We have been looking at the Gospel of John together, and we have seen that in every story John gives us little clues, details, to help us unlock the deeper meaning of these stories. The Easter story in John is no different. Of the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, John is the only one that tells us that Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection take place in a garden. He really wants us to notice that detail because he wants us to think back to another really famous garden in the Bible: the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden is a picture of God’s dream for this world, but Adam and Eve chose to go their own way instead of God’s way and that garden-the world and our lives-have become broken ever since then.
It became so broken that the garden in John’s Gospel becomes the place where human beings actually put to death Jesus-God in the flesh. But on that first Easter morning, John gives us another little detail that he doesn’t want us to miss. When the resurrected Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene he looks to her like a gardener. Jesus shows up on Eater morning not in his Sunday best, but he shows up dressed like a gardener in overalls and work gloves, and with dirt under his fingernails.
That was Jesus’ way of saying to us, there is hope for this world because I’ve just begun the work of restoring Eden-of restoring the world. Jesus was saying, I’ve got a lot more work to do so will you come with me and help me? Will you help me make this world a place of beauty where we love God with all that have and are and we love other people like ourselves? Will you help me make this a place where we seek after those who are far from God and welcome them home? Will you join me in making this a place where we bless others, and we pray for our enemies, a place where we forgive someone not 7 times but 77 times, a place where the poor and the hungry are cared for? You see, in John, one of the Easter messages is that our life purpose is to join with Jesus in helping him make our family, our community, and our world the kind of place God wants it to be. The Easter message is “Let’s get to work!”Robert