John 19:19-22

Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews." Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."

In this passage, we see a fascinating detail about Jesus' crucifixion. Pilate, the Roman governor, has a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It reads: "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS."

This inscription is significant for several reasons. First, it is written in three languages - Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. These were the main languages of the Roman Empire, ensuring that the message would be understood by all who passed by.

Second, the inscription is a public declaration of who Jesus is. Despite all the accusations and condemnations, the truth of Jesus' identity is proclaimed for all to see. He is the King of the Jews.

The chief priests, however, are not happy with this inscription. They protest to Pilate, asking him to change it. They don't want it to read "The King of the Jews," but rather "this man claimed to be king of the Jews." They want to emphasize the accusation against Jesus, not the truth of who he is.

But Pilate, in a rare moment of backbone, refuses to change what he has written. "What I have written, I have written," he declares. It's as if, in this one instance, Pilate is unwittingly affirming the truth about Jesus.

There's a profound irony here. The religious leaders reject Jesus as their king. Pilate condemns him to death. And yet, it is Pilate who publicly proclaims Jesus' kingship, and it is the cross that becomes his throne.

This passage reminds us that the truth about Jesus cannot be suppressed. Despite opposition and rejection, his identity as the King, the Messiah, the Savior, will be proclaimed. As Paul writes in Philippians 2:10-11, "At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

It also challenges us to consider how we respond to the kingship of Jesus. Do we, like the religious leaders, try to qualify or diminish it? Do we, like Pilate, acknowledge it only reluctantly or partially? Or do we embrace Jesus fully as our King, submitting to his rule in every area of our lives?

As we reflect on this passage, let's ask ourselves: What does it mean for me to acknowledge Jesus as King? Are there areas of my life where I am resisting his rule? How can I proclaim the truth of who Jesus is in my own context?

May we, like the inscription on the cross, boldly declare the truth of who Jesus is. May we bow before him as our King, not just in word but in deed. And may we find in his kingship our peace, our hope, and our joy.

God bless you.

More in this category: « John 19:17-18 John 19:23-24 »
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