Among the Olive Trees

22 03 2013

We walked up the narrow road in the city of Jerusalem. Having been through the Kidron Valley, we climbed the hill to the east of the temple mount. The street was filled with cars, and we scrambled to stay out of the way of oncoming traffic. The sidewalk met a wall and we had to walk single file as we continued to walk uphill. Finally, we reached a gate with a small bronze sign. Gethsemane. We were on the Mount of Olives. This was the place where Jesus prayed.

The gate is open and all are welcome to come in and sit in the shade of the ancient trees. Gnarled limbs stretch out across the sky. Olive trees can live hundreds of years. Their twisted trunks and knotty branches tell a story of endurance, patience, and determination.

Walking in the garden, the world faded away. Turning to Mark 14:32-42, the words of Jesus seemed to resonate through the quiet. “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Touching the olive trees, it was easy to imagine Jesus’ hands rubbing the rough wood. Kneeling to the ground etched a deep picture of Jesus’ suffering on my heart. There is no way to stand among the olive trees and remain unchanged.

And that is the purpose of Gethsemane. Jesus left Gethsemane surrendered and even more determined to walk in His Father’s will. Going to Gethsemane has the power to do the same for our hearts as well. It doesn’t matter whether you go through the gate or through the door of scripture. Standing among the olive trees calls us to commit to fully living out God’s purpose for our lives.

My Jesus Resolution today is to kneel in the garden. I am going to imitate my Savior, humble myself before my God, and put myself in His hands. I have tears I need to cry there, prayers I need to raise there, worship I need to give there, and surrender I need to make there. Among the knots and gnarls of the old trees in Gethsemane are little pieces of paper. Prayers tucked into the branches by those who have visited. Today I am going to write “not what I will, but what you will” on a small piece of paper. I am going to tuck it into a hidden spot somewhere that is a place of struggle for me. I am going to take Gethsemane with me and remember the power and promise found when I kneel among the olive trees.


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