18.And two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. As if the severity of the punishment had not been sufficient of itself, he is hanged in the midst between two robbers, as if he not only had deserved to be classed with other robbers, but had been the most wicked and the most detestable of them all. We ought always to remember, that the wicked executioners of Christ did nothing but what had been determined by the hand and purpose of God; (167) for God did not surrender his Son to their lawless passions, but determined that, according to his own will and good pleasure, he should be offered as a sacrifice. And if there were the best reasons for the purpose of God in all those things which he determined that his Son should suffer, we ought to consider, on the one hand, the dreadful weight of his wrath against sin, and, on the other hand, his infinite goodness towards us. In no other way could our guilt be removed than by the Son of God becoming a curse for us. We see him driven out into an accursed place, as if he had been polluted by a mass of all sorts of crimes, that there he might appear to be accursed before God and men. Assuredly we are prodigiously stupid, if we do not plainly see in this mirror with what abhorrence God regards sin; and we are harder than stones, if we do not tremble at such a judgment as this.
When, on the other hand, God declares that our salvation was so dear to him, that he did not spare his only-begotten Son, what abundant goodness and what astonishing grace do we here behold! Whoever, then, takes a just view of the causes of the death of Christ, together with the advantage which it yields to us, will not, like the Greeks, regard the doctrlne of the cross as foolishness, nor, like the Jews, will he regard it as an offense, (1Co_1:23,) but rather as an invaluable token and pledge of the power, and wisdom, and righteousness, and goodness of God.
When John says, that the name of the place was Golgotha, he means that, in the Chaldaic or Syriac language, it was called
גלגלתא, (Gulgaltha.) The name is derived from
גלגל, (Gilgel, (168)) which signifies, to roll; because a skull is round like a ball or globe. (169)
(167) “N ont rien fait qui n eust este decrete et ordonne par le conseil de Dieu;” — “ nothing which had not been decreed and appointed by the purpose of God.”
(168) The Pihel of,
גלל, (Galal.) — Ed.
(169) “ place where Christ was crucified appears to have received this name, not — as some have imagined — because the shape of the mountain resembled a human head, but because it was filled with the skulls of malefactors who had been put to death there.” — Schleusner on the word