Holy Wednesday | A Plan and An Opportunity
Jesus Continues His Daily Teaching in the Temple - Luke 21:37–38
The Sanhedrin Plots to Kill Jesus- Matthew 26:3–5; Mark 14:1–2; Luke 22:1–2
What About Wednesday?
Wednesday is the day of Holy Week that can often escape us. As I was preparing to write this reflection, I found myself thinking, “Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday...what happens on Wednesday?” As we see in Luke 21:37-38, Jesus continues his daily teaching in the temple, and at first glance, it may seem like a relatively uneventful day in the middle of Holy Week. However, on this day, which is historically referred to by the church as Spy Wednesday, the secretive plot to kill Jesus by the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas intensifies.
A Plan and An Opportunity
Jesus goes about his usual business. But unlike previous days, there is no confrontation; everything happens behind the scenes. Caiaphas, the chief priests, and the elders do not interact with Jesus but rather come together at Caiaphas’ palace to develop the plan to arrest and kill Jesus. They are aware of the political environment and know that arresting him during Passover could cause an uproar. So, their plan is to wait and secretly arrest him. But an opportunity arises as Judas approaches the chief priests with the proposition of delivering Jesus over to them in exchange for payment. Thirty pieces of silver (about $7,500 today) is the agreed-upon price for the life of the Son of God.
Why Does Wednesday Happen?
The quiet unfolding of Wednesday’s events feels evil and it just seems wrong to even read about them. The plan is being plotted behind Jesus’ back; an enemy is arising from within his friends. Soon, he will be alone as he makes his way toward the cross. And that is exactly where he meets us: alone, broken, and in the depths of our sin.
So, we can look back at difficult and eerily quiet times in Scripture and in our own lives and know that God is not silent. He is at work. The betrayal, flogging, and crucifixion of Jesus is the ultimate example of Joseph’s words to his brothers who sold him into slavery: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20). God takes the evil plans of Wednesday and turns them into the atoning work of Christ that is to come in just a few days.
“In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” - 1 John 4:10