Jesus Is Taken to Pilate
(Mark 15.1; Luke 23.1,2; John 18.28-32)
1Early the next morning all the chief priests and the nation's leaders met and decided that Jesus should be put to death. 2They tied him up and led him away to Pilate the governor.
The Death of Judas
3 Judas had betrayed Jesus, but when he learned that Jesus had been sentenced to death, he was sorry for what he had done. He returned the 30 silver coins to the chief priests and leaders 4and said, “I have sinned by betraying a man who has never done anything wrong.”
“So what? That's your problem,” they replied. 5Judas threw the money into the temple and then went out and hanged himself.
6The chief priests picked up the money and said, “This money was paid to have a man killed. We can't put it in the temple treasury.” 7Then they had a meeting and decided to buy a field that belonged to someone who made clay pots. They wanted to use it as a graveyard for foreigners. 8This is why people still call that place “Field of Blood.” 9 So the words of the prophet Jeremiah came true,
the thirty silver coins,
the price of a person
among the people of Israel.
10They paid it
for a potter's field,
as the Lord
had commanded me.”
It’s funny how things change over time. Growing up, as a young child, I was taught that it was a sin to ride my bicycle on Sunday. But now that I’m older and a bit wiser it strikes me that back then we spent so much time arguing about what was right or wrong that we actually overlooked the true devastating impact of genuine sin – deliberate disobedience to God.
The Bible is clear about what sin is. Often what we classified as sin was simply cultural anomalies but in God’s definition of sin there are definite boundaries and even eternal consequences. That’s why the Bible so clearly instructs us on the importance of true repentance – an admittance of violating God’s laws and a deliberate turning away from such behavior.
In this passage of Scripture Judas comes to the startling revelation that what he did by accepting this bribe triggered a chain of events that would now cost Jesus his life. From everything we know about Judas it seems that is not what he had in mind. But nonetheless, the consequences were fatal.
But Judas’s response didn’t indicate that he felt he had sinned against God – rather that he had made a mistake. It wasn’t a sin but an error in judgment. He felt sorry but his repentance did not bring him to God. By returning the 30 pieces of silver he was simply trying to undo the mistake he made. Overwhelmed with guilt he committed suicide.
For me the moral of the story is that there is a difference between merely making a mistake and committing sin. Mistakes can often be undone sometimes as simply as by giving an apology. But sin is more serious. Sin requires a humble admission of guilt, an about-face turning from your actions and a full surrender to God.
Oh God, don’t let me reduce sin to being just a mistake in judgment. Teach me that true repentance is more than saying “oops, I made a mistake.”