Judas and the Thirty Pieces of Silver – Part 2
Judas saw Jesus arrested. He watched as He was taken to the house of Caiaphas the High Priest. But then, in the morning, Jesus was taken before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, as a convicted criminal. And it was then that the truth hit him.
It was all over. Totally and completely finished. The preaching and the ministry. The tramping of the highways and byways. The dinners with Pharisees and the boat trips with the fishermen members of the group. Who were, like the rest of the twelve, scattered like fugitives. Apart from himself of course. He had the favour of the authorities and lots of money to start a new life.
But he was not happy. Yes, he had his money, but somehow he did not want it any more.
He went back to the priests.
“I have sinned,” he confessed. “I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“Nothing to do with us,” they shrugged. “That’s up to you.”
Judas threw the thirty pieces of silver down at their feet and stumbled out. Jesus was lost and he was friendless and alone. He found a remote spot, the potter’s field, possibly where there were pits created by digging for clay, plus a hastily grabbed rather poor quality cord or rope.
There he hanged himself. Unfortunately, the rope he used broke and he fell quite a distance to the ground below, smashing open his abdomen and spilling his innards on the earth.
People were horrified when they found him and the potter’s field became known as the Field of Blood.
Meanwhile, the priests had picked up the thirty pieces of silver and debated what to do with them.
“We can’t put them in the treasury because they are blood money,” they said.
In the end they bought the potter’s field in Judas’ name with the coins and used it as a place to bury deceased strangers who had no provision of their own.
Over time, all of the twelve would die in one way or another, but only Judas had forfeited his place amongst them. So only he would be replaced. Eventually.
Panic of the Elders
Meanwhile, back on the hill of Calvary, the two criminals who had been crucified alongside Jesus had had their legs broken to hasten their end and had been cleared away. Then an awful thought struck the chief priests and Pharisees. They went to Pilate in a flurry.
“Sir, we remember that that deceiver said that He would rise again on the third day. Well, we can count, and that’s Sunday, straight after special Sabbath. Could you command that the tomb be sealedand some soldiers guard it? If His disciples come along and steal the body they will claim He has done just as He said and we will have a real problem on our hands.”
So Pilate gave them permission for a Roman Watch which they organized at the tomb, making sure that the tomb was sealed with ropes and the Seal of the Roman Empire pressed into wax on either side of the door. Anyone who broke these seals would be breaking the rule of the Roman Empire. The soldiers were instructed to make sure no Galilean, half-crazed with grief, should attempt it.
Quietly and sadly, the women went out and bought the spices and ointments they needed and rested according to the law until the first day of the week.