Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
This is what the Pharisees had in mind all along. This is what they wanted to happen. Several times they took up stones to cast at Jesus, but really they wanted Him executed as a criminal, brought to justice by Roman law. They wanted everyone to see that He was wrong and they were right. They wanted Him to suffer, to hurt, and to be killed just to get rid of Him.
But this is what God had in mind all along, too. Long before Rome rose to power, God knew His Son would die on a Roman cross, crucified amidst a hostile crowd. God knew His Son would be betrayed and despised and rejected. God knew His Son would shed His blood and give His life for those very people who sent Him to the cross. He knew that this is what it would take to redeem mankind and overcome the sin that had plagued His world since Adam and Eve’s sin in Eden. And He told His people about it long before it ever happened.
God makes no mistakes. Man cannot prevail over the will of God. He uses the good and the evil to bring His purposes to pass. And what those priests and Pharisees viewed as their greatest triumph was actually God’s greatest triumph. With the death of Christ, it wasn’t, like they thought, an execution of a blasphemer, but the offering of a spotless Lamb. It wasn’t to be rid of some troublemaker, but to give us salvation. It wasn’t about an end and a death, but everlasting life.
The Pharisees thought they won, that they had finally gotten the best of Jesus and preserved their place at the top of the religious food chain. But it was God who got the victory that day, a victory over sin and evil and death and all the brokenness that had permeated the world for so long. The Pharisees had sent Jesus to the cross in hate, but God sent Him in love to die for us. God knew all that would be required when He made the world, but He did it all anyway. And this moment is what we wanted all along, whether we even realized it or not, because now Jesus is the open door through which we can find life, hope, forgiveness, love, joy, peace, and all those other things God freely gives to us through Christ.