Thursday, February 25, 2010
Gethsemane, or the Mount of Olives, is generally associated with Jesus – the place where he prayed, his his agony took place, and here his arrest took place – Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32.
The Mount of Olives is along the main mountain range that happens to run north to south through central and southern Palestine.
With a name like Mount of Olives you would think olive trees would fill the hillside and you would be right. In fact, the word used for Gethsemane in Aramaic and Hebrew means “oil press” as in olive oil. Some of the trees that currently fill the area are over 900 years old, but it might be a little hard to locate an olive tree that would have been around when Jesus walked through Gethsemane.
Josephus, the ancient historian, advises in his work titled Wars the Roman general Titus performed some major tree cutting in the area around Jerusalem around 66-70 A.D. Therefore any trees that existed in the garden were taken down at that time.
The specific location Jesus visited in the area is not know exactly, but many scholars believe the garden was on the western slope between Jerusalem and Bethany.