Summary: Emphasis of the work of Jesus on the Cross. a Lenten Sermon
So they had him at last, and he was taken out of the city, carrying his cross to the place known as “The Skull,” in Hebrew, “Golgotha.” 18 There they crucified him and two others with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 And Pilate posted a sign over him reading, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and the signboard was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people read it.
21 Then the chief priests said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”
22 Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written. It stays exactly as it is.” - John 19:17-20
We are all familiar with the crucifixion story. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior is no longer being viewed in His role as healer, deliverer, provider, miracle worker. He has been branded a criminal – insurrectionist – blasphemer. No longer lauded by the throngs of followers who pressed him to touch the hem of His garment – besought Him for healing of their children – pled for their own healing or justification – He is now betwixt two thieves – He has been betrayed by one of His friends – He has been abandoned by all of His friends – He has been disavowed by one of His disciples – He has been up all night – he has been drug from one kangaroo court to another – He has been falsely accused – His reputation has been smeared – He has been bound, arrested at sword point – He has been hooded and beat about the face – He has been spat on and lied about – He has been despised and rejected – a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief – He has been interrogated and faced inquisition – He has been exchanged for a guilty criminal and He has been viciously beaten and battered.
He has been forced to carry a rough, heavy wooden cross to the place of skulls. He has been ridiculed, mocked, tormented and crucified.
The bible says that Pilate – gave Jesus to the Roman soldiers to be crucified – and Pilate’s final act in this tragedy was to post the signboard/a notice/poster on the execution post that read: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”. Ironically, it was this last act that enraged the religious leaders – they were not gripped by the magnitude of their actions in the murder of their fellow countryman, they had no remorse for the lies they told that resulted in this execution, they felt no need to repent for the conspiracy they created that culminated in this crucifixion, they did not intercede for the life of One they knew did good in the region – no they wanted to be sure that the notice, the sign was correct in their estimate that Jesus claimed or said He said “I am King of the Jews” –
It is interesting to note that is not recorded in scripture Jesus uttering those words. During His interrogation, Pilate asked Jesus was He King of the Jews, Jesus said “it is as you said” –
Nevertheless, this story reminds me that we have a tendency to focus on extraneous things when there are more important things going on. The leading rulers, in my opinion where worried about how those who would be passing by this place of execution would interpret the crime for which Jesus was crucified.
The notice read in Hebrew, Latin and Greek – “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” – Our Savior was executed for being our Sovereign ruler – Jesus – Yeshua – Jehovah our Salvation – the Prince of Peace – The Bright and Morning Star – The Lamb who takes away the sins of the world – the Lily of the valley – our Passover Lamb – was found to be guilty of what He was – our Salvation and our King.
The sign over His head as He was suspended between time and eternity declared it, in the languages that everyone could understand. In Hebrew, Latin and Greek. Hebrew or Aramaic, was the language of the Jewish people, Latin was the language of the occupying force, and Greek was the language most common to all people of the time.
As the people passed by this place of horror, they were aware of the method of criminal justice employed by the Romans, crucifixion – so often, the crimes for which criminals were convicted were placed on signs above the criminal on the cross – so during these public executions people could see why a person was found guilty and deserved capital punishment – death.