They should have known better; that’s the frightening thing. They were leaders, trusted by the people to lead and guide, and yet, they ultimately did exactly the wrong thing! Like trusted leaders so frequently do… But God knew they would do it and incorporated their blindness and stupidity into His “Greatest Plan.”
” Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death …”” (Matthew 20:17-18)
The chief priests and scribes (Bible scholars) should have known about “The Son of Man.” They had studied about the prophet, Daniel, and had memorized his vision:
““In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)
Daniel saw Someone like a human being (a son of man) Who also was an equal to God. God gave Him “all authority, glory and sovereign power” and He is worshiped by all peoples. The priests and scribes should have known “The Son of Man” was Jesus. Why? He used that title for Himself more than any other. Moreover, He proved it to them! After declaring to a paralytic that his sins were forgiven, and being accused of blasphemy (because only God can forgive sins), Jesus said:
“… “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” And the man got up and went home.” (Matthew 9:4b-7)
They should have known that Jesus was “the Son of Man,” the Savior sent by God. The proof was tangible. They should have humbly begged Him to forgive their sins. But instead, they, the religious leaders, condemned Him to death.
Why were they so blind? I believe they felt threatened by Jesus, felt their positions of importance and authority were in jeopardy. Too often people in leadership positions care more about maintaining their position and privilege than they do about doing the right thing. It’s a characteristic flaw in humans.
God knew that and used it.