47.Then the chief priests and the Pharisees assembled the council. Not less monstrous is the blindness of the priests, which is here described. If they had not been exceedingly stupid and brutish, they would at least have been impressed with some reverence for Christ, after so striking a demonstration of his Divine power. They now assemble deliberately and intentionally to bury the glory of God, at the sight of which they are constrained to be astonished. True, they do not openly proclaim that they wish to make war with God, but as they cannot extinguish Christ but by overturning the power of God, they unquestionably fight against that power openly by presumption and sacrilege. Infidelity indeed is always haughty, and despises God, but does not all at once break out to such an extent as to raise its horns against God. But when men have long struggled against God, the result at which they ultimately arrive is, that they endeavor to ascend above heaven, after the manner of the giants, (328) without any dread of the Divine majesty; (329) for they acknowledge that Christ doth many miracles And whence proceeds his great power? They therefore openly prepare to crush the power of God, which shines in the miracles of Christ. Yet God is not unemployed; but though he wink at them for a time, he laughs at their foolish arrogance, till the time come for executing his wrath, as it is said, (Psa_2:4.)
What do we? By these words they accuse themselves of sloth, as if they said that it is on account of their doing nothing, that Christ continues to make advances, because by active exertion they may stop his progress. Such is the confidence of wicked men, by which they lay claim to everything, as if it were in their power to do as they please, and as if even the result of the work depended on their wishes. And if the whole be duly weighed, they here employ their own industry as a shield against the Divine power, as if by perseverance they could vanquish God.