Just before His visit to Jerusalem, Jesus declared to His disciples “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death” (Matthew 20: 18). But the Jews had been planning to kill Jesus ever since the healing of the invalid man at the Pool of Bethesda two years before His declaration of being the Son of God: “because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18).
The success of His Galilean mission had led them to intensify their evil intents (Luke 5:17). And they became more determined and bold in their public attacks upon Him. “Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven” (16:1).
The religious leaders were constantly trying to find fault in His teaching to prosecute Him. “Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault” (Mark 7:1, 2). They had made repeated attempts to arrest Him and to kill Him by accusing Him of attaching the teachings of Moses. In one occasion, they tested Him saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” (Matt. 19:3).
Finally, their plans took a very serious course after the resurrection of Lazarus which brought the issue to a crisis (Matthew 21:17; John 11). The chief priests and the Pharisees counseled together saying, “What shall we do? … And … Caiaphas…said to them … it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish” (John 11:47-50). At this point, the Sanhedrin officially agreed to put Jesus to death. The remaining problem was how could they execute their plan without causing a public revolt.
In His service,
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