Summary: Golgotha and Calvary are in fact the same place, they are inseparable. Neither can we separate the ugliness of the cross from the glory of the cross.
INTRO: 1. In taking a fresh look at what the bible says about the events surrounding the cross, I made an interesting discovery.
2. Three out of the four gospel accounts refer to the place that Jesus was crucified in the Hebrew tongue as “Golgotha.”
a. Only in one account and only on one occasion in the entirety of the New Testament is the place referred to as Calvary.
b. But I also realized that seldom do we sing about Golgotha, but often about Calvary.
c. I personally can’t remember a church named “Golgotha Baptist” or anything like, but I can hardly count the churches named “Calvary.”
d. Why do we refer to that place in a way seldom referred to in the gospels?
e. I’m not suggesting there is anything wrong with referring to that place as ‘Calvary’ but I believe that the answer is quite clear.
f. Although, Calvary and Golgotha is the same place and there names bear almost the same meaning, I believe that in our modern world they have adopted subtle yet different views of that cross.
3. Golgotha has come to represent to ugliness of that place, where Calvary seems to point to the glory of that place. (Grace, Love, Victory…Calvary)
a. The meaning of it’s name is emphasized every time Golgotha is named as “the place of the skull.”
b. It seemed this mountain itself bear both the appearance of death (visitors testify to how it looks like a giant skull) and also the reputation of death.
c. Even the sound of the name seem more crude and ugly as it comes from our lips, while Calvary seems more poetic.
4. But, I’m here this morning to remind you that Golgotha and Calvary are in fact the same place, they are inseparable.
a. Neither can we separate the ugliness of the cross from the glory of the cross.
b. We can’t separate the grace of the cross from the pain of the cross.
c. We can’t separate the victory of the cross from the violence of the cross.
d. I am convinced that we can’t really embrace the power of the cross without embracing the ugliness of the cross as well.
e. In a sense we must discover that the victorious Calvary was first ugly Golgotha.
5. My desire is introduce you this morning to the ugliness of that Cross, so that it’s beauty may shine through.
a. The light never shines as brightly as it does in the darkest night.
6. Our destination this morning…Golgotha.
a. Be warned that what we are about to visit is not an idealized Renaissance painting, cleaned up for our sensibilities but the realities that was Golgotha.
I. A PLACE OF EXECUTION
a. This was not merely a religious ceremony, but the fact of the matter is that our Lord was executed.
b. He died as a criminal among criminals.
c. This was not the only form of execution… beheading, even being burned at the stake…but no form was so symbolically shameful, nor excruciating painful.
d. The Sanhedrin could have asked for any form of death…but they chose the worst imaginable in that time…the cross.
e. They understood that to the Roman’s they couldn’t even speak of the cross, to the Jews it was not merely a death…it was to be considered cursed by God, universally it was viewed with horror.
f. The religious leaders wished to heap on Christ the maximum indignity and shame.
g. It had also become the Roman’s favorite methods to deal with rebellions at that time.
h. No it was no mistake that Jesus was born when he was born and died when he died…the Cross was the only death that could reflect the wrath of God on our sins.
A. Where punishment was intentional and pain extended.
1. Unlike the executions of our day, death was not the chief goal…but pain was.
2. The Romans had perfected the art of crucifixion to maximize pain.
3. They knew how to prolong the horror of death without allowing their victim to laps into unconsciousness.
4. They took great care not to damage vital organs, so they could torture the body to the greatest degree.
ILL. The emperor Tiberius had admitted that he preferred crucifixion because it extended punishment without granting it’s victims the relief of death until they could utterly take no more.
5. Hanging on the cross naked and humiliated our Lord suffered the most painful death known to the ancient world.
6. A pain beyond description–excruciating.
7. As a matter of fact the word we use for ‘excruciating’ come from the latin word which means “Out of the Cross.”
8. Who could dare say of Christ, “He doesn’t understand my pain.”
9. Not only did he bare our pain, but he refused the narcotic mixture that was offered him when he got to the cross…nothing would be allowed by Christ to numb the pain.