And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah.
Jewish conspiracies against Jesus Christ
What this verse refers to is a common characteristic of the life of all Prophets. History shows that when the Prophets despaired of a positive response from the leaders of their people and turned their attention to poor people, they gained support and companions among them and their message steadily spread. The elders and leaders of the community saw this as a serious threat to their authority. To counter this threat, they resorted to conspiracies so as to eliminate the prophets and the threat to the established system posed by their revolutionary message.
Every prophet, as pointed out above, had to go through this stage during the life of his mission. Thus, for instance, the Jewish establishment, the leaders and scholars, tried to counter the threat to their religious authority from Prophet Jesus by resorting to various conspiracies against him.
They accused him and his disciples of violating the traditions of their forefathers and bringing their elders into disrepute. By this they wanted to incite the sentiments of the Jewish public against Jesus and his disciples.
They tried to trap him by asking him about various issues in order to gather sufficient material for declaring him guilty of apostasy and unbelief. The Pharisees and the Sadducees among them were prominent for their eagerness in this campaign. From Jesus’s parables, they collected some material that in their eyes was sufficient for convicting him as an apostate guilty of unbelief. For this crime, he must therefore face the penalty of death, they concluded.
They also tried to turn the government of the day, the Romans, who occupied Palestine at the time, against him by putting together some “seditious” material from Jesus Christ’s statements. He was questioned about the payment of tribute to the Roman authorities to show that he incited the Jewish people to refuse its payment to the Caesar. But he answered all such questions so deftly that the plotters failed to get any incriminating evidence. They also accused him of claiming to be the king of the Jews. For this, they tried to use some words and phrases from his parabolic expressions to rouse the anger of the Romans against him.
In yet another conspiracy, they bribed Judah who was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and a hypocrite, to spy on him and help them to arrest and capture him by leading them to him.
All these intrigues are mentioned in detail in the Gospels, but as the Qur’ān only refers to these in brief, we think they may well be left as brief
hints only. It is at this stage in the career of a Prophet of Allah when he leaves his own people and, after making a declaration to his enemies, makes hijrah to another place. This hijrah may take various forms as discussed later in this book.
Islahi, Amin Ahsan. Pondering Over The Qur’an: Surah Ali Imran (pp. 132-133). Islamic Book Trust. Kindle Edition.