“This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18, ESV)
G. Campbell Morgan has a unique ability to put a lot of meaning into a few words; think of him as the Emily Dickinson of biblical commentators. Mr. Morgan makes a telling point about Jesus’ words in John 5.18; they literally represented the beginning of the end for him.
He writes: “On a human level, what Jesus did that day, and what He said that day, cost Him His life. They never forgave him.”
Here’s the thing, Morgan was fully correct here. Jesus lays down, by his words, the foundation for the Jewish leaders who opposed him to eventually have him put to death. They fully succeeded in their aim.
But wait! Here is Peter explaining how Christ’s death came about:
“This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” (Acts 2:23–24, ESV).
Jesus was brought to death by “the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” What the Jewish opponents wanted, God had already planned.
It’s a mystery to me how God’s predetermined planned interacts with the free choices of men [I suspect that it is a mystery to you also, dear reader]. God does not feel it necessary to explain such things. He simply points out that they are. And so will we.