The Garden of Gethsemane

February 1, 2017

“When Jesus had spoken these words [Farewell Discourse/Prayer, John 14-18], He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples” (John 18:1, NASB). Matthew’s record states, “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.'”

Ancient olive trees on the Mt. of Olives. The Garden of Gethsemane was in this area. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Ancient olive trees on the Mt. of Olives. The Garden of Gethsemane was in this area. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The meaning of Gethsemane is “olive press,” and therefore not a “garden” in the ordinary sense of the word, but rather an olive grove that contained an olive press. Though we cannot know the exact spot where Jesus went for prayer that awful night before His crucifixion, it would be situated on the Mount of Olives just east of Jerusalem and across the Kidron Valley.

It would be here that Jesus went with His disciples (minus Judas; see John 13:30) to pray. “They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here until I have prayed.'” (Mark 14:32, NASB). We get somewhat of a glimpse of the horrible terror of that night as Luke writes, “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (22:44, NASB). He submitted willingly to the Father’s will, because there was no other way that God could be both Just and our Justifier (Romans 3:21-26).

So it was then at the site of Gethsemane that Jesus was betrayed by His disciple Judas, was arrested and from there led away to a series of trials before the Jews and the Romans, and then crucified. But then on the third day “was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 1:4, NASB). Hallelujah, What a Savior!

 


On the Mount of Olives

November 5, 2016

This morning we began the day with a visit to the Mount of Olives. We then saw Gethsemane where we reflected, read appropriate passages, and sang. We walked through Kidron to the southern end of the temple mount. We ended the day with a visit to Bethlehem.

Group Photo Mt. of Olives. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Group Photo Mt. of Olives. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

We paused for a group shot while on the Mount of Olives.

It was on the Mount of Olives that Jesus gathered with His apostles and instructed them a final time before His ascension back into heaven:

4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. (Acts 1:4-12).

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“Not one stone upon another”

August 22, 2011

During the final week of the Lord’s ministry, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, the Jewish rulers, for their hypocrisy and for their basic rejection of truth. His last words before leaving the temple area were

 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ (vv. 37-38)

As Jesus and the disciples left, the disciples pointed out the temple buildings to Him. His response no doubt greatly startled them: “”Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matt. 24:2).

Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley and came to the Mount of Olives and sat down. It was here that the “Olivet Discourse” occurred, in which the disciples asked Him to explain what He meant.

View of Temple Mount, Jerusalem from Mt. of Olives. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

From the Mount of Olives the disciples could have seen the temple area in Jerusalem as Jesus’ foretold its coming destruction.

Excavations which reached 1st century street level uncovered stones of the temple buildings hurled down from above. The destruction took place in AD 70, by Rome’s Tenth Legion.

Stones from temple buildings in Tyropoeon Valley in Jerusalem, from AD 70 destruction. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

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