Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Wednesday of Holy Week: A Devotional Commentary
Luke 22:1-23:56 Now the feast of unleavened bread, which is called the Passover, drew near. The chief priests and the scribes sought how they might put him to death, for they feared the people. Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered with the twelve. He went away, and talked with the chief priests and captains about how he might deliver him to them. They were glad, and agreed to give him money. He consented, and sought an opportunity to deliver him to them in the absence of the multitude. The day of unleavened bread came, on which the Passover must be sacrificed. He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” They said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered into the city, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him into the house which he enters. Tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ He will show you a large, furnished upper room. Make preparations there.” They went, found things as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. When the hour had come, he sat down with the twelve apostles. He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for I tell you, I will no longer by any means eat of it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” He received a cup, and when he had given thanks, he said, “Take this, and share it among yourselves, for I tell you, I will not drink at all again from the fruit of the vine, until the Kingdom of God comes.” He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.” Likewise, he took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is poured out for you. But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it has been determined, but woe to that man through whom he is betrayed!” They began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing. There arose also a contention among them, which of them was considered to be greatest. He said to them, “The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so with you. But one who is the greater among you, let him become as the younger, and one who is governing, as one who serves. For who is greater, one who sits at the table, or one who serves? Isn’t it he who sits at the table? But I am in the midst of you as one who serves. But you are those who have continued with me in my trials. I confer on you a kingdom, even as my Father conferred on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. You will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” The Lord said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat, but I prayed for you, that your faith wouldn’t fail. You, when once you have turned again, establish your brothers.” He said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death!” He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will by no means crow today until you deny that you know me three times.” He said to them, “When I sent you out without purse, and wallet, and shoes, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” Then he said to them, “But now, whoever has a purse, let him take it, and likewise a wallet. Whoever has none, let him sell his cloak, and buy a sword. For I tell you that this which is written must still be fulfilled in me: ‘He was counted with transgressors.’ For that which concerns me has an end.” They said, “Lord, behold, here are two swords.” He said to them, “That is enough.” He came out, and went, as his custom was, to the Mount of Olives. His disciples also followed him. When he was at the place, he said to them, “Pray that you don’t enter into temptation.” He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and he knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him. Being in agony he prayed more earnestly. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. When he rose up from his prayer, he came to the disciples, and found them sleeping because of grief, and said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” While he was still speaking, behold, a multitude, and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He came near to Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” When those who were around him saw what was about to happen, they said to him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” A certain one of them struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “Let me at least do this”—and he touched his ear, and healed him. Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and elders, who had come against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you in the temple daily, you didn’t stretch out your hands against me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” They seized him, and led him away, and brought him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed from a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard, and had sat down together, Peter sat among them. A certain servant girl saw him as he sat in the light, and looking intently at him, said, “This man also was with him.” He denied Jesus, saying, “Woman, I don’t know him.” After a little while someone else saw him, and said, “You also are one of them!” But Peter answered, “Man, I am not!” After about one hour passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Truly this man also was with him, for he is a Galilean!” But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned, and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the Lord’s word, how he said to him, “Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.” He went out, and wept bitterly. The men who held Jesus mocked him and beat him. Having blindfolded him, they struck him on the face and asked him, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck you?” They spoke many other things against him, insulting him. As soon as it was day, the assembly of the elders of the people was gathered together, both chief priests and scribes, and they led him away into their council, saying, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you won’t believe, and if I ask, you will in no way answer me or let me go. From now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all said, “Are you then the Son of God?” He said to them, “You say it, because I am.” They said, “Why do we need any more witness? For we ourselves have heard from his own mouth!” The whole company of them rose up and brought him before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting the nation, forbidding paying taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “So you say.” Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” But they insisted, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee even to this place.” But when Pilate heard Galilee mentioned, he asked if the man was a Galilean. When he found out that he was in Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem during those days. Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad, for he had wanted to see him for a long time, because he had heard many things about him. He hoped to see some miracle done by him. He questioned him with many words, but he gave no answers. The chief priests and the scribes stood, vehemently accusing him. Herod with his soldiers humiliated him and mocked him. Dressing him in luxurious clothing, they sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before that they were enemies with each other. Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one that perverts the people, and see, I have examined him before you, and found no basis for a charge against this man concerning those things of which you accuse him. Neither has Herod, for I sent you to him, and see, nothing worthy of death has been done by him. I will therefore chastise him and release him.” Now he had to release one prisoner to them at the feast. But they all cried out together, saying, “Away with this man! Release to us Barabbas!”—one who was thrown into prison for a certain revolt in the city, and for murder. Then Pilate spoke to them again, wanting to release Jesus, but they shouted, saying, “Crucify! Crucify him!” He said to them the third time, “Why? What evil has this man done? I have found no capital crime in him. I will therefore chastise him and release him.” But they were urgent with loud voices, asking that he might be crucified. Their voices and the voices of the chief priests prevailed. Pilate decreed that what they asked for should be done. He released him who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus up to their will. When they led him away, they grabbed one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it after Jesus. A great multitude of the people followed him, including women who also mourned and lamented him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to tell the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and tell the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things in the green tree, what will be done in the dry?” There were also others, two criminals, led with him to be put to death. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified him there with the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Dividing his garments among them, they cast lots. The people stood watching. The rulers with them also scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others. Let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” An inscription was also written over him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” One of the criminals who was hanged insulted him, saying, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us!” but the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Don’t you even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” He said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous man.” All the multitudes that came together to see this, when they saw the things that were done, returned home beating their breasts. All his acquaintances, and the women who followed with him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. Behold, a man named Joseph, who was a member of the council, a good and righteous man (he had not consented to their counsel and deed), from Arimathaea, a city of the Jews, who was also waiting for the Kingdom of God: this man went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus’ body. He took it down, and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that was cut in stone, where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of the Preparation, and the Sabbath was drawing near. The women, who had come with him out of Galilee, followed after, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid. They returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
Some churches refer to today as Spy Wednesday because today the day that Judas made a bargain with the high priest to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. In Poland, young people throw an effigy of Judas from the top of a church steeple. They drag it through the village, hit it with sticks and stones, and then throw what is left into a stream or pond. It always feels good to get angry at people who are worse sinners than us.
Judas certainly did betray Jesus but so did Peter and the rest of the Apostles. The difference is that Judas tried to atone for his own sins. Judas saw that he was a sinner and thought that the answer was to give his life to Jesus. Judas was determined to make things right on his own. He had been paid the price of a slave for his betrayal and so he tried to buy himself back by paying the thirty pieces of silver back. The priests did not offer him any absolution--they sent him away to deal with his sin himself. And that is just what Judas tried to do. He committed suicide. He tried to atone for his own sins with his own life.
What Judas needed to hear is what all of us sinners need to hear. Jesus Christ has bled and died for your sins. You cannot atone for them. Do not even try to. Do not deny what Christ has done for you by trying to atone for your sins yourself. Jesus has done it all. It is finished.
Posted by Chuck Wiese at 12:01 AM