21 Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.” ’ ”22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written” (John 19:21-22 NKJV).
Jesus has been crucified; and he’s now hanging on the cross. Pilate had another important duty to perform to close the chapter on Jesus’ suffering. It was his (Pilate) duty to reveal to the public the offence for which Jesus was crucified? Pilate placed a notice already prepared bearing that offence; which read: “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (John 19:19c). This was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek (John 19:20c).
It was the custom of the Romans to let the public know the reason(s) why anybody will die by crucifixion? Hence, the offence of the criminal was placed above that individual’s cross. This served as deterrent to others; while also informing the public the justification for such capital punishment.
The reason why Jesus’ offence was written in three languages (Aramaic, Latin and Greek); was that, those languages were the lingua franca at the time. This helped the Jews who spoke Aramaic at the time to read for themselves why Jesus was crucified. Latin was the language of the Romans; so that those of Roman heritage could read in their own language. Greek was to help the Greeks know why Jesus was hanging on the cross.
There was swift opposition from the chief priest regarding the offence Pilate associated with Jesus. He (chief priest) said; “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews” (John 19:21b). Pilate retorted; “What I have written, I have written” (John 19:22).
We see a sharp difference between what Pilate wrote and what the chief priest had wanted him to write. It should be noted that, though, Pilate did not know much about the Jewish religion; the Holy Spirit used him to authenticate Jesus’ true identity at the time of his death.
The chief priest who was well versed in the Scriptures (Old Testament) should have concurred with Pilate; but, the opposite was what happened. Why? He (the chief priest) chose to fight against the Word of God; because, his mind was warped against Jesus. Yes, this is the reality of the times we’re living in. No matter the level of people’s understanding of the Bible, some intentionally choose falsehood over truth. In this age of fake news phenomena, let’s be vigilant in checking our facts in every story we read or hear; knowing that, at the end of the day, it’s the truth that will set us free.
As always, let’s continue to hold each other’s hand and pray for ourselves as the coming of Jesus draws closer. Please, do send this study to your contacts as well.
Dr. Charles Mantey
Disiciples Revival Church
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