John 19:15-17 KJV
15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.
17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
Matthew 27:33 KJV
33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
Mark 15:22 KJV
22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.
The hymn “The Old Rugged Cross”, was written by George Bennard, in 1912. The first two verses are as follows;
“On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame; and I love that old cross where the dearest and best, for a world of lost sinners was slain.”
“Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world, Has a wondrous attraction for me; For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above, To bear it to dark Calvary.”
In this lesson, we want to think and meditate about that hill.
According to the New Testament, the hill where Jesus was crucified, was known by three names. The “place of the skull”, Golgotha and Calvary. All three names refer to the site where Jesus died on the cross, in the middle of two malefactors.
The word Golgotha (Aramic) means skull. The word Calvary (from Latin calva) means bald head or skull.
The Gospel writer Luke, refers to the site of the crucifixion as Calvary, a word which means a skull.
Luke 23:32-33 KJV
32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on
Another gospel song, written by Gloria Gaither, is titled “I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary.” The chorus goes like this;
“I believe in a hill called mount Calvary
I'll believe whatever the cost
And when time has surrendered and earth is no more
I'll still cling to the old rugged cross”
The scriptures tell us that Golgotha was located outside of the gates of the city of Jerusalem.
Hebrews 13:12 KJV
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
Christian tradition has described the site as a hill or mountain, since at least the 6th century. Thus, the name Mount Calvary has been ascribed.
Some theologians have theorized that Mt. Calvary is a portion of Mt. Moriah, where Abraham took his son Isaac to be sacrificed.
This is an interesting theory, as Isaac was Abraham’s only beloved son, whom God spared because of Abraham’s faith and obedience. Although this is uncertain, this theory makes sense in the fact that God’s only begotten Son would be crucified on the same mountain where he instructed Abraham to go. This would seem to fit in His master plan.
In the case of Abraham and Isaac, God provided a ram at the last minute to take the place of Isaac.
In the case of Jesus, there could be no substitute for the Son of God, who was without sin and able to bear and atone for our sins.
The hill or mount called Golgotha and Calvary is where criminals would receive their death sentence, in full view of crowds and passersby.
One thing we can be sure of is that Golgotha/Calvary was elevated and in plain sight of those who were traveling the roadways of Jerusalem. The Romans executed criminals on this hill in full view of many, which would be a deterrent to others who might be inclined to break the law or rise up against the Romans.
We can be sure there was a crowd and that many passed by as Jesus was crucified.
TWO ON THAT HILL DESERVED TO DIE AND HAD NO CHOICE
THE THIRD PERSON ON THAT HILL CHOSE TO DIE
On that hill called Mount Calvary, two thieves died because they had no choice.
They were paying for their crimes according to the law of the land. According to the law, they were getting what they deserved.
However, Jesus, the third person hanging on that hill, died voluntarily.
He, who had no sin, did not deserve to die.
We know that Jesus could have called ten thousand angels, or simply exercised His majestic power to come down from the cross.
However, it was His choice to suffer and die, shedding His blood for you and me, and through that shed blood, we are washed and cleansed of all unrighteousness in the eyes of God.
We should thank God daily for that hill called Calvary and the old rugged cross.
Not to worship the hill or the cross, but as reminders of what Jesus did for us on that day, on that hill and on that cross.