Wednesday of the Passion week goes by different names depending on the religion/ culture that celebrates it. Some call it Silent Wednesday because there is not much information in the Bible about what goes on. Some call it Dark Wednesday to illustrate the loneliness that Jesus must have felt. While those are both accurate names, I think I will go with Spy Wednesday because this is the day that Judas plans to betray Jesus.
In both Matthew and Mark, on this day Jesus is anointed with oil by Mary. John describes this event as happening the night before Palm Sunday. There is no point in arguing which is right, the point is that it happened.
In any case, as Mary is anointing Jesus with oil, all 3 gospels describe the disciples as being indignant and saying “What a waste of money! It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” Matthew 26:8-9 NLT
They were right, how noble of them. Except Jesus knew what their real motive was. Sure, they would sell it and give money to the poor but how much of it would they keep for themselves? Its important to note that the Gospel of John singles out Judas, the treasurer of the group, as the indignant one. Since he was in charge of holding the money, it would make sense that he was most concerned. His love of money plays an important role in this story.
This exposed something that I am guilty of all the time; Doing something that is noble and good, but with the intention/ motive of benefiting from it myself. We do it all the time. In the end, something good has happened and God will use it anyways, but shame on me for trying to score from it.
Something must have clicked in Judas’ head, because that night he decided he would sell out Jesus. He conspired with the Sanhedrin to take them to a place where Jesus would be away from the public so that they could arrest Him.
So why did Judas, who followed Jesus for 3 years, decide to betray Jesus? The same reason we sell him out today; Jesus just didn’t fit into his plans. Everyone, including Judas, believed that the Messiah would be a great warrior ruler that would lead the revolution in overthrowing Rome. Judas figured that since he was follower of Jesus, he would be given a pretty high position if Jesus was king.
To be completely transparent, I made the same mistake when I started working for the church. I thought it would be like working for Best Buy, I would get easy access/ discounts to the goods. I learned really quick, like in 2 days, I was very wrong!
Judas started to realize that his grand scheme of having some kind of power in the land was not going to happen. Jesus was talking about living a life of poverty, sacrifice, and servitude. Judas had his mind on his money and his money on his mind, and there was no way he would live in poverty any longer. He sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, the Old Testament price of a slave.
1 Timothy 6:10 says that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, and Judas loved money! So it makes sense that the Gospel of Luke explains the betrayal by saying that Satan, the father of evil, entered Judas and caused him to betray Jesus, as shown in this painting. Because of my 11th grade English teacher, Ms. Worcestire, I notice that Judas is shown wearing yellow, which is the color of cowards.
To me Satan forcing Judas to betray Jesus is one of the best parts of the story. We would not have salvation unless Jesus died. Satan, in all his stupidity, thought he would be able to stop Jesus by having him killed, but he really just got Him started. This is the most powerful of example of Genesis 50:20, which reads “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.” Most people know it by “What the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good.” The second half of that scripture is “He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Thank God for His divine sovereignty!
So on this Spy Wednesday, I am reminded of how I sell out Jesus everyday for things of this world that I think I would benefit from. Forgive me Father for being a Judas. As Jesus knew from the very beginning that Judas would betray Him, He knows that I will do the same everyday. Even still, He loves me so much that He allows me to walk with Him, and forgives me ahead of time.
Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday.