Sayers reminds us that the people who surrounded Jesus in the Gospels were real people who had their own lives and concerns. They encountered Him within a specific time and specific cultural pressures. They made choices about Him with the little information they had – unlike us, who know the end of the story. Caiaphas and Pilate did not condemn Jesus to death so they could fulfill prophecy, but as an expedient way to protect their own interests in unstable times.
When I turned 30, I decided that I wanted to complete a triathlon. One problem: I did not know how to swim. I wasn’t scared of the water and I could stay afloat, but the most fruitful results of my childhood swim lessons were a goofy-looking breast stroke that didn’t involve putting my head under the water and a “little bird, big bird, fly.” The latter was basically laying on my back, flapping my arms, and propelling myself (slowly) through the water. These were not the ways of a triathlete.