Christian Pilgrim


137. Biblical Sites

Christ's Crucifixion


Matthew 27:33 - "And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull."

Mark 15:22 - "And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull."

John 19:17 - "And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha."

Note that "a skull" is singular, which rather suggests the Garden Tomb location in Jerusalem where the rockface naturally looks like a human skull, rather than the Church of the Holy Sepulchre location, which would be the place of many skulls, as it was originally a cemetery - although some say (according to tradition only, and not the Bible) that the singular skull mentioned is that of Adam.

Note the word "Calvary" in Luke:

Luke 23:33 - "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left."

This word is Latin and should not be used in the Bible. In Greek the word is "kraneon," which means a skull.

It was outside the city:

John 19:17 - "And he bearing his cross went forth..."

John 19:20 - "This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city..."

Hebrews 13:12 - "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate."

It was near a garden:

John 19:41 - "Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid."

It was in a conspicuous place, probably a thoroughfare:

Mark 15:40: - "There were also women looking on afar off..."

Luke 23:49 - "And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things."

Matthew 27:39 - "And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads"

This is all we know about the place of crucifixion.

Feeding of the 5000

The feeding of the 5000 was in a desert place near Bethsaida, which is just east of the Jordan river, north of the Sea of Galilee. So it was not the traditional site at Tabgha, which is only a short distance from Capernaum:

Luke 9:10 - "And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida."

After the feeding of the 5000, the disciples went "over the sea toward Capernaum," which is westwards across the mouth of the Jordan river, where it enters the Sea of Galilee:

John 6:16, 17, 19, 21 - "His disciples went down unto the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum.... So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea.... Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went."

This passage places the feeding of the 5000 at least 25-30 furlongs from Capernaum (about 7 miles). They had rowed this distance when they met  Jesus walking on the sea, after which they immediately arrived in Capernaum. That distance tallies with it being near Bethsaida, not at Tabgha.

The Lord's Prayer

In Matthew, the Lord's Prayer was clearly given by Christ to the disciples in Galilee, as part of the Sermon on the Mount, not at the traditional site on the Mount of Olives. In Luke, which appears to be a separate occasion, all we have is "as he was praying in a certain place" the disciples asked Him "teach us to pray." It comes immediately after a passage involving Mary and Martha, who lived at Bethany, which was on the Mount of Olives, but we have no certainty that the Lord's Prayer was given there.

Mount Sinai

Most people believe that the location of Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments, is the place in the Sinai peninsula near St Catherine's monastery, which is popularly called "Mount Sinai" today. But the Bible says differently.

Exodus 2:15 "...Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian..."

Exodus 3:1 - "Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb."

Moses was living in Midian, which is where Horeb, or Mount Sinai, is said to be located here. This is east of the Gulf of Aqaba in the Arabian peninsula.

Galatians 4:25 - "For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children."

Mount Sinai is clearly stated here as being "in Arabia," which is east of the gulf of Aqaba. When Moses crossed the Red Sea, it was the Gulf of Aqaba he crossed, not the 'Sea of Reeds" or any other location.