Golgotha


During the Israelite’s Second Temple, the Golgotha Hill was located outside the walls of Jerusalem and it was used, amongst other things, as a burial place. In this exact place, on the Golgotha Rock, according to tradition, the first man was buried and Jesus was crucified. The name of that hill and rock – Golgotha – was most likely given because of its skull-like resemblance and the executions that were held there. 325 years after this crucifixion took place, Saint Helena, mother of Constantine, found the cross and the tomb of Jesus, and The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built.


Today, the Golgotha Rock is surrounded by a two store structure. The Altar of Crucifixion is located in the same place where the pillar that was used to crucify Jesus stood, and it is considered as the 12th station of the Via Dolorosa. A black marble set on each side of the altar pointing to the crosses of the two thieves that were crucified with Jesus.


"When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left." Luke 23:33


The last remains of the Golgotha Rock can be seen today through a small window in the church. The rock’s length is about 7.65 yards (7 meters), 3.3 yards wide (3 meters) and 5.2 yards high (4.8 meters). Construction work revealed a crack along the rock extending to the First Man Chapel below. It is compatible with the earthquake that ripped the rock while Jesus died, as described in The Bible:


"And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:51-54 ESV)


At the moment that Christ’s soul separated from His body the earth shook as it mourned the death of the Prince of Glory. It was a sign from God like all of the wonders surrounding the cross – the 3 hours of darkness, the torn curtain, the earthquake, and the resurrection of the dead – miracles wrought by God.


Death is not able to hold sway in the presence of Christ. Whether it was the funeral of the widow of Nain's son, or the funeral of Lazarus, or the funeral of the daughter of Jairus – Jesus broke up the funeral by doing a resurrection, by raising their bodies from the dead. The same thing happened when Christ died – the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. Death cannot stay in the presence of Jesus.


"And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha", John 19:17

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