This entire week evil is lurking about as Jesus makes his way from a festive parade in his honor to a grave sealed out of contempt. I love the movie the Passion of the Christ, because from time to time we see the ghastly image of Satan and evil lurking around as the events of this last week of Jesus' life before his death and resurrection unfold. This day of Holy Week is unsettling and challenging.
Evil is on the move. Judas has fully given over to his own greed and makes plans with the chief priests. What is telling is that Judas approaches them and sees the chance at a great business proposition. Evil has entered his heart and the darkness that has encircled his soul dims any hope of what we all know is to come. Jesus is sold out for 30 pieces of silver, about 4 months worth of wages. For the average American household this would be somewhat under $17,000. Maybe if Jesus wouldn't have given him such a hard time at the anointing. Maybe if Judas had been compensated better. Maybe if he would have been voted class secretary instead of treasurer. No! That's the thing about Evil. If it fills the heart, encircles the soul, and drives the actions it won't matter, you have lost control and you will give yourself to its enticing stench. Judas becomes the Anakin Skywalker of Jesus' council and allows hate, pride, jealously, greed, and irrational feelings overcome him and turn his ways to dark.
So how can we read Matthew 26:14-16 and want to celebrate this event on a week we call, Holy! Because even when evil is on the move, it does not take into consideration what good and holiness can bring about. Yes, evil may be on the move, but it is playing into the hand of the Almighty God, who does not create evil, but can unveil its ugliness and expose its wretchedness only to allow good and purity to rise to the top.
Judas plays his part and sells out Jesus with the intent to hand him over to his enemies. It is Judas, though, that will give a significant push that will put things in motion where Jesus dies and the full power of God is seen in his ultimate resurrection. Evil may have been lurking, but it is its nature to fall to pride and when it falls God has overcome...once and for all!
Holy Wednesday Readings: Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:3-6
Challenge: Look introspectively for ways that you might purge evil from your own life and pray for God to bring his glory in all situations.