Thirty miles to the west of our home in York, PA is the town of Gettysburg. On the west side of this small town lies the well-known battlefield. On July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of 1863 nearly 50,000 young men were wounded or killed there. It was a critical battle and a turning point in the American Civil War.

Calvary too was a critical battle, no doubt the most important in all of human history. It was the critical point in God's redemptive plan. God's plan for redeeming lost souls was based on what was to be accomplished there. Eternity past looked forward to this hour, and eternity future will look back to it.

Jesus spoke of this critical hour on different occasions. In the garden of Gethsemane He mentioned it several times. He prayed that "if it were possible, the hour might pass from him," and after praying He said to His disciples, "the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners." (Mk. 14:35,41) When speaking to the Father He said, 'the hour is come." (John 17:1)

Let's briefly consider some different aspects of the cross of Calvary.

The Place
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him ....(Lk. 23:33)

Calvary was a historical place. There was nothing secret about it. Like great battlefields in history, it was open for the world to see. Like Gettysburg and other such fields, many have gone back to the historical place called Calvary.

It was the same place that Abraham and Isaac had gone together many years earlier. "And Abraham rose up early in the morning .... and Isaac his son, and... went unto the place of which God had told him." (Gen. 22:3)

Calvary was also a horrible place-the place of a skull. There was nothing pretty about the cross. Romans in polite society of that day would not speak of the cross. Men have made the cross attractive. They have hidden its horribleness. In reality, the day Christ was crucified was the darkest day in man's history. It is one thing for man to mistreat man, but on that day man mistreated God! What men thought of God they poured out upon Christ. "The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me." (Rom. 15:3) It was the day that man spit in God's face!

Calvary was also a holy place. It was the place where a Holy God's view of sin was clearly manifested. All the fury of God's wrath was poured upon the Holy One who was made sin. If any man thinks God will overlook his sin, Calvary clearly states otherwise. If God would not lessen His righteous judgment upon His precious Son who bore our sins in His body on the cross, there are no grounds to think that God would simply overlook man's sin.

The Person
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him.... (Lk. 23:33)

There have been many crucifixions down through the centuries. Thousands had been subjected to such inhuman treatment. What makes Calvary stand out from all the rest? It was the Person crucified there. Never was one like Him crucified before or since.

The One crucified that darkest day in man's history was no one less than God incarnate, the Creator and Sustainer of this world and the universe. Man in his foolishness crucified his Creator manifest in the flesh.

In all of the history of fallen mankind there was never an individual who did no sin, and with whom God could say that He was well pleased. The Son of God willingly set aside His glory and took on humanity and servanthood, and of Him alone God said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased...... (Mt. 17:5) Man, in his hatred and blindness, chose to release a criminal and crucified the spotless Son of God. Is it any wonder that Calvary is forever written in the pages of human history, and the eternal pages of Scripture?

The Pain
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him.... (Lk. 23:33)

Man poured out all of his hatred on Christ, and Scripture says His "visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men." Isa. 52:14 Despite the fact that "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, ...he opened not his mouth." (Isa. 53:7) With all of his hatred and cruelty, man could not do what the pain of being made sin would do-cause the Lord to cry out!

Out of that mid-day darkness came that cry from the lips of the Holy One made sin, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mt. 27:46) The depth of suffering by the Lord is unknown to the human mind. Gethsemane provides some light, but even this must not be taken as a full expression of the grief suffered at Calvary. If -the anticipation of Calvary caused such great sorrow and grief in the heart of Christ, what must those dreadful three hours of Calvary brought upon the Holy One?

The Provision
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4: 10)

The great and wonderful truth of Calvary is that a holy and righteous God has been satisfied with regard to our sins and now He can come out in all His grace to lost humanity. Based on the provision of Calvary God can "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (Rom. 3:26)

The Preaching
" preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." (I Cor. 1: 18)

The cross is always in danger of being made of none effect. Many today do not preach the cross, while others distort its truth. It is imperative that we preach the cross, its horribleness and all of its glory. Its message is the "power of God unto salvation." We must avoid trying to make it palatable to the flesh and preach it in simplicity and all its power.