Holy Wednesday and the Betrayal of Jesus

Today, March 27, 2014, marks Holy Wednesday in Christianity.

Luke 22:2-6

This day is also known as Spy Wednesday, Good Wednesday, and Great and Holy Wednesday

It commemorates Judas Iscariot’s agreement to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, a defining moment leading up to the crucifixion.

Holy Wednesday

In Western Christianity, many churches of various denominations observe the Tenebrae service on Holy Wednesday. The large majority of the world’s 2.3 billion Christians are Western Christians (about 800 million are Protestants).

Tenebrae is a religious service held during the three days preceding Easter Day, and characterized by gradual extinguishing of candles, and by a loud noise taking place in total darkness near the end of the service.

On the first Holy Wednesday, in the Holy Week of the first Easter, the chief priests and the scribes were procrastinating, out of a fear of the people.

The great mass of the people were convinced that Christ was at least a prophet sent from God; and it is likely they kept steady in their attachment to him. 1

The chief priests may not have feared God, but they did fear the people. They feared how the people may react if they killed this so-called “Son of God.” So, they just had to find a way to do it in a politically wise manner.

But it all plays into God’s plan – this was the appointed time for Jesus to go to the cross.

One of Jesus’ disciples, Judas Iscariot, consented on Holy Wednesday to turn on the religious leaders in exchange for thirty pieces of money. He agreed to kiss Jesus and identify him to the authorities.

Scripture says that Satan entered Judas, one of Jesus’s 12 disciples (vs. 3). This does not diminish Judas’ personal responsibility but it shows that the real enemy of Jesus was Satan, even more than Judas was an enemy.

Luke 22:3

The devil is also known as Satan. The Hebrew name/verb “satan” means to be or act as an adversary. As his name indicates, the devil is engaged in opposing God and the work of Christ. He often does this by tempting mankind. Judas Iscariot’s treachery exemplifies the devil’s opposition using a man. 2

On the Wednesday before His death, Holy Wednesday, while Judas conspired with the chief priests, Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the Leper. As He sat at the supper table with his disciple a woman named Mary anointed Jesus’ head and feet with a costly oil of spikenard.

In Western Christianity, Holy Week, is the sixth and last week of Lent, beginning with Palm Sunday and concluding on Holy Saturday.

Spy Wednesday is another name for Holy Wednesday.

The term “spy” refers to Judas, who covertly plotted against Jesus Christ and betrayed him to the Jewish authorities.

In recognition of the clandestine nature of Judas’s betrayal, Holy Wednesday is sometimes referred to as “Spy Wednesday”.

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Consider the Daily Bread email message sent on 3/27/2024 which says,

DB Luke 22:2-6

Luke 22:2-6 – The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people.

And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. They were glad and agreed to give him money. So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd. (NASB)

Today, Wednesday 3/27/2024 is Holy Wednesday.
Notice on this dark day Judas began seeking an opportunity to betray Christ to them in the absence of a crowd. (Luke 22:6)
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Cited References:

  1. William Newton Clark, An Outline of Christian Theology (New York, NY: Scribner, 1901) https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/acc/Luke_22.html

2. Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1985), pg. 448

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