Hello Every One,
This is what I really love – to be able to give a few thoughts from here in Jerusalem where it all happened – today about Maundy Thursday.
I often get by Gethsemane. It is a place I simply feel a part of. Perhaps it is because it was in that area that Christ's Passion began, maybe because it is where Jesus taught me to surrender my will for His, or… maybe because it is where He prayed that you and I would be strengthened in our lives – and He committed us into the Fathers care.
Gethsemane means “Olive Press” – and that would naturally be found amidst olive trees. The olive tree is a symbol of peace, of wisdom, and longevity.
The symbolism of peace goes back to Genesis 8 and the flood where the dove flies back to Noah in the ark with an olive branch. Throughout time the symbol has meant peace. The Romans and the Greeks used it – and even today upon the United Nations insignia is the olive branches.
We often associate, and rightly so, the rainbow as the symbol of God's peace with man. I think too, that the olive branch can be seen as another, with the dove (the Spirit of God) bringing it to man, as the dove was seen over Jesus after His baptism.
There amidst the olive trees Jesus knelt and prayed, for you, for me, for Himself – and obtained peace in knowing that however hard things were going to be (and he knew what was coming) He could have peace because of two things.
First, He was in the will of His Father, and second, His suffering would bring back His true love – us – His fallen creation, into His perfect presence.
Thus He did not slip away into the darkness when He saw the torches of the Temple Guards approaching up the Kidron Valley, but in His wisdom stayed put, and was betrayed, so that you and I could be bought back from sin's captivity and have peace with God in eternity.
Take a moment this evening to visit the olive trees of Gethsemane…
Thank you Lord Jesus,
Middle East Correspondent