Matthew – Fulfilled.
The way we humans handle adversity, trials and tragedies depends on our point of reference, the center of our lives. We mess up, deny it at first, then see it for what it is and finally repent…or we stay in denial. Others see that all is lost and give up on life completely. What (or Who) deeply motivates us from the inside out has a lot to do with the outcome of our mistakes and sins.
In the next passage of God’s story of His Son’s trial, we see two men, Jesus very own disciples, who traveled with him for three years, deny Him and betray Him. Each were very sorry and remorseful for what they had done. Peter remembered Jesus and what He had said to him and cried over his sin of denial. Judas repented to the High Priest only when he saw that Jesus was going to die. The response he received from the church leaders was, “What do we care? That’s YOUR problem.” He hung himself.
Two men – Two outcomes.
Matthew 26-27, The Message
Denial in the Courtyard
69 All this time, Peter was sitting out in the courtyard. One servant girl came up to him and said, “You were with Jesus the Galilean.”
70 In front of everybody there, he denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
71 As he moved over toward the gate, someone else said to the people there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene.”
72 Again he denied it, salting his denial with an oath: “I swear, I never laid eyes on the man.”
73 Shortly after that, some bystanders approached Peter. “You’ve got to be one of them. Your accent gives you away.”
74-75 Then he got really nervous and swore. “I don’t know the man!”
Just then a rooster crowed. Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.
Thirty Silver Coins
1-2 In the first light of dawn, all the high priests and religious leaders met and put the finishing touches on their plot to kill Jesus. Then they tied him up and paraded him to Pilate, the governor.
3-4 Judas, the one who betrayed him, realized that Jesus was doomed. Overcome with remorse, he gave back the thirty silver coins to the high priests, saying, “I’ve sinned. I’ve betrayed an innocent man.”
They said, “What do we care? That’s your problem!”
5 Judas threw the silver coins into the Temple and left. Then he went out and hung himself.
6-10 The high priests picked up the silver pieces, but then didn’t know what to do with them. “It wouldn’t be right to give this—a payment for murder!—as an offering in the Temple.” They decided to get rid of it by buying the “Potter’s Field” and use it as a burial place for the homeless. That’s how the field got called “Murder Meadow,” a name that has stuck to this day. Then Jeremiah’s words became history:
They took the thirty silver pieces,
The price of the one priced by some sons of Israel,
And they purchased the potter’s field.
And so they unwittingly followed the divine instructions to the letter.
Think about it…(many thoughts are here!)
–Consider the motivations of each man. Peter tried to fight for Jesus when he was arrested by drawing a sword to attack, cutting off the ear of one of the Chief Priest’s servants. Jesus told him to stand down from the fight. But Peter cannot help himself, he must see what is going to happen to Jesus, so he comes as close as he can, even to the courtyard. He even dares to come into the light of the fire to warm himself and listen. His love for Jesus has not died.
–By the way, it seems Peter is the only disciple that stuck close by to see what is going to happen next. Where are all the others?
–Then there’s Judas, who went over the line in betrayal. His motivation was money (the treasurer of the Jesus band of followers) and the power he received from information. He sold Jesus to the High Priests for 30 pieces of silver…about $600 in today’s standards…about a week’s work. He is remorseful now that he sees what evil is going to happen to Jesus, but it is too late. He believes it his problem alone, just as the Chief Priest said so his way of dealing with it is to end his life.
–Peter has back up and support from other followers…he goes back to Jesus’ followers and disciples probably to report about what is happening. Jesus taught them to stick together, to love each other, to pray and to focus on Him when times got tough. I’m sure they are distraught and confused over what is happening, but they are together.
–Judas has no support group or family to turn to.
–Scripture is fulfilled.
–When Jesus rises from the dead, Peter is the one who comes running to the tomb to see for himself.
–Later, the followers are together in one place and then Jesus shows up in their midst! Mm.
–The moment they saw Him, they worshiped Him. Some held back, afraid to risk…but we are getting ahead of the story.
–Two men – Two outcomes.
Are we repentant? Or are we in denial? Are we only sorry we got caught? Are we afraid to risk being known as a child of God? Do we have the love and support of others? What or Who is our motivation in our messes?
Dear Heavenly Father, We are human and born in sin. But we do not have to stay that way because of Jesus. Thank you for saving us, teaching us, forgiving us and guiding us out of the messes we create. We can choose the outcome of our lives and for that we are grateful. Help us to choose well for our very lives depend on it…on You.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.