The Brightest Truth: Matthew 27:1-10

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Continuing our walk through Matthew’s gospel, we come to the place where Matthew wraps up the details of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal, and in the details of this event, while preparing for this episode, I had not noticed a detail in this event until now. In this detail, we get a brief glimpse of what Judas may have been thinking when he decided to betray Jesus, but when things go a different direction than what Judas thought they would, we discover a powerful truth about how Satan treats humanity.

Let’s read this event and discover what we can learn from one of the darkest parts of the gospel message. Our passage for this episode is found in Matthew, chapter 27, and we will read it from the God’s Word translation. Starting in verse 1, Matthew tells us that:

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.

Let’s pause briefly here, because I want to draw attention to what I saw in this passage while preparing for this episode. Before this event, when Judas Iscariot was in the garden leading the mob to arrest Jesus, when it said that all the disciples scattered, in my mind, Judas disappears along with them. In my mind, only Peter and John turned back in order to be near Jesus. Peter turned back and ultimately hung out in the courtyard, while John likely stood on the outer edge of the room Jesus was being tried in.

However, in order for Judas Iscariot to be clearly aware of the outcome of the trial, he would also have needed to be present. With Judas’ reaction to the outcome of the trial, we can conclude that Judas believed the trial would have gone differently. Verse 3 tells us Judas’ response: “Then Judas, who had betrayed Jesus, regretted what had happened when he saw that Jesus was condemned.

This regret gives us a picture that Judas believed Jesus would not be found guilty of anything, and Judas wanted to be present when Jesus revealed who He was to the religious leaders. Judas actually wanted to be an instrumental role in bringing about Jesus’ step into the role of Messiah.

However, Judas did not understand the role of the Messiah Jesus came to be. In a somewhat ironic twist to the story, Judas actually succeeded in his goal of moving Jesus towards the role of God’s Messiah to humanity, even though he was not alive to witness the end of the events he started.

Another amazing detail in my mind is the reaction of the religious leaders. While Judas Iscariot tries to undo what has happened while realizing he betrayed an innocent man, the religious leaders are clearly more guilty because they don’t care about Jesus’ guilt or innocence. Judas returned and admitted his sin, and the religious leaders replied, “What do we care? That’s your problem.

The religious leaders reject Judas Iscariot’s realization that he had sinned. While Judas was likely trying to undo what he had done, Judas is also looking for a path to forgiveness. Realizing one has sinned is the first step towards being saved. Judas realized he had sinned, while the religious leaders reject the betrayer they helped create.

After throwing the money back at the religious leaders, Judas leaves and hangs himself. Then our passage continues in verse 6, back with the religious leaders. Matthew tells us that:

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.”

The biggest truth in this entire event that is amazing in my mind is how the religious leaders walk almost blindly through fulfilling prophecy. This is amazing in my mind because of all the people in the first century, the chief priests would have been the most aware of the prophecies about the Messiah. If these religious leaders had truly recognized what they were doing while also wanting to discredit Jesus from being the Messiah, they would have intentionally changed the details of what happened in some way. If they wanted to break from prophecy, they could have paid a different amount, such as 20 pieces of silver, or even 35. The religious leaders could have taken the money and spent it on anything but a potter’s field.

However, while taking Jesus to the cross, the religious leaders fulfill more prophecies then they are willing to realize or admit, and this truth ultimately confirms the idea that they are the ones who ultimately rejected the Messiah God sent to them.

In this event, I see in the last stages of Judas Iscariot’s life a model for how Satan treats all of humanity. Satan tempts us to do something we know we probably shouldn’t do, and after we have done what he tempted us to do, he ridicules us, causes us to feel regret, shame, and embarrassment, and after we have fallen for the temptation, Satan is eager to remind us how bad of a person we really are.

Judas Iscariot believed he had no hope and he commits suicide. By committing suicide, Judas Iscariot missed out on seeing what he actually prompted. Because of Judas’ betrayal, the religious leaders rejected Jesus and condemn Him to death, the Romans crucified Jesus, and then God accepts Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity by resurrecting Jesus on the third day. Even though Judas Iscariot was not alive to witness it, he actually helped Jesus fulfill His mission.

While this is one of the darkest parts of the gospel message, it helps reveal one of the brightest truths about God/Jesus. Without the darkness of Jesus’ death, we wouldn’t have the hope of Jesus’ resurrection, and because Jesus has been raised from the dead, we can claim the promise that we too will be raised from the dead like Jesus when He returns to bring all God’s people home!

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As I always challenge you to do, intentionally seek God first in your life and choose to place your faith in Jesus. Recognize that because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we have the hope and promise of resurrection in our future when we place our faith, hope, trust, and belief in Jesus.

Also, continue praying and studying the Bible for yourself to learn and grow closer to God each and every day. By studying the Bible personally with a prayerful, open mind, we are able to open our hearts to God and to grow a personal relationship with God and a strong foundation for our faith in Him.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or be tempted or tricked into leaving where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year in Matthew – Episode 47: While reading one of the darkest parts of the gospel story, discover how Judas Iscariot actually succeeded in what he had wanted to accomplish, even if he didn’t understand what he wanted, and even if he wasn’t alive to witness it.

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