(This post is part of our blog series on Holy Week in preparation for Easter 2015. Click here to find additional posts from this series.)
Wednesday was quiet. Jesus probably continued His daily practice of traveling from Bethany to Jerusalem to teach in the temple (Luke 21:37-38)*, but today without the fireworks and arguments of days prior. What we see most clearly is the plotting of the Sanhedrin to once and for all rid themselves of the nuisance of Jesus.
Read the accounts of the religious leaders’ plans to kill Jesus in Matthew 26:3-5, Mark 14:1-2 and Luke 22:1-2.
The Sanhedrin think that they’re in control. They think they are in ultimate power in regards to keeping Jesus and His rebellious teachings and His avid followers in check. And in expressing that control they’re intending the most wicked act ever fathomed; namely the death of the incarnate, all powerful, most glorious God of creation. They are intending to deceitfully kill the very Creator that gives them life, breath, food, and all the privileges that their positions employ. And they’re incredible cowards - "wait for the end of the feast, wait until the crowds are gone and we can be rid of Him quietly. Let’s not cause a scene, we wouldn’t want to upset anyone by murdering that blasphemer."
All this plotting and scheming reminds me of Joseph’s brothers (Genesis 37). They sell Joseph into slavery because they’re frustrated with the love their father has for him. They hate him for the dreams he has of his power and authority over them. They're jealous, bitter and loathing. Joseph’s brothers made the same mistake that the Sanhedrin make; they never thought to ask themselves if he is truly who he says he is. Imagine the insanity it would be to plot the murder of the Son of God, especially if you knew that’s who he was. Abject foolishness.
We can’t forget that Jesus was certainly gracious enough to give them ample evidence to demonstrate the veracity of His claims. They couldn’t debate His teaching, and they surely couldn’t help but have heard of the miraculous things that Jesus had done. Feeding multitudes, walking on water, calming storms, the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, the dead are raised. And yet they continue with their hard hearted planning, unwilling to question their tradition, unable to fathom the true nature of the Messiah that was now in their midst. If they’d only read their own scripture! The book that they claimed to know so well shouts of the nature of their Messianic hope in Jesus; the promised Messiah will come not only as a Conquering King, but also as a Suffering Servant. Here, in the midst of the machinations and the hardened hearts we arrive at one of the most glorious wonders of the character of God...
Everything that the Jewish leaders planned for the murder of Jesus was exactly what God intended would happen. Behind their vile and wicked intentions, like a soft and still whisper, we find the most glorious and gracious intentions of God. We see here the substance of the shadow of Joseph and his brothers. We can rightly apply to the death of Christ the declaration of faith in God’s sovereignty that Joseph made to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today.” (ESV, italics added)
Think and marvel, church family, at the wonderful sovereignty of God in the death of Jesus! We have been reconciled by this fantastic plan carried out at the hands of sinners. We live in a world that can make us feel as though we’re surrounded by darkness and yet we can be confident in the sovereign hand of our Great God to be in absolute, authoritative control. How can anyone but worship a God that so intricately delivers to us such a spectacular salvation? I hope as you reflect on the events of Wednesday in Holy Week, your hearts are driven to praise God for the great work He’s done through the cross of His Son. And I hope that your faith is bolstered to trust Him today in a way that is deeper and richer than ever before.
Tomorrow… The last supper and Jesus finally betrayed at Gethsemane.
*We can’t be sure the timing of this passage or the plotting of the Sanhedrin. This timeline, however, is a likely possibility. As mentioned before, for a great resource on the timeline of Holy Week, check out Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor’s book, “The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived”.