THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER – Matthew 26


Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said, What are ye willing to give me, and I will deliver him unto you?

And they weighed unto him thirty pieces of silver.

And from that time he sought opportunity to deliver him unto them.

Matthew 26:14‭-‬16 ASV

THE BETRAYAL BY JUDAS ISCARIOT

Matthew’s arrangement of the events in this chapter certainly suggests that the events concerning the “waste” of the spikenard are definitely connected to the defection of Judas.

Otherwise, the journey of Judas to the priests would have been mentioned in Matthew 26:1-5.

Evidently we are to suppose that the proposal (of Judas) was a consequence of that incident.

Judas, stung by the rebuke of Jesus at the feast, bargains with the rulers to betray Jesus.

If such assumptions are true, avarice, wounded pride, and disappointment appear as prime ingredients in Judas’ motivation for betrayal. What is very remarkable is the astounding pettiness of this diabolical act.

One could come nearer understanding it if Christ had been betrayed for some big reason, but the things which apparently motivated Judas were extremely small considerations.

Give me! Ah, there was the fatal cleft in the heart of Judas. That was what the prodigal son said, “Father, gave me …” (Luke 15:11).

Such an attitude says, “I’ll take the cash; let the credit go; A bird in the hand’s worth two in the bush! Get yours while the getting’s good! You’ve got to look out for number one!”

Such an attitude betrayed the Son of God, and it is still doing so.

Matthew indicates that Judas proposed the betrayal and that the priests named the amount they would pay.

Luke’s use of the word “covenanted” (Luke 22:5) indicates some haggling over the price, which was promptly paid in advance in cash on the spot, once agreement had been reached.

It surely seems almost incredible that those priests who were supposed to know so much Scripture could have been so oblivious to the prophecy of Zechariah that they should have exactly fulfilled it, matching to the penny the Messiah’s betrayal price as set forth by that prophet!

Zechariah wrote:

And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord (Zechariah 11:12,13).

This is far more than a prophecy; it is a whole constellation of prophecies. Note the following:

  1. There will be haggling over the price (if not, forbear).
  2. The sum agreed upon will be 30 pieces of silver.
  3. It will be weighed out.
  4. It will be cast unto the potter.
  5. “Cast” indicates it will be thrown.
  6. The potter will eventually receive it.
  7. The recipient will do the casting.
  8. The whole transaction will occur in the temple (the house of the Lord).

Even a casual student of the New Testament knows that every detail of that remarkable group of prophecies was fulfilled exactly, not by any of Jesus’ friends trying to impose evidence that he was the Messiah, but by his sworn enemies.

In fact, most of the wonderful prophecies of Jesus were fulfilled, not by friends, but by his enemies. Who can doubt that a Power above and beyond those evil men shaped their deeds to God’s pattern, using their sinful deeds to accomplish his own divine purpose?

Without our being aware of it, our fingers are so guided that a pattern is created when the thread gets caught in the web!

The words “deliver him” are translated “betray him” in some of the versions, and they do bear that translation.

The opportunity Judas sought was a quiet one in which Christ could be pointed out and captured by the priests without tumult, or in the absence of the multitude (Luke 22:6).

Judas, knowing the place where Jesus was accustomed to retire for prayer with his disciples, would have no difficulty in finding such an occasion.

And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38 ASV
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