John 19.6-8 cont.
6 Therefore, when the chief priest and the servants saw Him, they shouted out saying: “Crucify, crucify”. Pilate said to them: “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no crime in Him.”
7 The Jews answered him: “We have a law and according to the law He ought to die, because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.”
8 Then when Pilate heard this (word) he was even more afraid.
Fear grips all of us at times, and different things, situations, people, and occasions will bring fear to different people. It is the fear of terror and not the fear of awe.
When driving on snow-covered, icy roads there is a fear of losing control of our vehicles and the consequences this may have. Therefore, we need to adjust our style of driving by slowing down. (For information: it can take up to ten times as long to stop on an icy road than it does on a dry road).
Pilate was gripped by fear when he heard the Jews say that Jesus made Himself out to be the Son of God.
We can only assume that Pilate had heard about some of the things that Jesus had done, especially some of His miracles. We know that Herod, the governor of Galilee was in Jerusalem at this time, and that Pilate sent Jesus to Herod.
We know that Herod had heard about the miracles of Jesus, since we read this:
8 Then Herod, seeing Jesus, was very pleased; because for a long time he was wanting to see Him, because he wanted to hear Him and hoped to see Him perform a miracle (sign) – Luke 23.8.
In the light of this we can assume that Pilate would also have been aware of the miraculous activity of Jesus. When he heard that Jesus had made Himself out to be the Son of God, he was afraid that he might be killing someone who was divine in some way or another.
Added to this is the account we have in Matthew’s gospel where we read about the wife of Pilate having a dream:
Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent Man alone, because I had a terrible nightmare about Him last night” – Matthew 27.19 (NLT).
Fear can affect us in many ways and at various times.
These words of Jesus need to be at the forefront of our minds:
4 But I tell you My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but afterwards can do no more to you.
5 I will show you whom you must fear; Fear Him who having killed you has the authority to throw you into hell (Gehenna). Yes, I tell you, be afraid of Him – Luke 12.4-5.