I send this blog out on Wednesday morning. We celebrated Palm Sunday, tomorrow is Maundy Thursday, which leads to Good Friday and the joy of Easter Sunday worship. But Scripture is almost quiet about the Wednesday of Passion week. What did Jesus do that Wednesday?
Jesus stayed at the home of Mary and Martha in Bethany during Passion Week. Bethany is about two miles away from Jerusalem. The city would have been extremely crowded and chaotic during the Passover week. Jesus and his disciples walked those two miles each day to teach in the temple and then returned to Bethany for the night. We know what Jesus did each day of Easter week, except for Wednesday. That day has been called “silent Wednesday” by some scholars.
Many theologians believe Wednesday was the day spoken about in Matthew 26:14–16, the day Judas chose to betray Jesus. “Then one of the twelve disciples—the one named Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What will you give me if I betray Jesus to you?’ They counted out thirty silver coins and gave them to him. From then on Judas was looking for a good chance to hand Jesus over to them.” What did Jesus do while his life was being sold for the amount commonly associated with the purchase price of a slave?
The disciples needed time to prepare for the Passover meal. Did Mary and Martha help with that? The Passover celebration required shopping, cooking, and planning. Was everyone bustling around Jesus with important preparations while he was praying for the strength to make an impossibly difficult sacrifice? I wonder if Jesus was looking at the faces of these close friends and disciples and grieving for what he knew they would experience after his death. I wonder if he grieved the fact that he would miss sitting with them each day, laughing, talking, and sharing ministry together.
I imagine Jesus taking time on Wednesday to retreat to a quiet spot so that he could sit with his Abba and pray. It’s impossible to fathom what it would have been like for Jesus to be God incarnate, indwelling the limitations of a human body. He understood physical pain, he felt humiliation, he expected his death would be a horrendous ordeal for his human body to endure. He also knew that he was about to accomplish the purpose he had been born to do. He was going to provide salvation for anyone who would choose to believe and make him Lord. What did Jesus pray about during that time with his Abba?
I wonder what his thoughts were about Judas that day. Judas Iscariot may have come to his mind often that Wednesday. It is human to grieve those who are outside God’s control and blessing. Some of us grieve for those same reasons during Easter week. How did Jesus pray for the man that would betray his friends and his Messiah?
This blog post arrives at your computer on Wednesday mornings. If it is still early, and you are making plans for the day, how will you choose to spend your Wednesday of Easter week? Are there preparations for Easter you need to accomplish? Is there someone who doesn’t want to share this holiday with you? Are there loved ones who only want Easter to be about pastel colors and a bunny? Is there a family member, friend, or neighbor you need to pray for today?
Maybe we should spend some of this day like Jesus did. Is there time in your schedule to simply turn the world off, take a walk, and spend some time with your Abba? If you are reading this on your office computer, take time during lunch or during the drive home to simply quiet your heart and think about what Jesus did that Wednesday—and the significance of the events in the days that followed.
Why doesn’t Scripture tell us what Jesus did that Wednesday? Maybe because it was the day Jesus chose to spend privately with God. Maybe we can consider doing the same. Your Abba would love to have that time with you . . . there is something he wants to tell you.
I wish you and yours a blessed and holy Easter. . .
This blog post was originally published on April 11, 2017 during Holy Week.