Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Fourteen – December 14th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Fourteen – December 14th

Thank you for reading our fourteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Yesterday we looked at the prophecy that the messianic was going to be betrayed,  from the scriptures that we read we discovered that the betrayer was one of Jesus hand picked disciples called Judas Iscariot. 

The prophecy spoke that the messiah would be betrayed, it also spoke of a potters field being bought for that same price, a slaves price of 30 pieces of silver. Let’s look again at the verse in Zechariah.

Zechariah 11:12 (ESV) Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter.

Let’s catch up with Judas

Judas is a troubled soul at this point, he took the money and betrayed the messiah. Let’s look at the verses that conform the prophecy in the twenty seventh chapter if the gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 27:3 (ESV)  Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

Whatever you win, whatever you lose

Verse three reminds me of the song by the British rock band called “Status Quo” called “Whatever you want” which has the lyrics…

“Whatever you want
Whatever you like
Whatever you say
You pay your money
You take your choice
Whatever you need
Whatever you use
Whatever you win
Whatever you lose”

Remorse or repentance?

We read that when “Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders” he seems more concerned with the consequences of his actions than the actual sin itself. Some translations have the word as “remorseful” this tells it’s own story.

His heart was guilty on what he had done, that is remorse as opposed to repentance.  He acted next out if self guilt, this is where sin turns to tragedy.

Judas the nobody

Judas really was a nobody until Jesus selected him, he had three years of being in the Inner sanctum of the messiah’s teaching, saw many miracles and heard Godly teaching direct from God himself and he still missed the point.

Judas was also keen for the mission to be accepted by men and the times we hear him speaking up were on the ways Jesus was different to the other holy leaders.

Judas suffered from wanting to be associated with the Godly things but perhaps not be holy himself. He solicited the people he looked up to (for he religious leaders) and tried to find a way in by being useful to them.

He also did this at a price. Judas wanted to he his being regarded as a partner in this enterprise. I have no idea what Judas thought was going to happen but I bet he did not think it would escalate as quickly as it did.

Atonement or regret?

We could finish the article there and it would be sufficient. However we read that Judas tries to undo the wrong by paying the money back. Perhaps in atonement but mainly in regret.

I have been there,  been rescued from my bad decisions but still had consequences due to my sins, I am overweight due to previous bad good and health choices,  I have been poor due to bad lending decisions in the past and had to pay back instead of build wealth. I am sure we all can think of ways we have been delivered but still had consequences.

Holy reasoning

He used the holy law to try to return the money. He wanted to give the money back saying it was wrong for him to take it, obviously Jesus captors had no interest either way whether Judas profited from his crime or not, they already had what they wanted.

Judas, even after all this actually tells the truth about Jesus “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” this shows me two things.

1) His remorseful heart – Judas of a week ago would have turned this into profit by having his testimony bought.
2) The profound effect that Jesus must have had on him, that he could not slander him and declared that the charges against him (Jesus) were false.

Judas at no point accused Christ of anything, when he betrayed him his question was “what’s the price to deliver him?” Not at any point was there a discussion regarding the guilt of Christ. (That did not exist)

Obviously he panics when he realizes what has been put in motion cannot be stopped, he tosses the money on the floor and comes to a sad end.

Judas sad demise

Judas goes and do what desperate people do, come to a desperate end. Between here (verse 5) and Acts 1:16-19 we get exactly what happened to him, let’s read what Peter says in Acts 1:16-19.

Acts 1:16 (ESV) Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

So he hangs himself, eventually either by decomposition or gravity taking hold the hung body falls from the tree and bursts open. They were in a Jewish holy time so I doubt anyone would defile themselves by handling a dead body so he could have been up there in the baking sun for several days. 

The field of blood

Aptly named huh? Sin always has it’s end results and this is unlike any other. Judas is recorded as being remembered to this day and having property named after him. I bet that it was not what he wanted to be known or remembered for.

The compound interest of sin

Judas caught himself in sin, he chose not to repent and compounded sin upon sin. He never resolved the issue with God and became that anguished that he ended up taking his own life when he tried to reconcile a load that he was never designed to bear.

Sin is like a high interest loan from a loan shark. Once you cash out,  you may the balance and then much more. Often times sin compounds on sin and this is eloquently shown in this passage of scripture.

One of my first jobs as an adult was working in a bank and the idea of compund interest is that you earn interest on the interest on the borrowing, sin rarely pays back like for like.

Two deaths, two different outcomes

Two people in this section of scripture died this weekend, both had starkly different outcomes

1) Judas – died in his sins by his own hand with no peace with God.  Eternally he is separated from God.

Judas to me is an example that even if you are not following God,  he can still use you to fulfill the plan of God. The same could be said for the Pharisees and the Romans.

2) Jesus – died for the sins of the world a sinless, blameless man, at perfect peace with God. Rose again three days later and now eternally with God.

We all are going to end up either with or without God for eternity. Which outcome do you choose?

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

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