The Garden of Gethsemane is broken up into two different parts: a patch of olive trees, and a church built over the rock to which Christ was thought to have retreated as He prayed to the Father, beginning the process of Atonement (to read the scriptural accounts in the New Testament, click here). The Garden is less a tourist attraction than a place of worship.
Visiting the Garden of Gethsemane has easily been the most sacred experience I've had since arriving in Jerusalem. Located just on the other side of the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane has been preserved for anyone to come and ponder the great sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The only rule--silence. Patrons are expected to conduct themselves in a respectful manner to help create a spiritual environment for everyone present.
We arrived at the Garden just as it was opening on the Sabbath. Very few people were nearby, and we were privileged to be six of the dozen or so people there.
|The rock on which Jesus prayed as he bled from every pore|
As you may have guessed, my experience in the Garden and the church nearby had a profound impact on me. It is a sacred place. I felt the Spirit strongly testify to me of Christ's mission, of His love for each of us, and for His personal sacrifice for me. In the Chapel of the church I had the opportunity to sit on a bench and offer prayers of gratitude for Him and for the Father's willingness to allow His Son to suffer on (and in) our behalf. I felt what many Christians can only describe as "peace." I left the Garden of Gethsemane full of gratitude for Him who gave all He had so that we could become heirs to all our Father has. That's a memory that won't easily fade.
|Visitors are encouraged to touch the rock on which Jesus prayed|