Day 3 – Wednesday: Judas Betrays Jesus
If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me, I could hide.
But it is you…my companion, my close friend,
with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God,
as we walked about among the worshipers. (Psalm 55:12-14)
Read: Matthew 26:3-5, 14-16
The Bible doesn’t say what Jesus did on the Wednesday of Holy Week. This is remarkable given all of the Gospel writers’ attention to every detail of that most memorable week! Scholars speculate that after two exhausting days in Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples simply spent this day resting in Bethany in anticipation of the Passover Festival. The day before, Jesus had had confrontations with his powerful religious foes and conversations with his bewildered followers. He had revealed to his disciples that he would be handed over and crucified within days. It had been a busy day, and the quiet and friendly surroundings of Bethany were a welcomed relief from the dangers and uncertainties of Jerusalem. But even as Jesus and his disciples rested from the previous day and prepared for the difficult days ahead, the chief priests and elders of the people were scheming how they could arrest Jesus and have him killed. They would need an opportunity and they would need a traitor. They found both in Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus disciples. In some parts of the church, Holy Wednesday is called “Spy Wednesday.” But Judas was not some covert spy operating within Jesus’ circle. He was a betrayer. One who had begun following Jesus with the same enthusiasm as the others, but who had now become disillusioned and outraged by Jesus message of peace and suffering. For thirty pieces of silver—about 600 bucks, the price of a slave—one of Jesus’ close friends had become his enemy.
Lord Jesus, we are weary of isolation and loneliness, weary of fear and failure, weary of sin and death. We long to rest a while with you from the weariness and anxiety of our present problems, but we also want to be prepared for everything that lies ahead. Today, on this day when we remember those who were preparing themselves to betray you to death; we ask that you will prepare us for everlasting life. Prepare us, Lord, by trusting you more that we trust ourselves; prepare us, Lord, by following you above all others; prepare us, Lord, by keeping us close to your light even when darkness is coming. Amen.