I once signed up for a discount program on my car insurance. In order to qualify for the discount, I had to place a GPS device in my car for six months to monitor driving habits, such as distance traveled, time of travel, and hard braking. People had often told me that I brake too fast, which I had always denied until I placed that little GPS device in my vehicle and it beeped at every mistake. Over a couple of weeks, I realized the truth about my driving habits, and it actually made me a better driver.
- What is something you believe that might not be completely true?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 19:12-22 (ESV)
12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 16b-22. Verses 12-16a were covered previously.)
- According to verse 19, what was publicly proclaimed about Jesus?
- Why did the chief priests have a problem with the inscription?
- What is the irony behind the inscription placed on the cross?
- Who do you say Jesus is? In what ways does your life affirm and/or deny this?
RESPOND TO GOD
Although Pilate knew that Jesus was completely innocent, his own self-interest drove him to a place of compromise. He then capitalized on the opportunity to humiliate the Jews by placing the inscription, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” on the cross. The chief priests were furious and demanded to have it changed because they denied Jesus was their king. Despite their denial, the proclamation written on the cross was reality.
We often live our lives in denial of the truth. We don’t want to admit that we might be wrong, or that we don’t really have it all together. The reality is that we are all broken people in need of a King to save us.
- Ask God to help you recognize all the ways in which you live in denial of the truth.