Holy Week Reflections: Thursday – The Written Notice

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.’
Mark 15:25-26

It was the custom in crucifixions for the crime of the condemned man to be written on a sign and attached to the cross. Jesus’ crime, in the eyes of Roman law, was that he had claimed to be the King of the Jews. The chief priests had found Jesus guilty of blasphemy because he said he was the Messiah; they knew that Pilate would have dismissed a charge of blasphemy, but a claim to be a King would result in crucifixion. 

Mark tells us, in the next verses, that while Jesus was on the cross, those who passed by mocked and taunted him, including the two bandits who were crucified on either side of him. 

As you spend time reflecting on the crucifixion, you might like to use the words of The Servant King by Graham Kendrick. 

From heaven you came helpless babe 
Entered our world, your glory veiled 
Not to be served but to serve 
And give Your life that we might live 

This is our God, The Servant King 
He calls us now to follow Him 
To bring our lives as a daily offering 
Of worship to The Servant King 

There in the garden of tears 
My heavy load he chose to bear 
His heart with sorrow was torn 
‘Yet not My will but Yours,’ He said 

Come see His hands and His feet 
The scars that speak of sacrifice 
Hands that flung stars into space 
To cruel nails surrendered 

So let us learn how to serve 
And in our lives enthrone Him 
Each other’s needs to prefer 
For it is Christ we’re serving 

We use many different names when we think about Jesus – Christ, Lord, Saviour, Emmanuel, The Good Shepherd, Redeemer, Light of the World, and many more. If you were writing a sign to put on the cross, to try to explain what Jesus means to you, which name would you use this Easter? 

When I first started to go to church as a teenager, I was puzzled as to why the letters INRI appeared in so many pictures of the crucifixion, until I found out that these are the four initial letters of the Latin translation of the sign – Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum. This was one of many things that confused me about church; are there things you can think of that we could make clearer, to help us make Jesus known, here and now?

– Barbara Simmonds