Question: We have a cross hanging on our wall and it has the same letters I’ve seen on crosses all over the world many times before. But what do they stand for? Above his head they read INRI.
Answer: INRI stands for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum in Latin, or Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. John tells us “And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin (John 19:19-20 KJV)
It was this charge that the Sanhedrin or Jewish leaders took to Pontius Pilate to force him to turn Jesus over to them for crucifixion. Some people believe that the fact that Pontius Pilate refused to change the inscription to read “he said he was” rather than “he was” implies Pilate believed Jesus was in fact the Messiah.
Bonus Fact: The letter J was not part of the English alphabet until the 16th century so there are no J’s in the original King James Bible. (Question for the reader: how did they spell James?)