Mount of Olives
October 21, 2021
Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them" (Matthew 21:1-3).
The Mount of Olives was an important place to Jesus in the days of His ministry. It is so named because of the olive grove that was located at its base and on its slopes. In ancient days, the olives from its groves were pressed and used to anoint kings and priests. The Garden of Gethsemane is located within the olive grove on the Mount of Olives.
King David ascended to the Mount barefoot and in prayer while attempting to escape the wrath of his son Absalom. Those with David wept with him there (1 Samuel 15:30). It was on the Mount of Olives that King Solomon engaged in the sin of idolatry (1 Kings 11:4-8). The prophets Zechariah and Ezekiel prophesied the future judgement of Israel from the Mount of Olives, as well as the future restoration and the regathering of the Jewish exiles.
For Jesus, the Mount of Olives was a place of prayer. During His ministry He would often retreat to pray on the Mount (Luke 21:37, Luke 22: 39).
During Passion Week, Jesus visited the Mount of Olives 3 times. In Luke 19:28-39 He came down from the Mount and entered Jerusalem on a donkey, as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9. In Mark 13:1-37 and Luke 21:5-36 He explained to His disciples the coming destruction of Israel. The dramatic events of that week culminate in the events of His Passion. In anticipation of His arrest and betrayal, Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. In His distress He sweat drops of blood, an angel comforted Him, and Judas Iscariot led the Temple Guard to arrest Him (Luke 22:39-48).
Acts 1:11-12 tells us that Jesus ascended to Heaven from the Mount of Olives. Zechariah described the Mount of Olives as the place where Jesus will return in His 2nd coming (Zechariah 14:4).
The Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane were important places of prayer for King David and the Lord Jesus. We too should set aside an important place to commune with the Lord, a place that is sanctified for the purpose of meeting with the Lord in spirit and truth.
“Lord Jesus, thank You for prayer and for the special places where we can engage in prayer with You. May such places be holy for us as the Mount of Olives was a holy place for You. May we enter our ‘Mount of Olives’ in great anticipation of communion with the Father as You did. For Your honor and glory, and for our spiritual benefit I ask, Amen.”