The King of the Jews

H. F. Sharp
Conway, Arkansas

"And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh I to the city; and it was written in Hebrew and G r e e k and Latin." (John 19:19-20.) There are several things which will be noteworthy of emphasis in this part of the Word of God.

1. Many have tried to reduce Christianity to the cults, images and shrines of our day. Many have made pilgrimages to Palestine and returned with a "splinter from the cross" or a "bottle of water from Jordan." Some have been told that here is a leaf from the olive tree under which our Saviour prayed in the shadow of the cross. But, my friend, Christ is neither a tribal Deity nor the God of a particular nation or race of people. The title on the cross in Hebrew, Greek and Latin make it known he is a universal Saviour. Here the universal proclamation makes known the universal King. He is King of all the peoples of the earth that bow in subjection to His will.

2. In the trial of Christ the Jews claimed that Christ made, himself the Son of God. This being the basis of their charge against Christ, there was no case against him in civil courts. So, Pilate decided to throw the case out of court. The Jews then make up a false charge that he is a king. Christ immediately says in answer to a question of Pilate that "My kingdom is not of this world." That does not mean we are not to be citizens of an earthly kingdom any more than "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink," means we who are in the kingdom of Christ do not have need of food and water. The Kingdom of Christ was and is made up of all people of all nations who will serve Him. Just here the Jews told Pilate if he let Christ go he was not the friend of Caesar. Politician, Pilate, did not wish the friendship to his Emperor to be doubted in anyway, so, he tried a compromise. "I wash my hands of the blood of this innocent man." He turned his head and allowed the thing to happen that should not have happened from the standpoint of justice. Here is Christ before Pilate and one day Pilate will stand before the great judge of the world and receive sentence. Pilate now puts the title, "The King of the Jews" over the cross. The Jews wanted him to change the title and make it read, "He said he is the king of the Jews." Pilate was disgusted with this request and stated, "What I have written I have written." I will not change to suit you, in other words.

3. Here is a king with no crown but the crown of thorns, a king and no throne, a king and no scepter, a king and no possessions. Still let us see the kingship and the kingliness of Jesus. The tri-lingual inscription of the cross is very descriptive. The language of Hebrew is the language of divine revelation. Through Jesus the scheme of divine redemption is known. The language of the Greeks was the language of culture and philosophy and human wisdom. All philosophy, culture and human wisdom must bow before this king. Notice the condemnation of human wisdom in Paul's letter to the church at Corinth. The language of Latin is the language of power. All kingdoms must yield before this King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Even Rome would yield. Think of the power of his word.

4. There are voices from execution hill. Pilate says I am pure, and will wash my hands of the blood of this innocent man. All the perfumes of Arabia will never remove this spot from the bloody hands of Pilate. The Jews asked for His blood to be on them and their children. See the perishing of the Jewish nation. The nation has perished and will never again be restored. Sometimes we do not make the distinction between a race and a nation of people. The Jewish race is in existence but the nation has perished. They asked for such when they said, "Let His blood be on us and our children." Pilate also found no fault in Him. Ingersoll said, "Every time I hear his name I take off my hat to Him." Thomas Paine said, "I find no fault in Him." The centurion said, "Surely this man is the Son of God." This man who believed and would not follow him, but yet recognized the diety of Jesus. Many today will not follow Him even though they know he is the son of God. The thief asked to be remembered when Christ came into His Kingdom. Here is the Message of the Kingdom to be established. The thief may not have known all that was implied in his request but Christ was to be King in His Kingdom. The words of Christ, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Here is the scheme of redemption. Here is the sword and cherubim--the sword for the justice of God and the cherubim for the mercy and grace of God--"that He by the grace of God should taste of death for every man." HERE CHRIST FULFILLS THE SCHEME OF REDEMPTION FOR FALLEN MAN. He is truly King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Truth Magazine VII: 1, pp. 21, 24,
October 1962