Easter Week – Wednesday

      Palm branches, trick questions, mockery, righteous anger… it had been a challenging week for Jesus Christ.  Wednesday of Holy Week would be no different for our Savior.  Three primary events took place which would forever change the world…teachings, treachery, and a traitor.
First, Jesus continued to teach in the temple.  Even with all of the miracles, parables, examples, healing, and stories.. Jesus wasn’t done instructing.  
“And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.  And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.”    –  Luke 21:37-38
   This passage is so revealing of Christ’s character.  Getting up early…teaching in the temple…ready to challenge any willing to listen with the truth of the Gospel.  Christ never slowed down doing what God had given Him to do.  He never gave up on anyone…bravely teaching in the temple…fully knowing that in just a short while, He would be arrested and tortured for the sins of those who sat listening.
As Wednesday continued, so did the plans to arrest and kill Jesus.   Time was drawing short and the authorities knew that they needed to do it quickly to avoid overlapping with the Passover feast.  They didn’t want to anger the people… just eliminate what they considered to be society’s biggest threat.
“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.’”  – Matthew 26:3-5
    It’s interesting that Caiaphas and his gang of conspirators had no problem with punishing an innocent man… they just didn’t want to cause a riot.  They feared public opinion over injustice… they cared more about legalism than the legality of their deeds.  Somewhere on that Wednesday, the sound of a saw and hammer were heard in the distance…preparing a cross for a Man who was declared guilty long before He was ever brought to mock trial.  
But this day wasn’t over yet… even as Jesus was in the temple leading people to eternal life… His traitor’s plans were put into motion.  Judas Iscariot….one of Christ’s original 12 students…had allowed the enemy to invade his heart.  The devil chuckled as Judas approached those same chief priests to make his deadly deal:
“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 22:3-6
   Once again… plans for betrayal without an audience.  Secret sin.  Judas had put his endgame into motion and the conspiracy was confirmed.  He’d get silver for his act of treason, but would never spend a bit of it.  Christ knew His betrayer… knew how close to death He was on this Wednesday… but continued on boldly teaching others.
Tomorrow, on Passover, Jesus and His disciples will discuss this turn of events over dinner.
Take a few minutes today and picture the scene… Judas Iscariot walked miles and miles with Christ.  He saw Him do miracles… feed the masses… calm the storms…  and teach thousands about faith and love.  But soon, he would be overcome by Satan and give in to his inherent greed.  
Judas was planning to go from brother to betrayer with a kiss.  Turn over the King of Kings for a few coins…
Have you ever had that happen in your life?  Have you ever had a friend who turned their back on you?  Hurt you deeply?  Betrayed your trust?  If so, Jesus feels your pain.  
Max Lucado describes betrayal this way… “It’s more than rejection. Rejection opens a wound; betrayal pours the salt. It’s more than loneliness. Loneliness leaves you in the cold; betrayal closes the door. It’s more than mockery. Mockery plunges the knife; betrayal twists it. It’s more than an insult. An insult attacks your pride; betrayal breaks your heart.”
Why does it hurt so badly to be betrayed?  Because it usually comes from someone very close to us:  someone we work with, a friend… or someone with our own last name.  So how do we react when it happens?  Some become extremely angry…flying into a rage.  Other people swallow the pain… only to lash out at others who don’t know what’s going on and who don’t deserve it.  Yet another way is to just keep the relationship going…as if nothing ever happened… but resuming it without trust.  
Get furious.
Get passive/aggressive 
Get on with life like nothing happened.
Three unhealthy ways to handle the hurt.  So how do we deal with betrayal?  
Go to God with it.  Cry out to Him and tell Him how you feel.  He already knows.  Refuse to let your heart harden… you’ll have to trust others again and only God will be able to help make that happen.  Have you been betrayed?  Hurt deeply by a friend?  Take a few moments and read Psalm 55:16-23.  See what King David prayed.  
You aren’t alone in your feelings… Jesus understands how much betrayal hurts… and He’ll never leave your side as you begin the road back to trusting others again. 
I’ll be praying for you as you heal.  

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