Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Zechariah 11:12
Matthew refers to this verse in Zachariah in his account of the price the priests paid Judas to betray Jesus. It seems like such a small amount to betray a friend but in fact it may not have been a small price. Even today 30 silver American eagles have a value of about $800. People have done many bad things for a lot less. Eight hundred dollars is a week’s wages for some people but in the first century 30 pieces of silver could have been a month to four months wages for a skilled worker. Still, that is not much to betray a friend.
But why 30 pieces of silver? In the book of Exodus 30 pieces of silver was the price of a slave, Exodus 21:32. It could also be the price to buy a slaves freedom. In our case the 30 pieces bought not one slave’s freedom but every slave’s freedom. For all of us are slaves to sin and when the priests bought Judas’ betrayal they inadvertently brought about our freedom from slavery. It brought about the events that would lead Jesus to a trial before Pilate and ending in a crucifixion. It was this payment in the blood of Jesus that atoned for my many sins.
The priests paid the thirty pieces in order to get rid of someone that caused them trouble. They wanted a man dead so he would not cause them trouble with the Romans. Why Judas accepted this price to betray Jesus we may never know. Maybe it was greed or maybe Judas felt the Jesus had let him down. Many Jews felt the Messiah would end Roman rule and that was not Jesus’ goal. I am sure everyone had a good reason to do what they did. Each also most likely believed they were doing the greater good. Yet they all condemned an innocent man to a cruel death.
God however had a different plan and both the priest and Judas ended up moving God’s plan forward. They did not mean to but our God can and does use even bad things to move His plan forward. Try as we may we cannot disrupt God’s plan. Even our disruptions move the plan forward. Thirty pieces of silver does not seem a lot but God can use even small things to get His work done.
It is in the little things I am most amazed at God’s handiwork. God can use a smile by a believer to move an unbeliever toward His kingdom. He can use a kind word or small gesture that we don’t even give a second thought to cause someone to come to him. Each of us can be a small part in God’s plan. The question is will you be a willing part or unwilling. Either way God will prevail.
Have a blessed day,