|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:1-18 Little did Pilate think with what holy regard these sufferings of Christ would, in after-ages, be thought upon and spoken of by the best and greatest of men. Our Lord Jesus came forth, willing to be exposed to their scorn. It is good for every one with faith, to behold Christ Jesus in his sufferings. Behold him, and love him; be still looking unto Jesus. Did their hatred sharpen their endeavours against him? and shall not our love for him quicken our endeavours for him and his kingdom? Pilate seems to have thought that Jesus might be some person above the common order. Even natural conscience makes men afraid of being found fighting against God. As our Lord suffered for the sins both of Jews and Gentiles, it was a special part of the counsel of Divine Wisdom, that the Jews should first purpose his death, and the Gentiles carry that purpose into effect. Had not Christ been thus rejected of men, we had been for ever rejected of God. Now was the Son of man delivered into the hands of wicked and unreasonable men. He was led forth for us, that we might escape. He was nailed to the cross, as a Sacrifice bound to the altar. The Scripture was fulfilled; he did not die at the altar among the sacrifices, but among criminals sacrificed to public justice. And now let us pause, and with faith look upon Jesus. Was ever sorrow like unto his sorrow? See him bleeding, see him dying, see him and love him! love him, and live to him!
Verse 10. - Therefore saith Pilate to him; nettled by this silence, and with the arrogance of a Roman procurator, Speakest thou net to me? "I do not wonder at your silence before that malignant crowd, but to me your refusal to speak is inexplicable." He did not appear to desire genuine information, nor was his conscience touched by reflecting upon the hateful mistake he had made. "The ἐμοί bears the emphasis of mortified power, which attempts even then to terrify and entice" (Meyer). Archdeacon Watkins says well, "Pilate is true to the vacillating character which now, as man, trembles before One who may be a being from the other world, and now as Roman governor expects that Being to tremble before him." Knowest thou not that I have authority (ἐξουσίαν) to release thee; and that I have authority to crucify thee? Pilate scoffingly assumes supreme authority of life and death, He virtually says, "I am the judge; you are the accused criminal. I am your master, and the master of the Jews; you are absolutely in my power." This, then, was another moment of critical and intense interest, and of tremendous temptation from the prince of this world. The destiny of the Church, of Christianity, and of the world might seem to be trembling in the balance. A single glance, a single word of admission or pleading, a gesture of deference, or merely human confidence, or gentle flattery, to say nothing of the exercise of the very power by which the Lord had erewhile spell-bound his captors, or paralyzed the arms which meant to stone him, and the whole history of the world (judged from human and historical standpoints) would have been utterly different. But the same Christ who would not accept the help of daemons, nor ascend from the mountain of Transfiguration to his native and primeval home, nor at any time work a miracle for the supply of his merely personal need, uttered the memorable words -
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then saith Pilate unto him,.... Being angry with him, resenting his silence, and looking upon it as a contempt of him;
speakest thou not unto me? he wondered that he stood in no fear of him, who was the Roman governor, his judge; who had the power of life and death; and that he should make no answer to him, who was in so much dignity, and in so high and exalted a station.
Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? proudly boasting of his authority to do one or the other. The sudden change of the man from fear, to vain and proud boasting, is to be observed; just now he was afraid of the divine power of Christ, lest he should have any divinity in him; and now he boasts and brags of his own power, and menaces and threatens with his authority to punish with death, even the death of tho cross; in which he discovers his wickedness, as a magistrate, to endeavour to terrify one that he himself believed to be innocent: and besides, his assertion is false; for he had no power, neither from God nor man, to crucify innocent men, and release criminals: and moreover, he himself must be self-condemned, who had a power, as he says, of releasing him, and yet did not do it, though he had once and again declared he found no fault in him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not to me?—The "me" is the emphatic word in the question. He falls back upon the pride of office, which doubtless tended to blunt the workings of his conscience.
knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?—said to work upon Him at once by fear and by hope.
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