Scripture is largely silent regarding Wednesday of Holy Week, but there might be one recorded event that happened on that day. Perhaps, it was on Wednesday when Judas Iscariot negotiated and received payment for the betrayal of Jesus, and it is for this reason that many have labeled the day “Spy Wednesday.”
In Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, and Luke 22:3-6 we learn the following:
- Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve.
- Judas Iscariot was possessed by Satan.
- He went away and left the brotherhood.
- He went to confer with the chief priests and officer on how he might betray Jesus.
- He made the first query, “What will you give me if I deliver Jesus over to you?”
- The chief priest were glad when they heard his proposal.
- They paid him 30 pieces of silver.
- Judas left seeking the right opportunity to betray Jesus when he was alone.
A Lot in Common
Today, let us be reminded of the numerous good similarities between Judas Iscariot and ourselves. Like Judas, most of us reading this blog have received much grace from our Lord.
Like Judas, many of us are children of believing parents. We have received biblical names as a sign of our parents interest in the scriptures. Then we have received some sort of sacramental or initiatory rite as infants — circumcision, baptism, or dedication.
Like Judas, many of us have been from birth surrounded by the worshiping community. We are children of the covenant or children of the church. This means, from our earlier days of recollection, we have been catechized and trained in the doctrines of faith.
Like Judas, many of us look moral. We have shown much external interest in the commandments of God.
Like Judas, many of us have been somewhat faithful in our observations of keeping sabbaths, maintaining ceremonies, and not forsaking our religious gatherings. We have been very religious.
Like Judas, we have been graced by the approach of Jesus. The Son of God has come our way, calling our name, offering us life, and bidding us follow him and become his disciple.
Like Judas, we have decided to follow Jesus. We have walked with him, learned from him, and have enjoyed the camaraderie of being one of the brothers.
Like Judas, we have been engaged and utilized in Christ’s ministry. We have been used by the Holy Spirit to teach, preach, comfort, heal, exorcize, shepherd, feed, and steward the Lord’s assets.
Like Judas, to varying degrees, we have shared in the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus. We have followed him, and it has cost us a measure of wealth, popularity, health, ease, luxury, and earthly security.
Like Judas, we are men and women with good reputations. We are not recognized as scandalous pagans. From man’s perspective, we appear fairly sharp, godly, and dedicated.
Too Much in Common
However, like Judas, we are assaulted by the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Like Judas, we have secret sins with which we struggle. We too are duplicitous sell outs:
- Judas joined men in radical worship to Jesus and then judged a woman for her unusual display of affection.
- Judas stewarded the Lord’s resources day-in and day-out, and then felt free to steal from his purse.
- Judas trusted the Lord’s wisdom for living, and then distrusted his kingdom strategy.
- Judas sang to the Lord on Palm Sunday, and then sold him out on Spy Wednesday.
- Judas kissed him with his lips while utterly betraying him with his actions.
Oh friends, take a moment and consider our hearts and hands. We are more like Judas than we ever dare imagine. Tragically, the blackest of hearts can strangely be found looking pious at the feet of Jesus.
One Huge Difference
Unlike Judas, we really believe Jesus is the Lamb of God whose atoning work completely covers all our sins, reconciles us to the Father, and grants us “blameless saint” status.
You see, had Judas believed, trusted, had faith, repented, and rested in the Gospel, he would have enjoyed the fact that all his sins — including legalistic judgmentalism, worldly covetousness, ecclesiastical thievery, disbelieving folly, betraying Jesus, and suicide — would have been covered.
But this was not what Judas believed. Evidence for this is seen in …
- His being possessed by Satan.
- His failure to believe, repent, and run to Jesus to enjoy reconciliation.
- His character by other inspired writers. In all four Gospels, when the names of the disciples were listed, his name was always placed last. Matthew and Mark, inspired by the Holy Spirit, entitled him “the betrayer.” Luke called him “the traitor”, and John and Jesus referred to him as “the devil.”
- His title given by Jesus, “Son of Perdition.” (John 17:12)
- His review by Jesus who said, “It would have been better if this man was never born.” (Mark 14:21; Matthew 26:24)
- His being described as going to the “place where he belonged.” (Acts 1:24-25)
Perhaps I am wrong in my assessment. I wish I were wrong. I hope I am wrong, for it would be wonderful to see Judas enjoying undeserved grace in glory — like you and me, but I am not at all sure we will see his face on the other side.
So, What Will it Be?
What will we do with our sin?
On this Spy Wednesday, will we deny our ongoing struggle with the world, the flesh, and the devil?
On this Spy Wednesday, will we deny the Gospel and believe the lies of the devil? Will we think our sin too great for the Savior’s blood?
Or, on this Spy Wednesday, will we admit our sins, remember the one who died for us on Good Friday, rejoice in the one who rose for us on Really Good Sunday, and be freely reconciled to Jesus — the one who covers all the sins of all the elect — those who show themselves by their understanding of God’s Law, humility, confession, repentance, and undeserved delight in their “blameless saint” status given them by Christ.
Friends, repentance is the key. We who grievously sin, deny Jesus Christ, and then follow up our dastardly act by repenting and bowing before the Son, we can find ourselves like Denying Peter, Arrogant James, Doubting Thomas, Murderous Paul, Racist Barnabas, and the rest of the fellows. We can be like both the centurion below the cross and the thief on the cross. Horrid back-sliding, back-stabbing sinners are welcomed by the pierced hands of Christ, and they are granted undeserved grace, but they must repent.
Therefore, on this Spy Friday, let us not think on Judas as much as we think on ourselves. Let us see our sin, believe Christ’s Gospel, run back to him, and enjoy our eternal reconciliation. This is the reason Christ died on Friday.