Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them (Luke 22:3-4).
Read Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16.
The religious authorities desperately want to get rid of Jesus, but the huge swell of Passover pilgrims that fill the temple courts are hanging on His every word. If they take any action against Jesus, the crowds will rally to His defense. So they concede they will have to wait until the Passover is finished and the crowds return to their homes (see Matthew 26:5).
For the chief priests this is extremely frustrating-and dangerous. Jesus is completely beyond their control. If He steps forward during the Passover, claims Himself King, and begins a rebellion, they will be powerless to stop it, or to control the Roman military response to it.
Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a possible solution appears. One member of Jesus' inner circle of disciples, Judas, comes to them offering to deliver Jesus to them. Judas' faith and love for Jesus has dried up, choked out by his lust for money (see John 12:4-6).
The Jewish leaders are overjoyed, but cautious. They describe the conditions they are looking for: a time when Jesus is in the city, yet separated from the crowds.
But even while they conspire together behind closed doors, Judas and the chief priests have no idea that Jesus is well aware of everything; He knew it from the start. We might expect Jesus to be furious and vindictive; instead, He loves Judas. He prepares to reach out to this lost disciple in every way He can, trying to touch his heart, prick his conscience, and bring him back to faith.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Your love is amazing. Where most of us would have been furious at Judas' plotting, Your chief concern was bringing him back. Give me a heart that loves my enemy and seeks to share Your salvation. Amen.
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