Gethsemane Before Golgotha
“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, ‘Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.’” Luke 22:41-42
“They took Jesus therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of the Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.” John 19:17-18
Golgotha in Aramaic means “skull.” When Nancy and I visited Israel in 1994, one the most impressive sights for us was a hill located outside the city of Jerusalem adjacent “The Garden Tomb” tourist site that looked like the face of the skull. Now, they don’t know for sure if this is the actual sight of Jesus’ crucifixion, but it could be. Our tour guide told us that at the place where Jesus would have been crucified, it would not have been uncommon to find a collection of skulls of those who had been executed and their remains left there unburied. Also, he said, “If a hill were involved, some criminals would have been pushed off the hill and left to die at the base, therefore giving the sight its name.” The truth is, the Bible says Jesus was crucified between two men at a horrible place called The Place of the Skull. There He would announce “It is finished!” The victory has been won, Jesus conquered death, the grave, and Hell itself!
But the battle, the initial victory, was won in agonizing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane! I believe Satan had returned once again to tempt Jesus to turn away from the betrayal, trials, horrific pain and torture He would undergo before and on the cross! The tremendous weight of bearing the sin of the world was evident in Jesus’ request that the cup of suffering might be taken from Him, but He told His Father that He surrendered to His will, and not that of His (Jesus’) own. Thank you, Jesus, that your stayed and prayed in Gethsemane for us and for me! (Read Luke 22:39-46)