Can you imagine the animosity the religious leaders had against Jesus? One could definitively say that His Words certainly didn’t tickle their itching ears. Quite the opposite. Every Word Jesus uttered must have grated on them and aroused their sensibilities against Him. To relate these hateful thoughts and feelings to current events, think about how the Left reacted to Donald Trump. Not even getting political, consider Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). Every person, Left and supposedly Right, who opposed him seemingly went over the edge to such an extent that literally everything that happened in America and around the world was Trump’s fault. The hatred was so deep it was truly irrational. To that end, the life’s purpose of these people was to criticize, judge, and punish Trump and his supporters. – to destroy them completely.
Now take this image and apply it to how the Pharisees, chief priests, scribes, and elders plotted and schemed to do away with Jesus. Their existence was consumed with planning how to destroy Him. How many times do we read in the Gospels where Jesus speaks and acts, and these religious leaders go away seeking to arrest Him (e.g. Matthew 21:46)? How consumed with their anti-God fervor they must have been! Their hard hearts were like that of Pharaoh with the Jews. Each instance of God’s hand moving brought greater hardening.
After the Passover meal and Judas’ betrayal, Jesus was brought before Caiaphas the high priest as Peter watched. Now think about this. Jesus is standing before the Sanhedrin, the religious council comprised of Pharisees and Sadducees. These men studied the Law. They knew the Law of Moses inside and out. Of course, this was also the same group against which Jesus had pronounced the seven woes, calling them hypocrites, blind guides, whitewashed tombs, and a brood of vipers (Matthew 23). Maybe they weren’t so Godly after all.
To that end, consider what they did as Jesus stood in their midst as reported in Matthew 26:59:
Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death,
In contrast, what did the ninth of the Ten Commandments say (Exodus 20:16), the Law they said they followed above all else?
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
No wonder Jesus called them hypocrites. These men encouraged others to bring lying testimony against Jesus.
Such actions have consequences. Jesus concluded the woes He spoke over the religious leaders in Matthew 23:35 with these Words: “… so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth…”
All people who have ever lived and those still to come have this death sentence upon them. We may think the Pharisees and their ilk, or the haters today with TDS, are the worst people in the world. Unfortunately, it is ALL who reject the Word of God and choose to deny Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The blood shed upon the ground of this earth cries out for vengeance. Thankful, there is mercy. But, it is only found in the Person of Jesus.