“Two criminals were also led out with him for execution, and when they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified him with the criminals, one on either side of him.
“But Jesus himself was saying, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” Then they shared out his clothes by casting lots.”
Luke 23:32-34, Phillips
This is easily the darkest and evil point in human history. The Son of God, (the second person of the Trinity) allows himself to be crucified. Do we have the slightest idea what that means? Is this really something we can grasp?
The word “Calvary” means “place of the Skull.”
When criminals were put to death that’s where it took place. Since Romans liked to execute people, I imagine it was semi-permanent, with vertical poles set in place. The “skull” was visible to all, situated on a main highway. The men who were lifted up would’ve been able to see Jerusalem’s walls, and perhaps even the Temple.
Jonathan Edwards comments about putting people to death like this:
“Although the Romans did not invent crucifixion, they perfected it as a form of torture and capital punishment that was designed to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering.”
“Maximum pain and suffering.” Doesn’t that bring it into perspective?
Jesus spends his last few hours praying for his enemies. While he was suffering and dying, the soldiers were rolling dice for his robe. But as he was hanging, the nails holding him in place–he was praying. The pain must’ve been beyond belief. (It’s worth noting that we get our English word “excruciating” from the Latin word meaning “from the cross.”)
Jesus took my sin–he took yours too. He absorbed every ounce. And yet taking on all that, he was still innocent. He did not sin, but he carried every single drop of it. Why would he do this?
At that precise moment, the Father turned his back on him.
With all of that sin (my sin, and yours) God turned away, (Isaiah 53:10). He was now totally alone, and the wrath of God was poured out on him. Jesus, at that moment, was in our place–he substituted himself for us. He died, so we might go free, (2 Corinthians 8:9).
What more can I say? The darkest moment for him became the brightest one for us. He hung there, completely horrified–he was now all alone. God left him at that moment.
I now must live differently.
Once I really truly understood this, everything changed. God is now my friend, I’m at peace with him. When Jesus died on “the place of the skull” he substituted his life for mine. He died, and now I live. It was the greatest exchange in all of history, (1 John 4:9-10).
I now choose to turn away from those things that Jesus Christ went to the cross for.