Inscription: Day 37 of Lent
19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’ ” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
I.N.R.I. is the traditional abbreviation for the Latin “lesus Nazarenus Rex ludaeroum”; the inscription was also written in Latin and Greek. It is also possible that Pilate was not gibing at the priests or “wanting the last word” but expressing his contempt for all Jews if such a pathetic and degraded figure was their “king.”
Also in Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38.
Was this a deliberate gibe at the priests, a petulant insisting that he had the last word?
Was he still unnerved by meeting you, and not sure about your Kingdom?
Or, as happens so often with us,
did he not realize the full force of what he wrote?
In effect, of course,
what he has written and nailed up still stands, I.N.R.I. still proclaims your name and nature.
that a Roman who does not believe in you has testified to your kingship -in three languages!
Now your Cross stands against the sky; the Father’s love is “earthed,”
a placard till the end of time.
Now you are lifted up
and can begin to draw all people to yourself,
– not only Jews and Romans and Greeks, but all of us.
Crucified Lord, we praise you
for the sure, strong, steady love
that has brought you to this place and manifests your Kingdom.
As we are drawn to you, and call you King, rule in our lives.