“King of the Jews” by Asher Intrator
When Yeshua (Jesus) was crucified, Pilate placed a sign above His head, which carried the inscription, “King of the Jews” (John 19:19; Matthew 27:37). This sign was written in three languages (Hebrew, Latin, and Greek) so that all of the world could know. I believe this inscription was ordained of God (John 19:22), and reveals an important aspect of God’s plan. It could be called, “the second purpose of the cross.”
The first purpose was to offer salvation to mankind. This offer may be seen in Yeshua’s sayings on the cross. “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34), “This day you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43), “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me” (Matt 27:46; Psalm 22:1), “Into Thy hands, I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46; Psalm 31:5). These verbal pronouncements were an invitation by God to receive forgiveness and grace.
On the other hand, the written statement of the cross was a declaration by God of His authority and kingdom. While the first offers forgiveness; the second demands submission. The first deals with sin; the second with rebellion. Thus the inscription of the cross fulfills Psalm 2:2; 6, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed (Messiah). Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.”
The word “King” means the highest level of governmental authority. God is declaring that He will set up His kingdom on the earth, and that this Man is the one to be the leader of the government. That government will be established in all the earth and its capital will be Jerusalem. It will be an international empire, with Yeshua as the emperor.
The king in ancient times was also the Chief Judge. The judge’s ro
le is to decide who is guilty and who is innocent; and to punish the wicked and reward the righteous. The king was also the commander in chief of the army, who would destroy the enemies (in this case, the enemies of Israel – Zechariah 12:9, 1