There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Paid in Full
Some years ago, two women in Pennsylvania were convicted of stealing $80 in Walmart gift cards….from a sweet little nine-year-old girl….on her birthday. It seems the little girl was being helped by a clerk at Walmart when she set her birthday gift cards down on a shelf in the store. She took her eyes off of them just long enough for the cards to be pilfered. When the perpetrators were caught and convicted, their punishment was to stand outside the local courthouse for four and a half hours, holding huge signs so that every passer-by would know their crime. The signs read: “I stole from a nine-year-old on her birthday.”
Did Pontius Pilate have a public shaming in mind when he inscribed the sign on Jesus’ cross in the manner that he did? Probably so. It’s just that the sign may have been more of a jab at the Jewish leaders than an actual proclamation of the “crime” that Jesus had committed. Perhaps Pilate was trying to humiliate the Jews by pointing them to this broken man, hanging on a cross and proclaiming, “Hey, check out your king!” We don’t know the Roman governor’s motivations because the Bible doesn’t tell us.
But what we do know is this. The sign on the cross wasn’t big enough to cover all the crimes that Jesus was being punished for that day. Is there a sign big enough to proclaim all the sins of all people of time? 1 John 2:2 says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
The blood price to pay for the sins of the world was unimaginable. Only One person had the proper capital in his account to pay it—and that One was the very Son of God himself. He paid it not with gold or silver but with his holy precious blood and with innocent sufferings and death. It was truly a king’s ransom, but so great is his love, so unrelenting his desire to save sinners, that Jesus was willing to pay the price in full.
Lord Jesus, a lifetime isn’t enough time for me to give you the thanks you deserve. Every day in every way, help me strive to treat you most royally. Amen.