Monday, August 18, 2014

Judas Regrets His Betrayal Of Jesus

Matthew 27:1-14

“When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.” (Matthew 27:1-2)

When it got light Thursday morning, the chief priests and rulers made the decision to have Jesus put to death.  It was illegal for them to take such a vote secretly at night.  Since they had no authority to execute anyone, they handcuffed him and sent him to the governor, Pontius Pilate, to carry out the execution.

“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.

And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.” (Matthew 27:3-4)

Judas had been angry about Jesus rebuke for his comments about the woman pouring the ointment on Jesus head, and had betrayed him as a way of getting even, but he had no intention of having Jesus killed.  When he realized that was their intention he returned the money, declaring that Jesus was innocent of what he was charged with.   The priests and religious leaders were not concerned that Judas had not wanted Jesus dead or even that he wasn’t guilty.  Their only concern was to eliminate him as a rival teacher.   Judas would have to deal with his guilt himself.

”And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.  And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.  Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.” (Matthew 27:5-8)

Judas realized his petty attempt to get even had made him party to murder and he couldn’t prevent it.   Beside himself with guilt, he hanged himself.  Whether the rope broke or the knot was not properly tied we don’t know, but according to Acts 1:18, he fell and died of internal injuries from the fall rather than from hanging.  Though Judas regretted the consequences of his actions, he never repented of the attitude that caused them.

Deuteronomy 27:25 states, “Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person…” Deuteronomy 7:26 commands, “Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.”  The religious leaders realized it would be blasphemous to use money paid for murder for the temple, so they decided to use it to buy a burial ground for indigent people, totally ignoring their own part in the crime.

“Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.” (Matthew 27:9-10)

Matthew attributed the prophecy to Jeremiah, but the only record we have of it is in Zechariah 11:12-13.  Nevertheless, the fulfillment of the prophecy is proof that Jesus Christ was and is the Messiah.

”And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews?

And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.  Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?  And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.” (Matthew 27:11-14)

When Jesus was brought before Pilate he was accused of claiming to be the King of the Jews.  Such a claim could be considered treason against Rome since the Roman government had designated Herod Agrippa king.  Had Jesus answered yes, Pilate could have in good conscience done as the Jews were asking.  Instead, Jesus pointed out it was not him making the claim. 

As their accusations became more violent and unbelievable, Pilate was amazed at Jesus’ self-control.   Some of the claims were totally outrageous, and Jesus didn’t give them any appearance of legitimacy by taking them seriously, refusing to even respond to them.  In Pilate’s experience, guilty people denied even things they knew were true.   

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