Throwing Down the Silver

“Mary took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.” John 12:3-6

“Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him…

“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, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ They said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself.’ And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.” Matthew 26:14-16; 27:3-5

Judas has spent years with Jesus. He had witnessed His demeanor when challenged, His steady and guileless love, His patient and kind instruction, His miracles that transformed the most ruined of people. But his heart was for another god- wealth- and he sold his soul to betray the Lord of lords.

He acknowledged his sin, but could not get over it. He had agonizing remorse, but no authentic repentance. He tried to make recompense with the priests and elders, but never came clean before his Lord and Savior. He threw the silver rather than clinging to the cross.

When and how do we value Christ’s treasure more than Christ Himself? What earthly treasures take more of our time, attention, and effort than our heavenly ones? Have we succumbed unconsciously to the habit of seeking favor more than forgiveness? Where have we made light of Christ’s sacrifice for us, trying in vain simply to make restitution, and disregarding the immeasurable cost Jesus paid for us? (Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:20-21; Acts 3:2-7)

Are there decisions we’ve made, and deeply regret? What is the proper response when recognizing our sin against Jesus? Where do we throw it down? How can its burden be relieved? By genuine confession and repentance. And when once we repent, we desire, and are free, to cast our wealth in with the bounty of Christ, to be used for His purposes and people. (Acts 3:14-15,19-20; 4:32-37)

“Riches I heed not, nor vain empty praise;
thou mine inheritance, now and always.
Thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.” ~Old Irish, ca 700, translated by Mary E. Burnes (1880-1931)

Good Father, may I throw off every wayward affection and idol, and fully cast my lot with You, for Your will and glory and great name’s sake.

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