What I Have Written, I have Written

John 19:20-22.

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.

It wasn’t enough that Jesus had suffered humiliation, beating, scourging, and crucifixion. The people were now back in Pilate’s presence, demanding that he change the sign above Jesus’ head. It read, “JESUS OF NAZARETH KING OF THE JEWS.” No, no. They couldn’t have that. Someone might actually think He really WAS King of the Jews! They demanded that Pilate have the sign changed to read, “He said, I am king of the Jews.” Much less powerful, and identifying Jesus as a liar, a con man, someone who had fooled the people

Just a couple of things here. The chief priests demanded Pilate to change the sign. Demanded. They had won, in their own estimation, and felt empowered to demand, now, something more from the man who had the power of life and death over them.

It isn’t wise to make demands on those who have such authority. Demand would indicate a right, an entitlement to whatever is being demanded. Pilate could, legally, have them hauled off to prison.

Pilate’s response would seem to indicate that he’d had it with these petty, nit-picking men. His answer? “I have written what I have written.”

They just needed to swallow it. There was nothing more they could do, and Pilate had no obligation to listen to their self-righteous quibbling. He was done with them. What he suffered when he was alone, we can only guess. I think he had a hard time getting a good night’s sleep.

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