The inscription on the cross (Jn 19:19-19:19)

“Pilate also had

An inscription written.

He put it

On the cross.

It read.

‘Jesus of Nazareth

The King of the Jews.’”

ἔγραψεν δὲ καὶ τίτλον ὁ Πειλᾶτος καὶ ἔθηκεν ἐπὶ τοῦ σταυροῦ· ἦν δὲ γεγραμμένον ΙΗΣΟΥΣ Ο ΝΑΖΩΡΑΙΟΣ Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ.

John indicated that Pilate (ὁ Πειλᾶτος) also had an inscription or title (δὲ καὶ τίτλον) written (ἔγραψεν).  He put it on the cross (καὶ ἔθηκεν ἐπὶ τοῦ σταυροῦ).  It read (ἦν δὲ γεγραμμένον), “Jesus of Nazareth (ΙΗΣΟΥΣ Ο ΝΑΖΩΡΑΙΟΣ), the King of the Jews (Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ).”  Usually these signs or inscriptions were hung on the prisoner about their crimes.  Then it would be put on the cross identifying what he had done wrong.  Matthew, chapter 27:37, simply stated that they put this charge or accusation against Jesus over his head (καὶ ἐπέθηκαν ἐπάνω τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ).  The written charge was (τὴν αἰτίαν αὐτοῦ γεγραμμένην) “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews (ΟΥΤΟΣ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΙΗΣΟΥΣ Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ).”  Clearly, this was the Roman charge against Jesus, insurrection, since he claimed to be the King of the Jews against the Roman rule.  Mark, chapter 15:26, also simply stated that this was the inscription charge or accusation written against Jesus (καὶ ἦν ἡ ἐπιγρὴ τῆς αἰτίας αὐτοῦ ἐπιγεγραμμένη).  The written charge was “The King of the Jews (Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ).”  Luke, chapter 23:38, said that there was a Greek inscription over Jesus (ἦν δὲ καὶ ἐπιγραφὴ ἐπ’ αὐτῷ) that read “This is the King of the Jews (Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ ΟΥΤΟΣ).”  All 3 synoptics had a slightly different wording for this inscription.  Luke and Mark start with “King of the Jews”, while Matthew has “This is” on the inscription.  Luke only had “this” at the end, with the implied “is”.  Mark made no attempt to say “This is”.  John had a more complete inscription of “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”  There was an implied insinuation that Jesus was being crucified for pretending to be the King of the Jews, against the Roman authorities.  Was Jesus the king of the Jews?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.