As a special series, we’ve asked some of our friends to share their own special recollections and experiences while in Israel on tour with Immanuel Tours. This week’s special writer is Tony Derrick, A long time friend of Immanuel Tours and ministry worker for Zola Levitt Ministries. He’s sharing about one of his favorite tour locations… Gethsemane.
A visit to Israel offers a very unique experience. One will find a variety of cultures, cuisine, and religions, as well as a diverse landscape. For a country no larger than the state of New Jersey, Israel has a lot to offer. But, it’s the biblical sites that bring the greatest inspiration. Imagine walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee – the very same Sea of Galilee where Jesus spent most of His earthly ministry. Or, ascending the southern steps to the Temple Mount, where there is no doubt that Jesus walked the same steps to enter the Temple complex in His day.
To walk where Jesus walked is a special privilege, but to pray where Jesus prayed brings each one to a closer connection to their Lord. It is a never-to-be forgotten experience. Of course a person can pray anywhere, but that special place of prayer where we know Jesus prayed is Gethsemane, which comes from an Aramaic word meaning “oil press.”
Gethsemane is located in the lower area on the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley, east of the Golden Gate. Where exactly did Jesus pray? The most popular is the Basilica of the Agony, a Roman Catholic Church also known as the Church of All Nations. Inside the church is the traditional Rock of Agony where Jesus knelt. Adjacent to the church is a garden of ancient olive trees, and across a narrow street from that garden is another garden that requires special entry.
It is in this special garden that groups often gather, have brief devotionals, sing and pray. I have witnessed people
with hands raised to the heavens in prayer to God. I have heard the weeping of souls calling on God to heal our land, or come quickly! Those are special moments for believers.
According to Luke 12:37 and John 18:2, Jesus would often escape the crowds to this hillside and enter the garden to pray, rest, and fellowship with His disciples. “And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet” Luke 12:37.
On the night of His betrayal, He left the Upper Room after the Last Supper, crossed the Kidron Valley up to the Mount of Olives. He spoke briefly to His disciples about things to come, andthen took Peter, James, and John into the Garden of Gethsemane. When He completed His prayer, in which He prayed three times for deliverance, Jesus went out and was met by guards and the one who would betray Him.
“And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His
disciples” John 18:2.
Come to Israel and experience the transforming power of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Come and see what God has done, and what He is doing in Israel today.