It was such a privilege to walk throughout the region of Galilee and to explore various parts of the city of Jerusalem. I’ve been asked, “What was my favorite part?”
The most meaningful was when we went to the Garden of Gethsemane. We had already visited the Garden Tomb, which now brought a bit more meaning to the trip to this garden where Jesus prayed so fervently. The ancient olive trees are fenced in, the grounds kept meticulous. The beautiful trees are two thousand years old. Knowing that, it was easier for 2000 years to collapse in our minds and sense that Jesus had been there. Adjacent to the olive grove is an elaborate Catholic church which is built over an exposed rocky area of the original garden. The altar is in front of the rocky area, which is enclosed by a large wreath of thorny branches. The visual brought it to life as the depth of the Lord’s agony was brought to mind. This is where my most sincere prayers were offered.
It’s like you know and believe the gospel accounts but seeing the place where Jesus knelt drives faith deeper. I doubt that that particular rock was where he knelt but it’s evident that it would have been in that place somewhere. Being surrounded by a luxurious church with amazing paintings did not dissuade me from the authenticity of the place. I like altars so perhaps that kept me from feeling timid about going forward to pray.
We couldn’t stay long. If I had the time, I could have easily stayed for several hours. There’s so much to see, the wall murals are incredibly detailed. The history of the church and the artists and architects would be worth learning. The view from that place is spectacular because a walk down and up the narrow Kidron Valley to David’s gate leading into the old city of Jerusalem is very visible. The gate that is seen today is only 1600 years old, being built over the gates that would have been there in Jesus’ time. I feel sure that Jesus would have seen the gates to his beloved Jerusalem from the Garden that he visited often.
He loved more than we can imagine. Loving those who not only rejected Him but whom He knew would kill him. But, He was obedient to the Father and gave His life for us.
Lots of love,
Oh Lord, we still pray on behalf of Israel, and now for Jerusalem and all that it stands for. We wait for that day of Your appearing.
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