Who has the greater sin?
Listening to the passion narrative being read yesterday, something I've noticed before struck me again. Jesus is answering Pilate. But who is "he who delivered me"?"Jn 19:11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power at all against me, unless it were given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered me to you has greater sin.” this is from WEB version to avoid copyright problems
The obvious answer is Caiaphas and the members of the Sanhedrin who have brought Jesus before Pilate because they want him killed. Another possibility is Judas. Several commentaries refer to this ambiguity. Some say that Caiaphas bears more responsibility than Pilate because he should have known better. Pilate, being merely an ignorant pagan, can't be expected to know what this is all about.
Jesus's previous sentence, though, hints at a possible further ambiguity, something that none of the commentaries seem to mention.
Neither Pilate nor Caiaphas, nor the Sanhedrin have any power unless it was given to them from above. Having been given that power, both Pilate and the members of the Sanhedrin are, of course, personally answerable for how they use it. Augustine takes the line that others also being guilty doesn't let Pilate off,
However, is Jesus hinting that the Father also bears responsibility? By giving free will to human beings, does God share with us some of the responsibility for what we do with it? Jesus knows that he has to be crucified and to die. Is he hinting in the words, "unless it was given to you from above" that God isn't just the only one who can deal with the situation, but that he is bound into how it arose in the first place. Are the late Sydney Carter's words"And therefore the truth-speaking teacher does not say, “Only the one who delivered me to you has sin,” as if the other had none. Rather, he says that he “has the greater sin,” letting him understand that Pilate himself was not exempt from blame. The sin of the latter is not reduced to nothing because the other sin is greater. "
hinting at something more profound, challenging and mysterious than we think?"It's God they ought to crucify"
If there's anything in this, does it have any bearing on how we see atonement?
Am I just being over-subtle? Or is this a temptation to heresy - and if so which one?