Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spy Wednesday

In many Christian circles today, Wednesday of Holy Week, is known as "Spy Wednesday". It gets its name because many believe that today is the day that Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests in Jerusalem and asked "what will you give me to betray him to you." They gave him thirty (30) pieces of silver. The Bible tells us "from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him (Matthew 26:16)." Hence, he began to "spy" out ways to turn Jesus over to the religions and secular authorities in Jerusalem.

It is a matter of great debate and conjecture as to why Judas did what he did. Some point to information that suggests that he was a thief and simply did it for the money. Others point to Judas response to Jesus being condemned to death (he tried to return the money and "buy Jesus back") and suggest that he had something else in mind. Some have suggested that Judas believed in a political messiah and betrayed Jesus to force his hand. He may have believed that when the soldiers came to arrest him, Jesus would take up the call to arms and run the Romans out. It is an interesting debate with no clear answers.

What intrigues me is the whole matter of betrayal. When I read the story I am reminded (these are much easier to call to mind) of the times in my life I have been betrayed by others, especially by those I trusted. It has happened, my guess is it has happened to all of us at some time or another. This allows me to think I am a little like Jesus and allow the righteous indignation to rise within me -- that sense of overwhelming "I'm right to feel hurt". What comes to me a little slower are the memories of all the times I played the Judas role. Those times when I betrayed a friend, those times when I betrayed Jesus.

Spy Wednesday is not a comfortable day. I find myself asking the profoundly uncomfortable question "how many times and for how much have I sold out my Lord Jesus." Then I am reminded of a quote from the distant past (where does it come from?) that says for 30 pieces of silver Judas sold not just his Lord but his self. What is my price? What is yours?


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