Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. (John 19:19-20)
Jesus And The Tower Of Babel
The early world that began with such promise ended in the global destruction of everything with the breath of life, including every man and animal. Only the remnant of grace found in the ark was spared the destruction. Sin had cast men from the garden. Cain killed his brother. The genealogy of humanity continued a course of wickedness until it repented the Creator that He had made man. Preserving the promise made in the garden, the Lord told Noah of the impending doom and what he must do to be saved. Noah did according to the word of the Lord, saving his household and a remnant of animals.
Soon after the flood, it became clear that while God’s wrath had destroyed everyone on earth but eight people, sin still ruled in the hearts of men. Noah became a farmer and grew a vineyard after which he made wine and got drunk. His son Ham shamed His Father and was cursed. Sin had not been taken away, and the heart of men grew worse. In time, the multitude of humanity gathered in the plain of Shinar and, fearful of what happened to their ancestors, decided to build a city and a tower to reach into the heavens. The purpose of their plan was to make a name for themselves lest they are scattered over the face of the earth. Seeing the unity of their sinful hearts, the Lord came down and confused their language. Until this time, all men spoke one language. So, the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.
The flood did not answer the problem of sin. Through the carnal wisdom of humanity, sin was intensified with pride leading the charge against God. The tower of Babel was representative of how man tries to deal with his failure. Instead of seeking the will of the Lord, the sinful heart turned to self and sought to find answers in the flesh, the exaltation of human wisdom, and the pride of human achievement. None of these would save man from the wrath of God. The flood indicated the immensity of God’s power of destruction, and only by grace were eight saved. Noah and his family were not saved because they were sinless. The grace of God favored them to carry on the promise of the Seed given in the garden. After the flood, the world continued to be held captive to sin.
God promised Adam and Eve that a Seed would come that would bruise the head of the serpent. Jesus Christ was the Seed promise carried through the centuries as the covenant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and realized in the Lamb of God’s birth by Mary, wife of Joseph. Jesus’ life was forged on the anvil of self-sacrifice, love for the Father, and a will to carry the burden of sin upon His shoulders. The Jews rejected Jesus of Nazareth as God’s Son and had Him crucified by the Roman authorities. As the Son of God was nailed to the cross, Pilate made a fateful decision that would hearken back to Babel as a reminder of the power of sin. It was a common custom to affix a label to the cross, stating the crime for which the person suffered. Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek so that many people could read it.
Three languages were affixed to the cross of Jesus to tell the story of saving grace. He was the answer to sin. His blood would bring men to the Father. Prophetically poised above His head, the Son of God was the one who divided the world into languages. He knew at the tower of Babel that He would pay the price for sin. Men would struggle to answer sin, but Jesus knew His life would be cast as the mold of eternal life. At Golgotha, three languages reminded humanity of their failed attempt and exalted the Son of God as the only answer to sin. The world is filled with many languages, but the language of grace is only found in Christ. Men tried to reach heaven by building a tower. God opened heaven by raising His Son on a cross. There is no hope in a tower. All hope is in the cross.