Jesus on the Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives, a popular site to visit for those on Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land, is a two mile-long ridge with three peaks in East Jerusalem. There are towers on each of its three summits. The Mount of Olives faces the Old City of Jerusalem and separates it from the Judean desert. You can get panoramic views of the city to the west and the desert to the east from atop the Mount of Olives, which got its name from the olive trees that once covered its slopes.
The Mount of Olives has long served as a Jewish cemetery and is home to around 150,000 graves. The mountainside is covered with stones because Jews traditionally placed small stones on graves to indicate that they visited them. Today, many of the stones are broken and scattered about because of the destruction caused during the Jordanian occupation from 1948-1967.
Why the Mount of Olives is an Important Site for Christian Pilgrimages
The Mount of Olives is an important site to visit on Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land because numerous Biblical events occurred there. Jesus spent a significant amount of time teaching and making prophecies to his disciples on the Mount of Olives. Furthermore, Jesus frequently went to the Mount of Olives to pray and rest.
Jesus’ Olivet discourse, also known as the Olivet Prophecy, is named after the Mount of Olives because it took place there. During the Olivet discourse, Jesus made prophecies about the future destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Most theologians also believe that Jesus foretold his Second Coming in the Olivet discourse.
The Mount of Olives is also home to the Church of the Pater Noster. According to Christian tradition, the Church of the Pater Noster was built over the cave where Jesus taught his disciples the “Our Father” (Pater Noster) prayer, one of the most important prayers in Christianity.
Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday, prior to his arrest and crucifixion on Good Friday. The starting point of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was the village of Bethphage, on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. People waved palm tree branches and laid them across Jesus’ path to Jerusalem. As Jesus neared the city, he visualized its destruction and wept over it. Dominus Flevit, a Catholic Franciscan church on the Mount of Olives that is shaped like a teardrop, was built on the spot where Jesus wept. “Dominus Flevit” means “the Lord wept” in Latin.
A few days after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples shared the Last Supper. Following the meal, Jesus led his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. The Garden of Gethsemane is an olive grove situated on the western foot of the Mount of Olives. Judas betrayed Jesus and had him arrested at the garden. Jesus and his disciples regularly visited the Garden of Gethsemane, so Judas knew Jesus would be there. The next day, Jesus was put on trial and crucified. The Garden of Gethsemane, which has been an important site for Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land for centuries, is located within the walls of the Basilica of the Agony, also known as the Church of All Nations. The olive trees in the garden are estimated to be anywhere from 2,000-3,000 years old.
Three days after his crucifixion, Jesus was resurrected. 40 days after the resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives. A sacred chapel known as the Chapel of Ascension has been built on the site where Jesus is said to have ascended to heaven. The Chapel of Ascension is an octagonal chapel containing a stone imprinted with the footprints of Jesus.
Join Christian Holyland Tours to See and Experience the Mount of Olives
Relive the tales of the Bible and walk in Jesus’ footsteps on the Mount of Olives with Christian Holyland Tours. The Mount of Olives is an essential stop for Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land because of the significant role it played in Jesus’ life and ministry. For more information about tours to the Holy Land with Christian Holyland Tours, please call 1.800.2.ISRAEL (or 800.247.7235)