THE PLACE OF A SKULL

Scripture Reading:  John 19:16-24

“So they took Jesus, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgatha.  There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.”  (John 19:16-18)

Once condemned Jesus, carrying His own cross, was led out of the city.  Jewish law required that executions take place outside the camp or city (Numbers 15:35,36; Deuteronomy 17:5; 21:19-21).  The writer to the Hebrews, when expounding upon the sacrificial work of Christ, wrote these words, “So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His blood.  Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured” (Hebrews 13:12-13).

The writer to the Hebrews is suggesting that we leave behind the love of this world and embrace the reproach of Christ.  We are never to forget the terrible suffering Jesus Christ experienced on our behalf.  He was treated as a condemned criminal and forced to carry His cross.  He was expelled from the city and was crucified at a place called “the place of a skull.”  Crucifixion was one of the most shameful and painful forms of capital punishment.  It was reserved for the worst of criminals.  Jesus was placed between two criminals and the mockery and reproach He bore was horrific.

“So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His blood.  Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured.  For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.  To Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name” (Hebrews 13:12-15).  We must acknowledge the fact that Jesus bore the curse of the law for us (Galatians 3:13) in order to sanctify us.  He lost favor; He was expelled from the city; He was separated from His Father; He bore the pain of hell for us.  He was the atoning sacrifice that brought about cleansing for us.  We must get out of our comfort zone, look at our Savior, remember His suffering, bear His reproach, and lift our voices in praise to Him.  He sanctified us by shedding His blood at the place of a skull.

Lord Jesus, let me go outside the camp of my comfort zone and pleasure and flee to You.  Let me grasp the suffering You endured for me.  I desire to let go of the things that hinder me from knowing You.  You have something far better for me.  I offer You a sacrifice of praise from my lips.  You bore the curse of the law for me, which set me free.  I praise you, my Savior and my Lord.

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