Luke 23:32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. 33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. 35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
One third to half a world away from here is the actual place called Calvary. Israel’s time difference from here is seven hours. It’s a privilege to have gone; you have to get used to an entirely different word. It’s not America. When I went in the 1980’s very few people even spoke English.
When we think of Calvary we know that what happened to Jesus was a long time ago, some twenty centuries. Think of how many have lived and died before and after Calvary. One person, Jesus Christ, tied the past and future together so that everyone who makes up the human race was on his mind that day. The Son of God became the Son of Man for one reason. It was his purpose and mission to give himself in the place of all mankind. There is a complete difference in our lives before we met Jesus and after. We’re not perfect. When we sin it goes against our new nature. But Jesus died so we could be saved but also that his people can come to him after that. He still saves us. It’s all because of Calvary. We call on his name and he saves us. Every day is a continual saving as we walk in him. The blood cleanses us from all sin.
You can’t save yourself. You can’t live it. But Jesus is your life after salvation. He lifts you up forgiving your sins as you seek him in repentance. Paul said “I am what I am by the grace of God.” I’m glad to be included in what happened at Calvary. It’s called Golgotha by the other gospel writers, but Luke called it Calvary. Golgotha is Hebrew for graveyard. Instead of truth and justice, the Romans made spectacles of people in an execution. It wasn’t stoning or hanging or being thrown through by a sword. They were literally nailed to a cross, the rough shape of a man with his arms outstretched. The Romans knew it was a word picture to others who may be thinking of rebellion. It would happen to them. People bled out or died from pain long before bleeding to death. Jesus hung for six hours. When his suffering for mankind was over it was not the cross that killed him. He laid down his life. Jesus died between two thieves so they could have a Savior in their dying hour. One of them asked to be remembered. Jesus told him “today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” That man realized Jesus was dying for him and could keep the promise that he’d meet him in paradise. The other one went to hell. The one who called on Jesus died and in a blink he opened his eyes and Jesus was alive with him in paradise. That old thief had been forgiven. Let’s stick with the one who died for us.
Golgotha means graveyard. It wasn’t near a shopping center. It was by the side of the road near a garden. A garden, yet a graveyard. Here in this place people were executed. Fresh blood was everywhere. They led Jesus to the execution place. That’s what Calvary means–execution place. He had to die, be buried and rise again on Easter morning. Jesus had no tomb to go to but in that same graveyard was a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimithea. His death, burial and resurrection has made every cemetery a garden. If we’re saved, we’re buried and risen with Christ. Call on the Lord. Calvary, the place of execution. We ought to have gone there. We should have been executed. We deserve to be buried in the darkest grave. Aren’t you glad God loved the world so much that he gave his Son! So much that he showed mercy before Adam ever sinned. The plan was worked out for salvation long ago. It was Golgotha. Jesus saw where he’d give his life for everyone. If today is your last day, die in the faith and today you’ll meet Jesus in paradise.
We don’t have to die and pay the penalty. We don’t have to go through the judgment of death. Jesus took it upon himself so we could be spared. Hebrew: Golgotha. Latin: Calvary. All the same place, the place of fear and punishment. It’s where Jesus pushed us back and went in our place to the cross and the tomb. He rose leaving his grave clothes behind. You may never go over to Israel but you don’t have to. You can go to Calvary by way of an altar of prayer. Come to Calvary today. Jesus will meet your needs.