Golgotha

Golgotha - Calvary

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Golgotha
JOHN 19 COMMENTARY
John 19:12-16 Pontius Pilate

John 19:17-18 Golgotha

John 19:19-24 King of the Jews
John 19:25-27 (A) His Mother
JOHN 19:17-18  17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.

What is the Latin for the Hebrew word "Golgotha" (John 19:17)?
"Calvary" (Luke 23:33).

What does Golgotha/Calvary mean?
"The Place of a Skull" (John 19:17).

Why is it called that?
Golgotha/Calvary was and still is a cliff face whose rocky protrusions and cavities make it look like a human skull (photo).

Where is Golgotha/Calvary located?
About 450 yards (410 meters) north of Antonia Fortress, from where Jesus "bearing His cross, went out" (John 19:17) after being sentenced by Pilate. Golgotha/Calvary is just behind and faces the major road that runs east-west along the northern edge of the old city of Jerusalem, the type of busy roadside location that the Romans invariably crucified people so that their gruesome handiwork can be seen up close by "those passing by" (Matthew 27:39) to both scare and deter potential future rebels against Rome among them. This means that Jesus "and two others with Him" (John 19:18) were crucified at the bottom of Golgotha/Calvary, with its skull face as the backdrop, not on top of a picturesque but hard-to-reach hilltop as depicted in Roman Catholic art, and on crosses that were relatively short (see sour wine).

What did “bearing His cross” involve?
Catholic art also has Jesus carrying the entire cross but this wasn't the case either. The vertical beam weighed about 200 pounds (90 kilograms) and was kept at the site of crucifixion, to where the condemned person carried/dragged just the horizontal beam, which still weighed about 120 pounds (55 kilograms).

Did Jesus carry his horizontal beam all the way to Golgotha / Calvary?
No, another man carried it for Him part of the way: "Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross" (Matthew 27:32).

Why couldn't Jesus carry His horizontal beam all the way on His own?
He was weak from having been scourged, which left His back shredded from His neck down to His buttocks.

Why did Simon of Cyrene have to comply?
A Roman soldier had the legal right to make anyone carry something for a distance of one Roman mile, which equals 1.48 kilometers (0.92 mile), and this legal right was what Jesus was talking about when He preached, "And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two" (Matthew 5:41) during His sermon on loving enemies and turning the other cheek.

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