The Pharisees play such ironic roles in scripture.
They’re always putting themselves in the wrong position and saying the wrong things, but they’re utterly convinced that they’re right. They, of course, assume it is their responsibility to evaluate Jesus and pronounce judgment on his every move. They, of course, assume they are superior and right in their judgment. It happens throughout Matthew, culminating in chapter 26 when the scribes and elders are poking and prodding and nagging at Jesus to try to find him guilty of some heinous crime. He finally makes their dreams come true by informing them that indeed he is the Son of God. Not only that, but he will be seated at the right hand of God and will come on the clouds of heaven.
They must have fallen over backwards with self-righteous indignation, mouths agape.
Then the outrageous irony from the high priest: “He deserves death.”
We read this and cry, “Aaaaah! It’s you who deserve death, you idiot! It’s us! He’s the only one who doesn’t deserve death! Open your eyes!”
It’s always so clear in retrospect.
But as I read I see myself again, as I do in so many places in scripture. I am like the Pharisees so often, standing in judgment over the perfect will of God. I—thank you so much—will evaluate whether this is a good plan, God. You may sit quietly while I decide what I think of this and I will pronounce my judgment when I’m ready. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about, but fortunately, I embody sovereign wisdom.
The ugly irony.
And I even have the benefit of learning from the Pharisees’ mistakes.
I don’t mind seeing myself among the sinners of scripture though because right there beside them is Jesus, always willing to forgive the repentant sinner, no matter how great the sin. The one who deserved life died so the one who deserved death could live. The outrageous, and beautiful, irony of the gospel.