Luke 22:3-6; And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. 4 And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. 5 They were glad and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd.
For those who read my writings it’s obvious I’m not Catholic, nor do I belong to a liturgical church, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in what took place during the week between Palm and Easter Sunday, thus the articles this week! The importance of Jesus’ actions during this unforgettable week cannot be overstated.
It’s clear in scripture the Lord had a busy week in those eight days and my objective in this series is to explore what He did and why.
Today we’re looking at what events took place on Wednesday of Holy Week. When I began reading my Bible and compiling the events for just this one day I must confess my ignorance at the number of prophecies that were fulfilled. While there are many who argue from the side that we have no prophecies of Judas in the OT, allow me to argue there are enough scriptures from the OT and Jesus’ words in the NT indicating otherwise.
Here are just a few that mentions money or the field and then some prophecies of the day itself;
OT: Exodus 21:32
NT: Matthew 26:15
OT: Psalm 41:9
NT: Matthew 26:14-15, Mark 14:10, Luke 22:48, John 13:18
OT: Psalm 55:14
NT: 2 Thess. 2:3
OT: Zechariah 11:12
NT: Matthew 26:14-15
OT: Zechariah 11:13
NT: Matthew 27:3, 5-7
OT: Psalm 69:25
NT: Acts 1:16-20
Song of Solomon 1:12
Judas’ betrayal and subsequent suicide served as a witness to the Lord’s innocence in several ways.
If the council hadn’t been so driven to persecute Him it wouldn’t have mattered what Judas had said or done, they would and should have ignored him. When he tried to return the money it was already too late anyway, but take note of the Pharisee’s reaction to Judas. When he told them he had sinned they said; “What is that to us”? They knew they couldn’t take the money back because it was considered blood money thereby making it unlawful to be in the possession of the priest.
They too had crossed a threshold of no return. They were concerned over their status, their homes, their money, their jobs and whatever else they had going on in their personal lives.
Matthew 27:3-10; “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. 7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. 9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; 10 And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.”
Oh, the depravity of the soul! If we’re aware of someone’s sin leading to death (spiritual or otherwise) and don’t intervene we become an accessory to the sin committed.
Now they’ve sinned twice! They plotted His death and they had no care over the welfare of a fellow man’s soul in whom they were left in charge through their job description of priest.
Being a friend in countries outside of the US carries with it various weights and meanings. For instance, friendship in Ethiopia means the friend/guest has the privilege of the best seat in the house. As the family gathers around to eat, they sit on pillows placed on the floor in a circle. People recline against a wall or each other with the food in the center of the circle.
Typically the best goat of the family will be slaughtered for a meal and the eyes which are highly esteemed and considered a delicacy are reserved for the friend. The best part of the flat bread is also reserved for the friend and the host who sits next to the guest will actually place the food in the his/her mouth to lessen the work of the friend.
Many of the traditions in Ethiopia are also seen in the Middle East during Jesus’ time up until today. Being a friend brought privileges as well as duties. Judas’ betrayal is still spoken of today worldwide because of its connotation.
A friend never betrayed his friend. Like the example we’re given of David and Jonathan the bar is set high and those in a covenant friendship can rightfully expect loyalty even to death. Judas twisted his privilege to the nth degree.
Alas, Jesus had more enemies than friends, each with their own agenda of why they wanted Him out of the way. While all but one was visible (Satan being the unseen enemy), Judas had to stand in line with the others to give his laundry list of reasons why He fought against God. Ironically many of the reasons on the enemies’ list mimicked each other; greed, jealousy and unbelief.
Notice his interaction with those attending the dinner at Simon the leper’s home;
Mark 14:3-11; “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. 4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. 6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. 9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. 10 ¶ And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.”
Notice that immediately afterwards he left and betrayed Him. It’s much like us today. We can sit in a crowd of thousands and no one would be the wiser to our sinful thoughts. This becomes even more apparent the next day at the Last Supper.
First let’s take a look at the cost of the betrayal. Zechariah 11:12 gives us the value for the field.
“And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.”
The shekel which is in reference to the silver in Zechariah 11:12 had long been the unit price for the purchase of land/property since the time of Abraham (Genesis 23:16). In NT times the shekel was worth four drachmas or four denarii. It’d be equivalent to roughly $400-$500. Thirty pieces of silver would therefore be the equivalent of $12,000-$15,000 in today’s economy (2013).
In one way or another each of the disciples would deny or betray Jesus and again each had their own reasons why. There was Peter who denied Him thrice, Judas who sold Him out…no one showed up at the court hearings to give a good report. No one.
How many times do we do the same thing when given the opportunity to stand up for Him today? Is it because we don’t want to embarrass ourselves or the kids in front of the PTA? How about at the office water cooler? Who’s going to speak highly of Him at the next ball game?
Scripture says that He will stand by the afflicted! Remember the role of friendship and what it entails and allow the Lord to strengthen you through His word! Psalm 22:22-24;
“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.”
Praise His Holy Name!! JESUS!!!
Sin only needs a foothold to take root and settle in. Martin Luther once said that it’s not your fault if a bird flies over your head, but it is if it builds a nest in your hair. Never let it take root!
I know I’m a nag, however, entertaining if but a moment the idea you don’t have to speak up and give Him a good report takes up space in your heart and leaves that much less time in your day for Him.
One more thing for today and it’s specifically for members of the LDS Church.
Whenever you see the Bible telling us to praise His Holy Name – remember His name is Jesus. Christ is a title meaning Messiah. If you refer to Him as Messiah then exactly what did He do and how did He fulfill that role?
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18