A couple of years ago there was an insurance commercial that made me laugh so hard I almost had an accident. Even when I thought about it it made me laugh, it still makes me chuckle. The whole premise was a camel being excited about Wednesday, “hump day”. It’s corny but still just…fantastic. Wednesday is the turnaround day. It’s the day where we stop staring at the beginning of the week and beginning what is hopefully a quick decent into the weekend. It is a transition day.
During what we refer to as Holy week, Jesus’ week began to transition. Business picked up and pieces began to move from their place. Wednesday sees an ending to the journey as it were. Jesus is in the Jerusalem area. He has finished the journey from which He called His disciples to pick up their cross and follow Him. And, they missed it. All of His closest disciples got caught up in the words and they missed the calling. They heard the word death and drew a me
ntal line. Sure they loved Jesus, sure they cared for Jesus, sure they believed in Jesus. But Jesus had told them that He was going to Jerusalem to die. That is where they stopped.
Make no mistake they continued to follow Jesus. But somewhere inside there was a confusion as to what was actually happening. So much so that a couple of Disciples began to ask Jesus if they could sit at His side when He came into His glory. The grace of Jesus is astounding at this request. He calmly explains that what is coming for Him will come for them. Jesus’ call is indeed a revolution that will require a complete surrender to God. Yet, though they have been told three times that Jesus is going to die, they still miss the point.
On Wednesday night, as they are eating supper, a woman brings in a jar of expensive oil and anoints Jesus. The disciples, John names Judas in his Gospel, get mad because she has supposedly wasted good perfume. It is such a a petty complaint veiled in concern for the poor. Jesus knows that they have once again missed the point. However, this woman, whoever she was, has gotten the point. Jesus is about to go where they cannot follow. There will not be another chance to give this kind of care to Jesus. He is going to be arrested, tortured, and killed. This woman is the first person to really accept the reality of this. Even Peter will continue to get it wrong, until he finally sees it happening. For them seeing is believing, but for this woman, she knows, she believes because there has not been one thing that Jesus has said or done to make her think that He would be wrong. So on Wednesday she expresses her faith in a moving way.
On the other side of the coin is Judas. A disciple that has been with Jesus, has heard Jesus teach, has seen the miracles, has followed him across the lands. Yet doubt gnaws at him in ways deep and dark. We cannot know the motivation of Judas to go to the pharisees and betray Jesus. Theories exist abundantly, but since he never explains his actions, we must simply speculate. Matthew would lead us to believe that money was a motivator. Luke and John state that he was possessed by the devil. Maybe it was those things, maybe a combination. Maybe he was frustrated by this woman wasting money and Jesus’ response about the poor. The other disciples had failed to grasp the message, Judas could have missed the point entirely. Even further maybe he had been thinking a lot about trying to spur on the revolution, and found Jesus’ words at the Last Supper to be permission. Really we don’t know. Judas would kill himself after the deed was done.
We don’t like to think about Judas on a Wednesday. But his failure to grasp the mission of Jesus, the Kingdom of God, and the call of Christ is one that echoes through the years to us. His actions Wednesday give movement to the week, not in a good way. Once the woman has recognized Jesus’ calling, and shown her belief in Him, Judas moves. There are two actions on this Wednesday, one of worship, and one of betrayal. How are our Wednesdays shaping up. Are we making moves of worship and acceptance and faith? Or are we moving to betray, to deny, and thus to our own demise? It would be easy to say that we could be moving a third way, we are just being like the other disciples. If we follow their narrative we don’t come off well either. They all run away and scatter, Peter denies Jesus even while following Him to the temple, and the rest just not mentioned. It seems that the middle path leads to the same point of destruction, or at least to nothingness. How much would things have been different had they simply believed and worshipped? How much more of a witness would that have been? We cannot know from their perspective, though all but Judas were reinstated and set to many good works. Only John is left unmartyred.
Wednesday, like every day is a choice. We can choose to worship, to lay down what the world would see as valuable and concentrate on Christ. Or we can choose to deny, to betray, to wait, to simply stay still, to become nothing. What use is silver that cannot be spent, or empty words lacking motion?