The Garden of Gethsemane lays at the foot of the Mount of Olives, in the Kidron Valley, just east of the Old City of Jerusalem. Yeshua and His disciples often came to this garden. It was within walking distance of Jerusalem, and it is on the way to the Mount of Olives and Bethany (home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus). This garden is a noteworthy location in Yeshua’s life and ministry, and is open to visitors today.
Yeshua in the Garden
There are two memorable events in the life of Yeshua that happen in the Garden of Gethsemane. The first event takes place immediately after Yeshua’s Last Supper with His disciples and prior to His arrest. Yeshua goes to the garden with His disciples and asks them to pray as He prays alone. At this time He prays, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). He returns to the disciples and finds them asleep. A nearby cave is the traditional location for where the disciples fell asleep.
The second event that takes place in Gethsemane is Yeshua’s arrest. Judas Iscariot leads those who want to arrest Yeshua to the Garden of Gethsemane and distinguishes Him by greeting Him with a kiss. Peter gets defensive and cuts off the ear of one of the officers, only to watch Yeshua promptly heal him. Yeshua goes willingly with those who arrest Him, because He knows that the time has come for Him to be crucified.
The Garden of Gethsemane is an olive grove—hence, the meaning of its name, “oil press.” All olive trees from the time of Yeshua were cut down by the Romans before they captured Jerusalem in 70 AD. However, there are eight ancient olive trees in the garden today. A 2012 study dates them to the 12th century and shows that they were all shoots from the same parent tree, which could have been the offspring of an olive tree in the garden during the time of Yeshua.
Church of All Nations
The Church of All Nations sits adjacent to the Garden of Gethsemane. It is built over the traditional rock on which Yeshua prayed in anguish before He was betrayed and arrested. The church gets its name from the worldwide nations who donated to its construction cost. Its brilliant architecture creates a somber atmosphere in reverence of Yeshua’s agony.