8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” 11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
Pilate changed his attitude toward Jesus upon hearing the reason the Jews wanted to crucify Him.
when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid,
There may have been two reasons for Pilate’s fear: 1) he may have feared a Jewish uprising or revolution. He would have had anxiety that this would get back to Caesar. 2) As a pagan, he was superstitious. He might have feared that the gods of the pantheon my exercise wrath upon. He probably deemed that Jesus was a “god” (Ac 14:11). His wife gave him a warning that Jesus was a “just” man (Mt 27:19). He was aware of the miracles and following that the Lord had among the masses.
and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus,
Pilate once again went back into the Praetorium to learn more about and from Jesus.
“Where are You from?”
Pilate harks back to a question of Jesus’ origin. He was apprehensive that his subject may be a god of the Roman pantheon. Most Romans were superstitious.
But Jesus gave him no answer.
The Old Testament prophesied that the suffering Servant would not respond to His accuser (Is 53:7). Jesus was not about to reply to this specific question to someone who rejected His message so clearly,
Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me [emphatic]?
The governor falls back on his status, his office.
Do You not know that I have power [authority] to crucify You, and power to release You?”
Pilate attempted to intimidate Jesus by his authority to punish Him. On a human level it would had been best for Christ to politely answer the governor.
Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.
Although the Lord did not respond to Pilate’s question about His origin, He does correct his misunderstanding about true authority. Jesus replied that ultimate authority resides in God and not in human government. The governor had no authority except what God gave him (Ro 13:1).
Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
Caiaphas had the greater sin but Pilate the lesser sin (Jn 11:49-50; 18:13-14).
God is sovereign over the universe.
Human authority has their supremacies over their constituents, but they are merely pawns in God’s hands. Only God is sovereign in the universe. He controls the affairs of men. He establishes kings and overthrows them. Pilate had authority over Jesus only because God delegated it to him. He was under the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Jesus was no victim of human design. The Lord knew that redemption did not rest on despotic human authority.
Jesus stood against that authority by His character. Nothing intimidated Him because He understood that God was sovereign in all things. If those who wanted Christ crucified merely outwit Him then His death would be capricious. It would be nothing more than an accident in history. The idea of God sovereignty would be nothing more than the manipulations of man. However, God’s sovereign purpose does not mitigate man’s responsibility.