30 Pieces of Silver

Posted: April 5, 2015 in Christian
Tags: , , , , , ,

“Would you betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver?” that was the question she asked, as she laid the coins on the table.

We sometimes, with well meaning intentions, trivialize the message of Scripture.  In Matthew 26:15, Judas strikes a deal with the Chief Priest and the Sanhedrin to turn Jesus over to them.  They agreed on a price of 30 pieces of silver.

This afternoon, after a wonderful Easter Sunday at church, for some reason I found myself remembering this particular analogy from one of my childhood Sunday School lessons.

One particular Easter Sunday, my teacher asked the question: “Would you betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver?” She asked this while laying out 30 bright shiny new Kennedy half dollars on the table in our classroom.

She proceeded with:  “Judas made a deal to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.  Would you betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver?”

I’m not sure how old I was at the time, but I remember thinking to myself:  “For fifteen bucks?  No! I would not betray Jesus for fifteen dollars.  Shoot, I got more than fifteen dollars for my last birthday.  Fifteen dollars is not enough for me to betray Jesus. That Judas is really dumb.”

Funny thing is that analogy stuck in my mind for many years.  In fact, it stuck with me for more years than I remembered the name of the lady that taught that Sunday School class that day.

If you recall the rest of the story, Judas, after feeling remorse for his actions tries to return the silver coins to the Chief Priest.  After Judas throws the money on the floor and leaves the temple, we read that the thirty pieces of silver were used to purchase a piece of land to be used as a pauper cemetery.  So, the thirty pieces of silver were certainly worth more than the fifteen dollars from my Sunday School teacher’s analogy that day.

I chuckled to myself, as I first remembered this illustration from many years ago.  My first thoughts were we sometimes, with well meaning intentions, trivialize the truths of Scripture.  But, my smile began to fade as I thought more about the original question she asked.

“Would you betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver?”

Almost forty years later, the question weighs heavy in my mind.  Would I betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver?  Would I, really?

As I continue to think on this question, I recognized many times I have betrayed Jesus for far less than thirty pieces of silver.  Sometimes, I have betrayed Him for my own comfort.  I betrayed Him for my own convenience.  I betrayed Him for my own selfish desires.

If I were to ask the rest of you, I believe I may not be alone in this matter.

Oh, we love Jesus, but it’s a beautiful sunny day, so we’ll skip church this “one time.”  After all, Jesus understands. We need our family time.

Oh, we love Jesus, but the weather is so bad outside, I think we’ll just “stay home” this Sunday.  After all, Jesus understands. Besides, I don’t need to get sick and miss work Monday.

Oh, we love Jesus, but we cannot tell others about Him.  We don’t want to offend anybody.  After all, Jesus understands. Our Christian beliefs can be offensive to some people.

Oh, we love Jesus, but we cannot teach that Sunday School class.  After all, Jesus understands. We’re not good with “that” age.

Well let me remind us all… Jesus does understand.

Jesus understood Judas too.  Jesus understood Judas was about to betray Him.  Jesus understood the time had come for Judas to turn Him over to the Chief Priest.  Jesus understood the exchange Judas had made to betray Him.  Jesus understood Judas.

Jesus understood betrayal.

Jesus understands betrayal today, as well.

Today, it’s pretty easy for us to criticize Judas for betraying Jesus in exchange for thirty pieces of silver.  Yet, we will betray Jesus for far less. Sometimes, our price is as cheap as our own convenience.

In my mind, I can still see that little table with those thirty Kennedy half dollars.  While the illustration seems to cheapen Judas’ price, the truth was not compromised.  Because, that teacher (whose name I cannot even recall) asked a question that resurfaced in my memory nearly forty years later.

“Would you betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver?”

If we’re all honest, our price is far less than the silver Judas received.  Often times, our price is even less than the fifteen dollars on the classroom table that day.

Today, I ask you:  “What is your price to betray Jesus?”

Now that your price has come to your attention, what are you going to do about it?

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