The Mount of Olives

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Read: Luke 22:39-46

He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. (v. 39)

Mountains are frequently mentioned in Scripture. Often they are holy places. Mount Sinai. Mount Hermon. Mount Tabor. Mount Zion. The Sermon on the Mount. The Mount of Transfiguration. And the Mount of Olives. Consisting of three connected summits, the Mount of Olives overlooks Jerusalem from the east. For millennia it has had olive groves.

Luke doesn’t explicitly mention it, but both Mark and Matthew report that while on the Mount of Olives Jesus went to a place called Gethsemane—a small field with a grove of olive trees (Gethsemane in Hebrew means olive oil vat). John in his Gospel (18:1) calls it a garden and from that reference this special place has heretofore been called the Garden of Gethsemane.

Luke tells us that Jesus “came out and went, as was his custom,” so he must have known this mountain quite well, spending considerable time in its olive groves. Judas certainly knew where to find Jesus when he came to betray him. So it is not surprising that in seeking a place to pray—an agonizing prayer of blood, sweat, and tears—Jesus went to the olive grove on this mountain. Jesus chose, on his last night, to pray in the company of trees. —Steven Bouma-Prediger

Prayer: O Lord, giver and lover of trees, hear our prayers, however painful or faltering or awkward they may be. In your mercy, hear us in our time of need.