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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 11

Verse 11. No power. No such power as you claim. You have not originated the power which you have. You have just as much as is given, and your ability ex tends no farther.

Except it were given thee. It has been conceded or granted to you. God has ordered your life, your circumstances, and the extent of your dominion. This was a reproof of a proud man in office, who was forgetful of the great Source of his authority, and who supposed that by his own talents or fortune he had risen to his present place. Alas! how many men in office forget that God gives them their rank, and vainly think that it is owing to their own talents or merits that they have risen to such an elevation. Men of office and talent, as well as others, should remember that God gives them what they have, and that they have no influence except as it is conceded to them from on high.

From above. From God, or by his direction, and by the arrangements of his providence. Ro 13:1: "There is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God." The words "from above" often refer to God or to heaven, Jas 1:17; Jas 3:15,17; Joh 3:3

(in the Greek). The providence of God was remarkable in so ordering affairs that a man, flexible and yielding like Pilate, should be intrusted with power in Judea. Had it been a man firm and unyielding in his duty—one who could not be terrified or awed by the multitude— Jesus would not have been delivered to be crucified, Ac 2:23. God thus brings about his wise ends; and while Pilate was free, and acted out his nature without compulsion, yet the purposes of God, long before predicted, were fulfilled, and Jesus made an atonement for the sins of the world. Thus God overrules the wickedness and folly of men. He so orders affairs that the true character of men shall be brought out, and makes use of that character to advance his own great purposes.

Therefore. On this account.

"You are a magistrate. Your power, as such, is given

you by God. You are not, indeed, guilty for accusing

me, or malignantly arraigning me; but you have power

intrusted to you over my life; and the Jews, who

knew this, and who knew that the power of a magistrate

was given to him by God, have the greater sin for

seeking my condemnation before a tribunal appointed by

God, and for endeavouring to obtain so solemn a

sanction to their own malignant and wicked purposes.

They have endeavoured to avail themselves of the civil

power, the sacred appointment of God, and

on this account their sin is greater."


This does not mean that their sin was greater than that of Pilate, though that was true; but their sin was greater on account of the fact that they perseveringly and malignantly endeavoured to obtain the sanction of the magistrate to their wicked proceedings. Nor does it mean, because God had purposed his death (Ac 2:23), and given power to Pilate, that therefore their sin was greater, for God's purpose in the case made it neither more nor less. It did not change the nature of their free acts. This passage teaches no such doctrine, but that their sin was aggravated by malignantly endeavouring to obtain the sanction of a magistrate who was invested with authority by God, and who wielded the power that God gave him. By this Pilate ought to have been convinced, and was convinced, of their wickedness, and hence he sought more and more to release him.

He that delivered me. The singular here is put for the plural, including Judas, the high-priests, and the Sanhedrim.

{h} "thou couldest have no power" Lu 22:53; Joh 7:30 {i} "except" Ps 39:9 {k} "he that delivered me" Mr 14:44; Joh 18:3 {l} "the greater sin" He 6:4-8; Jas 4:17

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