Holy Week, Part 3: Wednesday
Today is Wednesday.
After the uproar of the past two days, the religious leaders have had enough of Jesus and His antics. He was a threat to them in every way. If He was right, then everything they had believed and practiced was wrong. The implications were just too much to accept. It would mean a total reorientation of their religion as they knew it. It would mean they had fundamentally misunderstood the Law and prophets. It would mean the loss of popularity and control. Indeed, to accept Jesus would be a death of sorts—a death they were unwilling to embrace.
And so instead, they conspire His death. But it won’t be easy. They will need an insider to join them, someone willing to participate in the deepest form of betrayal. They found their man in Judas Iscariot. Judas was a follower of Jesus in word and deed, but his words and deeds were empty. He never truly loved Jesus; He saw Jesus as a means to an end. Perhaps it was wealth, or power, or fame, we’re never told. But whatever the reasons were, Judas Iscariot saw Jesus as a means to serve his selfish purposes. And not surprisingly, Jesus had let Him down.
But for Judas, the last two days in the Temple had provided a glimmer of hope. Perhaps Jesus was going to use some of that power He was always wasting on the blind and deaf, to take over Jerusalem after all. Maybe He actually was intending to rule, reign, and conquer the world (and of course this would mean fame and fortune for Judas as well).
But here they were, fellowshipping in the house of a leper, Jesus intently enjoying the anointing of a random woman when He should be conquering. Apparently Jesus has no plans of grandeur after all.
Judas was done. He sneaks away, joins together with those already plotting, and the plan is sealed. Jesus will soon be crucified.
Do you know what all these conspirators had in common? Unmet expectations. If the Messiah had come to do what they wanted Him to do, they would have gladly embraced Him. But He didn’t align with their Messianic expectations, He refused to be a Savior after their own likings, and so they killed Him.
Expectations have to die to embrace Jesus. He simply won’t be what you want Him to be. Jesus is going to let you down. It happens to all His followers.
He let Peter down, and Peter was devastated to the point of betrayal as well. But Peter recovered from crushed expectations, because in his heart of hearts he loved Jesus more than his selfish wants and desires. Nobody follows Jesus without ulterior motives and vain expectations, but what will you do when He inevitably deconstructs these expectations?
He is good, and He will always give you what is good, but it won’t always align with your visions of goodness. It’s in these testing moments where love for Jesus is revealed as authentic or not.
What do you want from Jesus? If the answer to that question goes beyond Jesus Himself, then rest assured, He will disappoint you. When that happens, will you still want Him?
Judas didn’t. I pray you will.