Today’s Scripture: John 19:16-22
16 Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus away. 17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). 18 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.
21 Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”
22 Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”
They missed the bigger picture. They were so concerned with the way things looked that they did not notice how things actually were. The “leading priests” did not object to Jesus being executed – after all they had pretty much conspired to get to this point. No, they objected to the wording of the sign over Jesus’ head.
Minuets earlier they had declared “We have no king but Caesar” and now they wanted Pilate to know that Jesus was not “King of the Jews” but rather that he SAID he was king of the Jews. They wanted to make sure that Pilate knew of their loyalty to him and to the Roman empire. It was just a sign – but that’s what they fixated on.
Focused on the little sign – they missed the bigger picture. Concerned about the wording – they missed the meaning. Apprehensive about outward appearances – they missed the inward reality. They could not handle looking bad in front of Pilate – and they could not handle the existence that Jesus was trying to bring them.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the way things look or feel to us in the moment that we neglect to see what is really happening. Jesus really was the King. And he’s King still today. But we miss it because we want the sign to look right.
On this Good Friday 2021, what are you focused on? Is it Christ – or is it words, or appearances, or things that in the long run just do not matter? What are we missing?
Today, focus on the truth. God loved you so much, that he sent his only son to die, so that you might have eternal life. Everything else is just a little sign.
God thank you for sending Jesus. Help us this day to focus on his love, his sacrifice, his taking on of our sin. Help us to recall his death – even as we look forward to his resurrection.