C A L V A R Y

My computer spell-check says “Calvary is not in the dictionary.” This means that it is not in their dictionary. I am afraid “Calvary” in not in a lot of peoples’ dictionaries (meaning in their minds, certainly not in their hearts).

The word Calvary (Greek) or Golgotha (Aramaic) as used in Matt. 27:33; Mk. 15:22; Lk. 23:33; Jn. 19:17 simply “denotes a skull” (Vine). In the gospels “Calvary” or “Golgotha” refers to the literal place where our Lord was crucified. That “place” was apparently a rise or hill that was shaped like a head or a “skull.”

Though “Calvary” is not used in the Epistles with any expanded meaning, as is the case with the word “Cross,” today when we think of Calvary we often do so with a meaning that includes much more than the literal place of the skull. We use it to stand for Christ’s willing and full sacrifice for us. Of what happened at that place.

The Song writers of At Calvary certainly seem to capture both of these meanings when they not only say “On Calvary” and “At Calvary” but also “To Calvary” and “Of Calvary.” That song, in the first two verses, truly echoes the sentiment of this writer’s past life before he obeyed the gospel at age twenty-four:

“ Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was crucified, Knowing not it was for me He died On Calvary. By God’s Word at last my sin I learned, Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned, Till my guilty soul imploring turned To Calvary.” And the last two verses expresses, I hope, the commitment and appreciation of all of us: “Now I’ve given to Jesus everything, Now I gladly own Him as my King, Now my raptured soul can only sing Of Calvary. O, the love that drew salvation’s plan! O, the grace that bro’t it down to man! O, the mighty gulf that God did span At Calvary.” And the chorus sums us the whole matter succinctly and wonderfully: “Mercy there was great and grace was free; pardon there was multiplied to me; There my burdened soul found liberty, At Calvary.”

Well, my friends, if you have not considered Calvary, contemplated what took place there, appreciated the out-pouring of God’s love there, been there with your heart, and responded to it with your whole being, let this brief article motivate you to do so and that very soon. “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (See Acts 2:36-38).


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