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Daily Readings: 5th February 2016

John 19. 19-22

19 Now Pilate also wrote a title and placed it on the cross; this is what he wrote: JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 

20 Many of the Jews read this title, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near to the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. 

21 Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: “Do not write: ‘The King of the Jews’, instead that this man said: ‘ I am the king of the Jews’”. 

22 Pilate replied: “What I have written, I have written”. 

All four gospels record that Pilate had this inscription written and placed on the cross of Jesus, although the wording is slightly different. We have already seen that he made a great use of sarcasm by writing ‘The King of the Jews’. This is further highlighted by stating ‘Jesus of Nazareth’.

As we know, Nazareth was located in Galilee, which was north of the territory of Judea. Galilee was more open to the influence of Greek culture; its residence spoke a distinctive form of Aramaic; and they were seen as being more lax in their religious life. This was a cause of contention with the Jews of Judea.

Therefore, in writing that it was Jesus of Nazareth who was the King of the Jews, Pilate was adding to the contentious nature of the relationship between the Jews of Judea and the Jews of Galilee.

Pilate was adamant that he was not going to change what he had written, and he told the Jews that what he had written remained written.

In this we perhaps see the he was being used by God to state the reality that Jesus is the King of the Jews, and, indeed of the whole world. There is a sense in which he was speaking prophetically, although he would not have known that.

As far as he was concerned what he had written was unalterable, and it was not open to discussion, especially with the Jewish leaders.

From all this we can learn that Jesus came into this world, born into a Galilean family. He did not come into a family of high breeding, or a family with great religious connections.

Instead He came to a part of the Jewish race that was looked down on, and even made fun of, because of their dialect.

Still today Jesus comes to the ridiculed, the despised, the downtrodden, and the disadvantaged. This includes us all, because the result of our own sin places us in all those categories.

Today if we have not made Jesus our King then now is the time to do so. Let the inscription over our hearts be ‘Jesus of Nazareth, my King and Saviour’.

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