The Mount of Olives

Scripture: Luke 21:37, John 7:53
Date: 04/11/2009 
The Mount of Olives was a significant place. It was a place where Jesus enjoyed to spend time. He rested there, he prayed there, spent time with his disciples there, and was anointed there by Mary. Olives are a symbol of the Holy Spirit and this was a place that flowed with spirit, and was filled with the light of God.
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Note: This is an unedited, verbatim transcript of the live broadcast.

Our message this morning is dealing with a place that often appears in scripture. It’s called the Mount of Olives. There are mountain climbers around the world. It's become very popular recently. Some are rock climbers; some are the hard-core mountain climbers that take on the big mountains. And if you’re a mountain climber, very few of them, I don't think any of them can say, “I'm going to climb all the tall mountains in the world” because there's just too many of them. So they set goals and they say, “I'm going to climb all of the mountains that are above 20,000 feet.” And some have actually taken the goal of saying, “I'm going to climb the seven mountains of the world.” And what they mean by that is the tallest mountains on each continent.

For instance, Africa, who knows? I think Anthony is going there soon. Mount Kilimanjaro, in Africa, 19,341 feet--the tallest mountain. So they’d go to Kilimanjaro. These are the seven tall mountains. There’s Vinson Massif. Who knows where that is? Antarctica. That's 16,500 feet. Then there’s Carstensz Pyramid in Oceania. This is the tallest mountain in Indonesia and the Pacific, and that's 16,024 feet. Must be a volcano. Who knows the tallest mountain in Asia? Everest, we've all heard of that one. Roughly 29,035 feet. They used to think it was 28,000, but I guess they got a better GPS. In Europe, Elbrus. The mountains aren't that tall there. North America who knows? Mount McKinley. Well, Whitney’s in California. For North America it’s Mount McKinley, 20,300 feet. Stephen and I, a little more than a year ago, we flew up and landed at Mount Denali. Landed on a glacier just below it. You get up there and it's just incredible. Just seeing it is so awesome. And then, I can't say the last one. It's in South America. It’s one of the tallest of the Andes, Aconcagua, 22,841 feet. Those are the seven tall mountains.

Well today we're not going to take a journey through the seven mountains of the Bible. One thing that's interesting about the great mountains of the Bible, name some of them for instance. Mount Sinai. No one's exactly sure where that is. Most scholars are now pretty sure it's not the one that has St. Catherine's Monastery at the top in the Sinai Peninsula because the Bible says Mount Sinai in Arabia. There's another mountain there in Arabia, Jabal Lawz[?], is that it? They think that they found, it's guarded by the Saudi Arabian government. They’re not exactly sure what the Mount of Transfiguration was. It just says a tall mountain. Some think it was Mount Tabor. It could've been. It could have been Mt. Gerazim. We don't know. It could've been one of the mountains of Lebanon. So a number of the mountains in the Bible are a mystery. We’re pretty sure we know where Mount Calvary was, on the Hill of Golgotha, on the north of Jerusalem. But if there's a mountain in the Bible there are no doubts about it's the Mount of Olives.

It is very clearly described and defined in the Bible. And it may be a small mountain, but it is a very profound mountain in Bible history. Just across the Kidron Valley, it's about 3 miles long, is this mountain. It's called the Mount of Olives because olive trees, it's got just the right elevation. It's got just the right climate. They flourish there. The olives were big and rich. So it got the name Olivette, or the Mount of Olives, or the Olive Mountain. Matter of fact, it had one more name I thought was interesting. It was called the Mountiain of Three Lights. And here's the reason. It was just across the valley, the Kidron Valley, from the temple. Matter of fact, when you sat on the Mount of Olives you had a beautiful view. One of the best views of Jerusalem is from the Mount of Olives because it's slightly higher. And you could see, the light was always kept burning. There was a torch above the temple; they kept it burning in the days of Christ continually. And so they had this light to the west. When the sun came up in the morning to the east they called that the second light, the light of the east. The third light of the Mountain of Three Lights was the light of the olive oil produced. And so they called it the Mountain of Three Lights. You might see the sunrise, you might see the light from the temple, and it produced its own light from all of the olive oil that came from that mountain. Matter of fact, there was an olive press that was located on that mountain. The Mount of Olives, a very historic mountain in the Bible.

We're not going to climb a number of different mountains, but we're going to climb one mountain seven times. And I want you to look at, and this is not the limit, but seven very important events that transpired on this mountain. Now you might be wondering why we’re doing this. I believe that there is a spiritual significance to it being called the Mountain of Olives. Why were olives so important to Bible times? They were used for food, but even more than that they were used for oil. What does oil symbolize in the Bible? Holy Spirit. You remember that woman in II Kings 4. Her sons were going to be taken as slaves. Her husband was dead. All she had left was this little vial of oil. Sold everything in the house, but a little vessel of oil. Oil was so precious back then because they used it for so many things. They used oil for food. She didn’t want her kids hungry. She kept the oil. They used it to illuminate their dwellings for light. They used it for healing. People were anointed with oil for healing. You read that in James 5. They used it for beauty. They would anoint themselves. Jesus said they’d anoint their faces with oil. They used to think that that shine made them beautiful. They did it for warmth. They would use it to light fires just like you might use kerosene sometimes to get something going.

So oil was just in every medicine cabinet. It was such an important part of life. It was used to cook the food, it was used in the food, it was used to light the fire, it was used to illuminate the dwelling. The oil was just so precious. And so it was life for them. It's a symbol for the Spirit. And so, when you say, “the Mountain of Olives,” I want you to be thinking in the backdrop of your mind, this is a mountain that flowed with spirit, with light, with life. And Jesus chose to do a lot of very significant things in His life on this mountain. And I just want to bring some of those things to your attention today.

First of all, it was a favorite place for Christ. [discussion of photo on screen from Google.] … the Temple Mount. And then directly opposite that are the three hills of the Mount of Olives. It had three prominent peaks on it. And so you can see that it's directly east of Jerusalem. Christ was crucified, the Garden tomb, Golgotha is directly north of Jerusalem and that temple. The valley that goes between, you can see there's a road there now, but the valley that goes between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives on the right, was the Kidron Valley. The blood from the sacrifices during the Passover (which is what time of year we’re at now) would flow from a tunnel where the temple was out into that valley, and it used to run down there to the Dead Sea. Now that's significant also in our story today.

Jesus liked to abide on the Mount of Olives. It was a favorite place for Him. He, of course, had some dear friends that lived up there. You've heard about Mary and Martha. In your Bibles, Luke 21:37-38, “In the daytime he was teaching in the temple; but at night he went out, and he stayed on the mountain called Olivette. Then early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple, to hear him.” John 7:53-8:1, “And everyone went to his own house. The Jesus went to the Mount of Olives,” that’s Olivette. He liked to abide on the mountain. Part of the reason He liked to be up there is He could look at Jerusalem. He spent time gazing at the city, thinking about it, praying over the people that were there. This was His mountain. These were His people. And He yearned to see them saved. We know that He looked at the city and He once cried out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!” He longed to see those people saved. He taught in the temple when He was 12 years old. Jesus, before He was incarnate, is the one who chose this city, Jeru-shalom, City of Peace. It was to be a place that would be a light the world. And maybe when He looked upon that city He thought about all it could be, and His mind went beyond it to the new Jeru-Shalom, City of Peace, where we will all live someday. So He liked to spend time on that mountain.

Another reason is He had some dear friends that lived on that mountain. You see, there was a very prominent biblical city called Bethany. The word Bethany, it's a mystery. They're not exactly sure, but it's something between house of dates. The word that means house. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but this is Bethany. It means house of dates, or house of song. Maybe house of sweetness, or song were interchangeable. I don't know. But it was a place on the Mount of Olives, a city, a town, small town, on the Mount of Olives. Are not even exactly sure where it is now, because it was so small that history has sort of displaced it and there are so many different villages that have sprung up. He had some dear friends there named Lazarus, Martha, and their younger sister who sometimes got into trouble named Mary. Sometimes she's called Mary of Magdalene because she had left and dwelt in Magdala and come back again. It's probably the same Mary, Mary of Bethany, Mary of Magdalene, same Mary. So He would spend time at their house.

You probably heard about the feast in Simon's house. Simon the leper that Jesus healed. Jesus went to his house and there Mary anointed His feet, anointed His head. Jesus was anointed on the Mount of Olives. That was in Bethany. Matthew 26:6-7, “And when Jesus was in Bethany, at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on his head, as he sat at table.” And then of course she took a vial with her tears and next she anointed His feet with her tears. Just before His death, the last week of His life, a lot of interesting things happened on the Mount of Olives. And that's the time in which we’re living right now. This is the time of year when Christ experienced these things.

Jesus was anointed as Messiah when He began preaching with the Holy Spirit. That was done at another place called Bethpage[?]. John the Baptist baptized Him down there, anointed with the Holy Spirit. He was anointed as King and sacrificed and priest just before His death. Now He would never be anointed by the priesthood of the day so God chose a very humble woman, who everyone else considered to be an outcast. And because He had mentioned that He was about to die, and she heard Him say that. Remember, Jesus told the disciples very plainly, “This last journey to Jerusalem,” He said, “I'm going to Jerusalem. I'll be betrayed there. I'll be handed over to the Gentiles. I'll be crucified and I'll rise the third day. And the disciples heard Him say that because they said they didn't understand it. Mary heard that and she went and bought a gift for Him. She wanted to anoint Him. She bought anointing oil fit for a king. And in the presence of others, there at this dinner, right outside of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, He was anointed.

Not only was He anointed as our King and as our Priest and as our Sacrifice, she then anointed His feet with tears. What does that mean? Well, it's your walk. The fact that Christ's feet were anointed with tears. They used to collect their tears, you know, in this bottle. When they cried back then, when they were mourning, they had a tear vial and they'd cry right into them. I know it sounds peculiar to us, but they thought the tears were sacred. And they would cry into these vials that had a little lip on it and catch their tears. And Mary probably had a full vial because she had gone through a lot of sorrow in her life. And she poured it out on His feet. That reminds us of our Savior has been tempted in all points as we are tempted. He has gone through and experienced our trials. He has walked and experienced and taken our sorrows. Sometimes the government tells us that they feel our pain. We have doubts. But Jesus does feel our pain. He does know how we feel and so she anointed His feet. He was anointed on the Mount of Olives. Christ, just before His sacrifice, anointed on Olivette, from head to foot. She anointed His head, anointed His feet. We need to follow Jesus’ example. Jesus spent time resting and meditating there on the Mount of Olives. We need that time. We need a place to abide in the Spirit. He was anointed there on the Mount of Olives. We need that anointing from head to foot, as well.

The third mountaintop I want to talk about on the Mount of Olives is what we call the triumphal entry. This is where the mountain turns into a place of praise. Mark 11, you find this story in all four Gospels. Luke 19:29, “And he came to pass, when he came near Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivette.” So where is this happening? The Mount of Olives. “That he sent two of his disciple, and he said, Go into the village opposite you a and you'll find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Lose him and bring him here. If anyone asks you,” you're going to think Jesus is authorizing shoplifting here. He just borrowed it and He brought it back. And by the way, He owns everything.” If anyone asks you, Why are you loosing him? You shall say thus, Because the Lord has need of him.” Now just for the scholars here, you may have noticed when you read this story in Matthew 21 and this story in Luke and Mark, the other versions say that there was just a colt. Matthew says it was a mother with her colt. One of them was tied, probably the mother. The colt will always stay with its mother. You don't need to tie the colt. And if you take one the other always follows. I don't know if you have ever had a mother burro and her colt, but if you pull one away the other one's going to stay real close by.

They probably took both because it says in the Gospel of Matthew, “they took them,” the colt and the mother. The colt, no one had ever sat on before, but it only talks about the one that was loosed in the other Gospels. When Jesus ultimately rides down the mountain, He may have ridden on the donkey up until they got to the peak of the Mount of Olives. They went from Bethphage until they got to the peak, the vista. They're going to bring Him in and introduce Him as King. He then shifted to the colt on which no one had ever sat. It did not buck or kick. It was totally submissive and cooperative. And that was a miracle in itself. It was a miracle of Providence that when someone said, “Why are you taking this very expensive animal?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” And they didn't question it at all. If you were preparing to leave from church and I hopped into your car when you unlocked the door and you said, “What are you doing?” And I said, “The Lord has need of it.” I wonder if you would act the same way.

“So those who were sent,” Luke 19: 32, “departed and found just as it had been said to them. But as they were loosing the colt the owners of it said, Why are you loosing the colt? And they said, The Lord has need of him. Then they brought him to Jesus, and they threw their own garments on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. And as they went they spread their clothes on the road.” This was a sign of submission, recognizing Him as King. The statement made by this action spoke volumes. Anybody living back then knew what this meant.

How many of you remember when a prophet came from Elisha and the prophet told Jehu, “God has anointed you to be king”? Matter of fact, he anointed Jehu. And the other generals said, “What did he tell you in the room?” And he says, “Well, they've told me that I'm supposed to be the king, and he anointed me with oil.” And Jehu’s generals took off their clothes and put them down at his feet. And they said, “We’re with you.” And so they used to put down the clothes. You remember Walter Raleigh, he threw down his cloak so that Queen Elizabeth could step over a puddle. You know, how it was supposed to be gallant and chivalrous and everything. That's what they did back then to symbolize your loyalty.

The priests were terrified. He was being boldly proclaimed as the King of the Jews right here while they’re occupied by the Romans. And the people were so excited. And they knew what that meant, when they called Him the son of David; He is the Messiah. This was the triumphal entry. “And they spread their clothes on the road. Then as he was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives,” they can see the golden gates in the distance, “the multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and to praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen.” It became a mountain of praise. “Blessed is the King, who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” Sounds like what they said when He was born, right? Also what they said when He died. “And some of the Pharisees called from the crowd, Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Don’t let them say this. Calm them down. And listen to what Jesus said. “He answered and said, I tell you that if these should keep silent the stones would immediately cry out.” Why would the stones cry out? Because this was a fulfillment of prophecy and there’s nothing you can do on earth to fulfill a prophecy from heaven. It’s going to happen.

I think it’s interesting. Isaiah 55:12, “For you shall go out with joy and be led out with peace. The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you. And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” God says, “If nothing else, the elements, the mountains, the rocks, the trees, they will glorify God.” And when He hung upon the cross the rocks wrent, the sun stopped shining, the clouds gathered. Even creation acknowledged Him as King. So if the people were silent the rocks were going to cry out.

And then He paused along the way. Luke 19:41, “Now as he drew near the city, he wept over it.” And this seems such a paradox because everybody’s praising him and everybody’s rejoicing and everyone is so excited. And they’re taking palm fronds—they’re a symbol of victory—and they’re putting those down. And throwing clothes in the road and saying, “Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” And they pause and Jesus, He tugs on the reins, the donkey stops, and He begins to cry. And they couldn’t understand that. They were hoping it was tears of joy, but He then went on and He uttered something.

He also says earlier in the book of Luke, “If you had known, even you,” He’s speaking to the city and the Jewish nation, “especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace. But now they’re hidden from your eyes.” Here He had come. The Jews had an opportunity. The religious leader, if they had welcomed Him as King He could have brought in the spiritual kingdom and they could have been foremost in proclaiming Him as a king. It would have been no threat to the Romans because it was a religious kingdom. He brought it first. “But they’re hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you and surround you and close you in on every side. And level you and your children within you to the ground. And they will not leave in you one stone upon another because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

You didn’t know when your king’s first coming was happening. They misapplied the prophecies about the first coming and because of that they were destroyed. Could it be that God's church is at risk of making the same mistake again? Could it be that because we’re misapplying the prophecies, and I'm speaking now to Christianity in general. People are looking for a secret rapture; they're looking for all of these things that the Bible doesn't really teach. And because we’re misapplying the prophecies, could it be God's people are not going to be ready for the second coming when it’s right under their nose? And not recognize the day of visitation. “He wept.” And then of course, He went into the temple and He drove out the money changers. So we have the triumphal entry of Jesus on the mountain.

And there’s something else interesting in here. He weeps over Jerusalem. But a little bit of history going back to the geography. When Jesus paused there and He looked at the city, the gate that He went through was called the Beautiful Gate or the Golden Gate. Not to be confused with the bridge over there by San Francisco. It was called the Golden Gate and the reason the Jews called it the Golden Gate, You’ll notice there’s something wrong with it. It does not have doors. It is absolutely sealed up with masonry. It was called Golden Gate because the Jews all believed that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem from the east, from the Mount of Olives, based on the prophecy that you find in Zachariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout O daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, your king is coming to you. He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” That was fulfilled, wasn't it? Christ came meek.

And you might be wondering about, where does the Mount of Olives come into that? Ezekiel 11:23, “And the glory of the Lord went from the midst of the city, and stood on the mountain that is east of the city. They believed that the glory of God would come from the mountain that is on the east of the city. And we just looked at Jerusalem. What mountain was east of the city? The Mount of Olives. There was a sultan in 1541 who knew what the Jewish prophecy said. You’ve probably heard of Suleiman I. He was one of the great Arab kings who fought against the crusaders that came, that occupied Jerusalem. He sealed up the Golden Gate, walled up the city. And furthermore, they planted a cemetery in front of it because they said it would render the place unclean. The Messiah cannot come through the Golden Gate now. We’re going to keep the Jewish Messiah from coming because we’ve sealed the Golden Gate and we’ve made it desecrated ground with a cemetery. You can go there today and you’ll see it. See the tombstones right in front of it? They’ve never moved them because they figure, tombstone--can’t move it. It’s a grave. The Muslims say it’s sacred to them. But they’re thumbing their noses at the Jews saying, “Your Messiah can’t come because look what we did.” The only thing is, they were about 1500 years too late. When they did it Jesus already went through the gate. The Messiah did come.

Christ paused on the Mount of Olives and He wept over the city. And that’s still part of the triumphal entry so I don’t count that as a separate one. And we may need to spend some time weeping on the mountain. The Mount of Olives is a mountain of revelation. How many of you have heard of the Olivette Discourse? You’ve heard of the Sermon on the Mount. And you’ve heard of the Beatitudes, of course. The different great statements of Christ have sometimes different places. The sermon by the sea. There are different places associated with it. The sermon in the upper room. The Olivette Discourse you’ll find in Luke 21. Part of it’s in Luke 17 because Luke got his gospel through interviews. Matthew 24, Mark 13, one of the days after leaving the temple, the disciples heard what Jesus said when He rebuked the scribes and Pharisees, again, the last week of His life, and they said, “Lord, you’re church is here to stay. He’s got nothing to worry about. Look at how massive the walls are. Look at how big these stones are.” They had some stones that were like 50 tons. And they can get Jesus to look at the stones, and Jesus said to them, “Verily, I say unto you, that there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

Now when the temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar some of the old stones remained. And when they rebuilt they took some of those old stones and incorporated them in the temple built during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah; later refurbished by Herod the Great. But Christ is saying, “Next time there will not be left a single stone. That temple will never be rebuilt again because I’m going to build a new temple, called my body, called the church.” That’s why He said, “Destroy this temple made with hands. In three days I’ll make one without hands.” And they were flabbergasted. That’s a Hebrew word for dismayed, by what He said. They could not believe it. And so He went up out of the city. When He was done with the temple He went through the Golden Gate again. Went up the Mount of Olives to one of the places they used to like to sit and look at of the city. And the sun would go down; it was just a beautiful view. And the disciples came to Him alone. They said, “Lord, when will these things be? What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the world?”

And then He launched into the discourse, the Olivette Discourse. Looking at Jerusalem, giving them the signs of the destruction of Jerusalem, the signs of His return, describing the events of the second coming in great detail, the greatest detail you'll find in the Bible. Christ revealed the secrets of His return from the Mount of Olives. It a mount of revelation. You and I need to spend time on that mountain, don't we? Studying His word, studying the prophecies, letting the Lord help us understand what the future holds. He revealed the future from that mountain. Mark 13:3, “Now as he sat on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew (the four brothers) asked him privately, Tell us, when will these things be? What will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?

Well, later on that week He taught in the temple every day. And He had several intense showdowns with the scribes and Pharisees. He denounced them as hypocrites, and pretty much sealed His fate. As the Passover approached He directed the disciples to go and in the same way they found the colt and the donkey they found an upper room that was given to them, just donated, all prepared, miraculously, where they ate the last supper. After He instituted the new covenant, the Lord’s Supper, they san a song, they went out. It says in Matthew 26:30, “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus came with them,” now I’m in Matthew 26:36. “Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”

The word Gethsemane means olive press. Now wouldn't that be a practical place? You know, you grow a lot of grapes in Napa. A good place for a grape press would be Napa. You wouldn't put your grape press in Iowa where the corn is. So you've got your olive press where all the olive trees are. That makes sense. And this is a place where Christ went through a crushing. Getting olive oil takes more pressure than getting grape juice. You can throw a bunch of grapes in a barrel and just jump up and down and you’ll get grape juice. You can get grape juice just by squeezing them in your hand. Matter of fact, there's a vision in the Bible about grapes being squeezed out of the hand into a cup. I dare you to try and get olive oil in that way.

We've got olive trees all around our church. They're beautifully manicured in the courtyard here. They all look like poodles to me. And then out in front we’re working on it. There are some big ones. And they're 40 years old. They're big olive trees. I've been to the Garden of Gethsemane. They say some of the trees there date back to the time of Christ. Supposedly one of the universities did a core sampling and they said, “Yes, there are some trees here that are over 2000 years old.” Olive trees are extremely durable. They're kind of like those bristle cone pines. Part of them dies and part of them stays alive and starts living again. And they've got some trees that are just very wide and short, stubby trees. Very old, ancient trees. Out in the courtyard here, if you pause after you leave church, you sniff a little bit. If you've got a good sense of smell you're going to think you smell rancid oil. We’re not proud of that, but after the olives fall and you all drive over them before we get them raked up, voila, olive press in the front yard of the church.

But to get the olive oil required a stone. A heavy stone. And they lay the olives down in this stone trough and they rolled the stone over them and they crushed out the oil. And they continued to heat it and refine it until they just got the pure olive oil. Jesus, they're in the garden of Gethsemane, He went through a press. He was really crushed. To the point where, Luke records, He was sweating blood. It wasn't even blood that was extracted by the nails and the spear, or the whip or the thorns. He already began to bleed for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. And don't forget that, friends. Christ's sufferings did not begin on the cross. Christ's sufferings did not begin when Pilate had him flogged or when Herod had him whipped, or when He was abused in the trial. Christ's sufferings began as an offering from Himself in the garden. When He said, “Now is the hour.”

By the way, when He says three days and three nights, it’s talking about His suffering. Heart of the earth has nothing to do with the tomb. It's talking about when Christ was in the clutches of the world, suffering for the sins of the world. Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday-- three days and three nights. He began bleeding in the Garden of Gethsemane there on the Mount of Olives. Matter fact, I think it's significant that when Jesus left the temple and crossed the Kidron Valley He had to pass over the blood that was coming from the Passover sacrifices to go to the Garden of Gethsemane. There's no way for Him to get there. When going through that gate He had to step over where that blood was running through that valley to get there. He passed over the blood, crossed over. In the garden there He began suffering for the sins of the world. Every other time when a mob came to arrest Jesus and carry Him away He slipped through their fingers. But that night when He told them to pray on that mountain, He said, “Now is the hour.” When Judas came and the mob grabbed Him and He was betrayed, He began suffering for His own people. He was praying and agonizing and weeping and saying, “Not my will, they will be done.”

By the way, probably of the experiences that we need to replicate that Christ had on the Mount of Olives, what I just described is the most important experience. To have that prayer Christ and mean it the way He meant it-- where we say, “Lord, not my will, your will be done.” To pour ourselves out. Peter talks about, “You’ve not resisted unto blood.” It talks about resisting that selfish nature. Just agonizing with the Lord saying, “Lord, not my will, thy will be done. I'm totally yours. Whatever you want.” That's what Jesus did there in the garden. And we need to have that experience in the garden with Him. He wept there. I can't read that without also remembering, twice now we've talked about Jesus weeping on the Mount of Olives. There's really three times. What's the shortest verse in the Bible? In Greek it’s rejoice evermore. In English it’s Jesus wept. When is that recorded? When He resurrects Lazarus. Where did Lazarus live? Bethany. Where was Bethany? It's on the Mount of Olives. So Jesus wept on the Mount of Olives at Lazarus’ tomb.

By the way, Jesus cursed the fig tree on the Mount of Olives. It says He came out of Bethany. That's where he saw the fig tree. Because it was fruitless. Jesus wept over Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. Jesus wept in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. And we may have to spend some time weeping and praying for the Spirit on that mountain with our Lord. King David, I always thought this was significant. Jesus was weeping over the city being taken by the Romans and being leveled by an enemy. David left Jerusalem, he went through that gate. He walked up the Mount of Olives and he wept over Jerusalem because it had been taken by his son who had become his enemy. You read that in II Samuel 15. “So David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and he wept as he went.” Just like Jesus.

Back to Gethsemane. Luke 22:39, “Coming out, he went to the Mount of Olives as he was accustomed; his disciples followed him. When he came to the place, he said, Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” So we pray with Him on that mountain. The disciples went to sleep on the Mount of Olives when they should've been awake, and praying. Sleeping when they should've been praying. Now what happens next we’re all familiar with. Geographically He’s arrested there, taken back through the Golden Gate. Not now has a king, but He’s through the Golden gate now as a prisoner. And He goes through a circuitous route through the city from trial to trial. From the house of Annas to Caiaphas to Pilate and Herod and all around the city. He ends up going out of the northern gate where He’s crucified.

I wonder what kind of tree Jesus was crucified on. Typically we see a piece of lumber that looks like something you'd pick up at Home Depot except it's more like a 6x6 than a 4x4, rough cut. I'm always annoyed when I see people make depictions of the cross and they get planed lumber. They didn't start planning lumber until the last century. When lumber came from a saw it was what they call a rough cut, full-dimension rough cut. Some of you still have it in your houses and you don't even know it. Good, you've got a house built with a rough-cut lumber-- there's more to it. You get a 2x4 today it’s not even 2x4 anymore. It’s 1 ½ by 2 ¾. Is that right? Something like that, 1 ¾ by 2 ¾. Because it's been planed, smoothed. Jesus was not crucified on a smooth piece of board. It was rough. And I don't think it was from the Cedars of Lebanon. There is a good chance with the Mount of Olives right there and those olive trees flourishing. Have you seen how tall are olive trees are out front? You could easily make a long cross of any of those limbs. It's very possible the Jesus was even crucified on an olive tree. And if you go to Israel today you'd be surprised how much they do with olive wood.

So they bury Him. We know the story. Mary comes, and I'm not trying to minimize one of the great events in the Bible, but I want to get to the next event of the Mount of Olives. He ascends to heaven, comes back down, appears to the disciples over a period of 40 days to encourage them, opens the word to them. And as Jesus prepares for His last journey up, at one point He say s, “Meet me in Galilee.” Have you read about this in I Corinthians 15? He told them He was going to meet with them and 500 disciples gathered. And not only did He appear to the two on the road to Amas and He appeared to Mary and the women at the tomb. And He appeared to Peter alone, evidently. He appeared to Paul later on the road to Damascus. But there was another time that it says He appeared to over 500 at one time. That’s because He had told them, “I’ll meet you up in Galilee.” He appeared to them on a mountain there in Galilee. And He could have ascended to heaven from that mountain, but He didn’t. He came back down to Jerusalem and He appeared to them one more time in Jerusalem. And that’s where He ascended to heaven. Where do you think it was? Luke 24:50, “And he led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and he blessed them. Now it came to pass, while he blessed them, that he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.”

If you have any doubts about where that was you’ve got to go to the book of Acts. Luke also wrote the book of Acts. Acts 1:4-5, “And being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem,” so where are they? They’re near Jerusalem, right? “but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he has said, you have heard from me. For John truly baptized you with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet.” So where did Jesus make this statement to them? They’re not far from Jerusalem. He points at Jerusalem and He says, “Now don’t leave Jerusalem and start preaching everywhere until you get the Holy Spirit.” It was on the Mount of Olives that He ascended. But I think it’s interesting it was on the Mount of Olives. What does olive oil represent? He says, “Don’t leave until you receive the Holy Spirit.” He wanted them to have the promise of the Spirit. And then He ascends to heaven.

Just before He ascends He gives them the great commission. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All authority has been given unto me.” And He gives them the great commission. Where is He standing when He gives that? Just before He ascends. You can read Mark’s version. It talks a little bit about the miracles that will attend the ministry of the disciples. All of this is happening on the Mount of Olives. Why? Just because it was a convenient rest stop on the road to Jerusalem? Or is there a reason for everything that God does? I believe that there is a reason. I think that mountain, from which oil flowed, that mountain of three lights—like the Father, Son and Spirit—that mountain that overlooked Jerusalem is a mountain that He chose deliberately to help us think about the importance of the Spirit in everything we do. If there’s any one thing we should pray for it’s the Mountain of Olives in our lives. That’s the Holy Spirit. It’s the light of God’s Spirit in our life.

Now you might spend time on the mountain weeping. You might be on that mountain crowned as king, rejoicing. You might be on the mountain being anointed. There were all kinds of things that Jesus taught them. He revealed the future to them on that mountain. All these different experiences happened on that mountain. They were charged and commissioned and comforted and taught. They slept, they prayed, all on this mountain. And all of those things that we’re describing are mountaintop experiences we have if they’re baptized in the Spirit. If there’s any single point that I would want you to grasp from that it would be we need that baptism. Now we’re not done with the Mount of Olives. It’s still going to come one more time in the Bible. Part of the Bible’s not fulfilled yet.

By the way, if you go to the Mount of Olives today they’ve actually got a dome there. They’ve got two or three churches on the summits. And here’s one called the Dome of the Ascension because they know this is where He ascended. A lot of people go and they make pilgrimages here. They say, “This was the last place on earth where Jesus’ feet touched.” And it’s a sacred place for them. It was on the Mount of Olives, as He ascended to heaven, where He promised that He would come back again. Remember when the disciples were looking up and Jesus disappeared out of their sight, two angels suddenly appeared. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here gazing up into the heavens. This same Jesus that ascended into heaven will return in like manner as you have seen him go.” Where did they hear those words? The promise of His return. Those angels came right there, they were on the Mount of Olives gazing up into the sky.

Not only is the promise of His return not only happen there on the Mount of Olives. The last time they saw Him, He went up from the Mount of Olives. Where do you think His feet will touch again next when He comes back to this world? Turn in your Bibles to Zachariah 14:4, speaking of the day of the Lord. “And in that day his fee will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east.” Why do you think most cemeteries in North America are made so that they face east? From what direction does Jesus come? He’s supposed to come from the east, “making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move towards the north, and half of it shall move towards the south.” This valley is going to be about 375 miles wide. Talk about a Grand Canyon. “The Valley shall reach from Azal; yes you shall flee, as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah the king. Thus says the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with you.”

So here it says when He comes with all the redeemed, after the 1000 years of living and reigning with Him in glory in our mansions He will come down to earth. The New Jerusalem will be following through the heavens. The first place His feet touch on this devastated planet (the whole planet is going to be in darkness for a thousand years; it's going to be desolated) His feet are going to touch the Mount of Olives. When His Feet touch it’s going to form a very great valley. And into that valley the New Jerusalem nestles down. So when the angel said Christ is coming back the same way you saw Him go, the next time He touches the ground it’s even going to be the very same place He last left. And then of course, God will create a new heavens and a new earth.

Even the Jews know that when the Messiah comes the Mount of Olives is the most sacred place. One of the most expensive cemeteries in the world-- it's not Forest Lawn down there in Los Angeles-- it's in Jerusalem. Look at all those graves, and they put them above ground in these Jewish crypts. That's on the Mount of Olives. Matter of fact, about half the mountain is covered almost elbow to elbow with these graves. They've just about run out of room to put any of their great dignitaries that die because it's considered to be the most sacred place. They believe the Messiah will come to this mountain. And so they even know that. It's in their literature.

By the way, a little bit of history. He spoke here in Zachariah about the earthquake in the days of Uzziah the king. Josephus, the ran, tells us that when Uzziah went into the temple to burn incense, and he wasn't supposed to, and the priests said, “You need to leave,” and he began to get angry with them and he threatened them, there was an earthquake. He was struck, there was a crack in the temple, light came down and shone on his face and he became leprous. That same earthquake that hit Jerusalem that day. By the way, the earthquake is well substantiated several times in the Bible and in history. That earthquake that struck that day, there was a split in the Mount of Olives and a big landslide that went down and covered up the road and covered up the king’s garden. And so they have these images in their mind when He talks about “as you fled before the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah.” They were running before this massive landslide that happened during the earthquake of Uzziah.

Well you know, the last thing I want to say about the mountain. I told you to begin with, the Mount of Olives has three hills on it. Three parts of salvation: justification, sanctification, glorification. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. There are three peaks; on each of those peaks is a tower. And all through history because the Mount of Olives is higher than Mount Zion, Mount Moriah, where Jerusalem is it was the lookout mountain for all of the armies. They always that time up on the Mount of olives, on those towers because that gave them the best vantage point from which to see what was coming and to be prepared. Well we need to spend some time on that mountain looking for our Lord, amen? Kind of a lookout mountain. I think that's why Jesus gives us Matthew 24 on the Mount of Olives all the signs of His return. We need to spend time looking for His coming.

Friends, I don't know about you, but I see the world changing very fast. And the changes we’re seeing now are not just changes in a state or changes in a country. Things are happening on a global scale. Everything is all intertwined with the computers and the economy. The final events are transpiring under our nose and I hope that we're not going to be the ones Jesus is talking about when He says that that day came upon us unaware; that you did not know the time of your visitation. We might need to get out of the valley and climb up on the mountain there and see what the Lord is trying to show us, amen? We need to spend time in the Garden of Gethsemane and ask for the filling of God's Spirit. And then take up our olive tree and be crucified with Christ and follow Him wherever He leads. Is that your desire, friends?

I would like to ask you if you’d do me a favor. Would you bow your heads for a moment? Just forget everybody else that might be around you. Forget looking at your clock and wondering what's happening to the food in the oven at home. Just recognize that we're in the house of God. We looked today at some very important events that happened on a humble mountain. But that mountain represents a place of the Spirit, a dwelling place of God, an abiding place of Jesus. And He’s inviting us to share with Him in those experiences, to follow Him there and learn what He wants us to learn. It's so important for each one of us to be filled with the oil of His Sprit, that we let our light shine. Maybe there's something in your life that's obscuring that light, or snuffing it out, or maybe your light’s been under a bush and you really want it to shine. You’re willing to follow wherever Jesus leads. If the Holy Sprit’s speaking to you right now and you’d just like to say, Lord. Especially during this time of year when we’re living in the moments of the Passover, if we go back 2,000years right now Jesus is 14 years old. He’s already been to the temple. And we’re living in the days just before His return. You want to be ready. You want to be totally consecrated. You’re willing to follow Him and stay awake and pray. If you says, “Lord, help me to be 100% Christian. Not a 50% or 70%, but 100% Christian.” Is that your desire, friends? Would you lift your hands before Him and say, “Lord, help me. I want to share those experiences with you. And I want to be ready for your coming, spending time on Lookout Mountain,” waiting for Him to come. In relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. Those are those three peaks on the Mount of Olives. If that’s your desire then let’s take our hymnals. Let’s turn to 604.

This is a great song because it reminds us of the imminence of Jesus’ coming. We may not know that day and the hour, but we can know when it's near. But the song is really only great if we sing it triumphantly, as it is a proclamation the Jesus is coming. And so I’d like to hear everybody, we're going to sing the last verse, but I want to hear you sing with all your heart.

How many of you believe coming He’s coming soon? That means you’re an Adventist. [prayer] Loveing Lord, we invite your blessing to be on every life represented here, even those who may be listening now through a CD or a tape. And I pray that we can track Jesus through the Bible and join Him on the Mount of olives. That we might have a Spirit filled experience. Lord, I pray that we can be Christians in spirit and in truth, not just in our profession. We don't want to be simply nominal Christians in name, but when you look from heaven on our hearts help us to be genuine. Thank you, Lord, for the message this morning. We pray for the outpouring of the Spirit as we go from this place. Be with us and help us to represent you. We pray in Christ's name, amen.

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