From Bethlehem's light to the dark place called Calvary, explore Christ's profound sacrifice and its enduring promise of redemption.

The Place Called Calvary

When Christ was born at Bethlehem, the night turned into day: but when he was crucified at Calvary, the day turned to darkest night. In the Old Testament days the sheep died for the shepherd: but in the New Testament days, the Good Shepherd died for the sheep. God loved Abraham so much that he spared Abraham’s son on Mount Moriah: But God loved the world so much that he could not spare his own Son at Calvary. When hanging on the cross Jesus cried, wary. “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” One reason he was forsaken was that he might give us the wonderful Promise, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” The first thing that Jesus did when he got to the cross was to ask forgiveness for those who nailed him there. The last thing he did was to commit himself to the Father. He prayed, “Into thy hands I commit my spirit.” The two thieves who died with him had sin in them; but Jesus had sin on him.

Three crosses were placed on Calvary. On each cross a man was dying. One was dying in sin; the other was dying to sin. The one on the middle cross was dying for sin. Someone has suggested that three trees were planted there, each tree bearing a different kind of fruit. One tree was bearing poisonous fruit; the other tree was bearing the fruit of repentance. The tree in the middle was bearing the fruit of love.

One thief on the cross rejected Christ. The thief on the other cross received Christ. On the middle cross Christ died to redeem the world. It has been suggested that in the three crosses we have (1st) the cross of rejection, (2nd) the cross of reception, and (3) the cross of Redemption.

John in his gospel said that he saw blood and water coming from the spear pierced side of Jesus. It is believed that the blood came from the heart and the water from the pericardium. The pericardium is a small sack or membrane surrounding, or encasing the heart. It contains a small amount of fluid or water to facilitate the motion of the heart. We are told that under normal circumstances there is about one teaspoon of water in the pericardium, but when a person suffers great anguish or pain this amount has been known to increase as much as twenty-four teaspoons full. There was so much water coming from the side of Jesus that John was able to see it with the blood as he stood on the ground below the cross.

It speaks to us of the great suffering and bitter anguish endured by Jesus, our blessed Lord. “He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” He died that we might live. He became poor that we might be rich. He was bound that we might be made free. He was bruised that we might be healed. He put on humanity that we might put on divinity. He wore a crown of thorns that we might wear crowns of glory. He endured the tortures of hell in order that we might enjoy the wonders of heaven. He who was the Son of God became the Son of man that we, the sons of men, might become the sons of God.

When Jesus died upon the cross, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. Not from the bottom to the top, but from the top to the bottom signifying that God did it.

In the Old Testament days, no one but the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies; and he could enter only once a year with the blood which he offered for his own sins, and for the sins of the people. This had to be repeated year after year. No doubt each time the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies, and would see the blood stains of the previous years, he would realize that this was only a temporary arrangement. His work was never finished. Because of this, there was no place in the holy of Holies where he could sit down. How wonderful that when Jesus died, he was able to say “It is finished!” By one sacrifice he has forever provided redemption for all who will accept. His work was finished, so he has now sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. “But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God”—Hebrews 10:12. Let us praise him for his past sacrifice as our Redeemer, for his present ministry as our Advocate, and for the promise that he will come again and receive us unto himself, that where he is, there we may be also.