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Thirty Pieces of Silver

Matthew 26:14-16

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Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Matthew 26:14-16 NIV

Thirty pieces of silver. Each piece of silver was probably a denarius, a day’s wages. Altogether, a month’s wages for a common laborer. That is what Judas received to betray Jesus.

Why did Judas betray Jesus? The Scripture gives us some clues. John tells us that Judas was the group’s treasurer and a thief (John 12:6). And that Satan was active in his life (John 13:2). So it would seem that Judas was never fully committed to the cause. He may have seen in Jesus an opportunity to advance himself. And he certainly would not have been the only disciple with that issue (Mark 10:35-41).

But Judas spent three years with Jesus. He listened to all Jesus had to say and saw all of the miracles. He went on short-term mission trips, teaching, healing, and casting out demons (Mark 6:6-13). And he gave every appearance of being a loyal and committed disciple. Until he wasn’t.

Yes, Satan prompted his betrayal. But Judas must have been receptive to that prompting. Judas could have grown weary of his life as a disciple. He could have been trying to force Jesus to declare himself the Messiah and turn on the Roman occupiers. Whatever his reason, I am reasonably confident that he justified it to himself. But in the end, he regretted his decision (Matt. 27:3-5) and paid an eternal price for that betrayal (Matt. 26:24).

Judas’ story is a sad one. But it should serve as a cautionary warning to all of us. If we take our eyes off our Lord and the goal set before us (Phil. 3:12-14), might we find the temptation of thirty pieces of silver hard to resist?

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

2 thoughts on “Thirty Pieces of Silver – Matthew 26:14-16”

  1. As a child, fifty plus years ago, I weep for Judas. I was taught he was in “hell” for betraying Jesus. My reasoning was, he did what was predicted to be done in order for the scriptures to be fulfilled. Over the years I struggled with believing Judas was condemned for eternity. In my heart I had trouble accepting that and had many conversations with the Lord about it.
    One day I read Matthew 27:3-10. Of course I had read it many times BUT that particular day that I read it, it finally answered my long time question about Judas.
    What did Judas do when he knew Jesus was truly who he said he was? He believed and repented. Isn’t that what ALL of us are required to do? Judas was so remorseful he ended his earthly life. His suicide is between him and God. Only God can judge his heart. I don’t for one minute believe Judas is eternally damned. There are countless scriptures that teach our sin is forgiven after repentence. As Paul asks, Do we continue to sin? No, but in reality, we will sin in other area’s in life, hense our daily need to repent of any wrong doing and listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Is suicide a sin unto eternal damnation? Again, that is between the persons state of heart and God. Thank you for the opportunity to comment. God Bless and keep you all!! In Christ, Linda

    • I am sorry, but that passage does not say Judas repented. It says he was remorseful. And there is a difference between the two. Remorseful means you are sorry about something you did. Repentance goes beyond that, determining to go in a different direction. A drunk driver might be remorseful when he kills someone. But if he does not change the actions that lead to that, he did not repent.

      Judas was not a helpless pawn doing what was predestined for him. He choose to do what he did and suffered the consequences for his actions. That God knew he would do it does not relieve him of the responsibility for doing what he did.


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