17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.
John gives a more concise statement of this section than do the synoptic gospels.
Four soldiers took control of Jesus to execute Him in the previous verse (Jn 19:16b, 23).
bearing His cross,
Jesus left the Praetorium carrying His cross. This was customary for Roman executions. Eventually Simon of Cyrene was pressed into bearing the cross when Jesus could no longer do it (Mt 27:32; Mk 15:21; Lu 23:26).
went out to a place called the Place of a Skull,
There is a hill outside the city of Jerusalem that looks like a skull (He 13:12,13). Today a bus terminal lies below it. Gordon’s tomb or what is sometimes called the Garden Tomb is near the bus station. This may be the place where Jesus was crucified. Others believe the place of the Skull is at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It was on a major traffic route so that a maximum number of people would see this example of punishment by the Empire.
which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha,
Golgotha is the Aramaic word for skull. The Latin for Golgotha is Calvariae [cranium], where we receive the English name “Calvary.”
where they [soldiers] crucified Him,
John gave a brief statement of Jesus’ crucifixion. He did not go into the gory details such as Jesus hanging there naked. He spared us the revolting details of the gruesome crucifixion experience. Needless to say, it was an excruciating and brutal death. It was so brutal that no Roman citizen could be crucified except by permission from the Caesar. None of the four gospels go into the ghastly details of Christ’s suffering. There was no attempt by John to play on the hearts of his readers.
and two others with Him,
Both of those crucified with Christ were criminals (Lu 23:32-33) and robbers (Mt 27:44). Isaiah said that He would be “numbered with the transgressors” (Is 53:12). Luke indicates that one of the two turned to Jesus as his Savior (Lu 23:40-43).
one on either side, and Jesus in the center.
By placing Jesus in the center of two criminals, Pilate may have put a focus on Him as the worst of the three criminals. This added to Jesus’ shame.
Jesus took our hell that we might have His heaven.
The central purpose of the cross was to pay for sins. Jesus took our hell that we might have His heaven (2 Co 5:21; Co 2:14).