The council held an emergency meeting at High Priest Caiaphas’s palace. Scribes, elders and priests held a heated debate concerning this rising Galilean named Jesus.
“He must be stopped! Everybody is turning to him. We’re losing our standing with the populace because of what he says about us.”
“Especially since he raised Lazarus from the dead. More people than ever are proclaiming him to be a prophet, or even the Messiah.”
“We could have Lazarus done in to squelch that as a mere rumor. I have connections, Barabbas still owes me a favor.”
“But, what about Jesus? He still must be stopped, but how? Jerusalem is so crowded during Passover. If we take him now the crowds will riot. Then the Romans will come down on us hard. We’ll possibly lose our nation all together.”
As Caiaphas stood silence returned. “You men know nothing. It is better that one man die for the nation than to have the whole nation perish. We need only take Jesus when he’s away from the crowds. Then we need to get the Romans to sentence him to death. Once the crowds see their messiah in custody they will turn on him.”
“But, who knows where he’s at when the crowds are gone?”
A scribe went to the door to see who was knocking. He stepped back so the visitor could enter.
Caiaphas’s smile widened. “My dear friend Judas. It’s been a long time. We were just talking about you. How may we be of assistance to you?”
Judas searched the crowd to find any of Jesus’s followers as he approached the high priest. “What will you give me if I deliver Jesus to you?”
Caiaphas leaned forward. “Why do you want to turn on your Rabbi?”
Judas searched the room again. “He’s lost his mind! There’s no talk of overthrowing the Romans. He keeps talking about his own death. If we can bring the Romans to him then he will have to show himself for who he really is.”
Caiaphas stood and motioned to a man holding a bag. The priest came forward and counted out ten silver coins into Judas’s hands.
Judas looked at the bag. The priest counted out ten more. Judas still stared at the bag.
The priest looked at Caiaphas. Caiaphas nodded, so ten more coins fell into Judas’s hands.
Judas stood and placed the thirty silver coins into the bag at his side. “I will let you know when the time is ripe to take him apart from the crowds. Be prepared at all hours.”
Caiaphas placed a hand on Judas’s shoulder. “I’m glad you came to us. We will test what kind of man this Jesus really is. You’re doing the best thing… for everybody.”
Judas placed a hand on his money bag as he looked into Caiaphas’s eyes. They exchanged smiles before Judas left.
As Caiaphas sat down the other men looked at each other.
If this were a more modern scene I could have written smoke into the room. This invitation-only, after-hours, closed-door meeting of people bent on ending Jesus’s life has all the elements of a great suspense novel. But, unfortunately, this is more a repeat of an old news story than new fiction. This really happened.
So, who are the players in this treachery? And why do they want Jesus stopped? Chief priests, elders, scribes, and the high priest are mentioned in the Bible; in other words the religious leaders of the chosen people of Israel. The very men who were responsible for making sure God’s people followed God’s laws properly were contemplating breaking one of the ten basic ones in order to maintain their position of power. You see, corruption is nothing new.
Not only was this miracle-worker from Nazareth attracting people to Himself by His healings, but He was also bad-mouthing the ones whom God put in charge. The blinding of their eyes to God’s very self in their midst was caused by their own self-importance. Changing to doing things a new way was not on their agenda… even if God was the One calling for the change. They were quite comfortable with their power, thank you very much.
What don’t you like about Judas? I mean here’s a man who followed Jesus along with the other eleven. He participated in the feeding of the multitudes, witnessed the healings, experienced the sea calming in an instant with one command. His reaction to Jesus was the opposite side of the coin from the others in the room; he wanted to see change. Somebody needed to make Jesus start His Kingdom. This was obviously the Messiah, God’s promised deliverer; so let’s get things moving in the right direction already!
Before we go any further do you see yourself in that room, yet? If we’re honest we must admit we’ve all been there. Come on now, how many times have you hesitated to do what God has called you to do because you’re just too comfortable with your life to make any changes? And how often have you tried to force God to speed up an event that you knew needed to be done, rather than trust God to bring it about in His timing? On any given day you could have been any one of those men in that room and so could I.
Control, that’s what’s at the core of most problems in life. We want what we want in the manner we want it at the time we want it. If God would just do things to fit our plan then life would run so much smoother. Right? If my husband was less passive… If my wife nagged less… If my boss was more understanding… If the kids would only obey more often… Shall I go on?
You see, that old serpent is still whispering in Eve’s ear. “You can be like God.”
I have a better idea. Let’s let God be God.
I’ll see you later. Wade