John 19:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 19:4, NIV: Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, 'Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.'

John 19:4, ESV: Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”

John 19:4, KJV: Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.

John 19:4, NASB: And then Pilate came out again and *said to them, 'See, I am bringing Him out to you so that you will know that I find no grounds at all for charges in His case.'

John 19:4, NLT: Pilate went outside again and said to the people, 'I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.'

John 19:4, CSB: Pilate went outside again and said to them, "Look, I'm bringing him out to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging him."

What does John 19:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Pilate is not stupid. He's seen enough to know that Jesus' message is not an immediate threat to Roman rule (John 18:36–38). He can also tell Jewish religious leaders are pursuing a personal vendetta (Matthew 27:18). However, they've also brought an agitated crowd (Matthew 27:20–23). History tells us Pilate's governorship was strained. He was criticized for brutal tactics, and deliberately antagonizing the Jewish people. At this point, he was likely under a strict warning that major unrest would result in losing his position. Rather than simply tell the mob to disperse, Pilate is looking for middle ground.

Even though the Jewish leaders want Jesus killed, Pilate would prefer not to do their dirty work for them. Having Jesus brutally whipped and humiliated, awful as it is, seems to be Pilate's attempt to spare Jesus' life. Now, he prepares to present a maimed, mocked, and apparently defeated Jesus to the crowd. In a modern setting, his words might have been, "take a look, now, and see how much I've already done to an innocent man."

The meaning of Pilate's declaration is really a question: "isn't this enough?" As John's account continues, we see the mob settle for nothing less than death.