Now, we all know the Pharisees. These are the men (exclusively men) who knew the Scriptures better than anyone. They made their lives a study of the law, to secure their supremacy in the Jewish culture. You could not, or so it was told, out-obey a Pharisee. Like lawyers, they knew the ins and the outs and the loopholes and they had an answer for everything.
Except...don't you think they would have caught what was happening?
The Old Testament Scriptures tells about a coming Man. A Messiah. They tell about the things that will happen in His lifetime, about the things He will do, about the things that will be done to Him. They prophesy that this Man will be betrayed by one of His own, that the price will be thirty pieces of silver, and that He will be crucified - many generations before crucifixion was even invented.
So in walks Judas, one of Christ's own, to betray a Man who has claimed to be this very Messiah. And alarms are not going off in their little Pharisaical heads. They gather amongst themselves to discuss the deal, and they come up with a price of thirty pieces of silver. Again, nobody notices they are, themselves, fulfilling the prophecy about Jesus, if He is who He says He is. None of these scholars of the Scriptures stops and says, "Wait, you guys. I know this story. We're about to play into the very thing, and if we do, we'll never get our Law back. Let's go thirty-one or twenty-nine; thirty is out." Nobody says a word. They hand Judas thirty pieces of silver, and the deal is done.
And then when they've caught Him, when they finally have "control" of the whole Jesus situation, they lead Him to the Roman authorities and have Him crucified. Another fulfillment of the prophecy that goes right over their heads.
These men who spent their whole lives trying to fulfill the Law have just fulfilled the prophecy and they are completely unaware. It's a glaring oversight, don't you think, for a group of men who claim to be experts in this subject matter.
But the hard truth is that these Pharisees were not experts in the Scriptures; they were experts in the Law. They knew the prophecies not at all because the prophecies, they thought, could be of no benefit to them. Each of these men likely knew they were not the promised Messiah, and if you're not the Messiah then all the words about Him are a threat to the man you think you ought to be. Each man was trying to be his own prophet, his own authoritative source on all things Jewish, so whatever God said about the Promised Prophet was irrelevant.
Not only that, but let's say this Man comes. The Word says that when He does, all your law will be useless. All your good deeds will be worthless. Everything you are will pale in comparison to all that He is. Who wants that? What power-seeking, status symbol of a man can tolerate such a thing as a Messiah? No wonder these men who had invested their lives in the Law did everything they could to divert the common man's eyes from the Son of Man. If He is who He says He is, then you can't be who you say you are. Something's gotta give. No wonder these men did all they could to silence the Son of God.
The irony, of course, is that in doing so, they walked right into His story. They played right into His prophecy. They fulfilled the Scriptures that took an outsider. These men, these learned men, these experts in the Law made the Messiah the very Christ they so feared.
That's one of the things I love about God, this paradoxical God that we serve. Without fallen man, we wouldn't have needed the Christ. But without fallen men, we wouldn't have had Him.
The funny thing remains how very little they noticed.