“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples. Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.” John 18:1-2 (NASB)
It has been ten years now since my wife and I visited Israel.
I can still remember the view at the top of Mount Olives and walking down to the Garden of Gethsemane.
There is a paved pathway there now, but it would have probably been the same path Jesus and his disciples would have followed.
There is much history to be viewed in Israel, but one of my primary purposes during the trip was to be where Jesus was.
I wanted to walk in His footsteps, I wanted to stand where He stood, pray where he prayed.
It is certain Jesus was at the Mount of Olives and the Garden at Gethsemane.
Both locations still exist in Israel.
The gospels all mention the events that took place at these locations during the week leading up to His crucifixion.
We are told in the gospels that Jesus visited the Mount of Olives frequently, at least three times in His last week.
It is from atop of the Mount of Olives that Jesus laments over Jerusalem and God’s people.
When on the Mount of Olives, I found myself looking at Jerusalem, “the city of the great King”, feeling the turmoil, praying for people and the nation as a whole, praying for the “peace of Jerusalem.”
In the Garden we can find some of the world’s oldest trees.
It is doubtful these are the same trees during the time of Jesus, the Jewish historian Josephus reports that all the trees around Jerusalem were cut down by the Romans for their siege equipment before they captured the city in 70 AD.
Some estimates put the trees in the Garden at about 900 years old.
Yet there is still something special about the Garden. It is the place that Jesus prayed.
Jesus walked through that garden, He wept and prayed there.
His disciples went there with Jesus at times.
Even Judas, when he was about to betray Jesus, knew where to look, where to find Jesus.
He found Jesus in the place of prayer, the Garden.
The trip to Israel has a special place in my heart, especially the Mount of Olives and the Garden. I met with Jesus there, prayed where Jesus prayed.
I am reminded though, that there may be times when we feel distant or out of touch with Jesus.
When we do, we need go back to where Jesus can be found.
In His word, with His people, and in our place of prayer.
Until next time… keep reading!