John 19:7

7 The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”

John 19:7 Meaning and Commentary

John 19:7

The Jews answered him
Finding they could make nothing of the charge of sedition against him, and that Pilate could not be prevailed upon to condemn him to death upon that score, they try another method, and charge him with blasphemy; which, if the other had succeeded, they would have concealed; because this, if proved, according to their law, would not have brought on him the kind of death they were desirous of:

we have a law;
meaning the law of Moses, which they had received by his hands from God:

and by our law he ought to die;
referring either to the law concerning blasphemy in general, or concerning the false prophet, or to the having and asserting of other gods, and enticing to the worship of them; in either of which cases death by stoning was enjoined:

because he made himself the Son of God;
the natural and essential Son of God; not by adoption, or on account of his incarnation and mediatorial office; but as being one with the Father, of the same nature with him, and equal to him in all his perfections and glory. This he had often asserted in his ministry, or what was equivalent to it, and which they so understood; and indeed had said that very morning, before the high priest in his palace, what amounted thereunto, and which he so interpreted; upon which he rent his garments, and charged him with blasphemy: for that God has a son, is denied by the Jews, since Jesus asserted himself to be so, though formerly believed by them; nor was it now denied that there was a Son of God, or that he was expected; but the blasphemy with them was, that Jesus set up himself to be he: but now it is vehemently opposed by them, that God has a son; so from ( Ecclesiastes 4:8 ) they endeavour to prove F17, that God has neither a brother, (Nb alw) , "nor a son"; but, "hear, O Israel, they observe, the Lord our God is one Lord". And elsewhere F18,

``"there is one"; this is the holy blessed God; "and not a second"; for he has no partner or equal in his world; "yea, he hath neither child nor brother"; he hath no brother, nor hath he a son; but the holy blessed God loves Israel, and calls them his children, and his brethren.''

All which is opposed to the Christian doctrine, relating to the sonship of Christ. The conduct of these men, at this time, deserves notice, as their craft in imposing on Pilate's ignorance of their laws; and the little regard that they themselves had to them, in calling for crucifixion instead of stoning; and their inconsistency with themselves, pretending before it was not lawful for them to put any man to death; and now they have a law, and by that law, in their judgment, he ought to die.


F17 Debarim Rabba, sect. 2. fol. 237. 3.
F18 Midrash Kohelet, fol. 70. 1.

John 19:7 In-Context

5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”
6 When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”
7 The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever.
9 He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer.
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