It was payback time!
The Jews had impaled Pilate on the horns of a dilemma and he resented being there. It made him terribly uncomfortable. So this, in a way, was Pilate’s revenge. It was time for the fight back to commence. It was his opportunity to make these despised Jews pay. This was calculated. He was mocking them. He was saying, in effect, ”What kind of people are you to have a King like this?!! Look at Him. He’s weak and despised.” Pilate was rubbing their noses in it. ”As far as I’m concerned, he really is ”The King of the Jews” – the only sort of King you crazy people deserve! This is what I’ve done to him, and this is what I’d be happy to do to the whole lot of you!” Tom Wright: ‘John for everyone’, part two, p.126.
The preaching of the cross really did appear to be ”foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23). A man crucified seemed to be the epitome of weakness, helplessness and shame. But those who believed the message found ”the power of God and the wisdom of God” in it. ”For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Corinthians 1:24b, 25). There were plenty of sneering ‘Pilate’s’ in the ancient world, but the Lord had the last laugh (Psalm 2:4). He says, ”I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill” (Psalm 2:6). All the hostility and mockery in the world will not change that fact. Facts are stubborn things.
Jesus really is the King of the Jews. He came into the world as their long awaited Messiah, their anointed King. But they did not recognise Him as such. They did not receive Him but rejected Him (John 1:11). They did not want this Man to reign over them. But He is their King.
And Jesus really was Pilate’s King too. In writing the inscription in ”Latin” Pilate was affirming that there was a greater Emperor than Caesar. He was saying to his fellow-Romans, ”Here is our King”. He didn’t know that’s what he was doing. Of course he didn’t. But that is the implication of the inscription in the three major languages, as we have seen. Jesus is King of the entire world.
Is He your King? Have you surrendered your life to His reign? Or are you with the Jews in this story, pushing Him away? Are you with Pilate, treating Him as a bit of a joke?
Whatever anyone says or does, Jesus’ majesty shines out of these events.
Centuries earlier Isaiah had prophesied about the coming King: ”Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The Zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:7) No-one will get in the way of God. Jesus did not need the affirmation of Pilate or the Jews in order to be King. He just is! He’s ”installed” (Psalm 2:6) and there is no uninstall button to click.