Matthew 26:1-5 / 14-16 (NLT) The Plot to Kill Jesus
26 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, Passover begins in two days, and the Son of Man[a] will be handed over to be crucified.” 3 At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, 4 plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. 5 “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”
14 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests 15 and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
Wednesday brings Jesus into more conflict with the religious leaders which ends in him explaining that he has tried to bring them together but they have refused so they will be judged. Our text today picks up here in Ch 26 and after Jesus taught these many things the scripture says He told His apostles and friends that in two days he would be delivered to the religious leaders and be crucified. The 26th chapter also records that this was the night when Judas decided he would betray Jesus to the chief priests and going to them he asked them what they were willing to pay him in exchange for his help in arresting Jesus. They agree on 30 pieces of silver and the die is cast for the completion of Judas’ betrayal and also God’s plan of salvation. This is one of those fascinating examples of how God’s plan can be so different, even backwards, of our vision into the future we have planned. Judas was the banker of the group and the scriptures tell us that he sometimes helped himself to the money in the groups bag without approval. Judas had joined this band of apostles that traveled and lived with Jesus for some 3 years now. In that time they had seen His works and power and in understanding the Old Testament prophecy of the messiah that was to come they were convinced that this Jesus was indeed Him. The challenge for them was that they saw and felt that it was being completely fulfilled in their day and that Jesus would take of Jerusalem with a military might and establish his rightful place on the throne. This though was not Jesus calling or purpose on His first visit. He was born of a woman into this world of sin that we live in to understand all of our stresses and temptations so he would be aware of what we see in this life. I have to wonder if the apostles including Judas were waiting for some small conflict in the temple to boil over into a battle at which time Jesus would call forth the heavens and defeat evil once and for all ? When this did not seem to be happening fast enough for them maybe Judas took matters into his own hands and to see if he could force Jesus to go ahead with the battle and conquer evil. We can find the “take control” attitude of Judas in our own lives sometimes.
How often do we find ourselves where our plan does not seem to be lining up with God’s but we know our own lives really well so we make a decision to move it along like we think it should go, only to find out the hard way that God’s plan will always eventually win out. I would challenge us to understand that we have betrayed God in a manner of speaking. We have impeded His plan and blessing for others, that now has created some very serious consequences for those involved. Judas’ story should keep us mindful that we cannot control God’s plan and there are no shortcuts. The journey may be where God can use our lives to help others see him in this life. Why would we want to shortcut that out of our lives at any price ?