What Jesus Did! 'So Close and Yet So Far Away' — Matthew 27:3-10

Sunday, December 10, 2017

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Judas saw that they had decided to kill Jesus. Judas was the one that gave Jesus {to his enemies}. When Judas saw what happened, he was very sorry for what he did. So he took the 30 silver coins back to the priests and the leaders. Judas said, "I sinned. I gave you an innocent man to be killed." The Jewish leaders answered, "We don't care! That's a problem for you, not us." So Judas threw the money into the temple. Then Judas left that place and hanged himself. The leading priests picked up the silver coins in the temple. They said, "Our law does not allow us to keep this money with the temple money, because this money has paid for a man's death." So they decided to use the money to buy a field called Potter's Field. This field would be a place to bury people that died while visiting {in Jerusalem}. That is why that field is still called the Field of Blood. So the thing happened that Jeremiah the prophet said: "They took 30 silver coins. That was how much the Jewish people decided to pay for his life. They used those 30 silver coins to buy the potter's field, like the Lord commanded me."
— Matthew 27:3-10 NLT
Illustration of Matthew 27:3-10 NLT — "They took 30 silver coins. That was how much the Jewish people decided to pay for his life. They used those 30 silver coins to buy the potter's field, like the Lord commanded me."

Key Thought

What is Jesus worth to you? You remember the line in the famous old hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross? "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all." While there has been much speculation about why Judas did what he did, the bottom line is simply this: He sold his Master out for thirty pieces of silver! Nothing can make that right except Jesus' love and forgiveness. The fact that Judas took his life for betraying Jesus indicates that he missed the whole point: Jesus died so we don't have to die in our sin. While Peter got the message, received forgiveness, and was called back into ministry, Judas could not see beyond his own horrible deed. He couldn't see the Lord's victory over death. He couldn't see the Lord's love for him. He couldn't see the possibility of forgiveness. He couldn't see beyond his own horrible failure. Incredibly, Jesus called one of his greatest opponents to be his missionary to the Gentiles when he confronted Saul on the road to Damascus. What a shame that Judas died as a traitor when he could have been welcomed back home as forgiven son.

Today's Prayer

Holy God, I must confess that I am often tempted to hate Judas. What he did to your Son and my Savior is unconscionable. But in my heart, I find myself mourning for him today as I think you did. To be so close to the Savior and miss salvation, to be so close to the seat of mercy and die unreconciled, to see Jesus' compassion and kindness and yet bring such a cruel and self-inflicted fate is tragic. Help me to be an agent of your mercy so that those around me who have had horrible moments of failure can find their way back to Jesus, and to you! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Luke 15:20-24
  • 1 Tim. 1:12-17
  • 2 Pet. 3:9

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.