Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
"Thirty Pieces of Silver"
Mar. 12, 2018
Read Matthew 27:3-10
Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What will you give me if I deliver Him over to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.
~ Matthew 26:14-15 (ESV)
The price of a slave. The price of a cemetery. The price of God.
When Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he brought his traitor's money back to the leaders who had given it to him. "I have betrayed innocent blood!" he cried out. And he tried to give the money back, as if somehow, some way, that would stop Jesus from dying.
But there was no hope of that. "What is that to us?" they said. "You deal with it. It's your problem, not ours." There was no room for repentance there -- no leader who was man enough to admit their own involvement in the sin, no priest true enough to speak mercy to Judas' terrified soul. And so he went out and hanged himself.
But the silver remained, there on the floor where Judas had thrown it. Something had to be done with it. And so they set their minds to a solution, as if that were the most important decision they would make all day.
After due deliberation, they decided to buy a piece of land to use for a pauper's cemetery -- a place to bury strangers who had no one to care for them in death. And so the money that led to two men's deaths ended up doing some good after all.
The price of a dead slave's life, paid as recompense (see Exodus 21:32). The price of a cemetery where the last, least, and lowest might find decent burial. The price of the God who took on the form of a slave: "But (He) emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:7-11)
THE PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, that You paid the price for me with Your own life. Set my heart upon You that I may love You in return with my whole life. Amen.
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Imagine for a moment--what might have happened if one of the priests had had enough mercy to try to reach out to Judas in his despair? What might have been some possible outcomes?