And (the chief priests and officers) were glad, and agreed to give (Judas) money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of a crowd (Luke 22:5-6).
Read Mark 14:1-11.
The priests were glad to have the possibility of eliminating Jesus before the Passover-before He could start a revolt against Rome. Who better than an insider to spy on Jesus and find the perfect opportunity to spring their trap? They agreed to the price of thirty pieces of silver and considered it a bargain. The Jewish leaders would no doubt have been willing to spend far more to remove Jesus from the picture.
So Judas began watching and waiting. He needed an opportunity to betray Jesus when He was separated from the crowd, and thus vulnerable. Judas held his secret close in his heart. None of the other disciples had a clue. He went on acting the part of a friend-and none were the wiser.
But Jesus knew. He'd known it from the day He first chose Judas. He'd even dropped hints here and there (see John 6:63-64, 70-71), along the way. He could easily use this knowledge to avoid the situation for which Judas was watching. He could even use it against Judas, turn the tables, and betray him to the other 11. But Jesus will only use it for Judas' benefit. He is waiting for that moment when He can make the biggest impact, reveal the devilish nature of this sin, and hopefully turn Judas back and save him.
In the meantime, He lets Judas keeps watching for his opportunity. The betrayer quickly learns it is not as easy to hand Jesus over as he had first thought.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, nothing takes You by surprise. Thank You for working so hard to call us to repentance and salvation. Amen.
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