Summary: We can’t gussy up our attitudes or actions to make them seem righteous on the outside and think that we are pleasing God. It’s much better to be transparent and let God deal with you, than try to hide sin under a pretty blanket.

The latest answer when you are caught making a mistake, doing something wrong – even breaking the law is: There was an error in judgment. Not, I goofed, or I’m guilty – but an error in judgment was made. That goes right along with this one: "I assume responsibility for all of my actions, except the ones that aren’t my fault." We expend a lot of time and energy trying not to be the blame for things. The trouble is – that’s often the worst thing we can do when it comes to our relationship with God – and the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ is surely a great example of that.

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death.

This would be a meeting of the entire Sanhedrin. The group of chief priests had already decided to condemn Jesus, but they couldn’t by law do that at night – so they met in the daytime to legitimize their decision.

It’s amazing how far people will go to make their actions seem appropriate, not matter how ugly they really are. God was not fooled by the fact that they met during the day – what mattered was what they did.

So too with us – we can’t gussy up our attitudes or actions to make them seem righteous on the outside and think that we are pleasing God. It’s much better to be transparent and let God deal with you, than try to hide sin under a pretty blanket.

2 They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.

Jesus was bound as a common criminal. The reason they had to go to Pilate, the Roman governor, was that the Romans had taken away the Jews ability to carry out capital punishment. The Jewish leaders knew Rome would throw out their charge of Blaspheme, so they invented a charge of treason – namely that Jesus claimed to be king, so that they could get Rome to kill him and they would escape blame.

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."

"What is that to us?" they replied. "That’s your responsibility."

5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

I don’t know what Judas thought he was doing – it says he "regretted" – some versions say "repented" but it means: to be sorry afterwards.

Contrast the response of Judas with that of Peter. Peter showed the weakness of humanity when he denied Jesus. Judas showed guilt and spiritual consequences of rejecting Jesus. Judas reacted by committing suicide. Peter reacted by weeping bitterly. Both had "remorse" but "remorse" and "repentance" are not necessarily the same thing. You can be sorry you got busted, but to be sorry for what you’ve done and want to turn around is what repentance is about. Judas should have sought forgiveness from Jesus and His disciples – you can ask forgiveness of all kinds of people, but only God through Jesus can offer real forgiveness to a life that 1. confesses guilt, and 2. turns over their life.

Peter too was very sad about what he’d done – but he didn’t commit suicide. Judas apparently thought he had no options – sometimes we are brought into situations where we think all is lost, there is no way out.

Friend – know this, that with God all things are possible. There is always a way out – the problem is 1. you can’t see it so 2. you’ve got to trust God to do it for you. But suicide is never a way out. As much as the enemy would like to make us believe, it doesn’t allow us to escape any of the pain, it’s just that those who are successful can’t come back to warn us against it.

6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: "They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me."

The Pharisees have no trouble paying Judas to betray Jesus and commit murder – but they balk at taking the money back because it is now "unclean." Go figure. The "Potter’s Field" was known as that probably because of it’s high clay content. This was prophesied in Jeremiah and Zechariah and most likely refers to property in the Hinnom Valley – to the south of the walls of Jerusalem. That location was known for human sacrifice and was an unclean place – which worked for burying non-Jews. So now the scene shifts back to Pilate.

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