Down the slopes of the Mount of Olives, Jesus rode a donkey prior to His triumphal entry. But first He paused to look and weep over Jerusalem as He saw the unrepentant city before Him.
After long days in the temple, Jesus and His disciples would often seek rest along the slopes of the Mount of Olives and among its ancient olive groves. It was quiet there. The city He loved stretched out before Him in broad panorama.
And when Jesus left the temple for the last time—just days before His death—He took His disciples to the Mount of Olives again. There He taught them about Jerusalem’s future destruction (Matthew 24). The night before Jesus died, He took them there yet again to pray. And there at the base of the mount, He was arrested.
Perhaps that’s why, weeks later, He took His disciples back to the Mount of Olives to say good-bye. The Eleven could walk the trail blindfolded. Out the East Gate, through the ravine, up the incline. They had hiked it with Jesus many times before. But Jesus had another agenda that day.
“You’re going away?” the disciples surely whispered.
“Yes,” said the risen Christ, “but you shall receive power when My Spirit comes upon you.” Pointing west, He said, “You shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem”—He pointed north—”and in all Judea and Samaria,” His arms flung open, “and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
At that moment, He gazed heavenward, and His feet lifted from the mount. The clouds swept low to carry Him home to heaven. And He was gone (Acts 1).
The disciples stood there, lost in wonder, perhaps pondering Zechariah’s prophecy that the Messiah would come one day to reign over Jerusalem—and touch down once again on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:3–5).