Holy Week – Day 5
Jesus’ “Hump Day” in the last week of His life was a somewhat ‘quiet day’, since He only had a couple of events that were recorded – but they were significant events nonetheless. Of course, traditionally Wednesday of Holy Week is not called “Hump Day”, it’s actually called “Spy Day”! And you’ll understand why in a minute.
Always keep in mind what I shared in my previous ‘Words’ from this week: there is some debate as to the exact time of the week that certain events occurred, but most scholars and historians will say that Wednesday’s activities consist of these few events:
1. Jesus teaches the disciples. This reference in Luke 21:37-38 tells us that ‘each day’ Jesus taught with His disciples, so it should be duly noted that no matter what was happening throughout the week – no matter how much stress, pressure, and anticipated pain the Lord Jesus was experiencing during this last week of His life – He continued to focus His attention on a major part of His calling – to teach or prepare the disciples for the work and ministry that would follow after He leaves them. It is interesting to think that not everything that Jesus said to the disciples during these (and many other) teaching opportunities is recorded in the Gospels. We can only surmise that during these more private times Jesus explained the Gospel in greater detail so that the disciples could accurately share the Gospel truth with knowledge and with the anointing that would come at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell upon them, and then reminded them of all that Jesus had taught.
2. Sanhedrin plot against Jesus (Matthew 26:1-5; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-2). As Jesus diligently taught His disciples (as well as the masses) the political or legislative branch of the Jewish religion – known as the Sanhedrin – met in the palace of the high priest – Caiaphas – and plotted as to how they could arrest Jesus and then put Him to death. Without pontificating to any real extent at this point, this does remind me how people so often choose to deal with their issues or problems. Instead of healthy debate and conversation in order to be reconciled or informed, some would rather just deny, rationalize, and eliminate the ‘problem at hand’ – and in this case, elimination is to literally ‘kill the problem’, thus eradicating it from their sight. In order to keep their dirty hands ‘clean’ from such an ‘evil’ thing (murder), the religious leaders were thankful (if that’s the best word!) for what happened next….
3. The devil entered Judas, who then agrees to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver – as prophesied in Zechariah 11:12 (Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6). Because of the plot of the Sanhedrin and Judas’ agreement to betray Jesus, Wednesday of Holy Week has come to be referred to as ‘Spy Wednesday’. Concerning Judas, it is interesting to note that he never called Jesus “Lord” as the other disciples did, but rather referred to Him as “Rabbi” (or ‘Teacher’). There is almost universal acceptance to the belief that Judas was never a believer in Jesus to be the Son of God or the Messiah. There are a number of thoughts concerning the reason that Judas betrayed Jesus – I’ll just mention a couple of the main ideas.
a. Since he was never a ‘believer’ he was easily driven to betray Jesus because of his greed, and of course, because he was possessed by the devil at this point (Luke 22:1-2).
b. Since most Jews at this time were looking for a political messiah who would fight against the Romans and free them from their oppression, Judas may have believed that Jesus was moving a little too slow, so he needed to ‘jump start’ the process. Once Jesus was arrested, Judas may have then believed that He would then stand up tall and wipe out the Romans.
c. Since Judas was not a believer, and once he realized that Jesus was not going to overthrow the Romans (since Jesus referred to His impending death numerous times), Judas decided (with the devil’s help!) to cash in his chips and at least make some kind of profit for his ‘wasted time’ with this ‘phony messiah’.
In any event, the betrayal of Jesus by one of His own ‘followers’ reminds us of the quote spoken by Michael Corleone in ‘The Godfather, Part II’ (although variations of it have been found throughout antiquity) “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” But more biblically, we see throughout the Scriptures examples of those who pretended to be faithful, but who were really deceitful and harmful. That’s why we need to always pray for discernment!