John 19. 19.9-11 cont.
9 And he entered into the praetorium again and said (says) to Jesus: “Where do you come from?” But Jesus did not give him an answer.
10 Pilate said (says) to Him: “Are You not speaking to me? Don’t You know that I have authority to release You and I have authority to crucify You?”
11 Jesus replied: “You would have no authority over Me except it was given to you from above, because of this the one delivering Me to you has a greater sin.”
Within the legal system of England there is the practice of encouraging someone who has been charged with an offence to plead guilty, even if they are innocent. It is urged upon the suspect in order to lessen the penalty of a not guilty plea.
This is a questionable procedure since it encourages the person charged to lie, even if they are innocent. The advocates who encourage this are also guilty of encouraging perjury. Both the falsely accused and his counsel are guilty of lying, but who has the greater sin? Perhaps we might consider that it is the counsel and the legal system that allows and encourages this.
Jesus said that the person who had handed Him over to Pilate was guilty of the greater sin.
When Jesus said that the one who delivered Him to Pilate was guilty of the greater sin He could have been referring to Judas, or the Sanhedrin and the high priest, or both. The words ‘the one’ is in the singular and seem to refer to one person, but it is probable that the singular refers to the Sanhedrin and the high priest as a group
It may be that Jesus was referring to Judas, since he had betrayed Jesus and had led the soldiers and servants of the high priest to the Garden of Gethsemane where they arrested Jesus. However, there are others who do not think that Judas is referred to, since Judas had not actually delivered Jesus to Pilate. It was the Sanhedrin and the High Priest who had done this.
Their greater sin was that they should have recognized in Jesus the Truth: that He is the Messiah. Pilate would not see this since he was not a Jew, nor was he familiar with the Scriptures that bear testimony to God sending the Messiah into the world to save sinners.
The statement of Jesus infers that Pilate was also guilty of sin, but not as great a sin of those who delivered Jesus to him.
The Jews had the greater responsibility, because they knew the Scriptures. Therefore, they had the greater sin.
The same is true for us. The greater our experience, knowledge, and understanding of Jesus, the greater is our responsibility to live our life within the righteousness of Jesus. The greater is our sin if we abdicate that responsibility.