The Self Destruction of Judas: Matthew 27:3-10
“3) Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4) saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” 5) And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6) The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” 7) And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. 8) For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 9) “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one whose price had been set by the sons of Israel; 10) and they gave them for the Potter’s Field, as the Lord directed me.”” Matthew‬ ‭27‬:‭3‬-‭10‬
When Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he felt remorse. Suddenly his thirty pieces of silver condemned him. It made him feel defiled and dirty.
In his own way, he tried to undue his damage. By returning the blood money he thought he could somehow change the verdict. It was too late. His betrayal led to the condemnation and crucifixion of Jesus.
That was the key difference between Peter’s denial and the betrayal of Judas. Peter’s denial was an inner condition of the heart that had no outer affect on others. The betrayal of Judas was the action that put the crucifixion in motion. Not all sinful actions carry the same consequences.
Though his confession to the chief priests and elders was sincere; “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood”, they were untouched. The betrayal of Jesus rested on his shoulders alone. He decided to carry it himself.
He threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and went out and hanged himself. It appears that Judas committed suicide before Jesus was crucified. Satan condemned him literally to death. Rather than trusting Jesus for forgiveness, he tried atoning for his own sinful actions.
This was the second major difference between Peter and Judas. Peter took the guilt of his sin to the Savior, Judas let the accuser of the brethren weave his guilt into a rope of self destruction. He rejected Jesus as his personal savior.
It is intriguing that the chief priests and elders used the thirty pieces of silver to buy the potters field as a burial place for strangers. This was most likely a piece of ground previously full of clay for making pots. It had been striped of all valuable clay and had become a nearly worthless piece of property. Isaiah 45:9 and 64:8 reminds us that God is the potter and we are the clay. He can make beauty of all of us if we but trust Him. Judas is an example of a wasted life. He took things into his own hands.
We all have a similar start in life. What we allow God to make of us can be radically different. Judas and Peter had equal opportunities in life. They both were disciples of Jesus, but how radically different the outcomes of their failures.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global