After breakfast the yellow bus went to the Garden of Gethsemane. (In Jerusalem the buses each had separate schedules because of access to the different sites. It was hard for a crowd of 171 people to be in a site at the same time.) Today the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane were very crowded. The group that was with Joel Rosenberg at the Epicenter Conference was with us in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The photograph below is from BibleWalks.com and gives great perspective on the Mount of Olives. It was taken from the top of the Golden Gate on the Temple Mount. The building in the front with the three arches is the Church of All Nations. To the left of the church is the tomb of Mary. To the right of the church in the center of the picture is the Russian Orthodox Church and to the right of that is the Tear Drop Church. Beneath the road in the picture is the Kidron Valley.
The peaked tomb in the center of the picture is the tomb of Absalom, David’s son who was killed by David’s men after a failed mutiny. According to the Bible, the tomb was built by Absalom himself in his lifetime since he had no sons who would build it. 2 Samuel 18:18: "...and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's place"
This is the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene.
All the pictures below are olive trees from the Garden of Gethsemane. We were given time here to pray. It was very quiet considering that there were so many people outside the garden wall. My grandmother's favorite old hymn, “In the Garden,” kept playing through my mind. I know that I have too many pictures of the trees, but I loved the different shapes and the gnarled trunks and branches. I bought Amy and Erin nativity scenes from Bethlehem made out of olive wood.
It has been determined that this olive tree is old enough to have been here at the time of Christ, which is why it is fenced off. While I was there I saw people pulling pieces of bark off some of the other olive trees. I guess that is why they are protecting this one.
This is a picture of the same tree from the 1920s. The monk is picking the olives.
And here again is a picture of the East Gate. Every time we looked up and across the Kidron Valley this was the view. So every time we looked up we were reminded that Jesus will come again and will enter Jerusalem through the East Gate from the Mount of Olives with those who have been redeemed through the blood of the lamb. That means, as one of the redeemed, I’ll be with Him! Therefore, I’ll never have too many pictures of the East (Beautiful, Golden, Mercy) Gate. Someone on our trip said that we may never see each other again in this life, but we know that we will meet again here in Jerusalem outside the East Gate. Gives you goosebumps, doesn’t it!
I took this picture out the bus window of the Church of All Nations on the first morning we were in Jerusalem.
This is the entrance to the Church of All Nations, or the Basilica of the Agony. It has been nicknamed the Church of All Nations because it was built from 1919-1924 with funds contributed from 12 different nations. It stands on the foundations of two ancient churches: a 4th-century Byzantine basilica, destroyed by an earthquake in 746 and a 12th-century Crusader chapel, which was abandoned in 1345.
The inside is just lovely.
The Church of All Nations is famous because it contains the rock that Jesus is said to have prayed upon in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26: 36-39
I am very fortunate to have gotten this picture. The altar was surrounded by people the whole time we were there. There were people who were overcome with emotion and knelt to kiss the stone. Notice the edging around the stone was created to look like thorns.
This is Mary’s tomb. There is also a cave on this site that is called the Cave of Gethsemane. Some groups believe that the cave is where Jesus prayed and where He and the disciples were staying the night because it would have been too cold to sleep in the olive groves.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.