Jesus crosses the Kidron Valley
Mk 14:26-31 Immediately after finishing supper, Jesus and his disciples leave the Old City and cross the Kidron Valley heading towards the Mount of Olives (see 1 on Map 13). En route, Jesus tells the disciples that he will rise from the dead and go ahead of them to Galilee. He also predicts that, before the morning, Peter will deny knowing him three times.
Map 13 Jerusalem: The Last 24 Hours
Mk 14:32-42 In the Garden of Gethsemane – an olive grove on the east side of the Kidron Valley at the foot of the Mount of Olives – Jesus prays in great anguish for several hours while the disciples fall asleep. “Abba, Father!” he says, “Take away this cup of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want” (Mark 14:36).
Olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32)
The Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives, where Jesus was arrested, is a prominent hill lying to the east of the Old City of Jerusalem on the opposite side of the Kidron Valley (see Map 13). The lower slopes, known as Gethsemane (meaning ‘olive press’), were covered by olive groves in the time of Jesus, and provided a welcome retreat from the noise and bustle of the Old City.
Today, there are still olive trees at this spot, close to the Church of All Nations (also called the Church of the Agony at Gethsemane) which commemorates the events that occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane in 30AD.
This modern church, erected in 1924 with donations from people of many nations, was built on the site of two earlier churches. These were an ‘elegant’ church described by a pilgrim in 382AD (that was destroyed in an earthquake in c.785AD), and a later Crusader church built in c.1170 and abandoned in 1345, over the rock where Jesus is said to have prayed.
Higher up the hillside, the Church of the Ascension (and the nearby Mosque of the Ascension) mark the spot on the summit of the Mount of Olives from which it is believed that Jesus ascended into heaven forty days after his resurrection from the tomb (see Acts 1:9-12).
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