“Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.” (Matthew 26 v 14-16)
He was in charge of the finances and what he saw just happen pushed him over the edge. A woman had entered the house where they were eating and broke her life savings over Jesus. Worse than that, Jesus seemed to welcome this. Things were getting out of hand and Judas felt convicted to slow the ministry down in fact to end it.
Here is one of the Twelve disciples, a follower, who had seen miracles and transformations of people and was even given authority to be used in this way.
He goes to the chief priests, those appointed to serve around the Most Holy Place in the Temple. In fact one of them, the High Priest, was the only one permitted to enter that sacred space and only one day a year on the Day of Atonement.
Here they are negotiating a deal to betray Jesus who would atone for the sin of the whole world. The irony and sheer blindness.
Worse is to come. They offer 30 pieces of silver. In trying to work out how much that cost going back to Zechariah 11:12-13 we see the phrase ’30 pieces of silver’ being used. Zechariah was given the amount for his work amongst God’s people and it was given as an insult, they didn’t value him at all. The amount was the amount of a slave who is accidently killed (Exodus 21:32). Interestingly God told Zechariah to throw it back at them.
Matthew sets this story immediately after the woman who gave everything she had with the anointing from the alabaster jar. Here they value Jesus as nothing, no more than a slave. But at this stage Judas took the money.
Lessons from betrayers:
- They are totally blind to the hypocrisy of their life. But they are also blind to the fact that God holds the bigger picture, they cannot fool Him.
- They will always find people who agree with their betrayal. They may thus feel justified.
- They plan. Betrayals don’t just happen, they are planned and organised.
There is one other lesson: Everyone remembers the one who gives their whole life to Jesus but of course everyone remembers a betrayer as well!