Jesus was born on earth to die on the Cross. According to Roman custom, each crucified criminal was labeled with a sign below them. This sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, and included the name of the criminal and the crime that they had committed. The sign written to be posted below Jesus had the following inscription: Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews. This message was a statement of both His glory and His humility.
The sign displayed Jesus’ glory because it revealed His true identity. As a message written in multiple languages, it was designed not only for the Jews, but for all others in the known world. Greeks and Romans as well as Jews would be told of the story of Jesus and behold His Perfect submission to the Will of the Father for the sake of the world. Here He was, having completed the Work that only He, the Divine King, could have begun and finished.
The sign also displayed Jesus’ humility. He was crucified between two actual criminals, whose own signs relayed their crimes to the crowd. These two men hung alongside Jesus because of what they had done. Jesus, the Spotless Lamb, however, hung on the Cross not due to any crime, but because of Who He Is: the King of the Jews. In addition, Jesus as King could have easily overpowered those who were crucifying Him. He did not hang on the Cross against His Will as did the other two. Instead, Jesus gave Himself over to die.
Reflecting on Jesus’ Crucifixion in light of His Kingship enables us to see the Cross as a place of ultimate Victory. Because Jesus is King, we are saved by His Work on the Cross. Amidst its sorrow and horror lies our greatest Hope, all because Jesus was and is King.