Holy Wednesday

Key Scriptures: Matthew 26:1-5; Mark 14:17-21; Luke 22:1-6; John 13:21-30

Written by: Dr. Charlie Self

Sometimes called “Spy Wednesday” – this is the moment Judas is paid to betray Jesus. The celebration known as Tenebrae (shadows, deepening darkness) occurs Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning. Religious leaders conspire to silence Jesus and there is a tangible tension as Jesus, aware of all these events, still washes feet and shares bread with his betrayer (Judas Iscariot) and future denier (Peter).

The Gospels reveal Judas’ fiscal dishonesty and portray him in a negative light from the first lists of Jesus followers (Luke 8) to the final drama of his hypocritical kiss, deep regret, and eventual death. How did Judas go from hand-picked follower to, “the son of perdition”? Yes, it was the Lord’s plan that Jesus deliberately offer his life as a sacrifice for our salvation (Isaiah 52-53; Mark 10:45; John 10:10-18; Acts 2-3), but there is still freewill at work in Judas’ life.

The late Campbell McAlpine, renowned Bible teacher and leader, offers these insights into Judas…and they serve as a warning to our own hearts: First, Judas became offended when he realized that Jesus’ Messiahship was not going to mean immediate political power for himself and the disciples. Second, Judas became disloyal. He helped himself to the treasury and plotted with the leaders to arrest Jesus. Finally, Judas betrayed his Master with a kiss. Notice the progression: offense, disloyalty, betrayal.

May the Lord help us guard our hearts when we are disappointed and hurt, lest we nurture an offense in our hearts and become disloyal to the Lord, other believers, and God’s church. Will we remain faithful, even when circumstances disappoint our expectations? Will we trust that Jesus is still the Light when shadows fall around us? We have a wonderful High Priest Jesus who is praying for us (Romans 8; Hebrews 4, 9-10; I John 1-2), and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can agree with him and bless others.