What a powerful exchange between Pilate and the Jewish leaders!
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.”
This inscription was to describe “the charge against him” (Mark 15:26). The chief priests were claiming that Jesus was being crucified for something He did—He claimed to be the King of the Jews. Pilate saw through that. He knew that Jesus was being crucified for who He was—the King of the Jews. That was His crime: being the Holy One of Israel sent from God. (Of course, Pilate cared more about saving his own hide.)
Jesus was always at odds with the world. He had told His disciples that “if the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). He was “despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). The world would never love Jesus. Even today, it doesn’t love Him but only respects Him—as long as His teaching is watered down, neutered, or ignored. Jesus said many hard things that would cause a lot of people to dislike or hate Him…if they were to read what He said.
Jesus did not come into this world to survive. He did not come to fit in. He came to die. We are called to be holy like Jesus, which means we are called to die to this world. I confess that I get too comfortable here. May God help me to live as a stranger in a world that hates Jesus, my Lord.