All it took was thirty pieces of silver for Judas to betray Jesus. Adding insult to injury, some scholars claim that was the going price for a slave. According to researchers, those thirty pieces of silver would equate to about half a year’s wages. A tidy sum to be certain, but nothing that would change your life. Hindsight being 20/20, Judas’ act of betrayal has to rank as the single most stupid and greedy act in all of history.
Half a year’s wages to sell out Jesus? If you are going to go toe to toe with God, wouldn’t you at the very least want to make sure you were set for life? The whole equation of silver to God seems ridiculous; at least until we begin to examine our own lives and see we regularly betray Jesus for far less.
I’m confident readers of this blog have never taken money in exchange for denying Christ. The very thought would cause any serious follower of Jesus to recoil in disgust. We would never do what Judas did. Or would we? Every day we have opportunities to serve Christ and to tell someone else about what He has done for us. But we sell out Jesus to save some time or to continue with our “more important” work of doing what we please.
What would it cost us to buy a meal for a homeless person we pass on the street? How much would it cost us to be fifteen minutes late for work because we stopped to help a stranded motorist? And how much would it cost to skip thirty minutes of television and spend time with God instead? All together those examples add up to nowhere near half a year’s wages. We can’t even hit the extremely low bar set by Judas.
Every time we choose someone or something over Jesus, we betray Him. Whenever we pursue our dreams and desires, we sell out the Son of God. Is that harsh? When you committed your life to Christ, when you asked Him to change you, to save you, you promised you would do whatever He asked. You promised to follow and obey. You surrendered your life and professed Him as Lord. When you break your promise, you betray Him. I don’t think there’s any wiggle room there. When given the choice of pleasure, comfort, security or Jesus, which do you choose? Before you answer, look around you. What does your life and how you spend your time and money really say?
At the risk of sounding horribly sacrilegious, perhaps we owe Judas a little respect. After all, he held out for a far higher price than we do in order to turn his back on Jesus. We are all such hypocrites. We wag our finger at Judas and others who failed horribly when they tried to out maneuver God (ever harden your heart like Pharaoh or hold back a little of God’s money like Ananias and Sapphira?). But we fail under far less trying circumstances. Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. What’s your price?