Summary: Judas’ price was 30 pieces of silver. Do you have a price?
WHAT PRICE BETRAYAL?
MATTHEW 26: 14-16
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
Palm Sunday 2000
What is this? The ultimate betrayal for the mere price of thirty pieces of silver? There has been another time when the people of Jerusalem valued the prophet Zechariah at 30 pieces of silver, but that was pay for him, not a blood price on his life. The sons of Jacob sold Joseph into slavery for a mere 20 pieces of silver. What price betrayal?
In John 6:35 Jesus told the people that He is the bread of life. He said that whoever comes and eats this bread would have eternal life. He promised in that passage to raise to life all that look upon and believe on Him. Then in Matthew 26, he was explaining to His disciples that He is the fulfillment of the types represented in the Passover meal. It was at this high and holy moment that the betrayer, Judas Iscariot, excused himself and slipped out to sell the Messiah for thirty pieces of silver.
Back when the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, the very night that they left in a great hurry, being driven out by the Egyptians, Moses told them to remember this occasion with a feast of unleavened bread each year. The Passover was that feast. Exodus 12:33-34 says…
The blood of the Passover lamb had caused the death angel to pass over the homes of the people of Israel that night and only the Egyptians lost the first born in each household because God had said “When I see the Blood of the Lamb, my judgement will pass over you and you will be safe.”.
Now here was Jesus, the bread of life, teaching His disciples that the unleavened bread of the Passover feast represents His body, given for them. He, Jesus Christ, is the real Passover lamb. John the Baptist had said, upon sighting Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!". Indeed, God still says today, When I see the blood of the Passover Lamb on you, my judgement will pass over you and you will be safe.”.
The people had welcomed Him as a hero the previous Sunday; the day we celebrate today as “Palm Sunday”. They had waved their palm branches before Him, and even little children had hailed him as the Messiah of Israel. Yet, soon the crowd would join their leaders in rejecting Him! The same people who had hailed Him when they thought that He was soon going to rid them of the Roman empire, now would cry out for the death of this one whom they had seen heal multitudes with their own eyes! Why? It was because they now understood that His kingdom is not of this world. Indeed, as He said back in John 6, Jesus is the bread from Heaven.
Soon the crowd would scream for Him to be crucified! Soon they would refuse Pilate’s good will offer to free Jesus because it was the Passover. They chose Barabas instead, a murderer. They freed the guilty and they condemned the innocent. Why? Because that is the nature of sin. Every society in history that has rejected the Bible as the authority for life has ended up freeing the guilty and condemning the innocent. Our sin sent Jesus to the cross!
It is as though the leaders said to Judas, here is a price for the life of Jesus, and Judas said “I’ll take it. I don’t like the way Jesus deals with money anyway. Give money to me and I’ll do anything!”
Money was his god. Money is the god of many today. How about you? Rich or poor makes no difference in this matter. So Judas took the money and led the mob to arrest Jesus. (Pour out the thirty quarters.)
The crowd acted like people who would do this to a loaf of bread. (Flatten the loaf of bread).
By rejecting the bread of Heaven they unwittingly helped Jesus fulfill the prophetic significance of the unleavened bread of the Passover, the bread of the Last Supper.
Good Friday is coming. That is the day we remember the cross and the Lord’s agonizing death upon it. We would all do well to examine our motives and what is important to us between now and then. May we use this week to refocus as believers upon fully identifying with the Lord Jesus Christ, remembering that our old self was nailed to that cross too, hidden in Christ? Our punishment for a lifetime of sin was meted out by God the Father, upon our sacrifice lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ that day.
(Also call for the unsaved to repent and be born again.)