Friday, March 15, 2019

The Vision (3.15.19): Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews

Image: A hypothetical reconstruction of the Titulus Crucis by P. L. Maier.

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 19:13-22.

And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS (John 19:19).

In Roman crucifixions, it was common for there to be a titulus, a placard or tablet, spelling out the crimes of the condemned. John says that the providential, guiding hand of God was there, directing Pilate to write, “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews” (v. 19).

The location of the crucifixion was public and visible: “for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city” (v. 20). The inscription was tri-lingual, in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Jews, Greeks, and Romans could all understand it. The inscription accused the Lord Jesus of being an insurrectionist. It mocked him as a failed king. But, ironically, it told the truth. The chief priests were so unnerved by this that they tried to get Pilate to change it (v. 21), but Pilate refused (v. 22).

Thus, Calvin says, Pilate, a reprobate man, “by a secret guidance” was “appointed to be a herald of the gospel that he might publish a short summary of it in three languages.” The tri-lingual note anticipates the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20), that men of all nations, will come to know Christ. How happy is the foreign traveler when he finds a sign in this native tongue! How glad the man who hears the gospel in his heart language!

The apostle Paul is perhaps making reference to this kind of title in Colossians 2:14 when he talks about Christ “blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”

Indeed, all of our sin was nailed to the cross. Our titulus was there. Christ, our King, died on the cross for the sins of men from all nations.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle


Mad Jack said...

Thanks for keeping your blog up. Some of us, we read, maybe we learn a little something every so often. I appreciate your consistency and your efforts.

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...

MJ, thanks for the encouragement. Nice to know someone is reading out there. Hope you've been able to find a church.

Mad Jack said...

I'm attending:
Shepherd Church of the Nazarene
425 S Hamilton Rd, Gahanna, OH 43230

on a fairly regular basis. Fairly regular. The Church offers three services; 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00. Each is progressively more contemporary or modern than the previous, so we have a traditional service at 8:00 AM. That's the service I attend, as I don't tolerate the modern music well.

They have a choir and sing the good old hymns at the traditional service. I like the choir, but the choir director (or minister of music) turns his microphone up too loud. The man drowns out the choir. He has a good voice and knows how to project it, and so doesn't need amplification. Some weeks the sound crew turns him down to a reasonable level.

The sermons are excellent. Pastor Rob Paugh presents a teaching sermon for the adult believer. I'm always learning something new.

The people are nice, although I don't think I have much in common with most of them.

There's a program called 'Rooted' which is described on the church web site. I don't understand how it works, and am not entirely sure what it's supposed to accomplish. There's a fair amount of 'encouragement' to enroll in the Rooted program, but I'm reluctant to do so.

Later daze, my Internet friend.