The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up and offering Him sour wine and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!" There was also an inscription over Him, "This is the King of the Jews" (Luke 23:36-38).
Read Luke 23:36-38.
The Roman Empire used crucifixion as a powerful warning and deterrent to crime. So an inscription was written to identify the criminal and the crime for which he or she was dying. Jesus' inscription read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews" (see Matthew 27:37).
This was the mocking theme the Roman soldiers had picked up during Jesus' trial before Pilate. When they scourged Him, they wove a crown out of thorns and put it on His head. They put a purple robe over His torn shoulders, and a reed as His royal scepter. They knelt before Him, then snatched the reed from His hand and beat Him over the head with it (see Matthew 27:27-31).
Now, at the cross, they pick up the theme again. Knowing He is suffering from agonizing thirst, they come up and offer Him sour wine-knowing full well He cannot reach it with His hands and feet nailed to the cross. Then they take up the chant of the Jewish rulers and add their own little twist: "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!"
But they don't understand true kingship. They assume a king rules for his own welfare and benefit. But a true King rules for the benefit of His subjects-even if that means sacrificing His life to save theirs. It's what a true King does for His people.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, my King and my Lord. Thank You for sacrificing Yourself for the benefit of all of us, Your subjects. In Your goodness and love, rule over all my life. Amen.
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