What do murderers think before they kill? Very often, they are thinking how they can get away with their crime, either undetected or with public sympathy, if caught. This is true even of the horrific murders in Connecticut. Rarely does someone boldly and openly murder with little care for self-preservation.
Why did Jesus die? From God’s perspective, Jesus came to earth for the very purpose of dying on behalf of sinners. From a human perspective, Jesus’ claims to deity and his mighty miracles, enraged the religious hierarchy. The chief priests’ failed to truly worship God. They did not repent at Jesus’ rebuke, but slyly sought to eliminate their challenger.
When one is convinced of the truth, one does not shrink from the consequences of one’s actions. Men like Martin Luther staked everything righteously for the sake of the truth. On the other extreme you have men like the Norwegian mass-murderer who openly killed, acknowledging sinful actions.
However, these religious leaders (Mark 14:1-2) were not men with true convictions. They were more like today’s politicians, sniffing the air before acting. They wanted to kill Jesus and eliminate the threat to their authority. However, knowing the people’s love for Jesus and his teachings, they cannot afford their wrath.
This plot will thicken as they later find someone to secretly betray Jesus in the dark. They will execute their wicked schemes without facing the public consequences, at least until their actions are completed. Their cowardice will remain hidden while their immoral intent is executed.
Even here, their wicked deeds will only accomplish the overarching plan of God: Jesus will die for sinners, not unlike the very men who plot and accomplish his death. God’s sovereign will and man’s free acts work together to showcase God’s goodness even in the midst of man’s cowardly evil.
Today, we are no better than these religious authorities. When God shows our own sinfulness and our individual need for Jesus’ substitutionary atonement, we often reject Jesus and our need for his righteousness. Excepting God’s grace, none of us freely submit to God’s judgment and plan.
If we were at Jesus’ time, we would have responded with the same murderous rage toward Jesus. What we must ask today is not whether we would have killed Jesus then, but rather whether we will submit to Jesus as our Savior and Lord now.