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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 19:7-16 (ESV)

Posted on September 22, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 19:7-16 (ESV) - The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

Question to consider: Why did Pilate ultimately deliver Jesus over to be crucified?

At this point, Pilate had attempted to honor his wife’s concerns about falsely punishing a righteous man by arguing for Jesus’ innocence, convincing His accusers to punish them according to their own laws, trading His freedom for a known murderer, trying to pass off the issue to Herod, and having Jesus scourged— hoping to satisfy the crowds while saving His life.

Jesus proclaimed to be king of a different world, but Pilate treated the statement as nonsense until he was given the information that Jesus proclaimed to be the Son of God. Again, even if Pilate was a religious or superstitious person, I don’t believe he would have given this notion a second thought if it wasn’t for his wife’s dream. Now that dream must have seemed like an omen. However, Pilate’s fear of man was still greater than his fear of God. 

Even though we should never use God’s sovereignty as an excuse for inaction in the face of evil, we should also realize that there is a limit to our own power. Things do not happen in this world without God allowing them. People tend to try and judge God by the way the world works, but the Father’s overall plan is to bring people to repentance and bring an end to sin and death so, like Christ, we put our trust in Him when faced with trials and tribulations in this world.

Though Pilate tried to find a way to release Jesus, the people changed their charge to one that demanded Pilate’s consideration: treason. I suppose when you use secrecy and deception to find someone guilty of a crime they did not commit, it becomes easier to change the rules to something more convenient. The moment they appealed to Caesar, Pilate knew that those accusing Jesus had won.

It is easy to sound powerful when you have the full force of Rome behind your decisions, but the true test of a man’s character is what he does when he feels powerless. Pilate might have convinced himself there was nothing else he could do given the circumstances, but he was still guilty. Jesus pointed out that his guilt was not as great as that of His accusers, but he still was committing a sin. 

In our fallen state, we tend to think that we are somehow in a better position before God because we can point to someone who has more guilt than we do. The only way we can stand before a perfectly holy God is if we have a redeemer who can wash away our sin. Praise God that Jesus was delivered over to do that very thing.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for sovereignly bringing about our redemption in Christ. Help us to see that the trials and tribulations in this world serve to do His work amidst those around us. Please give us the joy and peace that only comes from knowing that we have been brought into a right relationship with You. Amen.