Scripture: Luke 22:1-6; 21-23
The Wednesday of Holy Week has been called “Spy Wednesday” by the Church for many years. The plot thickens as the religious leaders are meeting privately plotting angrily for a way to have JESUS put away. JESUS had confronted them over and over again and had made strong statements that inflamed them as He proclaimed GOD’s piercing truth uncompromisingly. He had to be silenced and it had to be quickly!
Luke makes a statement in our scripture today that made me shiver to my bones: “And Satan entered into Judas . . . .” This was the moment that Judas made a decision he could not sit back any longer. Perhaps he thought he needed to take matters into his own hands to force JESUS’ hand to move forward with the new kingdom of Israel. Or, perhaps Judas was just plain greedy and the experience of Mary anointing JESUS’ feet with expensive ointment and JESUS’ defense of her against him was more than he could stand. Whatever the reason Judas became a pawn in Satan’s hand.
Judas actually met with the religious leaders to discuss how this would all go down. They were more than happy to agree with him (sounds like it was his plan . . . his idea) and agreed to give him money in return. We know the amount was “30 pieces of silver”
. . . the price of the life of a slave (Exodus 21:32).
It gets worse; Judas began plotting for the best opportunity to betray JESUS away from the crowd. This really puts the thought of Judas’ presence at the Last Supper with JESUS and the other disciples into perspective. I’m thinking, “You dirty, sneaking, conniving, evil, and horribly wicked traitor! How dare you! How could you!
This story has just never hit me this way before. This makes me cry out. This makes my heart heavy and brings an aching pain in the pit of my stomach. You know the feeling! Why am I sitting here in Ugly Mugs (coffee shop in East Nashville) thinking about this and experiencing a deep wave of emotions flowing throughout the fiber of my soul?
I think I know if I’m willing to be truly honest with myself. And I think you know why too. It seems I’m more like Judas most days than I ever want to be or that I’m willing to confess and admit. “Had the redemption of the world depended on the diligence of the disciples (or even their staying awake) it would never have been accomplished” (Donald Macleod, “The Person of Christ”). And yet JESUS died for Judas and for me and for you.
JESUS is Risen . . . !