According to the tradition of the church, Jesus has been busy in the last few days. On Sunday he entered Jerusalem. This action is known as the “triumphal entry” as people shouted “Hosanna” and laid palm branches down as a pathway into the city. I think it is fair to assert that the crowd gathered didn’t really understand the full implications of their welcome, nor did they understand the one whom they welcomed. (That might still be true for crowds gathered to worship God on Sundays…) Yet, Jesus knew the danger of coming back to Jerusalem and He was moving towards what we refer to as “Good Friday” and then “Resurrection Day.”
Well, today is Wednesday, and here are some readings and prayers and songs that might help us focus on Christ during the day today: (These have been selected from multiple internet resources and are not original to me)
14 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests 15 and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”
18 “As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.
20 When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve. 21 While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
22 Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”
23 He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. 24 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”
25 Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?”
And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”
26 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”
1 The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. 2 The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction.
3 Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, 4 and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. 5 They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. 6 So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.
41 Then, surrounded by the Pharisees, Jesus asked them a question: 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
21 Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!”
22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. 23 The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” 25 So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 27 When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” 28 None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. 29 Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. 30 So Judas left at once, going out into the night.
31 As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. 32 And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will give his own glory to the Son, and he will do so at once.
Some Prayers to Consider:
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faintheartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of humility, patience and love to your servant. Grant me to see my own sin and not to judge my brother, for You are blessed from all ages to all ages. Amen
Troubled God, in every generation you call your people to contend against the brutality of sin and betrayal. Keep us steadfast even in our fear and uncertainty, that we may follow where Jesus has led the way. Amen.
My savior, do you invite me to share in the glory of the resurrection? Please stay with me as I struggle to see how accepting the crosses of my life will free me from the power of the one who wants only to destroy my love and trust in you. Help me to be humble and accepting like your son, Jesus. I want to turn to you with the same trust he had in your love. Save me, Lord. Only you can save me. Amen.
Hymns and Song Titles:
All to Jesus I Surrender
Lord, I Give You My Life
Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone?
From the Inside Out
I think one of the scariest lines in the Bible comes in Luke 22:3, “Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.” This raises several questions, or at least it better, if we actually stop to think about it. Here are a few of mine:
Ok, so now that I have those out of my head, what are we to do with this? There are two responses that I find completely too simplistic to do much good. First, there are those who promote the idea that Judas was always a horrible person and while being one of the Twelve, he wasn’t really as good or as “discipled” as the others. Second, there are those who see Judas as a pawn used by God to fulfill the master plan. Thus, God in this view, becomes the puppet-master, using both Judas and Satan to do His will through means that we usually wouldn’t associate with God. There are problems here, in both explanations.
The story unfolds this way in Luke’s telling of it. Satan enters Judas. Judas goes to the chief priests and teachers of the law. He discusses with them how he might betray Jesus and hand him over to them. They agree. Both parties are keeping there eyes open for the right time to act. Thus, for Luke, it is the work of Satan that is orchestrating the betrayal of Jesus played out in the joint actions of Judas and the leaders.
As we might suspect, Luke is not writing to really answer our questions. For Luke, Judas will come to be known for doing one thing, and that one thing is betraying Jesus into the hands of those who wanted to kill him. Yet, Judas did not come to this action on his own, Satan entered him. This is the first time the reader of Luke’s gospel will read about Satan since the temptation of Jesus. Therefore, while Luke does not provide the motivations or the circumstances that surrounding Satan’s entry into Judas, we most certainly know the result. Jesus will be handed over to the religious authorities and be crucified.
The one thing I guess we can think about is the fact that while Judas has become synonymous with betrayal and sin, Judas’s story is not one that is uncommon or even set apart. Luke’s explanation for the actions of Judas and of the leaders of the temple was not personal, but one that pitted Satan against God once again. This time, Satan was orchestrating what he thought was his victory, but it was actually his defeat. Unfortunately, poor Judas was not in a place to deny Satan access…and I feel that many of us are in that very place. We are, like Judas, susceptible. Often, when we hear teaching about Judas, we tend to place Judas in a hole that we would never dig, and worse than that Judas ends his own life as he thinks and regrets his actions against Jesus. However, what if Judas’s issue was that his actions did not match his intentions.
Judas wanted to be disciple of Jesus, but he acted as a betrayer. Judas wanted to regret and repent of his first actions, but it led him to take even more consequential actions. Why do I say more consequential? Well, because the cross was Judas’s victory over sin too…but Judas would not accept victory, he went to his grave grieving his failure. (AH HA Moment!) And that can be the same pit we can fall into: Where are we susceptible? How to our intentions play out in out actions? Judas is not a disease, Judas provides us with a sobering lesson about discipleship and how to handle failure. Because if you have followed Jesus, you will fail! And Jesus died because we fail…but accepting the victory of Jesus makes all the difference in the world, and in our lives. We can look back and see times where “Satan entered” but we who have come to know Christ also understand that the “spirit of God has entered” and we must live empowered, not damned, lives.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.