A Blood Money Problem: Matthew 27:1-10

Focus Passage: Matthew 27:1-10 (GW)

Early in the morning all the chief priests and the leaders of the people decided to execute Jesus. They tied him up, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.

Then Judas, who had betrayed Jesus, regretted what had happened when he saw that Jesus was condemned. He brought the 30 silver coins back to the chief priests and leaders. He said, “I’ve sinned by betraying an innocent man.”

They replied, “What do we care? That’s your problem.”

So he threw the money into the temple, went away, and hanged himself.

The chief priests took the money and said, “It’s not right to put it into the temple treasury, because it’s blood money.” So they decided to use it to buy a potter’s field for the burial of strangers. That’s why that field has been called the Field of Blood ever since. Then what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true, “They took the 30 silver coins, the price the people of Israel had placed on him, 10 and used the coins to buy a potter’s field, as the Lord had directed me.”

Read Matthew 27:1-10 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

When reading about the fate of Judas Iscariot, the chief priests’ and leaders’ words and actions surprise me. On one hand, they are apathetic towards Judas Iscariot over his regret, but when he throws their money back at them, they now see it as a problem.

After Judas throws the 30 pieces of silver at them and leaves, Matthew tells us, “The chief priests took the money and said, ‘It’s not right to put it into the temple treasury, because it’s blood money.’ So they decided to use it to buy a potter’s field for the burial of strangers. That’s why that field has been called the Field of Blood ever since. Then what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true, ‘They took the 30 silver coins, the price the people of Israel had placed on him, and used the coins to buy a potter’s field.’” (v. 6-10a)

What strikes me as a little humorous about what happened is that the money probably originated from the temple treasury to begin with. If so, that would mean that the Israelite religion God had originated paid for the death of His Son. But by not accepting the money back, the Israelite religion wasn’t willing to accept they had done anything wrong.

The chief priests and leaders know that this is blood money, so they used it for as low of a task as they could think of: purchasing a field to bury strangers.

But Matthew draws our attention to the realization that none of this decision making was done by chance. God knew exactly what would happen, and through Jeremiah, He predicted in detail the amount and the fate of the money that was used to betray Jesus.

In this event, Matthew again draws our attention to the truth that nothing about the crucifixion weekend was a surprise to God. Everything that happened that weekend happened for one single purpose. That purpose was opening the way for our salvation.

I doubt the chief priests and leaders realized they were playing into Messianic prophecy, but their actions while they were apathetic and/or hostile towards Jesus actually caused them to fulfill prophecies that pointed to Jesus as the Messiah who God sent.

This tells me that even when we don’t think God is present or that He cares, He is still able to move behind the scenes directing our lives. While we might not understand what is happening at that moment, we can trust that in the future, we can look back and see how God led every step of our lives.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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