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Matthew 27:1-10: Judas Returns the Thirty Pieces of Silver

Posted by adventbiblestudy on August 26, 2012


Matthew 27:1-10 Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. (2) Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. (3) When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. (4) “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” (5) Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. (6) The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” (7) After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. (8) That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. (9) This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver– the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, (10) and purchased the potter’s field, as the LORD directed.”

 

Led by Judas, the temple guards arrested Jesus in the Olive Garden, a place where Jesus often found security when in Jerusalem. They led Him away to Caiaphas’ house to be tried. Peter followed close behind, thinking the threat was over once they turned into the high priest’s home. Much to his surprise, Peter laid eyes on a beaten and broken Jesus while waiting in the court. As Jesus predicted, Peter denied knowing Him three times. At that moment Peter’s attitude completely changed. He saw how all his actions were aimed at calling attention to and glorifying himself. When he saw the injury inflicted upon Jesus by the priests, his heart changed. Peter wanted to help. No one was there to impress, but he felt so helpless. For the first time Peter wanted to put Jesus before himself, but there was nothing he could do with thirty or forty guards surrounding Him. Peter’s heart sank. It was the hardest thing he ever did when he turned his back on Jesus.

 

The priest stayed up long into the night going over their plans. Caiaphas introduced a number of plans, some designed to test the loyalty of his priests. It surprised him to find, the plans placing the greatest amount of responsibility on himself drew the majority of support. Caiaphas knew he had no choice but to make the decision alone. They would take Jesus to Pilate, making it appear he was the one responsible for His capture, trail and ultimate execution.

 

No detail was overlooked. Convincing the Roman commander there was a high possibility of trouble during the Passover, Caiaphas convinced him to commit a number of guards to his service. Caiaphas did not overlook a single detail. He had the temple guards remove the ropes from Jesus and replace them with Roman chains. Seeing a contingency of Roman guards with Jesus in chains, anyone witnessing the procession would think the Roman’s arrested Jesus. When Jesus arrived at the governor’s court the chains would give the desired effect of presenting a convicted criminal. To Caiaphas image was everything. The blame and responsibility was for others.

 

Word about Jesus’ arrest spread quickly. By the time the news reached Judas the story had Jesus already condemned to die. Judas was struck with fear and remorse. This was not part of his plan. His mind snapped. Judas felt like he was in a daze. Why didn’t his plan work? He was certain he was acting to fulfill prophecy. What went wrong? How could he correct the situation. He quickly journeyed back to Caiaphas’ house with the silver. Every last piece.

 

Arriving at the gate, Judas was barred from entering. Judas tried talking his way in by claiming the first thing that came into his mind. He told the guards, “you arrested the wrong man. I tried to explain this before but no one would listen.” His story sounded desperate and confusing to the guards who escorted him to the priests who chose to stay behind. This group was made up of the most ambitious priests ready to betray Caiaphas at a moments notice. Hearing Caiaphas arrested the wrong man was something they wanted to hear more about. When Judas entered the hall he dropped to his knees in front of the priests and said, “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” Judas’ statement told the priests Caiaphas had the right man. After a short discussion they reasoned it did not matter. If Caiaphas kills Jesus, they can use it to their advantage. If he kills an innocent man, it would still serve their purpose, eliminating Caiaphas. What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.

 

The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver– the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, and purchased the potter’s field, as the LORD directed.”

 

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