Conspiring in Darkness, and the Light of Truth

In the days leading up to the Festival of the Passover, the leaders of the Jews sought diligently ways to destroy their King. The decided to take Jesus covertly to avoid public knowledge of their treachery. It was while they plotted that the disenfranchised Judas, one of the Lord’s twelve anointed Apostles, appeared to them. Asking for the price they would pay if he would deliver his Master to them, they promised 30 pieces of silver, the lawful price of a slave. He promised, in turn, to take them to him while he was away from the adoring masses. It was this betrayal that allowed the Savior to be captured at Gethsemane.

The coming days would show his betrayal to his Sovereign, and to his peers, but for now his evil, and the evil of the Sanhedrin where covered by both proverbial and literal darkness.

In order to not get ahead of myself, I won’t go into detail about the capture, yet. Instead, I want to point out that it was on this night, not later, that Judas betrayed his Lord. It was tonight that he made the decision to act; and it was tonight that he premeditated his murderous actions. From this point onward, even had he recanted his evil intent, and protected his King, he would have suffered the wrath of the leaders of the Jews for his failure. We will see, however, that he did not make that decision.

It is not without reason that this Wednesday has become known as ‘Spy Wednesday.’ And as this week leads to the darkest of days in the world’s history, surely it will come with the actions of evil men. And it is fitting that, though they sought to keep that evil hidden, even now we know them. The name Judas has become synonymous with betrayal, even nearly 2000 years later. 

“Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD, And their works are in the dark; They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?””

It is the nature of man to seek to cover his sins. It is our desire to hide our evil from knowing eyes.

But the Lord knows everything, and all darkness will be exposed to the light and “everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.”

We must learn from the treachery of Judas that our sins cannot remain hidden. As we walk the road toward Galgotha this week, we must look inward and expose our sins to ourselves first; then we seek reparations to those whom we have sinned against. No secret will remain secret, no sin will remain hidden. As we follow the Redeemer let us heal the sorrows of those whom we’ve wronged. 

This week, let’s seek out those who hurt because of our choices, and seek forgiveness. If we’ve determined to sin, it’s not too late to choose the right. Today is symbolic of the decision to sin, but we are not bound by the choice of Judas, we must choose the King, and not the silver.

Holy Monday, Cleansing the Temple, and Cleansing Our Hearts

Traditionally, on the day following his Triumphal Entry and the praise of Hosanna, Christ found himself in the Holy Temple.  Dedicated as the House of the Lord, it was, in truth, His  house. It was here that the Jews taught the Law, sacrificing and blessing, intending to keep the Children of Israel faithful in preparation to receive the Higher Law.

Sadly, the Jews had defiled the Holy House, filling the courtyard with animal sellers and sacrificial animals, which noisily brayed and squawked as the sellers shouted their prices and bartered with the nearest worshippers. Because the temple was attended from many lands, money changers filled the courtyard, exchanging money’s of foreign lands for the coin of the Jews, all for a nominal price, of course. Surely, the courtyard had become a buzzing center of both trade and corruption. 

Here, as He prepared for the upcoming ultimate sacrifice, the Lord entered His house, no doubt seeking solace and peace, but found again the tumult of the corrupt. For the second time during His public ministry, he overthrew the tables of the money changers, drove out the animal sellers, and forbade the laborers from using the temple as a shortcut while carrying their burdens. “It is written,” he said, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

The Lord taught us the importance of keeping the Temple clean and free of the cares of the world, free of sinful corruption, and free of worldly labor. But further, he taught us to keep ourselves clean.

As we prepare this week to celebrate the triumph over death, let us cleanse oyrselves of the sins and burdens that keep us from being holy vessels for the Spirit of the Lord. Let us be worthy of being called His, that He may dwell in us and find peace. Let us repent that He may be able to do His work in our hearts.