On Day 7 we spent our second day in Jerusalem, which was also our last day of the tour. We began at an overlook on the top of Mount of Olives. What an amazing view of Jerusalem!
Even here you can take a camel ride!
Following Jesus’ steps on Palm Sunday, we walked down the steep hill to the Church of Dominus Flevit, the teardrop church. According to the Gospels, it is here that Jesus wept over Jerusalem. This occurred during Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday. Looking down on the city, Jesus wept over it as he prophesied its future destruction. (Luke 13: 13-34) (Luke 19: 37-44). Within 40 years, 70 A.D., Jesus’ prophesy was fulfilled. The Romans besieged Jerusalem, burned the Temple and destroyed the city.
An Italian architect designed the church, built in 1955. It was structured as a teardrop in the form of a cross to symbolize Jesus’ grief. The teardrop is surrounded by four vases because of the custom to collect one’s tears upon the death of a loved one. The church stands on the site of the ruins of a Byzantine church.
The altar of the church overlooks Jerusalem. The cross and chalice design focuses on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, believed to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and tomb.
Our walk continued to the Garden of Gethsemane. The word “Gethsemane” means “olive press” and since it is almost impossible to kill an olive tree, the root systems of these trees could go back two thousand years. In the garden there are eight ancient olive trees.
Here we toured the Church of All Nations, also known as the Basilica of the Agony. The church, built in 1924, is the third church built on this site. This church, as well as Byzantine and Crusader churches, were built over the Rock of Agony, associated with Jesus’ prayer of agony the night before he was crucified. (Matthew 26:36-46) (Mark 14: 32-42),(Luke 22:44-53).
The altar has a rock with a crown of thorns with birds in a posture of submission, willing to drink from the cup of Christ’s passion.
It is here that Jesus was arrested and betrayed by Judas. (Matthew 26: 47-56), (Mark 14: 43-50), (Luke 22: 47-53, (John 18: 1-12).
The architect wanted to portray the nighttime of the Agony by leaving the interior of the church in semi-darkness, with only natural light filtered through violet blue alabaster windows.
The starry night sky is recreated in the ceiling domes, with the stars surrounded by olive branches.
On the facade of the church is Christ as the mediator between God and mankind.
On right is a throng of humble, meek people in tears, looking to Christ for comfort and assurance. On the left, are those in power and the wise (like the Jewish priests) choosing not to recognize Jesus as Christ and the Gospel (one of them is holding a book with the word “ignorance” on it).
Next up: Part 2 of our final day in Israel