“Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.” (Matthew 26:14-15, The Message)
Until this morning, it hadn’t dawned on me how driven by money Judas Iscariot’s decision to betray Jesus to religious officials who wanted Jesus dead.
A woman had anointed Jesus with expensive perfume. Matthew says that all of Jesus’ disciples were angered by the woman’s extravagance. The perfume, they believed, could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor.
But Jesus applauded the woman, saying that she had anointed His body for burial.
Right then, Judas runs off to see how much money the priests will give him if he provides them with the chance to arrest Jesus quietly.
Judas seems obsessed with cold hard cash. That appears, from this passage anyway, to be his motivation for betraying Jesus.
1 Timothy 6:10 says: “...the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
Money in itself isn’t evil. (No matter how badly Pink Floyd misquotes that 1 Timothy passage.) Money is a tool by which we exchange value for value.
But the worship or the idolatry of money is a violation of God’s First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Depending too much on money leads to all kinds of evil, as happened when Judas betrayed Jesus.
Today in this passage, I sensed God telling me that while money has never been a driver in my life, I sometimes fantasize about the good I could do if I had more money. But if there are good things I want to do for God or for others, God seemed to say, I can do them with the money, gifts, relationships, and platforms I already have. "Don't put it off," I sensed God saying. "Be generous now!"
Lord, help me to do the good I can do today, with or without money. In Jesus’ name. Amen
[Blogger Mark Daniels is the pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church, Centerville, Ohio.]