As we approach Easter, I have been impressed with my reading in John 19:18-22 which says,
“There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’ ” Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’”
A couple of things stand out to me in this summary:
1) Pilate wrote “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” What an incredible statement! In the Roman times, the person being crucified had an inscription fixed on the cross indicating the crimes for which he was being executed. The official inscription for Jesus is that he IS THE King of the Jews. This inscription was an offense to the religious leaders because they understood the significance of that inscription. That is why they wanted it to read, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.”
What a great irony of history. God made sure the inscription on the cross of Jesus reflected his identity, not his crimes. He was guilty of nothing other than being God the Son, the King of the Jews. He was the promised anointed one of the Old Testament!
2) The inscription was also written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The significance of this is that the whole world could read his inscription. The importance of this is well stated by Hendriksen and Kristemaker when they said,
“The king of the Jews crucified at the request of the Jews; let the whole world know this. By rejecting him they have rejected themselves. And that latter rejection means ‘the reconciliation of the world’ … Hence, the whole world must be able to read this title! Here is a Savior who has international significance.”
Father, your sovereignty in the execution of Jesus is clearly seen. Jesus, our innocent and voluntary sacrifice died for the sins of all the world. This is a message that must be proclaimed for all to respond. Thank you for allowing me to hear the Good News of salvation available in Christ because he died for me!
Following Jesus with you,