By: Staci Stallings
“And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.” –Matthew 27:5
One thing I love about the apostles is how like us they all were. There was Peter stepping out in faith until he remembered those waves. There was Thomas steadfastly holding to the belief that because it had never been done before, it certainly couldn’t have happened now. And then there’s Judas—the betrayer. The one who threw away Heaven itself for thirty pieces of silver.
Now I don’t know why he made the initial decision, but I’m guessing it went something like this, “Look how much stuff everyone here in Jerusalem has, and here I am with dusty feet following a guy who might actually be lying to all of us for all we know. Okay, at first I believed him, but come on, he’s been making some pretty wild claims lately. Besides do you know what I could do with thirty pieces of silver? Why I could start my own business right here in Jerusalem. Then I’d surely be set for life.”
It sounded so easy. Just tell the high priests where Jesus was, take the money, and run. It sounded so easy—until Judas realized what he had done. By that time it was too late to go back and change his mind. By that time Jesus had been beaten bloody and sent away to face Pilate. Judas tried to change his mind. He tried to give the ill-gotten money back, but the chief priests wouldn’t hear of it. They had what they wanted in the bargain, and they really didn’t care how Judas felt about it or what he did with the money.
For a moment suspend your judgment of Judas in the “how could he do that to JESUS?” corners of your mind. Suspend it long enough to ask, “Where in my life am I doing the exact same thing?”
Maybe it’s in the time you spend working at night, all the while yelling at your children to be quiet so you can “get something done.” Maybe it’s selling your soul to the office, fighting to get one more rung up the ladder. Maybe it’s selling a product you don’t believe in just to make a profit. Maybe it’s selling out your co-workers to make yourself look better. Maybe it’s out-right dishonesty, taking things that aren’t yours.
The story of Judas should serve as our caution that selling God out for a few pieces of silver will not work in the end. Sooner or later you will come to regret what you did, but at that point it will be too late. The devil will only laugh as you fling the money back at him and flee from the temple.
The only way to make sure it’s not too late is to make a different decision right now. Resolve not to sell out Jesus and all He stands for in return for a few pieces of silver. The silver will never be worth the cost. Judas found that out, and he hung himself. You’ve just found it out, and I challenge you to take that understanding and make positive changes in your life. Start focusing on how you can serve the King instead of how you can make a few bucks.
You never know, you may actually gain Heaven in the process!
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2003