There is so much in this Chapter, almost as if all the action has been squeezed into the final Act; the last few days of Jesus’ life.
I will comment briefly on Judas, only because it always seems to me to be an unnecessary part of the story. The Jews could have got hold of Jesus at any time, even though they were afraid of acting in front of the crowds. But I wonder if they took a sinister pleasure in turning one of his disciples; a spy in the camp, a traitor; surely this would undermine Jesus’ credibility.
As for the payment of thirty pieces of silver (about half a year’s salary for an ordinary person in those days), it seems a miserable sum for such a great prize; but the Chief Priests were a mean bunch. I wonder how long Judas had been brooding on his discontent and/or disillusionment with the way Jesus was handling his ministry; perhaps he was expecting greater miracles and super powers for his immediate followers.
So we must face the question as to whether we could ever betray Jesus, and the answer must be that the same doubts and frustrations that got to Judas could harden our hearts also. This is why regular worship and fellowship is so important; because as we look to Jesus and praise His Name our hearts melt.
So as you think on the Last Supper, Jesus praying in Gethsemane (the ‘oil press’ from yesterday’s note), His arrest, His silence before the Sanhedrin and then Peter’s denial – just try and imagine the drama and how it might all appear on TV news. No-one could make this up and if it was really true then what happens next must also stand up to the sharpest scrutiny, as all the channels would be covering these events with satellites taking it to an audience of many millions.
Dear Lord, I pray that the Gospel, the Good News, as if unfolds in these real-time events will never cease to challenge me to believe and declare my faith and to live for You. And may I never even have even a little temptation to betray You.