The Olive Tree
The Mount of Olives was so named because of the many olive trees, though they are not as plentiful today. Toward the bottom of the slope is a place with some very old olive trees, and from the fourth century this has been honored as the site of Gethsemane. Though none of these trees goes back to the time of Jesus, new olive trees sometimes grow from the roots of those whose trunk has fallen. Thus, the trees there could be connected with the trees that were there during the Agony in the Garden.
Palestines most common tree is the olive tree. The life expectancy of an olive tree is 500 years. Its beauty has long been extolled, and it was thought to have a mystical quality. The olive branch symbolized forgiveness, peace, happiness, and its branches were woven into crowns. In the story of Noah, the olive tree even survives the flood the dove from the ark returns with one of its branches.
One olive tree could yield up to 1,000 pounds of oil a year. The oil was used for cooking, fuel for lamps, a base for perfumes, medicinal applications, and ointment after a bath, or religions anointing.
Then after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed. But after I have raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee. (Mt 26:30-32)
Jesus undoubtedly sang many times, but this is the only time it is mentioned in the Gospels on the night before his death.
The conversation on the way to the Mount of Olives gets heavy. Jesus tells them that before this night ends, all of them will have their faith in him shaken.
At times our faith is shaken too. It comes down to the fundamental problem that God doesnt live up to our expectations. The true God should:
Prevent natural disasters (e.g. tornadoes, earthquakes),
quickly straighten out injustices,
eliminate sickness and suffering,
Protect everyone from accidents, especially children.
If God is all-powerful, and God is good, then evil should not be. But evil does exist everywhere.
Well never figure it out this side of the grave. All we can do is look at the cross as evil and ugly a thing as we could think of and say, God help me to trust as Jesus did, that you can bring goodness out of evil.
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.