“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.” (John 19:17)
Matthew, Mark, and John all mention the place of a skull. The skull was outside of the city of Jerusalem and from all indications occupied the crest of a hill overlooking the city itself. It was called Skull because of its shape. It apparently was a place designated for crucifixions by the Roman authorities.
No doubt, it would have been difficult to visit the City of Peace without seeing the hill and understanding its implications of Roman oppression. The hill of Calvary is thought to be the same hill on which Abraham was asked to offer his son as a sacrifice to his God. If it isn’t the same hill it was close enough to be a site remembered in Jewish history.
God spared Abraham’s son. He provided another sacrifice, a sheep caught in a thicket, perhaps a thicket of thorns that pinned the ram’s horns and held it fast. Abraham had predicted that God would provide a lamb.
In John 19:17 the Lamb of God is seen caught in his own thicket. He carries a cross on his back, trapped assuredly as Abraham’s ram was. This time, the lamb was not a sheep but a son. What God would not require of Abraham he required of himself. A sheep would do for Abraham’s sins but only the Son of God would be sufficient for the sins of the whole world.
Like Isaac, Jesus had questioned his Father. God will provide the sacrifice was the answer both of them got. For Isaac, there was a substitute but for Jesus, it was the reason he came into the world. “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:8) The Hebrew writer says, “As a Son he learned obedience from what he suffered.” (Heb. 5:8)
Task for Today: Shade your eyes and look across time and space. There is the place of a Skull. On a hill far away stands an old rugged cross. Can you see it? It is not a sign of Roman oppression but a sign of great love. God so loved you that he put his son on the cross and left him there to die.