by Pastor Mark Jordan
“Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.” (Matthew 26:14-16, NIV)
Wednesday of Holy Week is known as “Spy Wednesday.” What we see from today’s passage is Judas’ decision to hand over Jesus in exchange for money. This came on the heels of an episode where Jesus rebuked him after a woman anointed the Lord with a very expensive perfume. Judas was indignant about this (John 12:5-6 tells us that Judas wanted to sell the perfume and pocket the money), but Jesus set him straight by turning the attention to the concept of sacrifice: hers for him and his for the world. That exchange sealed the deal for Judas, as he decided he could get a payday from another source. He started looking for the opportunity to betray Jesus for his thirty pieces of silver, hence the origin of the name, Spy Wednesday.
How often do we allow our self interests to get in the way of Jesus’ example of sacrifice? It seems to be quite a bit if we aren’t careful. This can specifically happen if we sense our expectations aren’t being met, whatever they are. We then begin to live less with faith and more with a focus to ensure we get what we feel we deserve. The thing with God, however, is we cannot fathom the love God wants to lavish on us; when we try to force God into our preferences, we miss God’s greater reality.
Today is a great opportunity to change the meaning of Spy Wednesday. Instead of being like Judas, looking to hand Jesus over to the authorities to meet his self-interest, look for ways to share the light and love of God with others. It might require a bit of a sacrifice for you, but it is always worth it! After all, Jesus’ model for living is loving service and sacrifice, for that is what makes the world go-round.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for giving me a model of loving sacrifice and service. I know all-too-often I’m guilty of seeking my own self-interests as opposed to ways to serve others. Help me to seek your forgiveness, and in your mercy, look for ways to show others the greatness of your love. I ask this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
Have a blessed day, looking for ways to share God’s love with others,