“And when they were come to the place which was called Calvary…”
All the world was represented at Calvary: the Religious, Political and Societal. All were in Jerusalem that fateful Friday to watch the show. The victim was called “The Nazarene,” the Carpenter, Who spoke with such authority that the government concluded He must die. He was the One Who saw through the empty religion of the haughty Pharisees, and Who spoke words that cut them like swords. He was the One Whom the masses clamored to hear.
They all came to watch at Calvary.
The religious leaders gave Judas his blood money and arranged a false story and accusation. The means were irrelevant, the mission was clear. The religious leaders incited the people to riot for the blood of the Carpenter “And the voices of the rulers and of the chief priests prevailed.”
There was one among them who did not consent to their heinous work. When they spoke of killing Jesus, he left. His name was Nicodemus. He had met with Jesus alone one night and it had changed his life. When he heard the plot to crucify Christ, he understood the words, “as Moses lifted up the serpent, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” He remembered the words that had burned into his soul land transformed him: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Politics proceeded. The governor of Jerusalem had a lot at stake. There were politically important people in town and this Nazarene was a political danger Pilate did not want problems. He sent Him to Herod in order to gain favor. Herod taunted Jesus, attempted to debase Him, and sent Him back to Pilate.
There was one man who watched as this Person before him quietly endured the most abject horror and pain that trained soldiers could inflict, suffering that was barely within the limits of tolerance. The process was usually so gratifying to him, but as he watched this Nazarene endure their worst without a word, his heart grew sick. This was like torturing a lamb. Guilt welled inside him. As they raised the tree he heard words that overwhelmed him. ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In an instant he knew Who the Man was. When he heard the Man quietly commit His spirit to God, calling Him Father again, he acknowledged his guilt and accepted the blessing of those words, “Forgive them.”
Society reveled at Calvary. As people today go to watch violence and gore on the big screen, people then went to Skull Hill to see a slaughter. It wasn’t like real people dying. This was the refuse of society Rich and poor together screamed for blood. One man who started out mocking, gradually grew silent. He had sworn and shrieked as they had raised his own body on a cross, even though he was dying for his own crime.
Jesus had yielded with perfect nobility, though He had done nothing wrong. He had to be a King, The King. He humbly asked for mercy, and received more than he could imagine. He died in peace and entered heaven.
“And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him.” He was, and is, the Son of God. You, as everyone else in the world, will come to the place called Calvary. What will you do with Him – the Savior Who died and rose again? You have only two choices: raise your voice with the riotous crowd and reject Him, or acknowledge that He died for you and have your sins forgiven, forever.