The Plot Thickens
“Did you see the crowds gathering early this morning to hear that gifted young rabbi? His adoring fans only grow bigger by the day! Obviously, this country, self-taught, young man doesn’t get this city or its politics. We’re on the brink of rebellion, and if it ignites, not only our nation will go up in flames, but our most sacred shrine, one of the only meaningful symbols we’ve got left, will be destroyed. Now, at last, we’ve got the means to put out this fire. It must be divine providence. One of his insiders has turned. For just a little silver we can arrest the young provocateur, hand him over to our oppressors, and use them to save not just ourselves, but also our nation and our faith.”
Just before the Passover dawned in AD 33 these could have been the thoughts of one of the members of Jerusalem’s Sanhedrin after they had worked out a deal with Judas, the trusted treasurer among Jesus’ disciples.
For two thousand years Judas, the betrayer, and the Jerusalem religious leaders are usually portrayed as the “bad” guys in the story of the crucifixion. We all shake our heads at their scheming, the money changing hands, and their waiting for Judas to deliver the fatal kiss. But what do we decide when it’s our patriotism, our place of worship, and our money that’s on the line? Where do our ultimate loyalties lie?
“Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the high priests and the religious legal experts were seeking how to do away with Jesus. Their problem? They were afraid of Jesus’ crowds.
Now Satan had entered into Judas, the one called Iscariot, numbered with the Twelve. So Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the Temple guard and discussed how he might hand over Jesus. They were glad and agreed to give him silver. He swore he would deliver and started seeking the opportune time to hand over Jesus—a time free from His crowd.” Luke 22:1-6
LORD, in a world filled with plots, murder, and decisions based on power and money, help me not to play the role of Judas or of the rationalizing, religious leaders in Jerusalem. Thanks that when it looked like Satan was having everything go his way, You were about to turn the tables on him. You would use the plot of Judas and the religious leaders to place Your Son on the cross, the sacrifice that sets us free from sin and death. Help my commitment to You, to the Cross, and the Resurrection far outweigh my commitment to my country or to my religion.
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