Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:1-5; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-6
Wednesday is a day that often holds a special place in our hearts. It’s a day that seems to be a turning point in the week. It’s the day where the end of the week is as equally close to you as the beginning. You’re finally beginning your descent down into the wonderful world of weekend rest and getting farther away from the Monday blues.
This Wednesday was no different. While this Wednesday was not the turning point for a two-day break from time in a cubicle, it was the turning point in a week that would begin with celebration but end with agony. Following the events of the previous days and realizing his growing influence, the priests and the elders knew that this Jesus could no longer go on living if they wanted to keep their positions of power. Meeting in the home of the high priest, Caiaphas, they decided this “prophet’s” time had come to an end and once the Passover celebration was over, they would make their move. Their patience was strategic in that they knew that the crowds and Passover pilgrims would be leaving Jerusalem and by waiting for their departure, they would be able to kill Jesus without inciting a full-blown riot that would positively ruin any ability for them to continue to lead. What’s amazing about all of this is that Jesus knew his death was imminent but did nothing to avoid it.
In Matthew’s account of this Wednesday, he documents something that Jesus said that is almost shocking. Jesus not only told his disciples that he would die but also told when and how: that Friday by crucifixion. What’s shocking about this is at no point did Jesus ever make a plan to leave. If you knew that you were about to enter into a situation where death was certain, your natural instinct would be to avoid that situation at all cost. However, Jesus stayed in Jerusalem. He stayed knowing that death was coming. Not only was death coming but it was coming by means of one of the cruelest forms of execution imaginable. Why? Why would anyone willingly stay around that kind of imminent danger knowing that he had two days notice to get out. Jesus stayed because he knew his mission was too great. Jesus stayed because he knew the fate of the world depended on him being in Jerusalem. He stayed knowing that it was his death that would bring live to so many people. He stayed because of you.
That Wednesday was a turning point. Not only was it a turning point in Jesus’ week but also it was a turning point that would forever change the world. With their mission decided and with the help of Jesus’ student and friend, Judas Iscariot, the religious leaders set into motion a great evil to kill an innocent man and beloved teacher. However, this great evil would not be the end of the story as this was no ordinary man.
- Considering the previous three days, what do you think was the “final straw” that led to the religious leaders’ decision to kill Jesus?
- How does it make you feel to know that Jesus didn’t run away? What does this say about Him?
- Read Luke 22:3-6. What motivated Judas to betray Jesus? Why do you think he was able to betray his friend that easily?