Thirty Pieces of Silver
Only Matthew gives the amount of money Judas was paid to betray Jesus 30 pieces of silver. But Matthews primary interest seems to be its symbolism more than the exact amount.
Matthew often sees a parallel between an incident in the life of Jesus and an Old Testament passage.
The Book of Exodus, in a section setting forth various laws and regulations, stipulates that if an ox gores a slave, the owner of the ox must pay the slave owner 30 shekels of silver. The parallel is clear. In the exchange of money between Judas and the chief priests, Matthew portrays Jesus as someone valued no more than a slave.
Thirty pieces of silver, at the time of Jesus, are estimated to have only about one-tenth of the value they had when the Book of Exodus was wrriten many centuries earlier.
Ash Wednesday through Saturday has been called The Porch of Lent an entryway to help us get the feel of this 40 days season. Take another look at your Lenten Plans on February 18th.
Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you? They paid him 30 pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. Mt. 26:14-16
From that time on Judas looks for a chance to hand Jesus over. Matthew used that phrase from that time on twice earlier in his Gospel, each time to mark an important shift.
The first was after Jesus temptation in the desert: From that time on Jesus began to preach . . . It marked the beginning of his public life.
The second was when Jesus asked his disciples, Who do you say that I am? and Peter professed him to be the Son of god. From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly.
We now have the phrase used for the third time. It was another turning point, the moment when Judas, who must have been thinking about this for quite some time, decided to do it to betray Jesus.
Looking back on my own life, what are the turning points that marked a shift for good or for ill the mileposts that I can look back to and say From that time on . . . . ?
Now, go to the future. Years from now, looking back to Lent 2007, how would I like to be able to finish that sentence: From that time on . . . . ?
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.