2020 Lent devotion #30 – Blood money
Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” (Matthew 27:3-6)
Judas agreed to betray Jesus, to take a mob to where Jesus was, in exchange for thirty pieces of silver. In today’s money, about $600. After Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas realizes he’s made a big mistake. His change of mind, though, is too late. The chief priests and elders are quick to point out, “No refunds or exchanges.”
Judas throws the money into the temple and leaves to go hang himself. What are they going to do with that money? All of a sudden the chief priests get all ethical and don’t want the money back since it is “blood money.” In other words, it’s payment for Jesus’ death. To them, it was worth every penny anyway. In less than twenty-four hours, their “Jesus problem” would be resolved. He would be gone.
You and I pay to make problems go away all the time. We pay the lawn guy to take care of the weeds, the dry cleaner to get the wrinkles out of a suit, the exterminator to rid the house of bugs and a hair stylist to cover up the gray hair.
But there’s no one to pay to over up our sins, failures, shame and guilt. We try, though. We’ll buy a nice gift, flowers or a fruit basket to make amends with someone we’ve wronged. Sounds kind of shallow when you think of it that way. And it is.
Only Christ can fully pay for or atone for our sins. Yes, it costs him his life. His blood. That’s the real “blood money.”
Thank you, Jesus, for the blood money that makes my sin problem go away. Amen.