Read Bible Study: Isaiah 50:4-9, Psalm 69 and Matthew 26:14-25
“What will you give me if I deliver him to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.”(Matthew 26:15-16)
Do you remember a man called Gehazi in the Old Testament? He could rightly fit into the title of the Judas Iscariot of the Old Testament. Gehazi was the servant of Elisha. In the second book of Kings, we read of how Naaman the Syrian was cured of leprosy by God after bathing seven times in the Jordan River following the instructions of Elisha the prophet.
To prove to Naaman that it was God who cured him, Elisha refused to accept any gifts from Naaman. “’As the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will receive none.’ And he urged him to take it, but he refused.
Then Naaman said, ‘If not, I pray you, let there be given to your servant two mules’ burden of earth; for henceforth your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the LORD.’” (2 Kings 5:16-17)
In verse 22, we read of how Gehazi went after Naaman and lied in the name of Elisha saying “My master has sent me to say, ‘There have just now come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets; pray, give them a talent of silver and two festal garments.’”
Gehazi took advantage of his closeness to the Man of God to enrich himself. In the end, God blessed him with the leprosy that Naaman washed off. Judas, being a disciple of Jesus did the same thing. He went to the chief priests himself to say: “what will you give me if I deliver him to you?”
Note that if Judas had not gone to them, they would have found a way to arrest Jesus on their own. Judas knew they were planning so he tried to make money from the situation at hand. No wonder Jesus said “The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24)
It is easy to condemn Judas Iscariot but it is better to point the fingers into my own heart and ask myself sincerely: *“How important is money to me?”* If I ever find myself in a position of making a lot of money based on my relationship with Jesus, will I also sell Jesus? Jesus resisted Satan’s offer of earthly kingdoms but Judas Iscariot bowed for just thirty pieces of silver.
When a stranger slaps you and even insults you on the way, it is easy to brush it off but when someone whom you love so much, someone you share the same roof with, someone who eats from the same plate with you does the same thing, it hurts ten times more. Jesus knew he would die but felt pained all the more knowing that a close disciple of his would play such a key role in the events leading up to his death.
I can only imagine the pain Jesus feels when I, like Judas Iscariot, sell Jesus by enriching myself in the guise of winning souls for him. The painful truth is that Christianity has become too commercialized today.
Many of us men and women of God are in it solely for the money and we are not ashamed about this. We even compete with one another and take pride in showing off our latest possessions. Money has become the god we worship.
Just as Isaiah sings in today’s first reading, Jesus is silent, he turns not backward, he gives His back to those who strike him and his cheeks to those who pulled out the beard.
Jesus does not hide His face from shame and spitting. The greatest shame and spitting Jesus gets today come from Christians who betray Him, Christians who place money above Him; Christians who continue to live in sin.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, I realise I am Judas also, free me from my greed and love for money. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the Holy Week. Bible Study: Isaiah 50:4-9, Psalm 69 and Matthew 26:14-25).