19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:
JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
20 Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
19:21 Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”’”
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
Pilate - his name means "armed with a dart". How fitting. Fitting because he was the only one with the authority to sentence Jesus to death. The dart was in his hand. However it's fitting in another sense also. Pilate knew Jesus was innocent and more than that he knew Jesus was no ordinary man. Ever the politician Pilate was trying to play both sides. He felt he must crucify Jesus because not doing so would be too risky for his career. I mean what if Jesus started a revolt like the one when Moses overthrew the entire Egyptian army? What if it was discovered that Pilate had had the opportunity to stop Him and didn't take it? Too risky indeed.
However none of the negated the fact Pilate was deeply impressed by Jesus and knew He was being betrayed and unfairly treated by His own people. For this reason Pilate saved his last dart to throw right back at the Jews. Jerusalem was at the hub of the world at the time. The narrow strip of land between the sea and the Jordan river was the main trade route for all goods travelling north and south. Typically a crucified person was on a cross for about 7 days and to enter the city you had to pass by the crucifixion site. Crucifixion was never just about killing criminals. It was a long drawn out torturous process designed as advertising for would be criminals to think twice before betraying the Roman Empire.
Pilate seized on this advertising opportunity to put a billboard on Jesus' cross in the three main languages of the world. Every person passing by would see it and be able to read it.
The sign horrified the Jews. They demanded it be altered but Pilate firmly refused: "What I have written I have written."
Here's the sad reality - to try and play both sides is ultimately a dart through your own soul. You can't live to please the devil and to support the cause of Christ. "No man can serve two masters" said Jesus.
We hate it when people play emotional or mind games with us. We hate it when someone is one person to our face and another person behind our backs. It can be so tempting to look for a way to please everyone. Some will even applaud us for it.
However tell me this: who was happy with Pilate when the day was done? Was Jesus? Were the chief priests?
Lesson: Don't plan your moves based on how you think it may best play out. Life is not a game. Take your dart and aim it against evil and lies and corruption. Stand for the cause of truth and justice. Have nothing to do with consequences. Jesus said it best that day without saying anything. "It's better to die for the right cause than to live for the wrong one."
"I, if I be lifted up, will draw the whole world to Myself" - Jesus