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16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.

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16. Then, therefore, he delivered him to them to be crucified. Pilate was, no doubt constrained by their importunity to deliver Christ; and yet this was not done in a tumultuous manner, but he was solemnly condemned in the ordinary form, because there were also two robbers who, after having been tried, were at the same time condemned to be crucified. But John employs this expression, in order to make it more fully evident that Christ, though he had not been convicted of any crime, was given up to the insatiable cruelty of the people.

17. He went forth to a place. The circumstances which are here related contribute greatly, not only to show the truth of the narrative, but likewise to build up our faith. We must look for righteousness through the satisfaction made by Christ. To prove that he is the sacrifice for our sins, he wished both to be led out of the city, and to be hanged on a tree; for the custom was, in compliance with the injunction of the Law, that the sacrifices, the blood of which was shed for sin, were carried out of the camp, (Leviticus 6:30; 16:27;) and the same Law declares that

he who hangeth on a tree is accursed,
(Deuteronomy 21:23.)

Both were fulfilled in Christ, that we might be fully convinced that atonement has been made for our sins by the sacrifice of his death; that

he was made subject to the curse, in order that he might redeem us from the curse of the law,
(Galatians 3:13;)


he was made sin, in order that we might be the righteousness of God in him,
(2 Corinthians 5:21;)

that he was led out of the city, in order that he might carry with him, and take away, our defilements which were laid on him, (Hebrews 12:12.) To the same purpose is the statement about the robbers, which immediately follows: —

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; 167167     “N ont rien fait qui n eust este decrete et ordonne par le conseil de Dieu;” — “did nothing which had not been decreed and appointed by the purpose of God.” 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, (1 Corinthians 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, 168168     The Pihel of, גלל, (Galal.) — Ed. ) which signifies, to roll; because a skull is round like a ball or globe. 169169     “The 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 Γολγοθᾶ