Saturday, April 09, 2011

Day 28 of Lent :: Place of the Skull

“Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull
(which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).”
(John 19:17)
Jesus was lead outside of Jerusalem. This is where He was crucified. The events of Jesus death and resurrection are the most significant in all of history. While there is still some dispute over the actually spot Jesus was crucified, it is well documented that He indeed was. Scripture says it was at a place called Golgotha. Calvary is the Latin form of this word. Golgotha is the Aramaic word mean, “the skull.”
Some believe, that this hillside where Jesus was crucified, was named such because the side of it looked like that of a skull. While it is uncertain, we can substantially conclude, that it was named this because it was a place of execution, where skulls and bones of criminals lay scattered. 

For Jesus, Golgotha - the place of the skull, is where His battle ended. For us however, it is at the place of the skull, where our battle begins. In other words, if we are to be effective in following the ways of Christ, the first arena of conflict where we must learn to become victorious, is the battleground of the mind; i.e., the place of the skull. It was on this hill, as Jesus breathed His last breath, that the last round of an unseen war was waged in the realm of the spirit. And, it is in the place of our own skulls, that the unseen battle of thoughts emerges. “The territory of the uncrucified thought-life,” writes Francis Frangipane “is the beachhead of satanic assault in our lives. To defeat the devil, we must be crucified in the place of the skull. We must be renewed in the spirit of our minds.”[i] The words of Andrew Murray are helpful in knowing how to pray. He writes, “As you gaze upon the cross, and long for conformity to him, be not weary or fearful because you cannot express in words what you seek. Ask him to plant the cross in your heart. Believe in him, the crucified and now living one, to dwell within you, and breathe his own mind there.”
Reflection: Meditate on the following verses:

When the Messiah was executed on the stake as a criminal,
I was too; so that my proud ego no longer lives.
But the Messiah lives in me, and the life I now live in my body
I live by the same trusting faithfulness that the Son of God had, who loved me and gave himself up for me.
(Galatians 2:20)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
(Ephesians 4:23 NKJ)
Prayer: Father God, help me to take every thought captive and to be renewed in my mind. Spirit of God, make me aware of thoughts that are not surrendered to the cross of Christ. Son of God, help me to set my mind on Your Word.

My Jesus! Loaded with contempt,
nail my heart to Your feet,
that it may ever remain there,
to love You and never leave You again.

(Alphonsus Liguori)

[i] Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds, 3.
[ii] David Stern, The Complete Jewish Bible, Galatians 2:20.

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