Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. 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. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd. Luke 22:1-6
Yesterday we saw the crowd praising Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. Today we see the response of the chief priest and scribes. Ever since Jesus began His earthly ministry the Jewish ruling class had been trying to discredit Him. Jesus was a problem for them. The Romans allowed the priests to stay in power so long as they kept the people in line. For the Romans this had worked well in the past. They allowed the people they conquered to keep their religion as long as they paid homage to Rome. But the Jews were different. They refused to worship Caesar or any other gods. Eventually this would lead to the rebellions which caused the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Still at the time of Jesus there was a semi peace going on in Palestine. The priests were able to keep control of the people and for them life was good.
Then along came Jesus, stirring up the people with His words of a new kingdom. Most thought of this kingdom as earthly, but Jesus was talking about a heavenly kingdom. Everyone expected Jesus to lead a rebellion to free Israel from the Romans. This threatened the station of the priests and they needed to get rid of Jesus. They wanted to keep the status quo. They hated the Romans but were afraid of change. Not unlike most of us today. Today as then most people refuse to follow Jesus not because of what He offers them but because they don’t want to change what they are doing. They love their carnal life too much to change it.
So into this comes Judas. Luke tells us that Satin entered into Judas and he conspired with the priests to betray Jesus at a time when Jesus was away from the crowd. They were so afraid of the people’s reaction to what they had planned that they wanted to arrest Jesus in private. They needed someone in Jesus’ inner circle. Judas was their man. How Judas came to be disillusioned with Jesus we really do not know. He may have thought Jesus would be the warrior king that would free Israel and now he saw that Jesus was not going to lead a rebellion. He may have never believed in Jesus’ teachings and only saw his time with Jesus as a way to benefit himself personally. For whatever reason Judas decided to betray Jesus for monetary gain.
They stage has been set and everyone is waiting for the time to set events in motion that will lead to Jesus’ arrest and execution.
Have a blessed day,