Jesus’ crucifixion is one of the most historical events that Christians believe in. This topic is worth discussing since people have different views regarding Jesus’ crucifixion. What people want to understand is where was Jesus crucified?
Though people have debated the exact location of Jesus’ crucifixion for ages, the Bible suggests that it occurred in Golgotha, the place of Skull. This is explained in Bible verses like John 19:17, Mark 15:22, and Matthew 27:33.
Does the Bible say where Jesus was crucified? Why is Golgotha called the place of Skull? These are some of the questions that this article covers. By the end of it, one can also learn why Golgotha is called Calvary. Read on to find out more!
Does the Bible say where Jesus was crucified?
Matthew 27:33 implies that Jesus was crucified in Golgotha. This verse says, And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means place of a skull).
The Bible also mentions the same place in other Gospels like John 19:12 and Mark 15:22. John 19:12 says, and he went out, bearing his own cross to the place called the Place of a Skull, which in Arabic is called Golgotha.
The book of Luke 23:22 also implies that Jesus was crucified in Golgotha. This verse says, 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. Many Christians believe that The Skull mentioned in this verse refers to Golgotha.
The Gospels also give other clues on where Jesus was crucified. For instance, John 19:20 implies that this historical event occurred near the city. This verse says, Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. Since John 19:20 speculates that the crucifixion site was near the city, some scholars argue that the hill of execution was outside the city walls of Jerusalem.
Mark 15:40 also describes the location where Jesus was crucified since it suggests that the location was visible from a distance. This verse says, There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James the younger, and Joses and Salome. This verse makes some Christians think that the location of Jesus’ crucifixion may have been elevated.
Other books like Mark 12:29 and Matthew 27:39 suggest that the location of Jesus’ crucifixion was accessible to passersby. Matthew 27:39 says And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads.
Though the Bible speculates where Jesus was crucified, there are other sites that theologians proposed. For instance, some scholars believe that Jesus was crucified at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This traditional site dates back to the earthly fourth century AD.
Those who believe that The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was where Jesus was crucified argue that this site is built around the empty tomb of Jesus. However, some Scholars disagree with this view since the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located inside the city walls.
Other theologians also argue that Jesus was crucified at Gordon’s Calvary. They argue that this location may have been where Jesus was crucified since it was outside the city walls. The problem with knowing the exact location where Jesus was crucified is that Jerusalem has changed over the past years. While some of the sections of the city were destroyed, others were rebuilt a couple of times.
Despite the difference in opinion on the exact location of Jesus’ crucifixion, what is more, important is that Christians understand the significance of this historical event. This is explained in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 which says, For I delivered to you as of importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scripture. That he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scripture.
Why Golgotha is called the place of Skull
The Bible does not directly explain why Golgotha is called the place of a skull. For instance, Matthew 27:33 only states that Jesus was crucified in Golgotha, which means the place of the Skull. Golgotha is only described as the Aramaic name of a hill near Jerusalem where executions used to take place.
Luke 23:33 referenced the crucifixion location as the place called the Skull. Like Matthew, Luke does not explain directly why the name of the crucifixion location means place of Skull.
Though the Bible does not explain why Golgotha is called the place of Skull, some scholars assume that Golgotha was called the place of Skull since the hill was shaped like a skull. The early church fathers also had the same opinion since they believed that the hill reminded them of a human skull. Others also argue that the term the place of Skull could reference a place of death since it was a common crucifixion site for criminals.
Other scholars also believe that Golgotha was called the place of Skull since it may have been the place where David brought Goliath’s Skull after he decapitated the philistine giant. Those of this opinion try to support it by quoting the book of 1st Samuel 17. After David killed Goliath, 1st Samuel 17:54 says, David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, he put the philistines weapons in his own tent.
Those who disagree with this opinion argue that the verse does not directly say that David brought Goliath’s Skull to Golgotha. Since the Bible does not directly state why Golgotha is called the place of Skull, scholars have come up with differing opinions.
Despite this, what is clear in the Bible is that the Hill Golgotha reminds Christians of the sacrifice of Jesus to die for their sins and reconcile them with God. Hebrews 10: 12 says, But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
Why Golgotha is called Calvary
In Luke 23:33 of the King James Version, the word Calvary is used to refer to Golgotha. This verse says that when they came to a place called Calvary, they crucified him. And the malefactors, one on the right hand and the other on the left.
In modern translations, the place called The Skull describes where Jesus was crucified. The word Calvary comes from the Latin phrase for this location, Calvariae Locus. According to the canonical Gospels, John, Luke, Mark, and Matthew, Calvary was the site outside the walls of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. Since the medieval period, this has been the destination for pilgrimage.
Many people born again believe that Calvary symbolizes the new life after death. They argue that Calvary was where divine love met a sinful man and quote verses like John 3:16 to explain this. This verse says, For God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
So, according to those born again, man would be hopelessly lost, and unable to get to heaven were it not for the death of Jesus in Calvary. Calvary is also important to Christians since it is a place where God showed his amazing grace to anyone ready to accept him. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you, it is the gift of God. It is not from works, so no one may boast.
Scholars also teach that Calvary is also the place where sin’s price was paid, as explained in Romans 6:23. This verse says, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life, through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Many people also believe that Cavalry was where God defeated Satan, as explained in Hebrews 2:14-15. This verse says, Because God’s children are human beings made out of flesh and blood, the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.
To believers, Cavalry also represents where man’s destiny was determined. Those who believe this quote from Luke 23:27, which says, A large number of people followed him, including women who wailed and mourned for him.
- Don Stewart: What was Golgotha? (Mount Calvary)
- Where was Jesus crucified?
- Medical Aspects of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
- Why does Golgotha mean “place of the skull” (Matthew 27:33)
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.