3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” 5 Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. 6 The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” 7 After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. 8 That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood.9 This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver—the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel,10 and purchased the potter’s field, as the Lord directed.”
It’s here that fourth we see a:
- Remorseful heart
The problem with remorse is that it doesn’t resolve the problem it just wants to remove the problem, we just wish the feelings of guilt would go away. But you can’t removal the guilt unless you replace it with God. Remorse without repentance will never make us right. Sorrow doesn’t save us from sin. Judas tried to get his fellow conspirators to offered him comfort, but they didn’t care about his conscience. He thought he could be guilt free by returning the riches, but the truth is that his remorse wasn’t over riches it revolved around a relationship. It wasn’t a money problem it was a me problem. It is amazing how heart problems manifest themselves through hunger problems. Judas hungered for wealth because relationally he was bankrupt, but riches can’t fill relational emptiness. Some hunger to fulfill the flesh, but sex doesn’t satisfy, what about wine, it only leaves us wanting. The list of human hunger is endless and only Jesus can heal our heart problem. Only Christ could deal with his coveting. Judas returned the silver to the temple, but he didn’t turn to Jesus. Freedom comes through forgiveness not flinging down your riches and fleeing. What about you, where will you run with your remorse, will you run to the Redeemer or Religion?
- Responsible heart
In verse 4 he said, “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”The NIV says “That’s your responsibility.” It’s not enough just to have remorse we have to take responsibility for our actions. Judas confessed two things: 1. the innocence of Jesus and 2. his sin in betraying Him (27:4). The truth is that sin wasn’t just Judas problem it was also the chief priest’s problem and its also our problem. Today in our desire for satisfaction we are trading the Savior for sin. The thirty pieces of silver looked so appealing before the betrayal; only after the trade did, he realize their worth. The things of the world are like that; to covetous eyes they sparkle, and shine and we give up things of much greater worth to obtain them. The only way to weigh the worth is by comparing the cost. Today in our mad rush to get we fail to realize what we give. We trade the truth for the temporary trinkets. In our attempts to get love we sacrifice our lives, we trade our bodies for beauty, we give sex to feel special, we give all to get attention, we give up holiness to get ahead and to obtain love we give in to lust. True riches are found in the Redeemer its not about the money but the Master. What are you trading? Can we honestly say that we have never sold Jesus out? When we have played dumb in the presence of non-believers or we joined in the laughter to avoid the ridicule of being associated with Christ, we are selling out Christ for selfish gain. It’s here lastly that we see the:
- Response of the heart
His response to the rejection of the Redeemer.
- Return the riches
Judas tried to trade away his treachery by trying to get them to take it back. Even if the chief priests had been willing to take the money back, he would still have been guilty because religion can’t redeem. It’s not about taking or trading it’s about truth, it’s not about setting down the silver it was about surrendering self. We can’t undo our sin, but we can surrender to the Savior. We can’t fix our flaws, but we can be forgiven. When Judas self attempt, of trying to return the riches instead of turning to the Redeemer failed, he tried to pay for things himself. This is when we run into ruin.
- Run to Ruin
Today we try to pay, Judas hung himself, but he didn’t have to because Jesus was about to be hung in his place. Today many are traded God’s tree for trying instead of trusting. What if he had turned and trusted and waiting on God, in three days he would have seen the risen Savior and the victory of the resurrection. Instead Judas committed suicide. We will either run to redemption or ruin, life or death. What will you choose, to be free or to flee, to run into ruin or to the Redeemer?
- Run to religion
The behavior of the chief priests and elders on this occasion qualifies as a perfect example of “straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel” (Matthew 23:24). That expression, used by Jesus to describe the conduct of the Scribes and Pharisees, made reference to the custom of some Jews of putting cloth over the mouth of a vessel containing drink to prevent gnats from falling into the vessel and defiling the liquid. The Scribes and Pharisees were totally concerned about the smallest matters of defilement at the same time that they were willing to ignore much more obvious causes of defilement, i.e., “swallow a camel.” The camel was the largest unclean animal known to the region. The chief priests and elders had just condemned an innocent man and arranged for His death in a parade of unrighteous travesties, but their “piety” would not allow them to mingle “blood money” with the rest of the money in the temple treasury. Apparently, they had already “forgotten” that it was they who had paid the blood money to Judas! In keeping the price of blood out of the temple treasury, they had carefully strained out the gnat, but only after having already “swallowed the camel.” We must be careful that we don’t fall into this foolish thinking where like the Pharisees we swallow the camels in our daily lives, while ostentatiously trying to strain out the gnats to impress our religious neighbors! Jesus said, “One of you shall betray me.” And the disciples began to ask, “Is it I Lord?” Like them we too have to ask that question, “Lord is it I?” Are we going to be faithful followers or foolish frauds?