28th June 2018

Good Publicity 

“Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS…and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek.”
John 19:19-20 (NIV)

The President of the United States knows the power of the media. All political leaders like to be in the public eye, but he does so by saying things that are controversial, unorthodox, or unpredictable, using his personal Twitter account to do so. And sometimes he uses a grand moment in history, such as his recent meeting with the leader of North Korea.

Significant as this meeting was, however, it cannot claim to be the most important event in human history. To Christians, that accolade must go to a different event that was also unexpected, amazing, and controversial: the ignominious death by crucifixion of a man who claimed to be not only King of the Jews, but also the very Son of God! At Jesus’ death, he was “despised and rejected by mankind” (Isaiah 53:3), forsaken by his followers, and mocked by the religious establishment. He suffered disgrace and humiliation, but he did not die anonymously, and unnoticed.

Crucifixions were a fairly regular occurrence in Roman times, and I suspect Roman governors took little interest in them, far less taking the trouble to have individual victims publicly named. Yet in this case Pilate had a notice prepared which publicly named Jesus, unashamedly proclaiming his title as King of the Jews, and, most surprising of all, this was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek—all the major languages of the day. If the objective was to make Jesus’ identity and death known to as many people as possible, it seems to have worked because: “Many of the Jews read this sign” (John 19:20). Rather good publicity, wasn’t it? And of course it was reinforced by the supernatural time of darkness that afternoon, the earthquake that followed, and the raising to life of “many holy people” who went into Jerusalem and “appeared to many” (Matthew 27:51-53).

To be in the public eye is something that political leaders of all descriptions try to achieve. But when the most important event in all human history took place, it did not happen anonymously or in secret, nor was it hushed up. It was accompanied by considerably publicity. And we can be very glad that it was!

Great Father, thank you so much that the greatest demonstration in all time of your vast love for humanity, Jesus’ death on the cross, was widely witnessed and recorded. That was as it should be, and it helps considerably in spreading the gospel today.

Study by Gordon Brown


About the Author:
Gordon Brown is an Elder in the London Congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International London
Indian YMCA Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email: london@gracecom.church