What does John 19:4 mean?
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.”
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.'
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.'
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."
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.'
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.
NKJV: Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
John 19:1–16 continues Jesus' interrogation by the Roman governor, Pilate. Pilate has already recognized Jesus' innocence and continues to look for ways to release Him without an execution. Religious leaders refuse this, using the threat of a riot to coerce the governor. Eventually, Pilate gives in and orders Jesus to be crucified. Parallel accounts are found in Matthew 27:24–30, Mark 15:12–15, and Luke 23:20–25.
Chapter Summary:
Pilate recognizes Jesus' innocence, but fears the mob assembled by Jewish religious leaders. He attempts to satisfy them by having Jesus viciously whipped and mocked. This only results in more cries for Jesus' death. The governor then shifts to protect his own reputation, ordering Jesus to be crucified on a charge of being "King of the Jews." John is directly present as Jesus is executed. He notes the fulfillment of several prophecies as Jesus dies. Once He is confirmed to be dead, Jesus' body is taken by two friendly members of the ruling council. They hastily bury Him in the borrowed crypt of a rich man.
Chapter Context:
When Jesus was first brought to Pilate, His innocence was obvious (John 18:36–38). However, the mob refuses to be satisfied with anything less than crucifixion. Pilate gives in to these demands. John, who is present for the entire gory spectacle, notes several instances of fulfilled prophecy (Psalm 22:18; Psalm 69:21; Exodus 12:46; Zechariah 12:10). Jesus is then buried in the borrowed tomb of a rich man (Isaiah 53:9) to complete yet another Old Testament prediction. A guard will be posted to ensure no one steals the body (Matthew 27:62–68), which will only serve to confirm that Jesus' eventual resurrection was a true miracle (John 20:1–8).
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
Accessed 4/23/2024 7:12:08 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.