Holy Week Wednesday - The Crowds Flock, The Leaders Plot

The previous days had been busy ones for Jesus. Colors, noise, motions and emotions—all words that characterized the background of those first days of Jesus’ final days before the cross. Every day, Jesus was teaching in the temple and every day, people were coming to hear him (Luke 21:37-38).

Unfortunately, Jesus was not the only one with full days. In the shadows, behind closed doors, and away from the crowds in the cities, evil men were also actively at work on other things. Things concerning Jesus.

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. (Luke 22:1-2)

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.” (Matt. 26:3-5)

In just a few short days, it would be the Feast of Passover. But instead of preparing their hearts to remember the great deliverance of Yahweh, the religious leaders were looking for a way to forever be rid of the true Passover Lamb. This man was creating a national stir—“Look, the world has gone after him!” (John 12:19). Earlier, the Pharisees had tried to quietly do away with him, but that had been most disappointing when their men returned, empty-handed. Their reason for not bringing him in? “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:45-47).

But, then things took a decisive change.

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. (Matt. 26:14-16)

It was their lucky day! The religious leaders could stop worrying about the people getting involved. Someone else was willing—and eager—to help them capture and kill Jesus. He was neither a bounty hunter nor was he a rabid murderer. He was a close friend of Jesus. Thirty coins? That sounded like a fair trade for the one who called himself the Son of God.

To Judas and the Pharisees, the pending death of Jesus looked like a done deal. In a few days, Jesus would be buried in a grave, forever silencing the mention of his name. With Jesus gone, life would go back to normal. Back to the way things had been for a long, long time before Jesus turned up and turned everything upside down.

Or so they thought.