After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by trickery and put Him to death. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people.” (Mark 14:1-2)
Jews Plotting Murder
There were three groups of Jewish leaders who were the adversaries of Jesus throughout His ministry. The elders, chief priests, and scribes formed a coalition to destroy the man from Nazareth and would eventually succeed. Jesus told His disciples He would be betrayed by the chief priests and scribes, and they would condemn Him to death. The Jewish leaders brought Jesus to Pilate and, through forced persuasion, succeeded in having Jesus nailed to a cross. What makes the actions of the elders, chief priests, and scribes hypocritically heinous is their status among the people of God. Moses delivered the word of God to the people, and the law was written down and preserved for more than fourteen hundred years. A scribe was a learned student of the law, a sage whose voice carried divine authority. The elders and chief priests were the intellectual elite of the law among the people. Sitting in the seat of divine knowledge, the chief priests and scribes plotted to destroy a fellow son of Abraham with trickery and kill him.
The leading priests and religious teachers were on a singular mission: find an opportunity to catch Jesus of Nazareth and kill him. They realized the timing was not right during the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, or the people would riot. Using the event of God’s deliverance from Egypt called Passover as a backdrop for their decision, the religious leaders refrained from seeking after Jesus. It seems incredulous men whose minds were to be filled with the word of God could fathom the hypocrisy of seeking after an innocent man to kill him because of envy. If there was an example of the evil nature of sin, the example of the people of God (leaders) seeking to kill another child of God (Jesus).
What makes the conspiracy against Jesus so incredible is the blackened hearts of the chief priests and scribes to dive so deep into the darkness of hatred they are willing to kill someone. Their reason for being hesitant was because of a religious law? When Jesus was on the cross, these same leaders complained to Pilate the bodies should not remain on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day) and asked for the legs of the three men to be broken. Jesus had already died when the soldier pierced His side. The men who served as God’s ministers were filled with hatred against one man who had never sinned. Jesus had never broken one jot or tittle of the Law of Moses, while the two crucified with Him admitted they deserved their punishment.
There were many tragedies the day Jesus died, and the Jew’s plotting murder was the height of why Jesus came to a world filled with anger, hatred, prejudice, and murder. What made it more tragic was that Jesus was killed by His own people. The elders, chief priests, and scribes did not represent all the people, and among the Jewish leaders, some knew Jesus was the Christ (Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, for example). Yet, Jesus was murdered by His own people, and He prayed to His Father to forgive them. A divine plan was fulfilled in the Jews killing the Son of God, but it also awakened the terrible nature of sin. The man they murdered died to save them.
Jesus came to save all who would come to Him and find forgiveness in His blood. There has never been a man like a carpenter’s son from Nazareth who never sinned. Jesus was killed by the religious elite of His day, which should have known the scriptures better than any other man. They allowed hatred to fill their hearts and deny the word of God. Killing Jesus opened the doors of grace for all men to find hope and salvation. Through the centuries, murderers were forgiven and found salvation in Christ. Prostitutes gave up their unholy lives for chaste examples of godly women. In the city of Corinth, homosexuals rejected their fleshly desires for the purity of holiness. There have been unnumbered souls for two thousand years that heard the story of the Jews killing one of their own, and through that death, hope and peace came through the blood of Jesus. Sins were washed away that were thought impossible. Grace was found in place of despair. Joy entered hearts that had never known happiness. Jesus Christ died so that you could live. Come to Him, and He will save you.