The betrayer at hand- The Holy Week – Wednesday- Mathew 26:14-25

Matthews’s account of the betrayal of Jesus is preceded by the anointing of Jesus feet by ‘a woman’ at the house of Simon the leper. Interestingly in Mathew’s account, the woman is not Mary of Bethany, nor is the meeting at Lazarus’s house, but at Simon’s house. Noteworthy is that Matthew blames ‘all the disciples’ for being ‘angry’ at this ‘wasteful’ use of the expensive ointment.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Judas does not have an active role in the episode, unlike in John’s Gospel. But Matthew continues this incident, of the anointing of Jesus feet, with a Judas incident. Perhaps, a far more deadly one! Matthew thus contrasts the woman’s love with Judas hate.

The Gospels never explicitly tell us why Judas betrayed the Lord. We know that satan entered him and he gave into temptation. What we do see, is what happens after he gives in to satan’s invitation to sin. Judas surely played hardball with the chief priests in negotiating a deal. His question to them is pointed, “What will you give me if I betray Him to you?” The parameters of the deal were clear; it involved betrayal and a consideration.

What was this consideration? We know that Judas settled on silver; we have no idea how long and hard he negotiated. Did he ask for precious stones? And why did he settle for silver and why thirty? Scholars opine that 30 pieces of silver was equivalent to 120 days of work some even suggest a half years salary. In Hebrew culture, thirty pieces of silver was not a lot of money. In fact, it was the exact price paid to the master of a slave, if and when his slave was gored by an ox (Exodus 21:32). The slave’s death was compensated by the thirty pieces of silver.

Perhaps here in lies a thought. This was the price of the life of ‘a slave’. Jesus came to be a slave not a servant, as the English translation has it to be (Doulos in Greek). He ransoms us from satan for the price of a slave; so much does He love us.

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