THE TRAGEDY OF JUDAS
Lord of Life, thank you for your watchcare over me. It is personal, penetrating, and abiding. How great you are.
Read MATTHEW 27:1-10
Judas Hangs Himself
27 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. 2 So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”[a]
- Matthew 27:10 See Zech. 11:12,13; Jer. 19:1-13; 32:6-9.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Pray for more wisdom to understand the effects of sin in our world and for protection from the Holy Spirit against its power in your life.
Despite the speed and success of their manipulations, the Sanhedrin could not pass the death sentence on Jesus. This had to be pronounced by the Roman governor and carried out under his authority. The temple elders now had to construct some political charge which Pontius Pilate could not dismiss. In the temple precinct, Judas watched the destructive plan unfold and realized, with huge remorse, the outcome that was now inevitable. The chief priests, however, were in no mood to engage with his regret – he had served their purposes. The money he no longer wanted was contaminating and could only be used to buy a burial ground for unclean bodies.
Flinging blood money into the heart of the temple was the action of a desperate man, now confronted with the gravity of his sin. Although he could hurl the money back, he could not take his own action back. Sin cannot be undone. Its consequences can rarely be avoided. Judas finally recognized the gravity of his betrayal. He had exposed an innocent man to the injustice of those who hated him. Jesus’ life would end on a brutal Roman cross. No wonder Judas could no longer live with himself. His suicide marked the realization that his existence was now intolerable.
Judas lived long enough to hate what his sin had bought him. He did what he thought he wanted, but came to detest it. This is a common human experience. Sin creates a longing which, when fulfilled, can so easily become a loathing. Sin can captivate us, also, and take us into bondage. Most of us are able, thankfully, to reach out to God and seek forgiveness for our wrongs. Jesus prayed from the cross even for those who killed him. We, unlike Judas, can rejoice that God’s grace is greater than our sin.
May we not hold on to sin, but have the humility to confess it before the Lord and receive his forgiving grace.
Loving Father, stir my heart. I know I am guilty of all sorts of sins from selfish motives. Judas was filled with remorse, but lead me to repentance, and grant me your gracious forgiveness.
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