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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 19:17-22 (ESV)

Posted on September 23, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 19:17-22 (ESV) - So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

Question to consider: Why would the chief priests want Pilate to change what he wrote?

The other gospel accounts include the detail that Simon of Cyrene was there along the path to Golgotha and was forced by the soldiers to take up the cross when Christ stumbled under the weakness of His scourging. Mark also wrote that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus. At the point in which Mark wrote his gospel, he was in Rome with Peter. From Paul’s letter to the Romans, we know that Rufus lived in Rome so Mark may have met Rufus and Alexander when he visited the church there.

All of the gospels mention the two others crucified alongside Jesus. We can assume the cross on which Jesus hung was meant for Barabbas. Bar is Aramaic for son and abbas is Aramaic for father. Jesus is the true Son of the Father so it is interesting that He is hung between one who cursed Him and one who repented. As I often mention, since the first promise of redemption was given in Genesis 3:15, the world has been divided between those who are offspring of the serpent and those who are offspring of the woman. Jesus is the true offspring of the woman who crushed the head of the serpent, but those who belong to Him are also a part of this holy line through faith, and the thief who repented was reunited with Him in paradise.

Tradition has it that Barabbas was actually called Jesus Barabbas, but instead of writing “This is Jesus, son of the father”, Matthew wrote that the full sign said, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews,” and John pointed out that it was written three times: in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek so that people would recognize Jesus whether they were a Jew, a Hellenist, or a Roman. The chief priests who called for the death of Jesus complained that Pilate didn’t qualify the statement, but Pilate was intentional with the signs.

As I wrote a couple of days ago, the Romans were experts in despair. Jerusalem was the holy city, the place where people hoped for an anointed king who would deliver Israel from oppression and rule the world in righteousness. Instead, all who entered it would see what Rome did to their king and despair. The chief priests merely wanted the people to know that even though Jesus proclaimed to be this king, He obviously was not and was therefore being cursed by God for making a false claim.

Now that Christ has risen from the dead and is ruling from the right hand of the Father, we have two thousand years of history under that rule with the Holy Spirit professing through these apostolic authors that Jesus Christ is Lord. Death has been swallowed up in victory. Amen!


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us four gospel accounts that emphasize different aspects of the events that took place concerning Your Son. Please continue to give us insight into the work that Christ has done for us on the cross so that we may continue to discover new ways of glorifying His name. Amen.