30 Pieces of Silver
Originally scheduled for April 13
One of the great mysteries of the New Testament
is this: why did Judas
Iscariot betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver?
We know the number of coins as the price of a
slave in the Old Testament (Exodus 21:32).
Jesus came not to be served but to serve, and so this price
is appropriate. It
appears again in Zechariah
11:12-13, as the wages of a shepherd – and Jesus is the Good
Zechariah was told to throw the money to the potter in the house of
the Lord. Judas returned
his 30 pieces of silver – which were used to buy a potter’s field in
which to bury Gentiles.
The thread winds thinly through the Scriptures, but it appears that
those 30 pieces of silver – the value today is debatable, but it’s
not a tremendous fortune – are the price of the Suffering Servant.
In those 30 coins there is a riddle:
we know that the betrayal was prophesied, the price already
known – so what Judas did was necessary to bring about the
crucifixion. It had to
happen – and yet Christ tells us that it would have been better for
Judas if he had never been born.
Christ knew what Judas was doing – he even tells him to do it
quickly. Did Judas walk
out of the Last Supper thinking that he was doing something that was
necessary – even something which was good?
Some of us may feel like that on occasion.
We reason with ourselves that because of our sin, God’s grace
has the chance to abound.
If we hadn’t offended that someone, how could we experience
the joy of reconciliation?
Since things turned out well, surely God won’t hold it
against us, right?
God’s grace does abound in such situations –
which is to God’s credit, not yours or mine. That is why in
establishing communion, at this very same Last Supper, we are taught
that we do not justify ourselves.
Rather, communion should be a spur to confession and
Therefore, as we partake of communion, let us
turn our hearts and minds towards confessing our sins and repenting
of them. Examine
yourself, and whatever you find sinful, renounce it.
Accept God’s forgiveness for it, and give him the glory for
the grace you have received.
His body, his blood were given so that you might become
righteous in the eyes of God.
Remember his sacrifice; repent of your sins.