For this reason, he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

John 19:11 (NASB)

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no authority [a]over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason, he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

  • It would be difficult to say whether it is Judas or Satan, for Satan entered into Judas, Luke 22:3 and then they became as one.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 29, 2020 at 22:11
  • To be technically correct, Judas/Satan only delivered Jesus to the mob and the chief priests. It was the chief priest that delivered Jesus to Pilate.
    – Dottard
    Mar 30, 2020 at 6:41
  • Nigel J: Judas did not deliver Jesus to Pilate but as Dottard said it could have been the Chief Priest Caiaphas, Jesus words are singular but it may be generic singular referring to the Jewish authorities or even the whole nation Mar 30, 2020 at 8:27
  • Was Judas still alive? In what way can you place Judas "from above" and in a position to give Pilate authority? Jun 26, 2023 at 18:18

3 Answers 3


When therefore the chief priests and the attendants saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify! Crucify! Pilate said to them, You take Him and crucify Him, for I do not find fault in Him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and according to that law He ought to die because He made Himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard this word, he became frightened the more, and he entered into the praetorium again and said to Jesus, Where are You from? But Jesus gave him no answer. Therefore Pilate said to Him, You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You and I have authority to crucify You? Jesus answered him, You would have no authority against Me if it were not given to you from above; for this reason, he who has delivered Me to you has the greater sin.

I always thought He was referring to the chief priests and Pharisees. Not Judas and definitely not Satan, even though "he" is singular. In that case, it would be Caiaphas.

Many of the Jews therefore who had come to Mary and beheld the things that He did believed into Him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things that Jesus did. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees assembled a council and said, What do we do? For this man is doing many signs. If we let Him do so, all will believe into Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, You know nothing at all, nor do you take account of the fact that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people and that not the whole nation perish. But this he did not say from himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but that He might also gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. From that day therefore they took counsel to kill Him. Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews...Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he should disclose it, so that they might arrest Him. Jn 11.

Judas, having gotten the cohort and some attendants from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with torches and lamps and weapons...Jesus answered, I told you that I am; if therefore you seek Me, let these go away...Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the slave of the high priest...Then the cohort and the commander and the attendants of the Jews seized Jesus and bound Him and led Him away to Annas first; for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now it was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die for the people...Then the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door and brought Peter in...The high priest then questioned Jesus concerning His disciples and concerning His teaching. Jesus answered him, I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews come together, and I spoke nothing in secret. Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard Me, concerning what I spoke to them; behold, these know what I said. And when He said these things, one of the attendants standing by slapped Jesus, saying, Is that how You answer the high priest? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken wrongly, testify concerning the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me? Annas then sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest...Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the praetorium, and it was early morning...Pilate therefore went outside to them and said, What accusation do you bring against this man? They answered and said to him, If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered Him to you. Pilate said then to them, You take Him and judge Him according to your law. The Jews said to him, It is not lawful for us to kill anyone, that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was to die...Am I a Jew? Your nation and its chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?...he again went out to the Jews and said to them, I find no fault in Him. Jn 18 (in particular vv 30, 35).

found no fault in this man regarding the accusations you bring against Him...No, neither has Herod, for he sent Him back to us, and behold, nothing worthy of death has been done by Him...But they pressed him with loud voices, asking that He be crucified, and their voices prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that their request be carried out, and he released him who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will. Lk 23

  • Walter Smetana: Appreciate your good input. Judas did not deliver Jesus to Pilate but as Dottard said it could have been the Chief Priest Caiaphas, Jesus' words are singular but it may be generic singular referring to the Jewish authorities or even the whole nation. +1 Mar 30, 2020 at 8:38

Could Jesus have been referring to himself? That He himself "has the greater sin" because he is carrying the sin of all to the cross? Because only He himself could truly hand himself over? Because the authority of Pilate is not of his own but given to him and Jesus must give himself freely, regardless of who is paid or demands his crucifixion.

The only one who can truly hand Jesus over is He himself.

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    Oct 20, 2022 at 16:46

But Jesus was sinless, he died for the sins of the world. He was the only sinless one on earth. It cannot be Him handing himself over, He is the most Holy and the most pure.

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