Jesus’ Final Week: WEDNESDAY
WEDNESDAY: The Plot against Jesus (Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6)
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him. (Matthew 26:14-16, NKJV)
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him. (Mark 14:10-11, NKJV)
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people. Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude. (Luke 22:1-6, NKJV)
It was two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The Passover was the annual Hebrew festival on the evening of the 14th day of the month of ‘Abhibh (Abib) or Nisan, as it was called in later times. It was followed by, and closely connected with, a 7 days’ festival of matstsoth, or unleavened bread, to which the name Passover was also applied by extension (Le 23:5). Both were distinctly connected with the Exodus, which, according to tradition, they commemorate; the Passover being an imitation of the last meal in Egypt, eaten in preparation for the journey, while Yahweh, passing over the houses of the Hebrews, was slaying the firstborn of Egypt (Exod 12:12; Exod 13:2; Exod 13:12); the matstsoth festival being in memory of the first days of the journey during which this bread of haste was eaten (Ex 12:14-20). (ISBE)
The chief priests, the scribes and the elders gathered at the palace of the high priest Caiaphas “and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him” (Matt. 26:4 NASB). Their original plan was to execute the plot after the celebration of the Feast of the Passover and the Unleavened to prevent an uproar but when Satan entered Judas (Luke 22:3) and offered to betray Jesus, they took the opportunity. They can use Judas to track the movements of Jesus and arrest him quietly without the the people knowing.
Jewish literature claims that the high priests bullied those who opposed them; they would not tolerate anyone who claims that God instructed him to engage their temple cult. However, when it comes to Jesus, they had to observe certain caution because of his popularity.
The chief priests can be easily found and became more accessible to Judas because their intention were almost the same. Now, the average price of a slave differed from place to place and period to period. The Gospel readers during the time of Matthew would readily understand that thirty pieces of silver as the average Old Testament compensation for the death of a slave (Exo. 21:32). Judas connived and sold his master to the chief priests cheaply – the price of a slave!
Luke gives us a clue that Judas was not actually acting on his own. It was Satan who took charge of the action. Of course we can infer that Judas opened the door to his heart and allowed Satan to come in. Thus, he cannot be exonerated. Satan’s taking over does not render him free from moral responsibility.
On the other hand, Barnes suggests that “it is not necessary to suppose that Satan entered personally into the body of Judas, but only that he brought him under his influence; he filled his mind with an evil passion, and led him on to betray his Master.” (Barnes) That “Satanic influence” led to the arrest and death of Jesus. Judas upon realizing that he had betrayed innocent blood hanged himself (Matt. 27:3-5).
Another way of looking at it is suggested by RWP, “Satan was now renewing his attack on Jesus suspended temporarily (Luke 4:13) ‘until a good chance‘ – “When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.” He had come back by the use of Simon Peter (Mark 8:33; Matt. 16:23). The conflict went on and Jesus won ultimate victory (Luke 10:18). Now Satan uses Judas and has success with him for Judas allowed him to come again and again (John 13:27).”
Have you ever been betrayed? Maybe the person was under the influence of others or it could be a manifestation of a long-standing conflict.
Bible Gateway: www.biblegateway.com
Google Images: http://www.cagnz.org
Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
MySword for Android: Barnes, ISBE and RWP