It's Spy Wednesday Eve! But what is Spy Wednesday?

As the Lent Madness faithful are fully aware, voting for the Golden Halo takes place tomorrow, on the Wednesday of Holy Week. You may have heard the Supreme Executive Committee refer to this day as “Spy Wednesday.” They mentioned this day several times in this week's episode of Monday Madness. Unlike many terms associated with the saintly smackdown, the SEC did not, in fact, make up this name on a whim, unlike Scott trying to convince you that yesterday was Nard Monday and today is Grain Tuesday. Thus, as several of you have asked us about this unusual name for the Wednesday in Holy Week, we thought we’d shed some light on this.

First of all, Spy Wednesday does not refer to James Bond, the Cold War, or even the famous Spy vs. Spy comic strip popularized by Mad Magazine (though there is an uncanny resemblance here to Tim and Scott).

Spy Wednesday gets its name because it is the day on which Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Because Judas is thought to be sneaky, his actions conjured up the image of a spy. The synoptic gospels all include an account of the betrayal — Matthew 26:12-14, Mark 14:10-12, Luke 22:3-6.

This is how the Gospel of Luke recounts the events:

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:3-6)

Spy Wednesday iconThe icon here evocatively depicts this infamous scene of dark spy-like conspiracy. If you enter fully into every day of Holy Week, the Gospel readings provide the narrative of Jesus’ final days, an ever-quickening story that spins out of control and finally brings us to Good Friday.

It is surely a strange juxtaposition to think about Spy Wednesday and Lent Madness in the same moment. But the whole point of Lent Madness is to engage us all in an exploration of the ways God’s grace has filled the lives of women and men through history and across all cultures. Sure, we’ve been silly and even competitive about our Lenten exercise. In the end though, we are learning to see in fresh ways how Jesus Christ matters to all humanity. That seems like a good and holy thing to do on Spy Wednesday.


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11 comments on “It's Spy Wednesday Eve! But what is Spy Wednesday?”

  1. I've enjoyed Lent Madness for several years. However, I felt that this year was too heavy with medieval persons, noble as they were. In the former years of Lent Madness you included many very fine Christians who, however, did not make it to the Golden Halo. I think these Christians of the last three centuries could be repeated in future editions of Lent Madness, giving them another chance at the Golden Halo and, more importantly, giving us a reminder of their faithfulness and more contemporary examples of the Christian life.

  2. One thing that I cannot forget is the wideness in God's mercy. We may not have any idea of the scope of meaning in Jesus' cry, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." We know the extent of the evil that was behind Judas Iscariot's betrayal but we cannot appreciate the extent of the grace of God. We know the full force of the cruel acts of the people, the priests, Pontius Pilate, the soldiers, the thief who mocked Him from the cross. Can we realize the extent of grace that could extend even to these?

    1. I so agree...I've always thought that I would meet Judas close to the right hand of God in the forever. He who would feel that he had most for which to be forgiven will understand and appreciate the grace of that forgiveness! All the other actors in the drama of Holy Week will experience God's Grace, but will it be appreciated as much...

      1. well said, Genie - who but the worst of us can appreciate the most the blessing of God's Grace and forgiveness .

  3. I have other thoughts and beliefs about Judas. He, in my beliefs, was chosen by Jesus in the beginning knowing that he would be the needed betrayer. Without Judas there would have been no turning over of Jesus to the Jewish (and finally) the Roman authorities to be crucified.

    There is a wonderful poem about Judas howling out side the heavenly home of Jesus lamenting his action that ends with Jesus welcoming Judas int to sit at table with him. I believe it is The Ballad of Judas but I cannot put my finger on it right now. You can find it on line and I encourage you to read it and find a new perspective for his actions.

    1. Jane Anne Gleason, your post resonated with me because I, like you, feel that Judas was the person Jesus chose to do what had to be done in order for God to triumph. I have always felt that Judas was the scapegoat. I'm certainly going to look up that poem.

      Have a blessed and joyful Easter!

  4. Excellent summary of your vision statement and reminder of what Holy Week is all about. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've had such a good time in following, day by day, your musings and descriptions of these lesser-known/talked about saints. Although I didn't always side with the winner (after all, I can't expect everyone to think like me), I had a really fun time. Now, start planning for next year -- I can hardly wait!

  5. I do believe in good and evil. I believe that Satan is present and does try to "enter us".
    I know that I strive to welcome God into my life daily and resist evil. Thanks for
    introducing the wonderful 2021 host of saints who teach us ways to practice the love of God in action.