On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover? He said, Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, The teacher says, My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples. The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover. (Mt 26:17-19)
In Matthews story it is now Thursday, and the Passover will begin at sunset. Jesus says, My appointed time draws near. Indeed it does. This young and healthy man from Nazareth is less than 24 hours away from death.
Death is like life. Each death is different, and seldom follows the script we would have written. There are many causes and kinds of death accidents, crimes, suicides, lingering illnesses. There is the sad death of a little child or a young parent. There is the bittersweet death of a very old or sick person who has been waiting to die.
The death of Jesus was a sudden death. On Thursday he was a healthy young man. On Friday afternoon he was dead executed as a criminal.
We began Lent with the words, Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
How shall I die? How will my family and friends react?
What will it be like to meet the Lord?
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.
When it comes to name recognition, Judas Iscariot ranks extremely high. He will forever be known as the disciple who betrayed Jesus. His name is mentioned 22 times in the New Testament. (Second only to Peter.)
The name Judas was common at that time, but the meaning of Iscariot is uncertain. It is an obscure word and could have been his family name or his town of origin. It could also have designated his trade, physical appearance or even political allegiance.
Few biographical details are known about Judas (which is true of most of the 12 apostles). Apart from Jesus, he has been the subject of perhaps more speculation that any of the personalities in the Passion narrative. (Why did he betray Jesus? Did he participate in the Eucharist? Did the words deeply regretted what he had done signify true repentance?)
Later, non-scholarly speculation has made him out to be the older brother of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, or the beloved disciples in Johns Gospel, or a Jewish priest. Such theories have no basis in evidence.