NOTE: I am posting this early as I will be out of town next week.
Summary of passage: Jesus was crucified between 2 criminals. A sign reading “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews” hung above Jesus. It was written in Latin, Greek and Aramaic.
3) “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews”. Because he wasn’t the King of the Jews according to the religious leaders and it felt like Pilate was mocking the Jews.
4) Psalm 72:1, 8, 11, 17: Jesus bring justice, righteousness, rule over earth, all will bow down to him, and his name will endure forever.
Matthew 2:1-2, 6: Jesus was born king of the Jews to shepherd Israel.
John 4:42: Jesus is the savior of the world.
John 6:51: Jesus gives eternal life with his death.
John 11:51-52: Jesus died for all to bring them together and make them one.
Revelation 5:9: Jesus saved all with his blood.
Jesus is King over all and it was written in all the possible languages anyone who witnesses his death would know so all would know he had come to save all of them. Jesus’ death is meant to save all.
5) Part personal Question. My answer: Jesus took away our sins with his death, forgiving us, and giving us eternal life with God. There is nothing else in this world more important. It gives me meaning and purpose to do His will.
Conclusions: Jesus died for all our sins. Painfully and sacrificially. He has always been and will always be our king.
End Notes: Crucifixion: The Persians invented crucifixion, but one could say that the Romans perfected it and made it an institution. It was practiced by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Macedonians, and the Egyptians as well. It was the form of execution reserved for the worst criminals and the lowest classes. It was so dreaded in the pre-Chrisitian era that the cares and troubles of life were often compared to a cross. Crucifixion was designed to make the victim die publically, slowly, with great pain and humiliation. This was the form of death God ordained for Jesus to die, and the death that He submitted to in the will of God.
Crucifixion was so awful and degrading that polite Romans wouldn’t talk about it in public. The Roman statesman Cicero said of crucifixion: “It is a crime to bind a Roman citizen; to scourge him is an act of wickedness; to execute him is almost murder: What shall I say of crucifying him? An act so abominable it is impossible to find any word adequately to express.” The Roman historian Tacitus called crucifixion “A torture fit only for slaves.”
In Ancient Times everyone knew how tortuous crucifixion was. John and the other Gospel writers did not have to spell it out for us so they didn’t. Plus, they wanted to convey the facts and not get bogged down in the emotions of the moment. Plus, Jesus suffered both spiritually and physically so describing the physicality of crucifixion would take away from the much more important spiritual aspect. Roman citizens were exempt from crucifixion.
According to Dr. William Edwards in the Journal of the American Medical Association, death from crucifixion could come from many sources: acute shock from blood loss, being too exhausted to breathe any longer, dehydration, stress-induced heart attack, or congestive heart failure leading to a cardiac rupture. When a person is suspended by two hands, the blood sinks rapidly into the lower extremities. Blood pressure drops and heart rate speeds up. If the victim did not die quickly enough, the legs were broken, and the victim was soon unable to breathe and died of suffocation. However, this usually took 2-3 days to die. The body was usually left as a deterrent to criminals. It would decompose and be eaten by animals.
Constantine outlawed the practice in 337 AD out of veneration for Christ. However, the Japanese adopted it in the 1500’s and it is still legal in some countries today as a method of capital punishment. The word excruciating comes from the Latin word for crucify.
Jesus was crucified alongside other sinners. One was saved, the other lost. So it goes throughout all of time.
A placard was according to Roman custom. The crime was written out and the title hung around the victim’s neck as he carried his cross to the place of death. The title was then placed at the top of the cross so all would know the reason for the crucifixion and be warned what happens to criminals. The execution took place outside of city walls and probably along a popular road so the max amount of people would see it.
Jesus’ crime was who he was. He didn’t do anything.
Aramaic was for the common folk and Jews. Latin was for the learned. Greek was for the Greeks. The three languages in use at the time and place of Jesus’ death. This would serve as a model that all are intended for Jesus’ message, death, and salvation.
The religious leaders objected because they didn’t believe Jesus was the king of the Jews and if he was, it was insulting to the Jewish people. Pilate stood by his pronouncement and once the sentence had been pronounced, it was against Roman law to change it. John recording this shows Jesus kingship is final and unalterable.