Calvary Hill: The Place Where Jesus Was Crucified
From Luke 23:33, we see that Jesus was taken to a place called Calvary to be crucified ✝️.
"And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left."
The NKJV version calls it “Calvary,” while others like the NIV call it “The Place of the Skull.” This implies that they are talking about one place with different names. Some gospels like John talk of a place called Golgotha,
“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.”
Golgotha is Aramaic for “Skull,” and Calvary is from Latin calva meaning “bald head” or “skull.” Calvary is a skull-shaped hill in Jerusalem, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion 💀.
1) Where is the Hill of Calvary?
John 19:20 gives a location for Calvary.
"Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek."
Calvary is the name given to the hill on which Jesus was crucified. It is described as being outside Jerusalem 🇮🇱, but its actual location is still under debate. The Roman Empire typically crucified criminals along roadways so that the population would see and refrain from criminal behavior.
2) Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem
The Jesus’ tomb is enclosed by a shrine called the Aedicula. It also says that the final four Stations of the Cross, or Via Dolorosa, are located inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre ⛪. Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Sorrowful Way” or “Way of Suffering”) is a route through the Old City of Jerusalem that is believed to be the path Jesus walked to his crucifixion.
The route goes from Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a distance of about 600 meters.
According to seetheholyland.net every Friday afternoon, hundreds of Christians join in a procession through the Old City of Jerusalem, stopping at the 14 stations of the Cross. Their route is called the Via Dolorosa, which is also the name of the principal street they follow, a narrow marketplace bustling with traders and shoppers.
3) Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is in Jerusalem in a location identified as the place of the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus. It has long been a major pilgrimage center for Christians around the world 🙏🏻.
The church was built during the 4th century by Emperor Constantine, who accepted Christianity and made it the official religion of the Roman Empire. His mother, Saint Helena, toured the Holy Land and identified the sites in which the events mentioned in the New Testament took place 📜.
During the 19th century, a status-quo agreement was signed between the various communities, defining the rights of prayer and ownership for the different communities involved in the church. Most of the compound is held by the Catholic Church, the Armenian Church, and the Greek Orthodox Church, with limited rights to the Syrian and Coptic Churches 🕍.
Planet Ware notes that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre can seem surprisingly small compared with the great cathedrals of Italy, Spain, and France. Its modest size belies its deep significance.
4) Who was Crucified with Jesus?
Jesus was crucified with two criminals, one on his right and the other on his left.
"When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left."
One of the criminals mocked Jesus and told him:
- “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
He didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah and thought he was just an ordinary man who probably committed a crime. The other criminal believed Jesus was the Messiah and told him:
- “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
These two criminals represent those in the world who don’t believe in Jesus and those who do. For those who believe, they receive eternal life from Jesus Christ and will spend eternity with God. Those who reject him will face eternal separation from God.
It was no accident that Jesus was crucified between two thieves, and there are no accidents in a world governed by God. God was presiding over that scene because he had determined how and with whom his Son would die. Jesus was crucified among criminals though he wasn’t one. This fulfills the Scripture in Isaiah 53:12 that says he was “numbered with the transgressors.”
"Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
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Calvary Hill is a great location to visit when taking a tour of the Holy Land of Israel 🇮🇱. By touring the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, you will reconnect with the purpose of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Allow yourself to take in the surroundings and imagine what it must have looked like during biblical times. The crucifixion of Jesus is the very essence of Christianity, and by remembering it always, we can’t help but marvel at the love of God for humanity. Jesus gave his life for us so that we would have eternal life ❤️.