Last week’s article described the increasing tension during Holy Week as the leaders in Jerusalem confronted Jesus; and He in turn preached about trust in God rather than worldly powers. Here we consider the final moves leading to the death and Resurrection of Christ.
The opponents of Jesus wanted to arrest and try Him for blasphemy; and they also tried to get the Roman government involved by accusing Jesus of fermenting revolution. They knew that if they arrested Jesus during the day, His supporters would riot to save Him. And so they wanted to arrest and try Him at night, and then present the resulting condemnation to the public as a fait accompli. But they did not know where He was staying overnight; and if the Passover ended without a capture Jesus could then return to the more favorable area of Galilee.
That is where the treachery of Judas Iscariot came in. Having concluded that Jesus was not going to establish a kingdom of earthly power or wealth, and realizing that the situation was becoming dangerous, Judas decided to cash in and betray Jesus. Ironically, a crucial event leading to this decision was the humble service of Mary, the sister of Lazarus, in anointing Jesus with very expensive ointment just before the Passover. Judas, along with other disciples, questioned this seemingly extravagant expense of using costly oil. But Jesus praised Mary for preparing His body for death. Judas apparently realized what the other Apostles did not, namely that Jesus was going to His death. And so, rather than face the dangers with Him, he took the easy way out and sold information on where Jesus was staying in exchange for thirty pieces of silver.
In this world today, as always, some people will be disloyal to the faith for the sake of worldly applause. Such people usually fancy themselves as courageous, but this boldness is fake. For they know full well that this treachery will gain them the esteem of the world; and they apparently do not care about friendship with God and the company of heaven. In contrast to such disloyalty, are the prayers, the humble work, the family life and charity of those who quietly but firmly build up the greater kingdom on earth. As Jesus rightly predicted, Mary’s humble service will be praised for all ages. And likewise the humble prayers and work of the faithful are preserved for all ages and the fashions of the world come and go.