Judas Iscariot

by Mar 31, 2021Devotional, Easter, Supporting Cast of Easter

Judas Iscariot

 It’s not uncommon to celebrate spy stories. The names James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Carmen Sandiego all come to mind. Even in the Bible, we find captivating spy stories like the twelve Israelites (Numbers 13) who are sent to explore Canaan or the two spies (Joshua 2) hidden by Rahab in Jericho.

In the middle of Holy Week, we celebrate another spy story. Yet, unlike the fictional stories of Jack Bauer and Perry the Platypus, the historical account of Judas Iscariot is neither heroic or entertaining.

Holy Wednesday, otherwise known as Spy Wednesday, celebrates the deal Judas made to betray Jesus (Luke 22:1-6 ESV). If you’re anything like me, commemorating this day challenges what it means to celebrate someone. There isn’t anything endearing or redeeming about Judas. Why should we spend a day recognizing a traitor?

Despite being one of several villains in the Easter story, Judas plays an important role in the events leading to Easter. His betrayal of Jesus is one of many signs given in the Old Testament to help Israel identify the Messiah.

Matthew writes, “Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him” (Matthew 26:14-15).

Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, Zechariah prophesied how much the Messiah’s life would be worth to those who opposed him, writing, “And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver” (Zechariah 11:12).

The exact amount Judas was paid to betray Jesus.

As despicable as Judas’ actions are, God used this to verify Jesus as the Messiah He had promised to send. God let the world know ahead of time that the Messiah would be betrayed. The betrayal of Jesus confirms to the world that He is Messiah.

In most spy stories, the spy is typically the hero. James Bond saves England, again. Jack Bauer saves the President, again. But being a good guy isn’t required of the spy’s role or his contribution to the outcome. On Spy Wednesday, we don’t celebrate Judas himself, but rather what his actions confirmed for those awaiting the Messiah.

Because of Judas, the disciples had confidence Jesus was exactly who he said he was. Because of Judas, we too share in the confidence of the early disciples. And this assurance in the true Messiah is something worth celebrating.

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