We love to label people. It seems to be a very basic human thing. Even as he died Pilate and the Jews were fighting over the label on Jesus’ cross. Pilate wanted “King of the Jews” in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. The Jews objected saying that it should read “He said I am the King of the Jews”. Pilate stuck with the label he had.
Those passing by the cross on that Friday afternoon may have laughed at the irony of such a label. You don’t see too many actual kings naked in public and held captive, dying on a cross. What sort of king is that?
The label was written in all the universal languages of the day. Perhaps in God’s mind this hinted at the Universal nature of Jesus’ kingship; King, not only of the Jews, but of the whole universe. A king with a difference; a king who would risk humiliation and ridicule; a king mislabelled and suffering for those who would be his subjects. Now that’s a real king! That’s a king I could follow.
- What would you have put on the label on Jesus’ cross?
- What do you think passers-by thought of the label?
- What sort of king is Jesus?
May we grasp the true nature of Jesus’ kingship in our lives and the lives of those around us.