Joh 19:17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. 19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 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. 21 Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews."'"
22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
Several years ago, billboards started to show up around the nations highways. They were short and to the point and it didn’t take long for them to make the e-mail rounds on the Internet. Some of my favorites:
What part of "Thou Shalt Not..." didn't you understand? -God
Keep using my name in vain, I'll make rush hour longer. -God
That "Love Thy Neighbor" thing... I meant it. -God
I love you and you and you and you and... -God
Will the road you're on get you to my place? -God
Don't make me come down there. -God
One of the things that jumped out at me as I read this text concerns God’s use of billboards in Scripture. If you have your Bibles with you tonight, open them to Jn 19:19 and tell me what you see. Do you notice anything different about the print in Verse 19?
Most Bibles have the words, “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS in raised and capitalized letters. Now this doesn’t happen all that often in Scripture, and when it does, you can be sure God wants us to make note of it. They are like billboards from God.
It happened twice in the Book of Revelation where we in one instance see the name written on the robe of Christ when He comes again, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”. We see it also on the harlot of Revelation MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
We see it in the Book of Daniel, when the finger of God leaves a chilling message on the wall for Belshazzar, and we see it when God identifies Himself to Moses. “I AM WHO I AM.
So we see that God uses these “billboards” with raised lettering in Scriptures to clearly identify Himself, His Son, and one of the great enemies of the church, the materialistic, unfaithful pretender church of the Book of Revelation.
Tonight, let’s focus on this one billboard placed outside Jerusalem on a hill called Golgotha. The location was important as it is with all billboards. It was “near the city” Ever notice where most billboards are placed? Near cities This place, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, had a lot of traffic.
The agency that placed the order for this particular billboard had the final say on the wording. Because this was and is a very powerful ad (A.D.) agency. How powerful? Pr 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
And so when some people found this billboard offensive, Pilate had no choice but to respond, “what I have written, I have written.” Hey, the customer is always right...especially if that customer is God!
But there is something else unusual about this billboard. You know, it was customary for signs to be placed above the heads of those who were crucified......usually, the signs identified the crime. But, here the crime was reported in three languages! Highly unusual.
Pilate’s sign may have been intended to indicate a crime, but we all know that he was just stating a fact that God wanted the whole world to know, and still wants the world to know today. Jesus is the King of the spiritual Jews. Jesus is the king of all those of Abraham’s seed. All those who like Abraham believe God and it is accounted to them as righteousness.
If you believe God. If you trust in His Word, then you are a spiritual Jew and Jesus is your King!
Three languages! A prophetic statement in itself as the gospel would go to the Hebrew first, then within the confines of the Roman Empire, and finally to the world as symbolized by the Greek language. This sign was placed for benefit of the Jews, the benefit of the Gentiles of the Roman empire, and for the benefit of you and I today.
It was raised on a hill outside Jerusalem and it is raised in your Bible as well. May it be raised in the depths of your heart as you reflect on it’s message and the price that was paid to erect it.
God put this billboard up because he wanted the whole world to know that His Son, Jesus is King. Pilate put it up as a mocking gesture....foolishness to him. . The Jews found it offensive.
Just as Paul wrote in 1Co 1:23 but *we* preach Christ crucified, to Jews an offence, and to nations foolishness;
This billboard was a graphic picture of the price that Jesus paid to be declared the King of the Jews. Imagine such a billboard as you drive up the interstate. What would you make of it? Would you scoff like the others. “Hey if you are really God come down from there!” Or would you join with the thief who said,
“We receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
Both thieves saw the sign. both thieves read the sign, but only one believed it. JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. His agreement with the message of God’s billboard got him a ticket to Paradise that very afternoon.
What will you do with God’s billboard on Calvary? What will you do with Jesus......King of the Jews?