Matthew 27:3-10

The high priests never cease to amaze me. 

Judas realizes what he’s done and tries to repent, but they don’t care.

Overcome with remorse, he gave back the thirty silver coins to the high priests, saying, “I’ve sinned.  I’ve betrayed an innocent man.”  They said, “What do we care?  That’s your problem!”  (Matt. 27:3-4, The Message)

They used him.  They were never convinced that Jesus was a criminal.  They were convinced he was a threat to their power.  And so they used Judas and didn’t care about the consequences to his own soul.

Refusing to keep the money, he tosses it in the temple treasury before leaving.  But the priests are dismayed by this.

“It wouldn’t be right to keep this – a payment for murder! – as an offering in the Temple…” (Matt. 27:6, The Message)

Well, what does it really matter at this point? 

It’s fascinating to realize that these same priests were furious when Jesus drove out those conducting business inside the temple walls, making money inside the place reserved for worship of Almighty God.

In fact, Mark says that Jesus’ actions in the temple prompted the chief priests to begin “looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him” (Mark 11:18).

I do not know the origin of the thirty pieces of silver they used to pay Judas, but I do not think it is hard to imagine that it could have come taxes or profits from business affairs in the temple courts. 

And now they are concerned about those thirty silver pieces going back in the treasury because they were used to pay for murder.  Murder that they themselves have sought.

This is the height of legalism – the epitome of false security in following rules.

They condemned an innocent man, and then worried about breaking rules for receiving the bribe money back into the temple treasury.

God, keep us from becoming like them.  May we never become consumed with following rules and so miss the point altogether.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”  (John 5:39, ESV)