Deadly Mammon

Clearly, Judas had been in love with this present world for a long time (2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:15). Having stolen money regularly from the common purse which had been entrusted to him, he has sold Jesus for the price of a slave (John 12:6; Exodus 21:32). Now that Jesus has been condemned, he is filled with remorse, for he knows that an innocent man has been betrayed by him and condemned by the Jewish leaders.The money they paid is like fire in his hand; he must get rid of it; but they will not take it from him. Their scruples about accepting “blood money” for Temple purposes highlight their hypocrisy, and lead them to use it to purchase a field for burying aliens to the promises of Israel (27:6-10). Matthew sees here the fulfillment of ancient prophecies (Jeremiah 19 and Zechariah 11) that expose the judgment of God which was going to fall upon the wicked rulers of Israel in previous times. Those events foreshadowed the rejection by the Jews of their true Shepherd and King, Jesus, and presaged the horrible fate that would befall Jerusalem when the Romans destroyed it in 70 A.D. (23:35; 24:1-21). At that time, the entire region became a “field of blood.” Thus, both Judas and the authorities in Jerusalem put the love of this world – possessions, power, prestige – above the love of God and of His people. In direct contrast to Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for many (20:28), they paid and received money to destroy the Messiah and save themselves. How about us? In what way(s) have we loved this present world more than God and His kingdom? What have we paid, or received, to betray our Master? Which of our actions show that we are “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18)? Perhaps we have been obsessed with laying up treasures on this earth, rather than seeking first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:19-21, 33). On the final day, what will it profit us to have gained this whole world, if we lose our very soul? (16:25-26). It’s not much to “find life” in this age and then to lose it for all eternity (10:39). If pleasure, or popularity, or position turn us from following Christ, then we shall hear those awful words, “I never knew you!” on the last day (7:23). Equally futile will be bitter remorse without genuine repentance (Judas), or a hard heart that disclaims all responsibility for what we have done (the priests and elders). Only true turning from sin and faith in Christ will deliver us from deadly Mammon.