Passion Week 2013: Wednesday

Wednesday.  We jokingly call it “hump day” as we look toward the end of the work week.

Jesus was looking toward Friday as well, but for a very different reason.

Sunday, the Triumphal Entry.  Monday, the cleansing of the temple.  Tuesday, the debate with and denunciation of his opponents.  These had been busy days for Jesus in Jerusalem, spent very much in the public eye.

On Wednesday, Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9 place Jesus in Bethany, at the home of Simon the Leper, where an unnamed woman anoints him with costly perfume.  Similar stories in Luke and John, however, leave many interpreters doubtful that Matthew and Mark’s chronology is correct.

Thus, perhaps the best we can say about Wednesday is that whatever Jesus was doing, he wasn’t within the walls of Jerusalem.

But Judas was.  Mark gives it to us this way:

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them.  They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money.  So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.  (Mark 14:10-11, NIV)

To some, today is known as “Spy Wednesday” in memory of Judas the betrayer, the double-agent.  In an earlier post, I noted the many motivations ascribed to Judas: everything from simple greed to a misguided revolutionary attempt to force Jesus to act.  In all likelihood, being a complex person, he had multiple and possibly conflicting motives.

And Jesus, knowing Judas’ heart, did nothing to stop him.  But one might imagine the bewilderment of the Eleven, trying to piece together the story after the fact.  Why didn’t we see this coming?  How could he do this to Jesus, to us?

Was Judas guilty of treason?  Yes, of the highest order.  His sin is inexcusable.  But here’s something to ponder: sometimes the will of God is accomplished not only in spite of sin, but through it.  Such is the mystery of the sovereign grace within which we stand.

Can we see it?

Lord, we too have suffered betrayals, big and small: we pray for healing.  We have been the traitor ourselves: we pray for true repentance and for forgiveness.  But we also pray for faith, for the confidence of knowing that in your sovereign will, Wednesday’s sins and Friday’s disasters can be woven into resurrection glory.  Amen.