Today's Lectionary Text
Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.
Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to make preparations for it?” “Listen,” he said to them, “when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.” So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
As we enter the eve of Holy Week, it seems betrayal still is in the headlines.
Who said what to whom? What information leaked out and who did the leaking? Was the information accurate, an exaggeration or a fabrication? There are plenty of fingers to point the blame at, and we hope the truth – eventually – will win out.
The first few verses of Luke 22 leave no doubt to who betrayed Jesus: It was Judas Iscariot. Judas conferred with the high priests and the temple guards about how he might betray Jesus to them. He then started looking for a way to betray Jesus, the scripture says – it’s not like he had hard evidence of a crime being committed and went to the authorities. He began looking for a way.
And just about every translation of the scriptures that I can find says one thing: “Satan entered Judas.”
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Satan entered Judas. My first thought, maybe because I watched too many “Scooby-Doo” episodes as a kid, is a red-devil spirit swooping into Judas’ body and taking it over. But with an ever-so-slightly more mature mind, I imagine it being more of Judas becoming filled with anger, wrath and vengeance. There is evidence that Judas was not convinced that Jesus was the Messiah – calling him “rabbi” when others referred to him as “master,” for example.
But was that enough to turn Him over to the authorities? What would it take for you to betray a friend, a relative or a co-worker? And could you live with it for the rest of your life?
Prayer for Reflection
Dear God, nearly 2,000 years later, the story of Your Son still leaves us with questions to ponder and thoughts of what we would do in the same situation. We still look to your guidance as the shining beacon in our lives. Amen.
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