Matthew’s Passion: Blood money and the suicide of Satan
40 Blogs of Lent: 26
He has been duped by the high priest and his cronies, whatever Judas thought would happen after Jesus was handed over is not clear, but it is clear he wasn’t expecting Jesus to be executed. Who can he now turn to?
Not to Jesus, who is in custody, not to the other disciples, who have heard Jesus predict his betrayal and seen Judas arrive with the Temple guards; both that previous evening. So he returns to the plotters, who had given him the payment for his actions.
The plotters reject Judas just as they have rejected Jesus. Ashamed of what he has done and all alone, Judas commits suicide. This is one of the saddest parts of the story. Judas was not alone among the disciples that deserted and denied Jesus but he was too hasty, not waiting for Jesus to restore him in a few days time. Not even waiting a few hours to hear Jesus pray from the cross, “Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.” God is a God of forgiveness and restitution. I believe that even Judas could have been restored.
The suicide of Judas points to the suicide of Satan. Satan knew what Jesus came to do. In the temptations of Jesus he tried to persuade him to follow a path of using his power to enjoy fame rather than follow the path of humility and suffering. When the disciples heard that Jesus was to die Peter tried to disused him, and is called Satan by Jesus, for that is just what satan would do.
Satan uses people’s weaknesses in order to use them. In Peter it was his self preservation, in Judas his love of money. Satan knows he will be defeated by the death and resurrection of Jesus, and that he cannot be stopped. Knowing this is the end, Satan makes things as painful and heartbreaking for Jesus as possible. Betrayed, deserted and denied by his closest friends, Jesus is to die alone. Satan knows he is defeated, this is his suicide as well as that of Judas.
Jewish priests have a prophetic role, even here, even by those who plot against God. The prophet Jeremiah bought a field before the exile of Judah into Babylon as a promise that Judah will return to their homeland. By copying the actions of Jeremiah, the plotters are prophesying that Jesus will be resurrected.
Here is the passage I am blogging about:
3 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, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. 6 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.” 7 So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”
Matthew 27 ESVUK
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.