Yesterday's Treasuring God's Word reading (Matthew 26:1-29) offered a special insight that I had not caught before (actually, a couple of them).
In 26:14-16, Matthew reveals how the scheming Judas went to the chief priests to sell out Jesus. He sealed the deal by receiving a small bag of silver. Then we are told, "From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Him over."
As Judas walked away I wonder if he began to run through different scenarios, trying to think of just the right time and place when he could betray his Master? Did he think he could achieve his objective in a few hours, a few days or a few weeks?
What is amazing to me is that Jesus Himself provides the betrayer with the opportunity Judas is looking for!
That evening Jesus has His Last Supper with the disciples. During the meal the Lord announces, "Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me."
Now I don't know about you but when I hear that someone is plotting and scheming against me, I do whatever it takes to thwart their plan.
Not Jesus. And so the Lord sets in motion the event that will lead to His arrest and, ultimately, His suffering and death.
And that's the point. Jesus is so intent in carrying out His Father's plan for our salvation that the Lord leaves nothing to chance. Judas is looking for an opportunity. Jesus provides it for him on a silver platter, so to speak.
As I read the text, I couldn't help but think again of what Jesus said in John's Gospel: Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (15:13)
Sometimes we're led to question God's love for us. A divorce or job loss or medical crisis or any number of circumstances and troubles provide the devil with the opportunity to plant his nasty seeds of doubt about God's love and care.
The Passion of the Christ shows you and me Jesus is willing to go all the way to be our Redeemer from sin and death and the devil. Nothing surprises the Lord. Everything goes according to the script. Jesus does everything necessary for winning our salvation.
Even prompting Judas and giving the disciple the opportunity to betray his Teacher.
Oh, by the way, Judas is not the only one who ever looked for an opportunity to take Jesus down. See Luke 4:13.