It was the Wednesday of Holy Week. The day when Jesus would celebrate the Passover in the upper room with his disciples was less than 24 hours away. The Jewish religious leaders, who had been hard at work trying to find some way to get rid of Jesus, had so far come up empty. Now with the Passover only a day away, the Jewish leaders became even more frustrated, fearing the influx of people coming into Jerusalem from all over would only bring in more Jesus followers, thus making it even harder to get rid of him.
You can imagine the Jewish leaders’ joy when Judas, one of Jesus’ own disciples, showed up to join their evil plot. They “were delighted and agreed to give him money.” The agreed upon amount of money was 30 silver coins. Imagine betraying the very Son of God at the cost of only 4 months wages. The Jewish leaders were also delighted that by paying Judas, Judas would now do their dirty work for them. With money now in hand, Judas began looking for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them – Spy Wednesday.
There has been much speculation over what exactly prompted Judas to betray Jesus. Did Judas no longer believe Jesus was the promised Messiah? Was Judas looking for Jesus to establish an earthly kingdom of power and glory, and when that was not the case Judas abandoned the cause? Was Judas just in it for the money? This account in Luke settles the question…“The Satan entered into Judas.” Satan was always lurking behind the scenes, and now Satan saw an opportune time to take advantage of a situation to try to put an end to Jesus’ saving work. Satan would now make use of one of Jesus own disciples to further his diabolical scheme.
Before we ask the question, “How could Judas do such a thing?” or, “How could Judas betray the very Son of God for 30 silver coins?” let us remember, we are no different as we often betray the Lord, and at times, for a lot less. Satan is at work in our life too. Time and time again we willingly let Satan use us to bring forth the sins of hatred, selfishness, greed, gossip, and all kinds of immorality. Lest we think we are better than Judas, we are not, sin has infected and affected us all.
But no hatred of the Jewish leaders, no plot of Judas Iscariot, no scheme of Satan would be able to prevent Jesus from carrying out his saving work. The Son of God would conquer all. He would conquer sin by living a perfect life in our place. He would conquer hell by dying for our sins on a cross. He would conquer death by rising from the grave. All the times we have sinned or let Satan lead us into sin, Jesus died for them.
As we now prepare to enter the climax of Jesus’ ministry with the events of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter morning, let us remember the Savior who goes forth to suffer, die, and rise again, is my Savior and my God. Jesus is my life and my salvation.
Read Luke 22:1-6 as today’s Scripture lesson.
Pastor Matthew Guse, St. Peter’s, FdL