The Vibe of Golgotha

Also known as Calvary, Golgotha is famous as the place where Jesus is executed by being nailed to a Roman cross. The Bible refers to Golgotha as ‘the place of the skull’ because the geographic features of Golgotha resemble the vibe of a cranium. Golgotha is outside the walls of Jerusalem, probably close to a major road that leads into the city. Some believe that the place of execution is called Golgotha because the skulls of dead criminals littered the ground, or because there was a cemetery nearby. All we know is that all four Gospel writers mention this as the place where Jesus struggles to with his cross, helped finally by Simon of Cyrene. It is here that his hands and feet are nailed to the cross and a sign is placed above him reading the ‘King of the Jews’. Golgotha is the scene of the darkest vibes for Jesus’ followers: the man they had hoped would win them freedom from the Roman invaders who had stolen their land is dying like a criminal. The vibe is a mixture of sadness, humiliation, embarrassment, disappointment and having the wind knocked out of their sails. After Jesus dies, his body is removed by two kind-hearted Pharisees, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathia, and placed in a nearby tomb owned by Joseph. It is here that Jesus resuscitates – the single miraculous act that convinces his followers that he absolutely has to be who he said he was – the Son of God. It is here that Mary Magdalene comes with spices to pour onto Jesus’ corpse only to find the tomb newly vacated, and Jesus up and about and able to hold a meaningful conversation. Finally, the Disciples dash back to Golgotha to check Mary’s story for themselves and, its work done, Golgotha disappears from the Bible. Years later, the Greeks build a temple to Aphrodite on the site, which is replaced by a basilica built by the Roman Emperor, Constantine. A new Basilica built some time in the twelfth century now stands over the place where Christians believe that Jesus was killed.

General vibe of Golgotha: Execution ground.

Factvibe: none of the Gospel writers describe Golgotha as being a hill.

Golgotha's vibe. Not an especially upbeat one.

Golgotha’s vibe. Not an especially upbeat one.

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