Zechariah prophecies that some people will not value a good, even great leader, even to the point of betrayal, desertion, and death.
Read: Zechariah 11: 12-13 and 13: 7-9
Thirty pieces of silver and scattered sheep – once again the gospel writers found events in Jesus’ life that fulfilled both of these prophecies.
Thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave, will always be associated with betrayal and Judas Iscariot.
Things had not gone as expected for Judas. He had misunderstood why Jesus, the Messiah had come…not as he expected, to rid Israel of the invading Romans, but rather to build a Kingdom of peace, where the lost and the least were welcome. He was disappointed with Jesus; despite the teaching and the miracles maybe he was starting to doubt who Jesus really was.
And Jesus knew! Judas was still a trusted and welcomed disciple. At the last supper he let Judas know that he knew and allowed him to get on with the betrayal.
After Jesus had been captured, it seems that a remorseful Judas tried to undo what he’d done, but failed to convince the priests, and ultimately took his own life, after hurling the thirty pieces of silver back to them. They used it to buy a potter’s field, which they used as a burial place for foreigners.
When Jesus was taken prisoner in the Garden of Gethsemane, we’re told that the remaining disciples also betrayed him by running away. Jesus had predicted this while they were going to the Garden, quoting from Zechariah 13: 7 as he did so. Peter followed Jesus to the High Priest’s house, where he also verbally betrayed Jesus by denying he knew him three times. Once again Jesus had predicted that Peter would do that. When the disciples reappear in the story, on resurrection day, they are hiding behind locked doors, traumatised by disappointment, bewilderment, and fear.
The fact that Jesus seems to have known all this in advance makes his willingness to come and live and die for us even more remarkable. What a wonderful Saviour!
How is your relationship with Jesus? Have you cooled off and lost much of the love you had for him and his ways? If you think about it, are there times when you too have betrayed and deserted your Saviour and Lord. Confess it and ask for strength to follow faithfully again as Jesus gives his grace.