Where was Jesus Crucified?
Have you ever wondered where Jesus Christ was crucified? The cross of Christ is often portrayed as having been “on a hill far away.” We even sing songs about it. But the Romans crucified people on well traveled roads as an example, not in remote locations. And none of the gospels indicate that Jesus Christ was crucified on a hill. This post will examine a likely location of where Jesus may have been crucified.
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The Place of a Skull
All four gospels say that Jesus was crucified at “the place of a skull” (Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; Luke 23:33; John 19:17). The Greek word is “kranion” (from which we get the English word ‘cranium’}. The word is translated “Golgotha” in Hebrew and “Calvary” in Latin.
The Greek word is “kranion” from which we get the English word ‘cranium’
- “When they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, . . . they crucified Him” (Matt 27:33-35).
- “And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, the place of a skull. . . And . . . they . . . crucified Him” (Mark 15:22-24).
- “When they were come to the place, which is called Calvary (kranion in the Greek text), there they crucified Him” (Luke 23:33 KJV)
- “When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him” (Luke 23:33 NASB)
- “And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified Him” (John 19:17-18).
The word is translated “Golgotha” in Hebrew and “Calvary” in Latin.
Where is Golgotha?
Just outside of Old Jerusalem’s northern wall, near the Damascus gate, there is a rocky hill that bears the resemblance of a skull. Significant erosion has occurred over time and the bridge of the nose was washed away in a storm a few years ago. So, it looks less like a skull now than it did before. But this is the likely location the Bible refers to as Golgotha and Calvary.
The image above is a picture of an old picture posted at a site (near The Garden Tomb) from which you can see “Skull Hill.” It is likely that Christ’s crucifixion took place at the base of this hill, by the road, outside the Damascus gate.
The gospel of John gives us another reason to believe that Jesus was crucified by the road at the base of this rocky hill rather than on the top of it. John said that Pilate put a title on the cross, saying “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews” (John 19:19).
John then said, “This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to (near) the city“ (John 19:20). If Jesus were crucified on top of a hill away from the road few people would have read the inscription Pilot wrote. The base of this skull hill is located just outside a city gate. This location is “near the city.”
In addition, Matthew 27:39 and Mark 15:29-30 both document that “those passing by” (KJV – “they that passed by“) “reviled” (or “derided”, “hurled abuse”, “blasphemed”, “insulted” depending on the translation) Him . . . . The fact that people were ‘passing by’ indicates that the location of Christ’s crucifixion was near a frequently travelled road, rather than on a remote hilltop.
Pictures of Golgotha Today
A few modern pictures of the weathered “skull” hill are included below. This location, which may be where our Lord was crucified, is now a bus station.
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