Mount Olives. A mountain soaked with tears. Not just any tears, but tears of two Kings who lived at separate times. A mountain that stripped the robes and crowns of the Kings, taking along their dignity and royalty- only to restore them back. It is a mountain that has witnessed anguish and sorrow. A mountain where two Kings climbed to seek refuge. One however was taking refuge to save his life while the other was preparing to lose it. At Mount Olives, both Kings climbed down to a battle, and eventually witnessed victory. Their Kingdoms, one earthly and the other, heavenly and eternal, were firmly established.
The first King, David, ‘continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot’ (2 Samuel 15:30). Another King, the Kings of kings, ‘being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground’ (Luke 22:44). They were in anguish because their lives were on the line. They were not too far from the grave; they were staring death on the face.
King David and Jesus were facing conspiracy. For King David, his son Absalom was seeking to eliminate him and overthrow his kingship. ‘The conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing’ (2 Samuel 15:12). David even writes, ‘Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The Kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against his Anointed One?’ (Psalm 2:1-2). For Jesus, He knew ‘the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine at the table’ (Luke 22:21). So both went up to Mount Olives, at ‘the hour when darkness reigned’ (v53).
There at the Mountain, the two Kings surrendered their wills to God. David says, ‘let him do to me whatever seems good to him’ (2 Samuel 15:26). In a like manner, Jesus prayed, ‘yet not my will, but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42). They relinquished control of their lives to the One they knew. King David had ‘set the Lord before him. Because he is at my right hand’ (Psalm 16:8), while Jesus had (and is) ‘seated at the right hand of God’ (Colossians 3:1).
After surrendering their wills, the God of all comfort placated and gave them strength. When ‘David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba . . . waiting to meet him’ (2 Samuel 16:1). He brought ‘the donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the desert’ (v2). Even at a time of anguish, God still found a way to refresh King David. For Jesus, ‘An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him’ (Luke 22:43). In both occasions, God again proved true that, “On the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided” (Genesis 22:14).
Like Jesus and David, Christians, the ‘royal priesthood’ (1 Peter 2:9) also have to go through a Mount of Olive experience. An experience where we are stripped of all we know, face conspiracy and unspeakable anguish. This is our make or break moment. A moment where we are hanging in the balance- between life and death, faith and fear, and victory and defeat. What makes a difference is what we do when we are up that mountain. When darkness reigns and we can’t see God, we ought to relinquish our wills to Him regardless. Once we surrender to God while at the mountain, He strengthens us for the battle ahead.
Once we get down the mountain, God grants us victory and rest on all sides because we trusted in Him. David finally proclaims, ‘You have delivered me from the attacks of my people; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know are subject to me, and foreigners come cringing to me; as soon as they hear me they obey me’ (2 Samuel 22:44-45). Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, upon descending the Mountain, won the ultimate victory. He recounts, ‘The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations’ (Luke 24:46-47).