“When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor” (27:1-2). Events are moving quickly toward their end. It appears that the enemies of Jesus were about to have their way, that they were in control, that Jesus was caught up in a tide of events against which he could not prevail. One last chance for Jesus to see things turned around: “Pilate said to them, ‘Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’” (27:17) And they all replied, “Let him be crucified!” (27:22), and he was.
Some will miss an important point, here, but we must not. There is no unrelenting tide, here, in which Jesus is swept up against his will. His Father is no mere bystander watching events unfold in a bewildering manner. Peter, in his sermon at Pentecost, got it right: “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). Here is the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15! Here is the descendant of Abraham and the One to whom the covenants point! Here is the Son of David and the One of whom the prophets spoke. Terrible events, yes, but nothing out of order, here. Nothing surprising. Here is redemption taking place precisely according to divine plan!
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown. -- George Bennard (1913)