John 19:22
Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
Life an Inscription on a CrossE. L. Hull, B. A.John 19:22
The Ineffaceable RecordP. S. Henson, D. D.John 19:22
The Irrevocable PastAlexander MaclarenJohn 19:22
Bearing the CrossW. Baxendale.John 19:17-25
Christ Bearing His CrossR. Besser, D. D.John 19:17-25
Christ's CrossJ. Caughey.John 19:17-25
Cross-Bearing for ChristChristian at WorkJohn 19:17-25
CrucifixionBp. Ryle.John 19:17-25
Impression of the CrucifixionJohn 19:17-25
Jesus in the MidstD. Moore, M. A.John 19:17-25
Jesus in the MidstW. Hay-Aitken, M. A.John 19:17-25
Love in the CrossH. W. Beecher.John 19:17-25
Nature's Testimony to the CrucifixionJ. Fleming.John 19:17-25
Plea from the CrossJ. Whitecross.John 19:17-25
Prizing the CrossW. Baxendale.John 19:17-25
Salvation no FailureT. Guthrie, D. D.John 19:17-25
The Centre of the Universe -- Jesus in the MidstF. Ferguson, D. D.John 19:17-25
The Cross of ChristJohn 19:17-25
The Cross Our SafetyPreacher's Lantern.John 19:17-25
The Cross the Soul's HavenC. H. Spurgeon.John 19:17-25
The Crucifixion of ChristDavid Gregg.John 19:17-25
The Crucifixion RealizedJohn 19:17-25
The Great Cross-Bearer and His FollowersC. H. Spurgeon.John 19:17-25
The Lonely Cross-BearerT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 19:17-25
The Probable Site of GolgothaCunningham Geilkie, D. D.John 19:17-25
The Three CrossesT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 19:17-25
The Traditional Site of GolgothaCunningham Geikie, D. D.John 19:17-25
Jesus of NazarethDean Stanley.John 19:19-22
Pilate Preaching the GospelC. Stanford, D. D., A. P. Peabody, D. D.John 19:19-22
The Inscription on the CrossC. Spurgeon, jun.John 19:19-22
The Inscription on the CrossU. R. Thomas.John 19:19-22
The Superscription on the CrossD. Thomas, D. D.John 19:19-22
The Superscription on the CrossJ. P. Lange, D. D.John 19:19-22
What a picture is this! At a place near Jerusalem, called Golgotha, the Roman soldiery have reared three crosses. And on these crosses hang three figures. The sufferers have been doomed to die. With a criminal on either hand, the Son of man is enduring, not only anguish of body, but agony of mind unparalleled. The soldiers, with callous indifference, watch the tortured victims. The multitude gaze with vulgar curiosity upon the unwonted sight. The Jewish rulers look exultingly upon him whose death their malignant hate has compassed. Friendly disciples and tender-hearted women gaze with sympathy and tears upon the dying woe of their beloved One. No wonder that the scene should have riveted the imagination and have elicited the pathetic and pictorial powers of unnumbered painters. No wonder that every great picture-gallery in every Christian land contains some masterpiece of some famous painter, of one school or another, depicting the crucifixion of the Holy One and the Just. For us the scene has not only an artistic and affecting, but also and far more a spiritual, significance.

I. ONE CROSS IS THE SYMBOL OF DIVINE LOVE AND OF HUMAN SALVATION. The central figure of the three is that which draws to it every eye.

1. There is in this cross what every spectator can discern. A Being undoubtedly innocent, holy, benevolent, is suffering unjustly the recompense of the evildoer. Yet he endures all with patience and meekness, with no complaint, but with sincere words of forgiveness for his foes. We conceive Jesus saying, "All ye that pass by, behold, and see; was there ever sorrow like unto my sorrow?"

2. What did Christ's enemies see in his cross? The fruit of their malice, the success of their schemes, the fulfillment, as it seemed to them, of their selfish hopes.

3. A more practical and interesting question for us is - What do we behold in the cross of Christ? To all Christ's friends, their crucified Lord is the Revelation of the power and the wisdom of God, none the less so because his enemies see here only an exhibition of weakness, of folly, and of failure. The voice that reaches us from Calvary is the voice that speaks Divine love to all mankind. Here Christians recognize the provision of full and everlasting salvation; and here they come under the influence of the highest motive which appeals to the spiritual nature, and calls forth an affectionate and grateful devotion.

"From the cross uplifted high,
Where the Savior deigns to die:
What melodious sounds I hear,
Bursting on my ravished ear!
Love's redeeming work is done;
Come and welcome, sinner, come."

II. A SECOND CROSS IS THE SYMBOL OF IMPENITENCE AND REJECTION OF DIVINE MERCY. In the blaspheming robber who hung by the side of the Lord Jesus we have an awful example of human sin and crime; an awful witness to human justice and to the penalty with which transgressors are visited; and an awful illustration of the length to which sinners may carry their callous indifference to sin. An impenitent criminal reviles the one Being who has the power and the disposition to deliver him from his sin and from its worst results. Selfishness of the narrowest and meanest kind is left: "Save us!" i.e. from torture and the impending fate. A degraded life is followed by a hopeless death. Several terrible lessons are taught by this felon's character and fate.

1. How impossible it is for those to be saved who reject the means of salvation!

2. How possible it is to be close to Christ, in body, in communication, in privilege, and yet, because destitute of faith and love, to be without any benefit from such proximity!

3. How foolish it is to rely upon a late repentance, seeing that sinners are found to persevere in sin and unbelief even in the immediate prospect of death!

III. A THIRD CROSS IS THE SYMBOL OF PENITENCE AND OF PARDON. The story of the repentant malefactor shows us that, even when human justice does its work, Divine mercy may have its way.

1. The process of seeking God, even in mortal extremity. Conscience works; conviction of sin ensues, and creates a new disposition of the soul; this prompts a fearless rebuke of a neighbor's sin; faith - in the circumstances truly amazing - is exercised; true, simple, fervent prayer is offered.

2. The manifestation of compassion and mercy. The dying Lord imparts to the dying penitent an assurance of favor; free pardon is announced; bright hope is inspired; immortal happiness is secured.

3. Lessons of precious encouragement are impressed upon the spectators of this third cross. It is possible for the vilest to repent. It is certain that the sincere penitent will be regarded with favor. Even at the eleventh hour salvation is not to be despaired of. There is a prospect before those who are accepted and pardoned, of immediate joy and Divine fellowship after this life is over. - T.

Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
Men often speak wiser than they know. During Christ's trial Pilate had made for himself a record of ineffaceable infamy. We, too, are making up a record irreversible, ineffaceable.

I. WE ARE WRITING UPON THE TABLETS OF OUR OWN SOULS. The fossiliferous rocks bear traces of rain-drops and foot-prints of birds made long ago, and destined to last to the end of time. More sensitive and susceptible is the human soul, upon which every thought, feeling, volition, action makes an impression, and the sum of these impressions makes character. The solemn thing about these impressions is that they are ineradicable. What we have written once we have written for ever. The impressions may have faded out in the long lapse of years, and yet little things — a name, a face, a strain of song — will bring up the buried past and make us live it over again. We never quite forget, and the severest torture of the damned will be that which comes from memory.

II. WE ARE WRITING, TOO, UPON THE TABLETS OF OTHER HUMAN SOULS. It may be on the tender susceptibility of a little child, every unkind act or reproach makes a wound which will leave an ugly scar that will be carried to the grave. The like is true of the tender tracery of love. An old preacher long ago had among his hearers a fair-haired boy whom he tenderly loved, and for whose salvation he longed. The preacher went to heaven; the boy found a home far away in this Western world. One day, with his hands on the plough, that boy, now a man of sixty years, paused in the furrow, and as he paused there came to him the echo of the voice of that preacher to whom he had listened in early youth. And so let the patient mother. whose love seems lost upon her wayward boy, take heart and hope.

III. AND SO WE ARE WRITING ON THE TABLETS OF ETERNITY AS WELL. Every man is an author, and the book he is writing is his autobiography. Authors commonly have a chance to revise what they write; but of this life record there shall be no revision. And this is the book that shall be opened, and out of this the dead shall be judged. We come to-day (last day in the year) to the close of another chapter of this book. We cannot revise it, but we may review it. In the review it would possibly appear that it resembles many a copy-book whose opening lines give evidences of painstaking, but whose later writing is sadly blurred. Let us humbly hope that some deeds of love have been recorded and some words of cheer for struggling souls set opposite our names. Yet how little the record shows, we fear, of holy endeavour and heroic sacrifice. But not a sentence can we efface, for what we have written we have written. And yet there is a ray of hope and a voice of comfort for those who mourn over their miserable record. A poor wretch, burdened with a sense-of sin, dreamed that the demon of darkness held up before him all the long, black catalogue of his crimes, The devil thought to drive him to despair, but while he looked and trembled, lo! One appeared who was like unto the Son of Man, and he looked and saw that His hands were pierced, and from those precious hands some drops of blood were trickling. The hands were laid upon the dreadful page, and with His blood He wiped it out. This is our consolation and our hope. And, again, there is another hope. It is the Book of Life, and in it are recorded all the names of God's saints. Let us humbly rejoice that our names are written there.

(P. S. Henson, D. D.)


1. It is evident that to Pilate the hour had come when he must reveal the spirit of his life by one great act of decision, and that decision was before the Cross. In that tremendous moment when Christ stood at his bar, the influences of two great worlds appealed to his soul — the everlasting world of Truth — Right — God; and the world of self-interest and wrong. He might crucify self or Christ; but whichever course he might adopt, he must announce his life-purpose for the world to read. By deciding for the worldly, he wrote the inscription, "I crucify Christ — truth — conscience; and enthrone self and the world in my soul,"

2. When a man chooses anything before Christ, he virtually crucifies Christ. To choose anything in preference to Christ's truth is to crucify that truth. Christ asks for the absolute surrender of man's heart in the name of eternal love; to refuse this surrender is to trample on that love, and to scorn its appeals. There is no middle ground. "He that is not with Me, is against Me." Therefore, whenever Christ is felt claiming man, and the claim is passed by, the man stands in the position of Pilate of old.(1) The man of the world has his hour when, at the door of his heart, stands the Christ summoning him once more to yield. At the same moment comes the hissing voice of the tempter, "Take thine ease a little longer; hear Christ to-morrow;" and the soul, like Pilate, leaves the judgment-throne, and yields to the lying voice. Now, go within that man's heart: Do you not see a cross standing there in the gloom, while a pale hand is writing over it, in letters of the spirit-world, this title, "This is Jesus — I crucify the King"?(2) There comes a day in the history of the young soul when he feels that he has left childhood behind, and is girding himself for the battle of life, then often the Man of Nazareth approaches that soul, saying, "For thee I died; I will give thee glory if thou wilt take up thy cross and follow Me:" and at the same moment come the three mocking spirits of the world — pleasure, wealth, fame — saying, "Follow me." The choice is made, the struggle ended! Enter that soul, and gaze on the newly-erected cross, and read the letters of fire, "I crucify Christ, the King of men; I will not crucify myself:" and the inscription of life has begun.

II. THAT INSCRIPTION IS WRITTEN IRREVOCABLY: "What I have written I have written." Pilate felt that the deed was done — Jesus crucified; his own struggle miserably ended, the past was beyond his recall. The inscription of man's life is written on two tablets.

1. The tablet of the eternal past.(1) Every deed done is done for ever. When a man has written his life-title on the cross, he may weep oceans of tears, but no human tears can wash it away.(2) The past, moreover, is a living power in the present, and it gradually forms the unchangeable character. Pilate found out that. It would have been immeasurably harder for him to change afterwards. You say the past has perished, but you forget that the present is filled with its living and active results. You see the snow covering the mountains; and you may feel that you are looking on the records of a dead past. There it lies cold — motionless. But the spring sun shines; and, in the form of a desolating avalanche, that dead past starts into a living power in the present. So in life, the sins of the past are not dead and gone; they have helped to make us what we are; and let the opportunity arise, let temptation come, and by our acts in the living present, they will terribly assert their power. Crucify self, and the cross becomes easier every day. Crucify truth, and every day you will find it harder to take the cross down.

2. The tablet of the immortal memory. We can forget nothing. Memory may sleep, but it cannot perish. Within the soul is the everlasting picture of all our life; and it only needs the light of conscience to waken it into awful brilliancy.


(E. L. Hull, B. A.)

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