roses !
As far as the eye can see its is just roses!

Furthermore they tell me that the scent permeats and overwhelms one
as you travel or walk though that valley
- When you enter the town beyond the valley -
there is no need even to tell someone from whence you came
- the sweet scent aroma of the roses - tells the story !
For many hours the scent aroma and perfume of the roses clings to your clothes.

Everyone is reminded that you have paid a visit to the valley of roses !
In our Bible reading - A garden but also a new grave !

As I thought of this Valley of Roses
- I remembered that one of the Titles in the Bible given to
our Lord and Saviour Jesus is the Rose of Sharon.

In the Garden of our heart - the garden of our life
- we need to plant the Rose of Sharon in our heart's garden.

You may wonder why ?
Well Jesus promised His disciples:
John 14:1-2
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions:
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.

Friend, when Death's angel knocks at your heart's door
please make sure that Jesus the Rose of Sharon
is planted in your heart's garden because the Bible
- Jesus said:

John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

It is my prayer and hope that this short message will be a comfort
to you in this time of sorrow.
May this word also encourage you to prepare the Garden of your heart
for that day when death's angel knocks at your door !


Pastor CSJ Claassen
PO Box 99

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