This past Sunday was Easter, the feast commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In order for Jesus to rise from the dead, he had to die, and he did so at the hands of the Romans three days earlier. Their preferred method of capital punishment was crucifixion, suspending the condemned from a cross until he died, then leaving him there as a warning to others who might be tempted to commit the same crime. The charge against the condemned man was written and posted above his head.
The cross is a symbol of Christianity, and when a figure of Jesus is fixed on the cross, it’s called a crucifix. Normally, a scroll or plaque with the initials INRI is fixed to the crucifix above Jesus’ head. The initials stand for Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Jvdaeorum, a Latin phrase meaning “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”
The Gospels tell the whole story of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection (the exact books, chapters and verses can be found here). Jesus was crucified by the Romans for sedition, allegedly for encouraging people not to pay taxes to Rome, for convincing two tax collectors to leave their posts, and for proclaiming that he was the King of the Jews. Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who passed the sentence of death on him (after some prodding), wrote the above phrase in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew on the scroll that would be posted to Jesus’ cross. When asked if he should have written “he said he was King of the Jews,” Pilate answered “Quod scripsi, scripsi“: “What I have written, I have written.”
from The Sound of One Hand Typing