Judas betrays Christ for 30 pieces of silver and then when he sees that Jesus is condemned to death returns to the chief priests and elders of Israel and says “I have betrayed innocent blood.” They, however, show no remorse or retreat from their decision to kill Jesus whereupon, Judas takes the money and throws it into Temple.
Then it happens.
Here’s the response centered in the warped righteousness of the priests.
“It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. (vs. 6)
Did you catch that?
They consult with one another over what was lawful (or righteous) and no one pointed out that . . .
- plotting a righteous man’s death was wrong
- bribing another man to betray Him was wrong
- receiving “blood money” for any reason was wrong
- turning an innocent man over to Pilate was wrong
- not repenting of their intention was wrong.
But none of that stops them. Priests, arguing about doing what is lawful with money thrown in the treasury but blind to the illegality, unrighteousness, and evil of making plans to kill an innocent man. (Cf. Mt. 27:1-10)
Pilate can find no reason to condemn Christ. But instead of releasing Christ, he plays games with the Jewish leaders. First, he offers to release a prisoner with Christ being one of the options. Then he allows Barabbas to be released, but when the leaders incite the crowd to a near riot, when his wife approaches and says she has had a dream. “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him,” she tells Him. (Cf. Mt. 27:11-9)
So Pilate . . .
- can’t find anything for which to condemn Christ
- get’s a warning from his wife
- tortures an innocent man to appease the priests
- humiliated an innocent man to entertain his soldiers
- knows that the priests have brought Christ to him out of envy.
Yet, he condemns Christ to death and washes his hands of any guilt in a basin of water saying “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”
Pilate had a warped sense of righteousness as well.
And so do I.
So do you. That’s why we need a Savior.
And that is why God caused all these things to work together for our God! How mighty is our God! How glorious is His plan?!
Psalm 32 accompanies today’s reading of Matthew 27. It is a perfect companion.
A psalm of confession. A psalm of pleading for mercy. Reread the psalm, it’s just 11 verses, and make it your own by praying it back to Christ.