And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. Luke 22:2
One of the holiest days – Passover – is drawing near and instead of engaging in prayerful preparation, the chief priests and scribes are wracking their brains over how they can put Jesus to death. Their current obsession.
But they were afraid. Not a fear of God and His judgment, but a fear of people. They couldn’t risk the public uproar if they arrested Him among the crowds that were always surrounding Him. God knows, they have tried and tried unsuccessfully to deceitfully trap Him, but nothing has worked. He is too smart for that. Too holy.
They needed another plan. They needed to know where He retreated; where He went in private. They needed to do it then and there. But how?
To their pleasant surprise, in walks Judas. One of the twelve who Jesus hand-selected after prayer and fasting to be His disciple. One of the twelve who camped with Him, ate with Him, listened to Him teach, watched Him heal…for three years!
They couldn’t have orchestrated a better plan. Though they are surprised, Jesus isn’t. He will soon reveal it at the Passover meal with His twelve closest friends, Judas included.
From the outside, Judas looked like a committed follower of Jesus. But here he is. Offering to betray Jesus for only thirty pieces of silver.
“High offices in the church do not preserve the holders of them from great blindness and sin,” says J.C. Ryle. This is crystal clear in observing the religious leaders in Jesus’s time. And, sadly, Judas too.
Questions: How can someone seemingly so close to Jesus throw it all away to betray him? How can this be a warning to us?