Daily Reading: Leviticus 1, 2, 3; Matthew 26:1-25
and [Judas] said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. (Matthew 26:15, NASB95)
Jesus has just been anointed for His burial, but it’s not until this verse that we understand how Jesus will die: He is betrayed by one of His own disciples. The city of Jerusalem grows from about 25,000 to 125,000 during the feast days, so the chief priests would need help locating exactly where Jesus would be. How does Judas, an insider, become the perfect betrayer?
- The disciples, along with Judas, don’t understand why the woman’s deed of anointing is not a waste (Matt. 26:8-9). Jesus must die and this symbolic act is sacrificial, God-ordained, and has lasting significance. It reveals in advance Jesus’ destiny to die, but also the hope of His resurrection. Jesus reveals that He will die and shows great appreciation for this act of anointing. Judas, however, is indignant of this sacrifice because of greed and disillusionment with Him.
- Judas does not understand Jesus’ purpose, who He really is, or His value. While the woman poured out the very expensive oil upon Jesus, Judas takes the much smaller sum of thirty pieces of silver to betray Him. In the OT, this was the price to be paid to the owner of a slave gored by an ox (Ex. 21:32). Perhaps Judas thought he was worthy of some compensation for wasted years following Jesus. Matthew is also alluding to Zechariah 11:12-13, where this is the value placed on God’s servant for His work by the people of Jerusalem (see Matt. 27:5).
If Judas had been listening, he would have realized that Jesus knew of His own death (Matt. 26:12), and Judas’ act of betrayal (Matt. 26:25). Jesus also declared the terrible judgment he would face for such a deed (Matt. 26:24). While he was one of His disciples, he had no idea who Jesus really was. Even after spending years with Jesus, would you ever betray Him or are you faithful to the end? Like the woman who anointed Him for burial, would you be willing to sacrifice for Him?