19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
The note on the cross was one last effort by Pilate to prove his point. He stood up to the religious leaders and left the note on the cross. However, neither he nor the religious leaders understood the situation. He still didn't get it because he was trying to make the crucifixion okay. He knew he was doing something wrong, but was trying to fix it his way. He didn't understand what Jesus had told him previously. He didn't understand where Jesus' kingdom was.
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Contrast this with the other thief. He recognized and acknowledged that Jesus' kingdom is above. He knew he couldn't find his way there on his own, so he asked Jesus to help him. No one else understood where Jesus' kingdom was or how to get there.
How often are we like Pilate? How many times do we recognize our wrong and Jesus is right, but don't follow through? We try to fix it our way. We make his kingdom smaller by trying to fit it into our realm. How often to we ask Jesus, get our answers, and still not understand it? How often do we stand up to the dissenters without ensuring Jesus is behind us? What are the eternal consequences of us trying to 'make it okay'?
How often are we like the other thief? Do we recognize our place and Jesus' place? Do we understand how to get to his kingdom? If we do understand, do we act on it? Do we say the words out loud to tell others of our short comings and the ways Jesus makes it okay?
Where do you say his kingdom is? Where do you show his kingdom is?