What does John 19:7 mean?
ESV: The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”
NIV: The Jewish leaders insisted, 'We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.'
NASB: The Jews answered him, 'We have a law, and by that law He ought to die, because He made Himself out to be the Son of God!'
CSB: "We have a law," the Jews replied to him, "and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God."
NLT: The Jewish leaders replied, 'By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.'
KJV: The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
Verse Commentary:
When Jewish leaders brought a mob to demand the death of Jesus, Pilate recognized it as a personal feud (Matthew 27:18). In private interviews, he's already determined that Jesus is innocent of any crimes against Rome (John 18:36–38). However, Pilate's governorship of Judea was notoriously tense. He was likely told he'd be punished if there was another major incident of unrest. So, he's looking for ways to satisfy the crowd's bloodlust without completely giving in. That began with having Jesus savagely whipped and mocked before being displayed before the crowd (John 19:1–4).

Pilate seems to have expected the crowd to respond with pity, not vicious hatred: calling for Jesus to suffer Rome's most brutal, debasing death of crucifixion. His first reaction was the equivalent of the modern expression "do it yourself!" This rhetorical answer says more about how extreme the request is than about Pilate's willingness to see it happen.

John once again uses the term "the Jews" as a reference to Israel's political and religious leaders. These are the men who have conspired to bring Jesus to this point (John 11:48–53). Their explanation to Pilate is that Jesus committed an act of blasphemy so vile that they want Him brutally executed. What they don't entirely realize is that referring to Jesus as the "Son of God" raises further doubts in Pilate's mind (John 19:8).
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.
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