Today’s Chocolate: Splendid 70% Dark Chocolate with Orange
Today’s Passage: Matthew 26
Judas doesn’t show up much in the synoptic gospels. He gets mentioned in the roll call of the disciples in Matthew 10:2-4 and Luke 6:13-16 as “the one who betrayed Him,” and that’s pretty much it until today’s portion of the narrative, Matthew 26. But when it comes to Jesus’ last hours, that’s Judas’ time to shine.
Judas first distinguishes himself as a deal-maker. Knowing that the chief priests are out to get Jesus, he takes the initiative and goes to them. “What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?” (15) he asks. They settle on thirty silver shekels, and Judas starts looking for an opening to get Jesus into his new benefactors’ hands. Man’s a go-getter.
But Jesus knows the one to betray him is among his own disciples. At the Passover meal, when he starts talking about his coming betrayal, each of the disciples starts worrying about being the one to sell out the Savior. Jesus identifies the man as “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl” (23), and Judas, like the others, asks, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” (25). I expect he’s feeling the heat by this point and trying to cover up his intentions as best he can, but Jesus tells him: “You’ve said it yourself” (25). Judas has a hidden agenda, but even as Jesus sees through Judas’ veneer, he’s still sharing the Passover meal with the man who will give him over to his enemies.
On top of that, Judas has been part of the crew throughout Jesus’ ministry. He was even sent out with the rest of the twelve, healing the sick and performing exorcisms (Matt. 10:1). The same guy who would prove instrumental to Jesus’ eventual crucifixion was not just witnessing, but participating in Jesus’ mission. In a twist of expectations, even his betrayal would prove to be part of the mission. He was on the inside, and he betrayed Jesus with the sign of the most intimate first-century Jewish friendships, a kiss.
Conspicuously absent from Matthew’s account is any mention of Satan entering into Judas. I wonder if Matthew, being a hated tax-collector, had some empathy for the posthumously-despised turncoat disciple. Matthew also reports Judas’ remorse for his misdeeds, but that’s just one of the things we’ll find in tomorrow’s chapter.