14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 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. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
There are many suspected motives for why Judas did what he did. Some believe he wanted Jesus to be a politically victorious Messiah and his intention was to force Jesus to show his power in this confrontation. Others think he didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah at all and wanted him killed. What we clearly see from scripture is he thought more of himself than he did of Jesus and he acted on greed.
The contemporary value of thirty pieces of silver is difficult to determine, but it was an undeniably small amount. Old Testament passages tell us this would have been a common price for the basest slave. Judas was willing to exchange Jesus for a small, fleeting reward.
Maybe it’s easy for you to put Judas into a category that looks nothing like you. He was a sell-out, even after walking with Jesus for all that time. He had seen Jesus work miracles, heal the sick, preach to thousands, feed hundreds, calm the seas. And yet he decides to seek out a selfish reward and hand Jesus over to the chief priests.
This still happens every day. It just doesn’t look like 30 pieces of silver. It’s a much more subtle exchange today. Maybe in your life it looks like watching something that fills your thoughts with lust or desiring the possessions of others. It could be engaging in gossip or choosing a temporary pleasure when you know God has called it sin. Or it could be when you feel God prompting you to give of your time or resources to someone else and instead you keep that resource for yourself.
What subtle (even momentary) exchanges are we making in our lives that are replacing Jesus?