Have you ever thought about where the chief priests and elders obtained the thirty pieces of silver, the "blood money" given to Judas to betray Christ? Did the priests use money from the temple offering (misappropriate funds) to pay Judas off?
Judas returns the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders only to have them reject his offering. "What is that to us? they replied. "That's your responsibility." They didn't mind using budgeted funds for "blood money"; but now they have a conscience or conviction about returning "blood money" to the temple coffers. So instead, they use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners (maybe they think this good deed will outweigh causing the death of Jesus Christ, an innocent man).
The guilty thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus turns to Christ in repentance and finds forgiveness and a promise of heaven. Had Judas been that repentant thief nailed to the cross alongside Jesus he would have left this world a forgiven sinner and entered heaven a saint. Instead Judas turns to the religious leaders and finds no place for his "blood money" nor his repentance, "I have sinned, for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" is their reply. Rejected by the very ones who had hired him Judas hangs himself and leaves this world an unforgiven sinner.
Only Jesus offers hope to guilty sinners. Empty religion and Spiritless religious leaders offer no hope and no forgiveness for Judas or anyone.
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
- What do you think Judas hopes will happen when he returns the money to the chief priests and elders?
- Why are they unable to offer him consolation or forgiveness?
- What role do the chief priest and elders play in how Jesus is treated by Herod and his soldiers?
- How does Jesus respond to his accusers? Pilate?
- Why do the Jews avoid entering the palace?
- What are they most concerned about?
- What unites Herod and Pilate?
- How does Jesus explain His kingdom?
- Why do Pilate and the chief priests/elder differ in their conclusions?
Ask the Lord to show you areas in your life which are religious rather than spiritual.