75. Judas and the thirty pieces of silver
Judas and the thirty pieces of silver…..NOW the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the passover. In the daytime Jesus was teaching in the temple. At night he abode in the mount of Olives; in the morning the people came early to the temple for to hear him.
Two days before the feast, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people, assembled unto the palace of the high priest Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by craft. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of people.
¶Then Judas surnamed Iscariot, one of the twelve, went and said unto the chief priests, What will ye give me, and I will deliver Jesus unto you? They were glad, and to give Judas thirty pieces of silver. Judas promised: and sought opportunity how he might conveniently betray Jesus unto them in the absence of the multitude.
¶Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, he said unto his disciples,
Ye know that after two days is the feast of passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
Then came the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed; and Jesus sent Peter and John, saying,
Go and prepare the passover, that we may eat.
And they said, Where wilt thou that we prepare? He said,
When ye are entered into the city, behold, there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: go ye into the city to such a man, and follow him into the house where he entereth in. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us.
They went, and found as he had said: and they made ready the passover. In the evening Jesus cometh with the twelve apostles, and when the hour was come, he sat down, the twelve with him.
And he said unto them,
With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
And he took the cup and gave thanks, and said,
Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
Supper being ended, Jesus riseth; and he laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel.
Then Simon Peter saith, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered,
What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered,
If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
Peter saith, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith unto him,
He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he,
Ye are not all clean.
So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them,
Know ye what I have done to you?
Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet: ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord: neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Scripture: Luke 21:34-38
Meditation 1 of 3:
Is there anything in your life which holds you back from the joy and freedom of the Lord? God wants our hearts for him and for his kingdom. But our hearts can be weighed down by many cares and by sin. Jesus offers us true freedom— freedom from the power of sin and of wastefulness— wasting ourselves on unnecessary things which keep us from God. Jesus offers us freedom from the power of addictions and from slavery to our passions— making food, drink or other things our master rather than our servant. And Jesus offers us freedom from the power of crippling anxieties and needless cares– being overwhelmed by fear rather than consumed with the love of God.
Jesus warns us of the temptation to slacken off— to become lethargic or to fall asleep spiritually. It is very easy to get caught up in the things of the present moment or to be weighed down with troubles. The Lord knows our shortcomings and struggles and he gives us the grace to bear our burdens and to walk in his way of holiness. But there is one thing he doesn’t tolerate: indifference or being passive when we should be actively seeking God, and an attitude of not caring and doing nothing! God expects us more of us than we can do by ourselves. His grace is sufficient! He expects us to be actively watching for his visitation, and to pray specifically for the strength to persevere in the faith, to endure trials which come our way, and to escape from temptation to sin, especially from apostasy— the denial of Christ out of fear or pride. God is ever ready to fill us with his grace, strength, and power. Is your heart hungry for God or is it weighed down by other things?
“Lord, you fill us with all good things. Fill my heart with the love, peace, joy, and righteousness of your kingdom. May the fire of the Holy Spirit inflame my heart with an eager longing for you and for your return.”
Scripture: Luke 22:1-13
Meditation 2 of 3:
Do you celebrate the Passover with sincerity and truth (see 1 Cor. 5:7-8)? Every male Jew, who was of age and lived within 15 miles of Jerusalem, was bound to celebrate Passover every year in Jerusalem. This annual feast commemorated the deliverance of the people of Israel from their slavery in Egypt (see Exodus 12). On that night the angel of death slew the first-born of the Egyptians; but he “passed over” the homes of the Israelites, because the lintel of their doors was smeared with the blood of an unblemished lamb sacrificed for the occasion. It was at Passover time that Jesus came to Jerusalem knowing he would be betrayed and put to death as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus fulfilled the Passover. His death and resurrection, which occured at Passover time, redeems us from enslavement to sin, death, Satan, and the world. His blood, like the blood of the first Passover lamb, protects God’s people from the angel of death and breaks the oppressive rule of Satan. Easter is the Christian Passover (1 Cor. 5:7-8).
Why did Judas betray his Master? Was his treachery motivated by greed, bitter disappointment with Jesus or hatred because of disillusionment? It may be that Judas never intended for his Master to die. Maybe he thought Jesus was proceeding too slowly and not acting aggressively enough in setting up his messianic kingdom. Perhaps Judas wanted to force Jesus’ hand by compelling him to act. Nonetheless, his tragedy was his refusal to accept Jesus as he was. Aren’t we tempted to use God for our own purposes? It is not God who must change, but we must be changed by him. Jesus knew beforehand what would befall him. Just as God can use any individual as his instrument, so can Satan, his arch-enemy and our adversary. We can either be an instrument of good or of evil, and a servant of God or of Satan. The choice is ours. Who has free entrance into the door of your life? As Jesus ate the passover meal with his twelve apostles he put them under trial and suspicion (one of you will betray me) to teach them to examine themselves rightly, lest they be highminded and think themselves more strong than they were. We, also must examine ourselves in the light of God’s truth and grace and ask him to strengthen us in faith, hope, and love that we may not fail him or forsake him when we are tempted. Do you pray with confidence in the words Jesus gave us to pray: Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil?
“God our Father, we are exceedingly frail and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking. Strengthen our weakness, we beseech you, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our own negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts; for Jesus Christ’s sake.” (Prayer of Thomas a Kempis)
Scripture: Luke 22:14-23
Meditation 3 of 3:
Why did Jesus “earnestly desire to eat this passover meal” with his disciples? Luke mentions that “the passover lamb has to be sacrificed” on this feast (Luke 22:7). This would be Jesus’ last meal with his chosen twelve. It was not coincidental that he would suffer and die on a cross at passover time. Luke points to Jesus’ death as the sacrificial passover lamb who fulfills and makes obsolete the sacrifices of the old testament. This meal is both a celebration of the passover according to the old covenant and the institution of a new covenant to be commemorated by a new meal. Jesus institutes this “new covenant” in the form of a last will and testament. Jacob and Moses, just before their deaths, blessed their heirs with their last will and testament (Genesis 49; Deuteronomy 33). Jesus’ passover is similar as he blesses his chosen twelve who would become the leaders of the new Israel. Jesus’ institution fulfills the old testament promises of a “new covenant” and “new exodus” which would bring about true freedom from slavery to sin, as well as the promise of blessing.
Luke ties the last supper meal with Jesus’ death and the coming of God’s kingdom. Jesus transforms the passover of the old covenant into the meal of the “new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to their Creator. Melchizedek’s offering of bread and wine, who was both priest and king (Genesis 14:18), prefigured the offering made by Jesus, our high priest and king. The unleavened bread at Passover and the miraculous manna in the desert are the pledge of God’s faithfulness to his promises. The “cup of blessing” at the end of the Jewish passover meal points to the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Jesus gave a new and definitive meaning to the blessing of the bread and the cup when he instituted the “Lord’s Supper” or “Eucharist”. He speaks of the presence of his body and blood in this new meal. When at the Last Supper Jesus described his blood “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”(Matthew 26:28), he was explaining his coming crucifixion as a sacrifice for sins. His death on the cross fulfilled the sacrifice of the paschal lamb. That is why John the Baptist called him the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Jesus made himself an offering and sacrifice, a gift that was truly pleasing to the Father. He “offered himself without blemish to God” (Hebrews 9:14) and “gave himself as a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). This meal was a memorial of his death and resurrection.
Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum– giving his disciples his body and his blood (John 6:51-58). Jesus’ passing over to his Father by his death and resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Last Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the church in the glory of God’s kingdom. This is the most significant meal of Jesus and the most important occasion of his breaking of bread. In this meal Jesus identifies the bread as his body and the cup as his blood. When the Lord Jesus commands his disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood, he invites us to take his life into the very center of our being (John 6:53). That life which he offers is the very life of God himself. Jesus’ death on the cross, his gift of his body and blood in the Supper, and his promise to dine again with his disciples when the kingdom of God comes in all its fulness are inseparably linked. Jesus instructed his disciples to “do this in remembrance of me”. These words establish every Lord’s Supper or Eucharist as a “remembrance” of Jesus’ atoning death, his resurrection, and his promise to return again. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). Our celebration of the Lord’s Supper anticipates the final day when the Lord Jesus will feast anew with his disciples in the heavenly marriage feast of the Lamb and his Bride. Doy you know the joy of the drinking Christ’s cup and tasting the bread of his Table in sincerity?
“Lord Jesus, you are the “Bread of Life” and the “Cup of Salvation”. May I always follow in the narrow way of the cross toward the heavenly banquet where you will seat all the elect at the table of your kingdom.”