3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.
Isn’t it amazing how we rationalize our wrongdoing, put a new spin on it, to pretend that what we have done is good rather than wrong? Go ahead and point your finger at the chief priests – after scheming with Judas to get Jesus arrested and killed, they denied any responsibility for Judas’ remorse. “That’s your problem, not ours.” Really? Do they think God will not condemn them for their actions?
Meanwhile, what to do with the money returned to them? “Let’s buy a field where foreigners can be buried, because we want to be considered law-abiding holy people.” Never mind that they were an accessory to the murder of an innocent man.
Then there’s Judas. He was filled with remorse. He confessed his sin. He returned the money he had been given. Then he took his life. I’m not God; I can’t take God’s place to judge Judas for what he had done. But if I had to choose who behaved worse in this scenario, I would choose the chief priests and elders hands down.
Holy and Gracious God, how sad we must make you when we do not obey your word! Forgive us when we rationalize the wrongs we do and act as though someone else is to blame, not us. Help us be honest with ourselves, and sincere in our confession and desire to act differently next time. Maybe we’ll fall short again, but at least we can recognize between right and wrong. Thank you for what Jesus did for us on the cross, bringing us close to you. Amen.