Bible Reading: Genesis 11
In our Bible reading today we see how God confused the work of those who were disobedient. Unwilling to be scattered abroad, they started to build a tower so they could always stay together, with their tower as a focal point and muster station.
Since then the world has been divided by language.
But then thousands of years later when Jesus hangs on the cross there is no confusion. The message is written in the main languages.
“And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” — Matthew 27:36-37
In Roman times it was customary to hang a plaque above crucified criminals depicting their crime.
Notice that Matthew calls this title “His accusation!”
As the people milled around those three crosses they could see clearly the accusations.
On the first cross the title read “THIEF!” When they approached the unrepentant criminal on the third cross, they saw his accusation: “ROBBER!”
The accusation on the middle cross should have read: “Murderer!” It should have been the cross of Barabbas – but on public request the murderer had gone free, and Jesus of Nazareth had been substituted!
“Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.” — Mark 15:6-11
And so Pilate had a new accusation hurriedly inscribed:
“THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
The accusation shames Pilate – who believed in Him, yet washed his hands of Him. Pilate said that He was innocent. Pilate’s wife called Him a just Man.
Oh, dear friend, you cannot just ignore this Man. He is the King – you must bow to Him, or you must revolt against Him!
The accusation discomfits the religious leaders who envied Him. Pilate was aware of that! “For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.” He had become popular with the people, and their own position had been threatened.
Oh my dear friend: if you will let this Man into your home, I must tell you that He will be the most popular Guest you have ever had. Your wife/your husband/your children/your mother/your father will all give HIM first place in your home. And you will be second. But you will be second after the King of Kings.
The accusation embarrasses Peter who had denied Him.
At the fireside, he had denied the King of the Jews! Perhaps that’s you today? At work you have been timid! Or at school you have failed to mention your allegiance to the King of Kings!
It always amazes me that a mere maiden could provoke such a negative response from a burly fisherman!
Since Babel mankind has been divided by language. But on Calvary there was no possibility of anyone missing the message. And that middle cross has become a tower that has united millions in surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Luke tells us this title was written in three languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Latin!
“And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” — Luke 23:38
This was the language of the religious. The ritualist. The person who trusts in their pomp and ceremony. We all have different ways in which we worship. But there are many who put their trust in the actions of their worship rather than in Christ Himself.
Mr. Ritualist: today as you light your candles, and repeat your liturgy, and ring your bells, and wave your incense – a message is waiting for you on Calvary’s cross, and it is written in language even you can understand: “JESUS IS KING!”
Will you bow before Him?
Greek was the language of the reader, the scholar, the philosopher.
Mr. Reader: today as you pore over your dusty books, and open your heart to the foolishness of ancient Greece – there’s just one page for you on Calvary. It is not a message from so-called lovers of knowledge like Plato, Aristotle, and Pythagorus – It is a message from the Lover of men’s souls, and it comes from the God of Heaven. It is a revelation – it cannot be arrived at by study. Simply it says this: “JESUS IS KING!”
Will you bow before Him?
Latin was the language of the occupying army. The language of Rome. It was the language of the ruler!
Mr. Ruler: today as you raise taxes, and plan punishments, and speak of justice, Calvary utters a message that you should easily understand.
It speaks of One Who became poor that we could be rich.
Of One Who received not only Barabbas’s punishment – but ours also.
Of One Who satisfied the justice of Almighty God, that we may go free!
And today you are asked to lay down your authority at this Man’s feet.
In a language you can understand it says this: “JESUS IS THE KING!”
Will you bow before Him?