Matthew 27:3-10 (Part 2) – The Chief Priest, Risky Business & Cover-ups

Posted: April 18, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 27:3-10 (Part 2)

Judas Hangs Himself

When you are a kid and you have done something wrong. You try to hide it. You compensate for it by being really, really nice to your parents. While you normally complain about anything that they request you do, when you are trying to cover up a crime, you all of a sudden become this dutiful child on their best behavior. I think we all have done that. You broke something of your parents and tried to cover it up. The ultimate story about this kind of thing was one of my favorite teen movies of the 1980s, Risky Business. The movie that really launched Tom Cruise’s career is the ultimate kid cover up movie. It is a dizzying array of actions that begins with Tom Cruise’s character driving his dad’s prized Porsche. All of it was a grand attempt to keep up appearances to cover up the fact that a car spent time in a lake. That’s the thing I think of when I read Matthew 27:3-10 again this morning, focusing on the final half the passage, vv. 6-10

 

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. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

 

It is just astounding to me that chief priests were so meticulous not to put the money in the Temple treasury because it was money that was basically paid for murder but yet they were continuing with the murder of Jesus. The fact that that they said it was blood money means that they knew that they were murdering Jesus instead of carry out a sentence of execution of a criminal. They knew that they had manufactured their case against Jesus. As we discussed yesterday, the trial of Jesus was illegal, according to Jewish law and tradition, in so many ways. They knew all this but that was not stopping them from carrying out the murder. But yet, gotta keep up the rules. Can’t put blood money in the treasury. Wow! It kind of boggles the mind when you think about it. The hypocrisy of it all. They are carrying out a plan to murder an innocent man but yet they cannot put that money in the treasury. They are afraid of tainting the treasury’s funds from this nefarious activity but it is their own nefarious activity of which they are speaking. It is like saying that you are not a Clemson fan while getting into your vehicle that has a Tiger Paw tag on the front of it. There is recognition of a sin here but no repentance.

 

That’s the common theme of this passage it seems. There is recognition but no repentance. We see it in Judas. We see that he has remorse of what he has done to the point of bringing the money back and confessing to men what he had done. Betraying innocent blood. However, he never seeks forgiveness from God by recognizing his sin before the Lord and asking for His mercy. Here, the chief priests plain out know what they are doing is wrong but they do not stop. They are not going to repent of their sin. And they obsess over a minor detail as a diversion. They want to somehow make themselves feel better that they didn’t commit another sin. Hey lookie here! I did not put blood money in the treasury! It’s like when we were kids and told our brother to hey look over there and they look. Meanwhile, we steal their cookie.

 

Isn’t that way with us sometimes, we try to divert attention away from our own sins by obsessing over details. We try to get people to see how good we are being in certain areas of life so that they won’t look behind our curtains to see or ongoing and active sins. We cover up our sins by patting ourselves on the back for all the other good things we are doing. We convince ourselves that we are being good enough elsewhere that no one will notice our sins. We put out clean linens to cover up the defects in our dining room tables. That’s the thing that is the takeaway today is that regardless of how much we try to divert attention away from our sin, our cover up our sins, God sees them and that’s what matters. Not that we are pulling the wool over our friends and families eyes and getting away with unrepentant and ongoing sins. We are accountable to God. We must identify those sins that we think are OK but yet that we cover up and take them to the cross and ask for forgiveness and mercy from our Lord and turn away from them. Let us examine ourselves today for the sins that we justify, the sins that we cover up, the sins that we don’t want to give up. And admit them to the Lord that we have grieved His heart and beg for His mercy and forgiveness. Let’s stop patting ourselves on the back for not putting blood money in the treasury when we are carrying the murder of our Savior.

 

Amen and Amen.

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