Wednesday: The Calm Before the Storm
There is little said of the Wednesday of Holy Week — perhaps Jesus simply withdrew and prayed. He knew what lay ahead for him, and may have taken the day to rest. Perhaps he spent it surrounded by his friends. By contrast, there was much unrest in the Sanhedrin, who are able to hire on an aly in their plot against Jesus… they make arrangements with Judas to betray Jesus for an agreed price of thirty silver pieces.
Interestingly, the Jews did not want to arrest Jesus during the feast for fear of a riot among the people, with whom he was very popular. They knew well that they were acting against the will of the people, who must be “handled” rightly to get them onside. Not exactly the epitome of the good shepherd, the Jewish leaders must have been experts in this endeavour, as events will of course illustrate.
If Jesus took time to rest, perhaps the other disciples acted similarly. As there was much preparation to do before the feast, Judas would hardly have been missed while he went on his sinister errand, meetng with the Jews and agreeing on a price. From that point on, it is no longer the Jewish leaders who are looking for grounds to put Jesus to death, but Judas who was watchful for a time when he could betray Jesus and hand him over. The wheels are in motion.
Later, when Judas saw that Jesus was going to be put to death, he was overcome with remorse and tried to return the money, but the Jews responded that they could not put it into the treasury because it was “blood money.” Apparently they had not told him the whole story. Ironic that they could pay blood money, but would not receive it as a refund once it had been “tainted”. Legalism at its finest? They were clear in their own minds all along about what this money was for, even if Judas was not. Perhaps Judas expected that the Jews only wanted to question him, maybe threaten him, but he probably didn’t forsee the depth of their anger toward Jesus. Dejected, he cast the coins on the floor of the temple and went out and hanged himself. The coins strewn accross the temple floor? I have no doubt that though tainted, they weren’t just left lying where they fell… nor do I doubt that they were indeed held back from the temple coffers.
As for Judas, his actions are notorious to the level that his name alone is a synonym for betrayal. At the heart of his actions was of course greed and self-interest. His plight was such that his heart became so ensnared by the love of money and/or his love of self that it blinded him to the true nature and consequences of his actions. When remorse came, rather than bringing the matter to God in repentance, he takes matters into his own hands even then by ending his own life. This, of course, has no bearing on the unfolding of events to follow; the end of his life brings only death, unlike the other life he assisted in ending.