A Walk Through the Holy Land,
Easter Sunday Sermon
Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
March 29, 1959
(Stanford.edu) Then we were to go later to Jericho and to see that great city. And to think of the Jericho road that Jesus had talked about, that winding road. And when you travel on that road you can see why a man could easily be robbed on that road. Jesus told a parable about it one day.5 And then you see the walls of Jericho, which have recently been excavated. And you think about the walls of Jericho, and you think about Joshua, and you think about Joshua fighting the battle of Jericho? And then around Jericho you go to the Dead Sea and also the river ofJordan. And all of these things were in store for us.
And we stood in the holy city, but this day we would only go around the city of Jerusalem. Our guide came early that morning immediately after we had eaten breakfast. We’d started out and, interestingly enough, our first stop that morning was a mountain, a mountain that we’ve all heard about called the Mount of Olives. We’ve heard about that mountain in our Bible; we’ve read about. And every night, every first Sunday night when we have communion we read about it. Well, you remember it says that after the last supper they had sung a hymn, and they went out into the Mount of Olives.’ This was a significant mountain in the life of Christ. It has many interesting connotations. And you can stand there on the Mount of Olives and look over the whole of Jerusalem. Exalted that high, elevated that high, and you can look all around and see the old city and the new city. There we stood there on the Mount of Olives with all of its sacred meaning. Just below that mount at the bottom you see a little garden. It is known as the Garden of Gethsemane, and it’s still preserved there with beautiful flowers; it’s a beautiful garden.
But there is something about that garden that we must always remember. It is the garden where Christ agonized with his own soul.s It is the garden where Christ uttered a statement which reveals that he was amazingly human. He didn’t want to die, for we read that he said, “Father, if Thy be willing, let this cup pass from me.”9 This is a painful, difficult cup. But then we see there the meaning of religion and all of its profound meaning, the transformation that comes about when The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project you love God and when you know him. We hear them in that same garden, saying a few minutes later, “not my will but Thy will be done.”I0 It was the same garden.
And there is something else that you must remember about this garden. It was the garden where Jesus faced the most lonesome moments of his life. It was the garden where his three friends deceived him and were not concerned enough about him to stay awake while he was there praying. We read in the scripture that they went to sleep not concerned.” Isn’t it tragic and dark in life when even those people that we have confidence in and that we believe in and we call our friends fail to understand us? And in the most difficult moments of life they leave us going the road alone. This is the story of life, though. So Gethsemane is not only a spot on the map. Gethsemane is an experience in the heart and the soul. Gethsemane is something that we go through every day. For whenever our friends deceive us, we face Gethsemane. Whenever we face great moral decisions in life and we find that we must stand there and people turn their backs on us and they think we are crazy, we are facing Gethsemane. Gethsemane is a story that comes to all of us in life. We looked at this garden, and all of these thoughts came back.
Just over from Gethsemane we saw a gate. And our guide said to us that this is
the gate where Jesus entered Jerusalem…