In this sermon, our founding pastor, W. Graham Smith, talks about the inscription on the cross and what it meant; why it was written in three languages and the implications for us.  Here are some excerpts:

It was written in GREEK.

…Greek was the language of culture. Down the centuries the Greeks had been a people of keen-edged intellect. In that little land on the shores of the Mediterranean had lived poets and writers, sculptors, artists and philosophers…”

“…It boils down to this… Before His white scorching purity nothing unclean can survive; and everything that is suggestive and unworthy is shown in its true colors as unutterably mean and degrading. We do not judge Christ – He judges us. And He claims His Lordship in the realm of culture. They wrote it on the Cross in Greek – “This is Jesus, the King!”…”

It was written in LATIN.

…Now Latin was the language of government. Down the centuries the Romans had stood for law and order… And the Romans had such a genius for law and government…”

“…And the inscription on the cross was written in Latin: “This is Jesus the King!” In other words, Jesus was claiming the realm of government for His own. Jesus is King there — King of the nations!…”

“It was written in HEBREW.

…Now Hebrew was the language of revealed religion. Down the centuries God, in His inscrutable wisdom, had chosen one race, Israel… They were the custodians of the eternal oracles of God… And the inscription on the cross was written on the Cross in Hebrew, “This is Jesus, the King!” In other words, Jesus was claiming the realm of religion for His own…”


Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.

July 17, 1988

Luke 23:38

Rev. W. Graham Smith

Download Transcript (PDF)