“At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.” John 19:41
We have discussed in our Garden Series how to grow our garden and how to handle grief in the garden. We saw how Jesus handled grief knowing the agony of what He was about to endure. Jesus was crucified on Calvary’s cross in a place also known as Golgotha; both names mean skull. Some scholars say it was because the mountain looked like a skull. Others argue it was because it was where most crucifixions took place for several reasons. The Romans used this place to warn criminals that no crime would be tolerated. It’s location right outside of the city gates was a prime location to make a statement. However, the Jews also had strict laws about dead bodies proximity to the living. So this location seemed to work for all involved, but most importantly it sends a more important message to us. Golgotha was a garden. How is it possible that a place that means skull and is where crucifixions took place mean garden? How can a place where Jesus gave Himself to the cross be a garden? What can possibly grow there? In fact, where Jesus is buried is known as the “garden tomb.” John 19:41 says, At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.”
It’s not a coincidence that Jesus experienced His greatest victory in a garden while Adam experienced his greatest failure in the Garden of Eden. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:45, “The Scriptures tell us, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living person.’But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit.” The name Eden means “delight” and in Aramaic means “fruitful and well-watered.” Adam and Eve were given the gift of immortality and fellowship with the Great I Am, but their sin poisoned the environment closing it off to mankind forever. Jesus died in a Garden that meant skull where the bones of other criminals were carelessly discarded. Tortured and crucified He hung on a cross and the blood that He shed poured over the garden of Golgotha in Calvary watering it spiritually bringing life. Jesus, in the very place of death bought us back, paid for us to be free and won the greatest war ever fought: the war for our souls.
When we look at how Jesus died, it’s hard to look at it as victory. Our flesh cringes at the thought of our Jesus suffering. It’s safer to imagine Him resurrected, but lest we forget as the disciples might have, He bares the scars. More importantly, Jesus shows us how to attain victory when we are in that place of suffering as well as what to expect right before our divine destiny. Jesus moved from the grief of Gethsemane into the very destiny that would bring Him victory. Still, the cross was the way, the only way, to attain that victory. There are certain things the enemy likes to throw at us when we are close to our destiny.
1.Expect False Accusations- Right before we enter our divine destiny, we can expect to endure false accusations. There are those who simply do not want to see the manifestation of all that God has for you in your life. They do not want to see you grow and so instead they will use gossip, false accusations and the like to slander you. The key is to handle it like Jesus.
“The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’ ” Yet even then their testimony did not agree.Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?”But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer”. Mark 14:55-61
The chief priests were so hungry for blood that they looked for something, anything to sentence Jesus to death. Finding nothing, they made up false testimony but could not even get their stories straight. It’s important to note that Jesus did not respond to their false accusations, rather He let their own character be revealed in the situation. Their slander needed no defense. When in the same situation as we discussed in the devotional about offense, it is important to let God vindicate not you.
2.Expect Condemnation- Along with accusation comes punishment, and this is the nature of condemnation. It is a form of sentencing and many experience this right before their divine destiny takes hold. Punishment can be anything from being “ghosted” by church members, where everyone who you once spent time with disappears from your life suddenly, or even being publicly ostracized for your Faith. Either way, condemnation is usually connected to walking in your identity. When you walk in your Christ-given identity, call and purpose for your life unapologetically expect condemnation.
“Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.” Mark 14:62
What made everyone so angry with Jesus? He uttered one sentence, and they had all they needed to condemn an innocent man. Jesus broke His silence only when His identity was questioned. He did not need to defend Himself against the accusations because they were baseless and Jesus knew His Father was the vindicator. When it came to His identity which was connected to His destiny, He stated the truth about who He was. The revelation of identity is what sparked the condemnation and brutal beating. Jesus handled the question about His identity truthfully. Despite any condemnation we may be facing, it is important that we are honest in revealing who we are in Christ and what we are called to do. Our mission given to us by God can not be thwarted by man. Had Jesus stayed silent, who knows what would have happened? We are not called to be intimidated or stay silent in the face of questioning even though it means suffering.
3.Expect Mockery- One you stand firm in your identity in Christ expect to be mocked for your beliefs and the call God has on your life.This is evident before any great move of God. It has happened to me in prophetic ministry before and is meant to make you question what you do and who are. Don’t let it. I have encountered many who call themselves Christians balk against the idea of prophets and prophecy and personally attack because of it. I did not respond to their accusations or mockery, but I did keep on operating in the gift God has given me as He has called me to do. I have experienced mockery because of my zeal for the Holy Spirit, but still, I did not stop pursuing God and basking in the glory of His Spirit.
“The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers.They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again, they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.” Mark 15: 16-20
Upon cruel physical and verbal mockery, Jesus did not recant or give up on who He was. He endured, and that is what we need to do as well. Jesus did not stay silent because He was weak. He stayed silent because He was strong. Most think strength comes from fighting back, but that is easy to do when attacked. True strength is submitting to God’s plan and purpose even when you are relentlessly attacked. Jesus fighting back would not have benefitted the purpose God had for His life and the destiny that was before Him. In fact, doing so would have ruined it. With one snap of His finger, Jesus could have had warrior angels dismantle the attack. Think of the strength it took to allow Himself to be falsely accused, mocked and condemned when He had the power to stop it. Let’s not forget that with one Word Jesus could have proved “He was right” wiping the smug looks off of the accuser’s faces and releasing Himself of the agony. He did no such thing because His suffering was necessary to fulfill His purpose thereby launching Him into His destiny.
I want to be clear that I am not advocating in this devotional that people allow themselves to be emotionally, verbally or physically abused. If that is what you are gleaning, then you are missing the point. There is only one Jesus, and it was His destiny to die for our sins, and this was the only way to free us from the shackles we placed on ourselves in Eden through sin. The point is we are going to experience mockery, condemnation, and accusation in our Christian walk, but it’s how we handle those things that show our maturity and readiness for the call.
In the next part of the series, we will continue with what to expect when you are on the cusp of victory.
Prayer Starter: Lord, I know I need Your strength to stand for You even when it hurts, especially when it hurts. Help me handle accusations, mockery, and condemnation with Your authority and with Your wisdom. Thank You, Lord, for Your sacrifice so I could live fully and completely in You. In Your Name, Amen.