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Garden of Gethsemane

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Garden of Gethsemane Places of Interest

Places of Interest

Garden of Gethsemane & Church of All Nations



1. The Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations are located at the base of the Mount of Olives. 


2. The Church of All Nations is built over the rock on which Jesus is believed to have prayed in agony the night He was arrested and then condemned to crucifixion.


Historical Background


1. Gethsemane comes from the Hebrew words gat-גת (“press”) and shemanim שמנים- (“oils”).


2. At the base of the Mount of Olives, there was a garden where Jerusalem farmers would bring their harvested olives to be pressed into oil.

3. The name Gethsemane is significant because it underscores the essence of Jesus’ suffering at the time of his arrest. Like an olive in a press, Jesus’ life was squeezed out of him. The Scripture says, “Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Through this, we see that by understanding the Hebrew names of places, we gain access to the true inner meaning of the story of Jesus’ arrest. 


4. Early believers marked out this site soon after Jesus' death and resurrection and venerated it.


5. Later, when Christianity became the formal religion of the Roman Empire, churches were allowed to be built, and a Byzantine church was built here around 350 AD. However, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 746 AD.


6. In the 12th century, a Crusader chapel was built over the Byzantine church and later abandoned in 1345 AD when the Muslims took over the Holy Land from the Crusaders. 


7. The current church, the Church of All Nations, also known as the Basilica of the Agony, was consecrated in 1924. A diagram outside the church shows the history of this site.


8. It is a Catholic Franciscan church and was built using donations from 12 nations. Therefore, it is called the Church of All Nations.


9. Gethsemane means “Oil Press” in Hebrew. The main source of oil in Israel was from olives, so it is also known as an olive press. 


10. It was an olive orchard with an olive press in it. As a result, it became known as the Garden of Gethsemane.


11. How fitting it would be called Gethsemane, as Christ would be pressed here beyond measure. Even to the point of His sweat becoming like drops of blood.


Places of Interest


1. Church of All Nations


2. Garden of Gethsemane


3. Mount of Olives


4. Temple Mount


5. Old City Jerusalem

6. Outside the Church

  • Old olive trees dating to the time of Christ.

  • At the top of the church's exterior facade is a mural of Jesus in the middle, with God the Father above Him, along with angels and people.

  • There are also four pillar columns, each representing an author of the four Gospels.

  • Just before entering the church, there is a diagram showing the site's history dating back to Jesus's time.

  • To the side of the church is a rock with an image of Jesus praying.

  • Just a short distance away, located by the Church of the Tomb of Mary, is the cave where the Olive Press would have been located and where the disciples and Jesus would have been before Jesus was arrested.


7. Inside the Church

  • Rock inside the church upon which Jesus prayed in agony.

  • Mosaic on the wall above the Stone of Agony depicting Christ praying and an angel consoling Him. 

  • The church's roof has 12 domes, one for each country that donated to its construction costs.

  • The dim lighting in the church gives the sense of the night in which Christ prayed in agony. 

  • Glass plates on the floor of the church where mosaics of the Byzantine Church from the 4th Century can be seen.

Garden of Gethsemane in the Bible


1. Jesus spent His last evening on earth praying in great agony before His crucifixion the following day.
Luke 12:50: I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!

2. Christ became sorrowful, even to the point of death. 
Matthew 26:36–39: Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go over there and pray." 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will."


3. Christ taught us how to overcome temptation.
Matthew 26:40–41: And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."


4. Christ departed and prayed a second time.

Matthew 26:42–43: Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done." 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 


5. Christ prayed a third time. 
Matthew 26:44: So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.

Interestingly, Christ prayed three times. Olives were also pressed three times. The first press was called virgin oil and used for religious purposes, the second press was used for cooking, ointment, healing, and cooking, and the third press was for oil lamps, lubrication, etc.


6. Christ’s sweat became like great drops of blood.
Luke 22:43–44: And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”


7. Christ was arrested and taken captive by the Jews.
Matthew 26:45–50: Then he came to the disciples and said to them, "Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand." 47 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I will kiss is the man; seize him." 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you came to do." Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.


8. Jesus voluntarily surrendered to the Jews.
Matthew 26:51–56: And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels [60,000 angels]? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?" 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples left him and fled.”


In the Old Testament, one angel killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. This means 12 legions of angels (60,000) could have killed 11 billion people. This is more than the entire earth’s current population. The earth’s population during the time of Christ was only around 300 million.


Faith Lesson from the Garden of Gethsemane


1. The spiritual weight of paying for the sins of the world was far greater to bear than Christ’s physical sufferings. Have we really contemplated the price Christ paid for our salvation?


2. Christ taught us to overcome temptation through prayer. Do we follow His example?


3. If there is no hell, then the suffering of Christ has little purpose. Do we believe in hell and speak about it or do we avoid it?


4. Christ provided us with the perfect example of how we should choose God’s will over our own. In the same way Christ submitted to the will of the Father, do we submit to God as well?


5. Olives are useless unless they are crushed. Christ's main purpose in His first coming was to be crushed for our sins. If He wouldn't have fulfilled and submitted to God's will for Him, it all would have been useless.


6. We also become more useful as a result of the trials in life that crush us. Are we willing to submit to God and allow Him to crush us so we can be more useful?

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