A fascinating walking route in Jerusalem which begins atop of Mount of Olives and takes pilgrims in the footsteps of Jesus as He entered the city for what was to be the last time. It begins near the summit, where a small building is open to the pilgrims. It’s under the Muslim authority, however for centuries it was a Christian chapel built by the Crusaders.
In terms of Gospel significance and chronological terms, it marks the very end of the Gospel stories about Jesus, because it’s the traditional site of the Ascension (Luke 24:50-53). There is not much to see here, however it is a point of great importance in the tradition of holy places in Jerusalem. Christian pilgrims often read from the Scriptures and take time to reflect and pray at this location.
From the top consider the topography. As some scholars have suggested, the fact that Jesus continued down the Mount of Olives on His way to Jerusalem, and to His death instead of heading in the direction of Bethany, where He would have escaped detection, is a clear indication of His acceptance of His fate and divine role.
Continuing down the road from the Chapel of the Ascension is the Church of the Pater Noster, which commemorates Luke’s account of the teaching of the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1-4). This beautiful church contains the Lord’s Prayer in over 100 different languages. Just down the mount you’ll find the Church of Dominus Flevit, in a beautiful location and believed to be the location where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. The church itself is built in the shape of a teardrop.
At the summit of the Mount, between the walking route of Bethany and Jerusalem, you’ll find the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus prayed before His arrest. Gethsemane which translates to “olive press,” continues to have olive trees growing in the garden, some are so ancient that they are believed to be from the times of Jesus.
Directly next to the garden, Christians traveling to Israel flock to the Church of the Agony, or as it is better known, the Church of All Nations, the name reflecting the international funding efforts by many nations in order to complete construction of the Church. This impressive church was built in 1924 over two earlier churches. Its sanctuary contains exposed rock, commemorated as the place where Jesus knelt in prayer. You’ll also see many beautiful mosaics depicting the events associated with the location, which also includes the betrayal by Judas (Luke 22, Matthew 26:14-16), the event that led to His arrest, trial, and incarceration at the House of the Jewish High Priest (Mark 14:53-65).
Many scholars believe the location of the House of the Jewish High Priest was located on the edge of Mount of Zion, where pilgrims will see today the modern Church of St. Peter Gallicant (St. Peter and the Crow of the Cock). For over 1500 years it has been associated with Jesus' encounter with local authorities, and more important from a spiritual point of view, with Peter's three denial of Jesus (Mark 14:66-72, John 18:15-27, Luke 22:54-62). The church is located top of a flight of ancient stone steps dating from the 1st century, and with much certainty they could be the very same steps Jesus walked on. Beneath the modern church are excavated rooms which could have been used as cellars or dungeons where Jesus was held until the morning of Good Friday.
Just several years ago the route was paved, railings and lighting were installed and the Absolom Lookout Point was constructed between the Old City walls and the Mount of Olives, for a stunning view of the area.