Jesus – The Universal Language

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 – The Universal Language

Everything about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ testifies to the completeness of the plan of God to redeem man. Three crosses represented redemption, rejection, and redemption. The Son of God, hanging between heaven and earth, seeks to bring all men to the Father. Suffering would bring hope. Death brings life. The joy of the cross becomes the joy of salvation. There are images throughout the story of the cross that is emblazoned on the scriptures as testimonials of the will of God to save all men.

It was customary for an inscription to accompany a condemned man. Jesus had a title placed on His cross so that all passing by would know His crime. He was not a murderer, rebel, zealot, or political foe. Pilate wrote above the head of Jesus, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The chief priests and Jews took exception to what Pilate wrote, but he would not be dissuaded. He had grown tired of their meddling. What he had written would stay. Jesus said He was King of the Jews, and that is how Pilate ended the story. Pilate’s phrasing was a powerful sermon to the truth, which had been denied earlier when Pilate sought for truth. Standing before him was the Son of God, who had all authority. Placing the title above the head of Jesus affirmed (without Pilate’s recognition) that Jesus Christ was King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The language Pilate used was not by chance. Jesus came in the fullness of time when the gospel would have a greater course of success than at any time in history. Everything was in place for the Son of God to come to earth and the church to spread through the world. One of the reasons the church would grow so quickly was the absence of language barriers. Pilate wrote the title above Jesus in three languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. The title was meant to be read. Latin was the legal and official language of the Roman Empire. Hebrew (Aramaic) would benefit the people of Jerusalem of the Hebrew faith, and Greek for everyone who did not understand Hebrew. Jesus was the king for all men of all languages.

The irony of the act of Pilate was the man he condemned to die was the One who came to a place in Shinar where early man wanted to build a tower to the heavens and confused the language of humanity. The Lord had seen what man would do and scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth. The name of the place was called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there, the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the earth. Thousands of years later, Pilate wrote a title in three languages showing that God sent His Son into the world to bring all men back as one to the Lord God. Under Jesus Christ, men could be united. The gospel would be for everyone, regardless of skin color, nationality, and language.

When early men wanted to build the tower of Babel, they worshipped themselves. Jesus was raised up on a hill called Golgotha to show men worship belonged to God alone. The gospel was not for the Jew alone but for everyone. It would not matter if someone were Jew or Gentile, free or slave, male or female, young or old. All those who would come to the man at Golgotha could find the grace of God. There is no language barrier to the love of God. The Bible has been translated into every language known to man. Three languages bore the testimony of Jesus Christ that day. The language of love was established when God raised His Son from the dead.

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