“And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.”
Golgotha was a hill like no other. No one knew why this hill just outside of the city walls of Jerusalem was called as such. It just came to be known as the “hill of the skull.” The Greek word for Golgotha is “kranion.” That’s where the English word “cranium” or “skull” came from. Meanwhile, the Latin translation of Golgotha is “calvaria,” which translates in English as “calvary.” Hence, Golgotha is also referred to as Calvary.
Old Testament history records that after David decapitated the Philistine giant, Goliath, the young David brought Goliath’s severed head to Jerusalem – 1 Samuel 17:54. Where was it disposed of, no one really knew. But legend has it that Goliath’s head was apparently thrown on that hill and soon after, it became known among the inhabitants of Jerusalem as the “hill of the skull.”
It is providential, throughout all the hills surrounding Jerusalem, that Jesus was crucified in Golgotha. Traditions say that the Romans always choose a hill overlooking a busy road to crucify their enemies. They do that to convey, both fear to their enemies and to showcase their victory over them.
But in the case of Jesus, Golgotha had an opposite effect. Instead of being the place that Satan thought that he would finally defeat Jesus, instead, this hill became the arena that Jesus crushed the head of the “Serpent” who is Satan – Genesis 3:15. Jesus hobbled His way to Golgotha a cursed man, but He left its blood soiled ground, a victorious Savior! The place that was intended to seal the doom of Jesus turned out to be the place that sealed His victory!
Just like what our Lord did, we must live out each day our own Golgotha. We must also suffer, albeit, in righteousness and holiness. Golgotha was not easy or convenient. We must not delude ourselves to think that Christianity is meant to be as such. Christianity is meant to be Golgotha-like. The word of God admonishes us that we must follow the steps of Jesus to Golgotha. “Therefore, let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured,” the word of God tells us – Hebrews 13:13.
Our flesh will always attempt to divert us away from Golgotha – Matthew 16:23. But like Jesus, we must remain to yearn to reach Golgotha and stay there until we overcome the abiding influence of the flesh. The brokenness associated with us being crucified with Christ can be overwhelming. The taunting of a hostile world around us can be depressing. And the rejection of our friends, because of our allegiance to the Savior, can be distressing. But remember this: it is in dying we live and it is in losing we gain!
From the Series:
From Golgotha To Glory: A 10-Day Lenten Week Devotional
By Bishop Jonathan S. Ferriol