We often think of Holy Wednesday, or “Spy Wednesday,” as the day Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. Judas offers to help powerful religious leaders harm Jesus in exchange for 30 pieces of silver. And the leaders jump at the opportunity—Judas will be their spy.

But what prompted Judas to betray Jesus? How did he go from follower to betrayer? Matthew, Mark, and Luke cite greed as a motivating factor in Judas’ decision, but there could have been a multitude of reasons. Some see Judas’ name, Iscariot, as a wordplay referring to the Sicarii, or the “dagger men,” a sectarian group of Jewish zealots who worked to violently overthrow the Roman occupation. Was Judas angry with Jesus for refusing to go to war? Perhaps. Later in the story, we see Judas’ extreme remorse, but the authors give little insight into Judas’ motivation or mindset during the events of the week.

One thing the authors make clear is that Judas’ actions are incited by God’s opposer, the Satan (see Luke 22:1–6). What does that mean? Who is the Satan, and how do spiritual beings like the Satan engage with human beings in the biblical story?

In today’s video, learn more about how dark spiritual powers will need to be confronted and dethroned when God’s Kingdom comes into full power. Discover the mission Jesus saw himself fulfilling and how he continually describes his treatment on Earth by humans as orchestrated by dark spiritual forces.

*Prayer for Holy Wednesday: Assist us mercifully with your grace, Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts by which you have promised us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

*All prayers in this reading plan are from the Book of Common Prayer (2019).

Matthew 26:1-16
Mark 14:1-11
Luke 22:1-16

We would like to thank BibleProject for providing this plan. For more information, please visit bibleproject.com.