30 Pieces of Silver
Judas Iscariot, a follower, disciple and friend of Jesus betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver. This is a part of the Easter story that everyone knows. Judas plays the bad guy. He’s the Scar to the Simba. He’s the Captain Hook to Peter Pan. He’s the Jafar to Aladdin. Okay, enough with the Disney analogies. You get it. He was the bad guy and everyone knows it.
For 30 pieces of silver, he did the unthinkable. He betrayed Jesus. If you aren’t familiar with the story, you can read it in Matthew 26:14-16.
This morning, I spoke on this topic for my daily video devotion (shameless plug - YouTube.com/user/jasonfredregill) and I have been thinking about it all day. My head has been spinning with a myriad of questions and emotions in regards to Judas and his actions.
Why 30 pieces of silver? How much was that worth? What was he going to do with the money? Why would he even do it?
Anger. Confusion. Sadness. Thankfulness.
Although, I have done much research on the matter - not all of these questions can be answered. I know that the number 30 is important because both Jeremiah and Zechariah prophesy this number in the Old Testament. It was worth about a day’s wages. It was also the cost of a slave. The value of a day’s wages vary depending on who you are and what you do so this value can vary and so can the comparison to the cost of a slave as not all slaves would have cost the same. Stronger and younger were more valuable than older and weaker. The point is that Judas, being a business man, should have known that He could have gotten much more, but settled for less. Nobody will know what he planned to do with the money as he 1. Didn’t have the money very long and 2. Didn’t live much longer.
The question that remains is why? Why would he do it? Judas walked with Jesus for 3 years. Judas was personally called by Jesus to be his disciple. Judas watched Jesus preform miracle after miracle. Judas was one of twelve. Twelve men. That’s it. Twelve guys who were invited by Jesus to do life with him and witness Him at work. Why? Maybe, he was greedy, angry, disappointed or all of the above.
We don’t know the exact reason, but we do know that he did it.
How does that make you feel?
At first, it angers me. How could he give up so much for so little? How could he do that to Jesus? If he wanted out, he could have found a different way. I’m sure he could have sold his “discipleship” to someone for more than 30 pieces of silver - not that Jesus would have allowed “discipleship” to become something that can be auctioned off. I can’t help but think that if Judas didn’t hang himself, Peter probably would have killed him. I mean, Peter did use the sword to try to rescue Jesus from being arrested. He was pretty hot-headed and prone to acts of craziness. I relate to Peter in a lot of ways and what Judas did makes me angry.
It also makes me confused. I hate questions that don’t have answers. I like answers. I like things to be resolved. I like movies that have clear endings. I don’t want to imagine what happens next. Just tell me. This is an ongoing struggle of faith though isn’t it. As I tell my students, “It wouldn’t be called faith, if we had all of the answers.” God gives us what we need and asks us to trust Him on the rest.
It makes me sad. I’ve been betrayed before in friendship and it sucks. Nobody likes it. The first reactions are always anger and confusion, but sadness is what settles in. Sadness that a friend chose something or someone over you. Sadness that someone else decided that you weren’t as valuable as the other thing or person. It makes me sad that someone would do this to my (and yours to - hopefully) Savior, but then that leads to thankfulness.
Jesus is called Savior for a reason - because He saved. He saved us from something we couldn’t rescue ourselves from. He paid a price we couldn’t pay and that price was his life. He was the perfect offering. He was the perfect sacrifice. He chose to leave heaven for this very purpose. His life was meant for death. Christmas was always meant to point to Easter. If Judas didn’t betray Jesus - someone else would have. I hate that he did it, but I guess it had to be done. I don’t believe there was another way. Jesus begged God for another way. There wasn’t. The cross was the answer.
Judas sold Jesus for the cost of a slave. Jesus gave himself for this slave.
Jesus saw me when He hung on that cross. He saw that we would be enemies, but He chose to love me anyway. He saw that I was a slave to sin, but he only knew grace. He knew that I would choose to betray him over and over, but He only saw a redeemed child of God.
30 pieces of silver. That was Judas’s price. What’s your price? Wait…I’m turning this on you…Yup…that’s what pastor’s do. They reel you in and then when you least expect it - BOOM - they make it about you. It’s a gift. What can I say?
Jesus gave the wholeness, the fullness of his life. If those words aren’t clear enough - it means that He gave up everything. He held nothing back and here’s the crazy thing - He doesn’t ask for much back. He simply wants to be a part of our lives. He wants to make our lives better. He wants to give an over-flowing kind of life. But do we give it to him? Does He get 30 minutes a day from us? What about 30 seconds?
You might not be choosing silver, but what are you choosing over Jesus?
I think the real reason that the story of Judas makes me Angry, Confused and Sad is that too many times, I look in the mirror and see Judas staring back at me. I don’t want him to be there. I want Jesus to be there, but he has a way of sneaking up on me and more times then I would like to mention or even think about - I have betrayed Jesus.
I am thankful though for Amazing Grace…that saved a wretch like me!
I am thankful for COVID-19. It caused me to put the breaks on and look at life differently. I value things differently now. God has always had some of my time - heck - I work for Him, but since we’re being honest - I needed to give more and take less from others.
30 minutes! You can do it. Give God 30 minutes everyday. 30 minutes of reading your Bible, praying, listening to worship, etc. 30 minutes.