And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written (John 19:17-22).
The term, “King of the Jews” is used 18 times in the New Testament scriptures—each time referring to Jesus. At the time of Jesus’ birth (Matt. 2:2), there was a common belief that some remarkable person was about to emerge in Judea. The Jews were anxiously looking for the coming of the Messiah. By computing the time mentioned by Daniel (Dan. 9:25-27), they knew that the period was approaching when He would appear. The person they were looking for was supposedly going to be a temporal prince, and they were expecting that He would deliver them from Roman bondage. It was natural that this expectation should spread into other countries. At the time, many Jews lived in Egypt, Rome or Greece. Also, many had gone to Eastern countries, and in every place they carried their sacred writings, and talked of their expectation that some noteworthy person was about to arise.
The Jews were all looking for the kingdom of God (Luke 3:15; 17:20; John 1:41). Daniel had prophesied the world-ruling kingdom of God would be established in the days of Rome (Dan. 2:44). By the time Christ was born, Rome had ruled the world for about 80 years, and the Jews and even many in the world knew the kingdom could come any time. If the Jews could find the king, they could find the kingdom (John 1:41; John 3:28; John 4:28-29; John 4:42; John 7:41; John 10:24). Although the Jews looked for the kingdom, because of envy, they crucified the very one the multitudes identified as their king.
Whether or not Pilate was convinced of what he wrote, he used three languages to write for the world to see that Jesus was the king of the Jews (Luke 23:38)! Pilate rejected the Jews’ demand to alter the writing or remove it (John 19:22).
Even the thief testified that Jesus’ kingdom would be set up after His death (Luke 23:42). Peter accused the Jews of crucifying their king (Acts 4:10), and on the day of Pentecost, Peter proved that God had foreordained the king of the kingdom would be put to death (Act 2:23). It was not until after His death that Jesus was crowned with all power in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). Jesus is king over His spiritual kingdom. Only His citizens can claim Him as their king (John 18:36). Jesus was made both Lord and Christ. The name Christ means anointed one. Jesus is both Lord and king (Acts 2:36). He is Lord over all men (Acts 10:36).
Jesus has been exalted with authority above every authority not only on this earth but also in heaven (Matt. 28:18). He is approved as Lord not only in this life but also in that which to come (Eph. 4:21). Jesus is not seated as king of a physical nation (John 8:23). He is king of the Jews but only in a spiritual sense (Rom. 9:6-7). His kingdom is not of this world; it is not a physical kingdom (John 18:36). He is king of all people who are spiritual Jews (Rom. 2:28-29). He is king only of those who are translated into His marvelous kingdom (Col. 1:13).
The king of the Jews has made all His subjects priests to offer spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet. 2:5-9; Heb. 13:15). If His people suffer with Him, He will make them kings to reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12). If His citizens overcome the battle with Satan He will give them power over the nations as He received of His Father (Rev. 2:26-27). If His citizens overcome they will reign with Him forever and ever (Rev. 22:5).
Blessed be the King of the Jews! (Luke 19:38).