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Christ's Superscription

A "superscription" is a message that is written above something. The word is used in two ways in the Holy Bible, as the writing on a coin (e.g. "they brought unto Him a penny. And He saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?" Matthew 22:19-20 KJV) and for the sign that was placed on the Cross above Jesus Christ. In the case of the latter, it was the custom of the Romans to place a sign above crucified people as a statement of the crime for which the condemned man was being executed. In the case of Christ, since both Pontius Pilate and Herod found Him totally innocent of any wrong doing (see below), as an obvious act of contempt toward those of His own people who rejected Him, to which they protested (John 19:21-22), instead "Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, 'Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews'" (John 19:19 KJV).

"Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world"

Jesus Christ was executed for the political and religious "crime" of truly being the King of the Jews.

"And straightway in the morning the chief priests [see Caiaphas] held a consultation with the elders and Scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. And Pilate asked Him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And He answering said unto him, Thou sayest it." (Mark 15:1-2 KJV)

"Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice." (John 18:37 KJV)

Both Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas (see The Herods) publicly admitted that Jesus Christ was totally innocent of any wrongdoing. But for the sake of politics, Pilate sent the Messiah to be executed - and although Pilate claimed to be innocent, his knowingly sending an innocent man to be executed, while knowingly releasing the murderer Barabbas in exchange, hardly qualifies Pilate as being innocent. Pilate wasn't innocent; Pilate was a coward.

"When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified." (Matthew 27:24-26 KJV)

As He hung on the cross (see What Did Christ's Cross Really Look Like?), a sign was fastened above the head of Jesus Christ, written in 3 languages (Hebrew, Latin, and Greek). All 4 of the Gospel writers include this, although, as can be naturally expected from 4 independent witnesses, their wording insignificantly varies from "This is Jesus the King of the Jews" to "The King of the Jews" to "This is the King of the Jews" to "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."

Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews


"And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched Him there; And set up over His head his accusation written, 'This is Jesus the King of the Jews'" (Matthew 27:35-37 KJV)


"And when they had crucified Him, they parted His garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. And the superscription of His accusation was written over, 'The King of the Jews'" (Mark 15:24-26 KJV)


"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided Him, saying, He saved others; let Him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him, and offering Him vinegar, And saying, If Thou be the king of the Jews, save Thyself. And a superscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, 'This is the King of the Jews'" (Luke 23:34-38 KJV)


"Where they crucified Him, and two others 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 19:18-22 KJV)

Fact Finder: Jesus Christ will be the King of the Jews as He plainly answered in a specific question, but will His Kingship extend over all of humanity i.e. will He be the "King of kings and Lord of lords" of all the earth?
Revelation 19:16
See also King Of The Mountain

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