John 19:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 19:10, NIV: Do you refuse to speak to me?' Pilate said. 'Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?'

John 19:10, ESV: 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?”

John 19:10, KJV: Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?

John 19:10, NASB: So Pilate *said to Him, 'Are you not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?'

John 19:10, NLT: 'Why don't you talk to me?' Pilate demanded. 'Don't you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?'

John 19:10, CSB: So Pilate said to him, "Do you refuse to speak to me? Don't you know that I have the authority to release you and the authority to crucify you? "

What does John 19:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The fact that Jesus won't answer certain questions seems to frustrate Pilate (John 19:9). From the moment Jesus was brought in, Pilate has resisted doing the mob's dirty work for them (John 18:38–39; 19:4–6; Matthew 27:18). Even a little effort on Jesus' part would have given Pilate leverage to "win" this skirmish and set Jesus free. When Jesus again refuses to answer, however, Pilate resorts to intimidation.

There are two main implications of this statement. On one hand, Pilate seems to be looking for a way to spare Jesus' life. This comment is partly a request for Jesus to say something Pilate can use to end the entire incident. On the other hand, it's a veiled threat: tell me what I want to know, or I'll let the mob have you. In Pilate's mind, he has ultimate power in this situation. It's entirely his choice, and his authority, which has put Jesus in this position, or so he thinks.

Jesus' response will be especially cutting. History suggests Pontius Pilate relied heavily on violence and intimidation to rule Judea, resulting in a poor relationship with the people. It also likely meant he was now under strict orders not to incite more civil unrest—with his own position on the line. When Jesus points out that Pilate's authority is given by someone else, it's more than a simple statement of fact, it's a way of putting the governor in his place (John 19:11). It also foreshadows how the mob will coerce Pilate into his final decision (John 19:12).