Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Matthew 27:1-10


1 Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred, together against Jesus to put Him to death; 2 and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor. 3 Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.'' But they said, "What is that to us? See to that yourself!'' 5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.'' 7 And they conferred, together and with the money bought the Potter's Field as a burial place for strangers. 8 For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: "AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF THE ONE WHOSE PRICE HAD BEEN SET by the sons of Israel; 10 AND THEY GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER'S FIELD, AS THE LORD DIRECTED ME.''

The leadership agreed that they must get rid of Him-to death, if possible. Their basic charge all along was blasphemy-claiming to be equal with God. Yet they did not dare put him to death by stoning as the law commanded in case of blasphemy, because they feared the people. They therefore consulted, or took counsel together, to determine on what pretense they could deliver him to the Roman emperor, or to fix some charge of a civil nature, by which Pilate might be more likely to condemn Him. The charge which they fixed on was not that on which they had tried him, and on which they had determined he ought to die, Matthew 26:66; but that of "perverting the nation," and of "forbidding to give tribute to Caesar," Luke 23:2. In other words, it was a political accusation, hoping that the Romans would do the deed of ridding them of this Jesus Who had turned their little positions of power upside down.

Pontius Pilate was the governor appointed by the Romans over Judea. The governor commonly resided at Caesarea; but he came up to Jerusalem usually at the great feasts, when most of the Jews were assembled, to administer justice, and to suppress any little uprisings or demonstrations, if any should arise. The duties of the office of governor were chiefly to collect the revenues due to the Roman emperor, and, in certain cases, to administer justice. Pilate was appointed governor of Judea by Tiberius, then emperor of Rome. John says John 18:28 that they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the hall of judgment-that is, to the part of the praetorium, or governor's palace, where justice was administered. The Jews did not, however, enter in themselves, because this would defile them, especially during the Feast of Passover. In Numbers 19:22, it is said, that whosoever touched an unclean thing should be unclean, For this reason they would not enter into the house of a heathen, lest they should contract some defilement that would render them unfit to keep the Passover.

This brings us right back to the leadership, always conniving, calculating and consulting with one another how they might stay in power! People are always expendable at this point, when their positions are threatened. This is such a subtle morsel that all leadership seems to swallow and struggle with. This is precisely what I've seen within the Church. When a normal, humble person takes on a position of leadership, something changes. They take on an air that looks down upon others and then naturally move into protecting their positions of power. It is subtle and it is ugly!

Judas didn't realize that this whole thing would go so far as to put Jesus to death! He had found a slippery slope and went straight to the bottom-fast! Note that those who used Judas as a tool to betray Jesus had problems with receiving back the "blood" money. So, their conscience was a bit twisted. They felt a sense of moral compulsion to not handle the "blood" money to receive it back into the Temple, BUT they felt fine about offering the "blood" money to get rid of a person who threatened their man-made existence.

I can't help but think of the passage that applies to everyone in this paragraph: "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world (or any portion of it) and lose his soul?"