Matthew 26:15 NLT
“How much will you (religious leaders) pay me (Judas) to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him 30 pieces of silver. (parenthesis added)
Mark 14: 43-46 NLT
And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of the religious law, and the elders. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.” As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss. Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
Judas' betrayal had to be one of the most painful experiences that Jesus ever encountered. Let's deconstruct this passage for today’s reflection.
Who was Judas?
First of all, what do we know about Judas? He did not associate with the religious leaders or their crowd, but was one of the original twelve disciples, and part of the intimate circle of Jesus. Mark 6 tells us that Jesus dispatched the twelve men in pairs to preach the gospel of repentance, heal the sick, and cast out devils. Jesus revealed the mysteries of the parables to his disciples in Mark 4. In Mark 10, Jesus alerted His disciples about His forthcoming death and resurrection. Judas was present and a participant in all of these events.
What was his experience with Jesus?
Judas witnessed the numerous times the religious leaders endeavored to make Jesus look like a fool or catch Him in the act of breaking the Mosaic Law. Every attempt was not only thwarted, but boomeranged. Judas also witnessed the times when the crowd would rise with fury against Jesus and attempted to kill Him, but miraculously every venture failed. Judas had concluded that Jesus was indestructible.
This is my opinion. I believe that Judas did not believe Jesus would actually be condemned to death. He figured that Jesus would escape destruction once again. For quite some time the religious leaders unsuccessfully endeavored to capture Jesus. Judas provided them with an excellent and seemingly foolproof plan.
30 pieces of silver
Once Judas delivered the perfect plan, he demanded payment . The Pharisees insultingly offered only thirty pieces of silver, the monetarily value placed on a slave, considered the lowliest of humans. Judas could have easily negotiated with the religious leaders for an exorbitant amount of money, but it was necessary for Scripture to be fulfilled (Zechariah 11).
The 30 pieces of silver are very significant here. In Exodus 21:32, is the first mention in the Bible of 30 pieces of silver as a price to pay for a slave accidentally killed. Why is this important? Because Jesus took the position of a slave when He became a human being.
He (Jesus) gave up his divine privileges, he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. (parentheses added)
For 3 ½ years, Jesus dodged every accusation and death trap. Filled with the devil, Judas reasoned he would deviously maneuver Jesus into a scenario where He would be compelled to make the greatest escape of all time. In his self important mind, Judas would be indispensable to Jesus and have accepted the responsibility and the glory of such an achievement. But, contrary to his assumption, this evil plan backfired and Jesus was sentenced to be crucified.
Satan exploited Judas
When the court condemned Jesus to crucifixion, it dawned on Judas there was no way out of this predicament. His plan miserably failed and he accidentally sent Jesus to His grave. Filled with deep emotional remorse, he refused to ask God for forgiveness and forgive himself. It was at this point when Judas returned the silver to the Pharisees and hung himself.
Judas exploited the Lord’s goodness. He learned how to operate in the Kingdom of God. He understood and experienced the goodness of God but took advantage of it for his own purposes. Judas tempted God and horrifically set himself up for destruction.
Father, Thank You for bringing to my attention yet another one of the devil's traps. I will not test You or take advantage of Your goodness and mercy. I ask that You help keep me truthful and to never exploit You or anyone else in any way. Keep me safe from evil and the evil one. I give You my life and You may do with me as You will. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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