Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.’ Mt. 23:14
Gal. 10-14, ‘For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in ALL things which are written in the book of the law, to do them… ’ Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through FAITH.’
Satan, utilizing the evil, distorting influence the Jewish council, the Sanhedrin, deceived the people to fervently hope for a great political liberator. Instead of believing that Jesus came to fulfill their grave spiritual need, they focused on the social ills of the Jewish nation, while considering the wealthy, privileged positions they, the religious leaders of the Jews, enjoyed.
For a while, many of the Jews believed that Jesus, the Life-speaking, water-walking, miracle Healer and Exorcist from God was their long-awaited Christ.
After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the great multitude of pilgrims, who were in Jerusalem for the Passover, heard that Jesus was on His way to the city. In joyful reverence they cut branches from palm trees and went out to meet Him, fulfilling the word of the prophet Zechariah, “Behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.”
Adoring this Man called “Immanuel, Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God,” they shouted the declaration of Ps. 118:26, proclaiming Him their Jewish King, “Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” (Zech. 9:9.)
They were shouting, “Hosanna – save now! Save us, our King. Save us, our Christ.” ‘Their euphoria, however, was at fever pitch because they expected their messianic hopes to be fulfilled along nationalistic and geographical lines, [not spiritually.]’ - [S.F. Bible.]
In essence, this was a plea of deliverance from a brutally oppressed people. They were publicly acknowledging Jesus as the Savior. But they were also acknowledging Him as the Christ of their souls. They were crowing Him the Son of God.
This, of course, angered the Sanhedrin greatly.
Jesus had preached the Spiritual Kingdom of God, declaring Himself the Spiritual Savior. He commanded the spiritual rebirth and eternal salvation through faith in Him as the Son of the Most High God. In order to free the Jews from spiritual bondage, He knocked on all the closed doors of their temple, questioning the authenticity of their religious lives. If the people were to turn wholeheartedly to this Savior, rejecting the Kingdom-Now theology of their leaders, the Sanhedrin would lose their demonic hold on them. Then they, the religious leaders, would lose their affluent lives in the temple, and their positions of authority and honor among the people. Thus their resentment towards Jesus revolved around their wealth; their more than generous income; their money.
“The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, ‘You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the [whole] world has gone after Him!’” - Jn. 12:19.
And so, the Jewish Sanhedrin decided to murder Jesus.
Even more abysmal, in the space of just a few days, they influenced nearly the entire Jewish nation to participate in the wicked slaying of their own Savior, the Son of the Living God.
The One True God, Whom they had just glorified, and crowned King over them.
SATAN’S PLOT TO CRUCIFY JESUS:
The devil knew that Jesus is the Omnipotent, Eternal King of His entire Universe, but Satan despised Jesus’ ‘interference’ in his kingdom of deception here on earth. As a result, this mighty demon decided to ‘deal’ with the Son of God once and for all. What insolence; a fallen creature taking on His Almighty Creator! (Jn. 18:36; 1 Jn. 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; Jn. 14:30; 12:31; Eph. 2:2.)
Satan planned to remove Jesus’ crown - His Kingdom reign, the Divine Spiritual rule which Jesus brought to earth. So, he meant to destroy the Spiritual Kingdom of God, which Jesus came to plant in the hearts of men here in the midst of Satan’s dark, physical kingdom: 1 Pet. 2:5-17.
The way in which kings of antiquity dealt with rival monarchs, was not to merely kill them, but also to decapitate the conquered king. They would then parade the severed head of the defeated king through the streets of the conquered cities, openly declaring the defeat of the dead king, and proclaiming the victory of the ruling monarch.
True to this barbaric custom, the purpose of a public, torturous death on the Roman cross was to parade the political enemies of Caesar, blowing fear into all who intended to rebel against the Empire.
Likewise, Satan’s aim was to tear Jesus’ Kingdom from the hearts and minds of men forever; humiliating Jesus to such an extent that not a single man would accept Him as the Christ of God, the Jewish Savior, thereby crushing the ‘coming’ or establishing of God’s Spiritual Kingdom on earth.
As a result, Satan planned to parade Jesus publicly as the conquered king.
THE POWER OF THE JEWISH BEAST FROM THE EARTH:
Readers Digest wrote, “The Sanhedrin, allowed by Pilate to govern the Jews, had their own police force. They ordered arrests on both civil and criminal charges; they even had the authority to put a person to death for a capital offense, but Pilate, the Roman prefect, could intervene as he chose.”
The Jewish Sanhedrin could have stoned Jesus. They could have ‘legally’ murdered Him. However, the Sanhedrin did not have a ‘mere’ stoning in mind. They saw Jesus as the rival of their Kingdom-Now theology, so they wanted to discredit Him forever.
These carnally minded Kingdom-Now ‘thieves and robbers’ “were of their father the devil, and they wanted to do the will of their father, who was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is NO truth in him.” – Jn. 8:44.
As a result, Satan infused their evil hearts with his desire to parade Jesus in public. They were determined to declare Jesus’ humiliation and death on a national level, thereby ‘crushing’ His credibility as the Jewish Christ and extinguishing the flame of His Gospel forever.
Crucifixion would have served their purpose, but Jewish law allowed no such atrocity.
Roman law, however, did.
THE ALL-NIGHT TRIAL:
After that day when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the chief priests ‘and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”’ ‘This was the thing they were afraid of, that men would believe on Him, and then all their measures were broken. The success of the Gospel is the dread of its adversaries; if souls be saved, they are undone.’ - [M.H. Commentary.]
The Sanhedrin feared that, if the Jews were to live by faith in their Savior, without the norms and forms of the physical temple, as this Man teaches, the Romans would deem the luxuries of their religion redundant. Then ‘the Romans will come and take away their idol, the temple, and their preferments in the temple, their places of power and trust. [Therefore] Caiaphas said in his malicious but mystical speech,’ “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient that one man should die for the people.”
He was saying, ‘Agreed, we have reason to think that they strongly suspect Jesus to be indeed the Christ; but His Gospel is so contrary to our darling traditions and secular interest, and His design does so thwart our notions of the Savior’s kingdom, that we resolve, that He be put to death.’ Caiaphas did not say, ‘Let Him be silenced, imprisoned, banished,’ no – he said, ‘be Who He will, One as dangerous as He must die.’ - [M.H. Commentary.]
‘What is the life of one Man, if we are to save the religion and traditions of an entire nation?’ Caiaphas actually asked. ‘In fact, the death of One will be a great blessing to all, and in the end it will save the entire Jewish nation from religious and national ruin.’