Daily RCL Bible Reading Devotional – March 24th, 2016

Scripture Reading(s)

Matthew 27:1-19

27:1 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death.

27:2 They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

27:3 When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.

27:4 He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”

27:5 Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.

27:6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.”

27:7 After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners.

27:8 For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

27:9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price,

27:10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

27:11 Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.”

27:12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer.

27:13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?”

27:14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

27:15 Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted.

27:16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas.

27:17 So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

27:18 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over.

27:19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.”


Lydia.jpgThe main words that stand out in this passage are “innocent blood”. In this passage we see two unlikely characters who recognize that Jesus is innocent and that his punishment is being done at the hand of sinners. Each of these two characters along with their responses teach us two valuable lessons when one is faced with their sin and the message of the Gospel.

The first is from Judas. The man who made the ultimate betrayal comes to finally recognize that what he did was wrong and that Jesus was indeed innocent. He had done nothing wrong and it is astounding and also heart breaking to see how Judas had walked with Christ for three years and was not at all affected by what He had witnessed. Judas had seen first hand the miracles that Jesus performed during the course of His ministry. He saw Jesus’s love in healing disease, the authority He had in driving out demons, the power He had over the wind and rain, the matchless ability He had to feed 5,000 from only having two loaves and five fish. Judas had seen it all. Yet his heart was hardened and he rejected the truth of who Jesus is and the message of the Gospel. Judas is a representation of what it means to be exposed to the message of the Gospel and ultimately reject it.

Pilate’s Wife is the second response we see. Her experience is different. The only exposure she had to Christ was through a dream and having witnessed Him being sentenced to death for doing nothing wrong. Her knowledge of Christ is so little and is the complete opposite of Judas experience. She had no knowledge of who He was or what He had done in the last 3 years. Yet, she was still shaken by what she was exposed to. She too, had come to the truthful conclusion that Jesus was innocent. She represents the believer that hears the gospel and may believe it but does not accept it or make it real in their life.

There is one thing they each had in common: they rejected Christ and there was no second chance for them.

What is your response when you are exposed to the message of the Gospel? This is a time of year in which we study more closely the death and resurrection of Christ. This the time in which you have the chance to accept that you are a sinner in need of Grace and turn and ask Christ to forgive and make you new. Christ longs to fill your heart with true joy, happiness and peace. He longs to be the source of your strength in times of weakness. He longs to be your truest companion in times of loneliness. Make the choice to make Jesus Christ your Savior today.

Justin-Holmes1.jpgA surprising amount of this verse is given to Judas and his actions. But what is even more surprising is that the Pharisees knew that Judas had betrayed an innocent man. At times the Pharisees had some redeeming qualities in the NT. Some of them seemed genuinely interested in Jesus or at least dedicated to the Jewish law; both admirable traits. But these few powerful Pharisees seemed to know exactly what they were doing. The proof is in the dealings of the money. In essence, this passage serves as a guilty verdict on Judas and on the Pharisees who organized Jesus’ death.

But let us not become arrogant, thinking we are better than the Pharisees. We also suffer from the same selfish human nature that lead to the powerful Jewish leaders doing away with this trouble-maker known as Jesus. We are just as quick to behave in our own self-interest and not the interest of Jesus. Just like Judas, Peter, and the Pharisees, we will eventually stumble over our own fears or desires. May we always remain humble enough in our own Christian walk to not be so distracted that we are serving ourselves and not the Lord.



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