Daily Devotional

April 3, 2021

Daybreak: Matthew 27:1-26

“And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me. ” (Matthew 27:9-10)

Several years ago our house was robbed while we were out of town. The thieves took a number of items, including a set of silver-plate flatware that had been our wedding gift from my husband’s parents. That silverware was a treasure. By the time it was stolen, my mother-in-law had gone to Heaven. Although we purchased other flatware, we could not truly replace this treasure because its value was in the memories attached to it. 

Not long ago, the home of some of our friends burned down. Once we knew everyone was all right, our questions were about what was lost. Were his mounted hunting trophies gone? How about her collection of old books? Most of those items were unsalvageable. However, some of their family pictures were saved. We were glad a few treasures were not destroyed.

What do you value? Stop for a moment and consider what you would classify as treasures. We may have earthly possessions that we cherish as keepsakes, but ultimately what we should value most is relationships — with family members, with friends, and foremost with God.

Judas had the opportunity to be one of Jesus’ friends and followers. He traveled with Jesus and saw His miracles, heard His sermons, and listened to His parables. Yet, Judas did not value Jesus — he betrayed Him for the price of a slave.

Israel as a whole, and the nation’s spiritual leaders specifically, should have placed such a high value on their Messiah that when He came on the scene there would have been no doubt that His claims were genuine. They had studied the Old Testament prophecies and knew the many promises associated with His coming. However, when Jesus ministered to them with all His wisdom and miracles to prove that He fulfilled those prophecies, they did not value Him. Rather, they plotted His death and demanded that He be crucified.

While we are not in a position to physically deny Jesus, as Judas and the Jewish leaders did, we want to be careful that we do not betray Him in our daily walk. Do we value anything more than His love and approval? Do we neglect what He wants us to do because it is inconvenient or might displease one of our friends or family? Are we following the commands given in His Word? We want to daily look into our own hearts and ask God to show us if we are valuing Him more than anything else.

Background

The Sanhedrin reassembled in the morning and delivered the official verdict that Jesus was guilty so that the arrest and late-night meeting would not be deemed unlawful. The Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish council during the first century, had seventy-one members and was overseen by the high priest. Sadducees and Pharisees were members of this council. 

Judas witnessed the trial of Jesus, and responded with remorse and regret. In verse three, the Greek word translated “repented himself” indicates a regret at being caught, rather than godly sorrow. He took the thirty pieces of silver he had received for betraying Christ, threw it on the Temple floor and fled. Unlike Peter, who wept bitterly and repented, Judas’ regret brought no forgiveness and he went and hanged himself. 

The Jewish leaders, so guilty in violating some parts of the Law, were extremely careful to uphold other parts, such as not using blood money for Temple purposes. With this money, they bought a potter’s field in which they buried strangers. In doing so, they fulfilled prophesies from both Jeremiah and Zechariah.

Pontius Pilate was the sixth Roman governor to serve in Judea. He was generally disliked by the Jews, having deliberately violated their law. The Jews needed him, however, to condemn Jesus, since they did not have the authority to sentence someone to death. The Jewish leaders accused Jesus of three crimes: misleading the nation, forbidding the paying of taxes, and claiming to be king. Pilate focused on the third charge, for he could find legal basis for execution by declaring Jesus a “revolutionary.” Instead, he found Jesus to be anything but dangerous, and declared to the Jews that he found no fault in Him. Still the Jews were not satisfied. 

Following a Passover tradition, Pilate offered to release a prisoner, but he chose a most treacherous murderer, and asked the Jews to choose between Barabbas and Christ. The Jews, having yielded to the devil, chose to have Barabbas released. At this point, Pilate acted out of convenience rather than out of integrity, and to please the Jews, he ordered that Jesus be crucified.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
VI.   The official presentation and rejection of the King
       E.   The sufferings and death of the King
             2.   The arrest and trial of the King
                   d.   The trial of the King before the Sanhedrin (27:1-2)
                   e.   The death of Judas (27:3-10)
                   f.   The trial of the King before Pilate (27:11-26)
                         (1)   The interrogation (27:11-15)
                         (2)   The alternative (27:16-23)
                         (3)   The concession (27:24-26)

A Closer Look

  1. When Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate, what did the governor ask Jesus?
     
  2. Why do you think Jesus did not defend Himself?
     
  3. What should we do if we find that we are valuing something more than the Lord?

Conclusion

If you are overwhelmed by sin, there is a way to get out of it. Ask Jesus — He can intercede for you. If you have already received the salvation He offers, give thanks! He paid your debt.

Reference Materials