“Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver”(Matt 26:14-15).
Judas wants to betray Jesus and approaches the chief priests. What will you give me? Judas names his price and sells out his faith for thirty pieces of silver.
This is just the tragic final act of a long slide Judas has been in. Judas has a money problem. He “was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it”(John 12:6). Despite all Jesus’ teaching about the dangers of money, Judas’ problem seems to only get worse. So when this critical moment comes, his weakness becomes his downfall.
But this story creates some self-reflection. What would it take for me to sell out my faith? What is my price? Is it some sexual pleasure, too appealing to resist? Is it the praise and respect of my fellow-man, a small piece of fame? Is it the intoxicating freedom of money—so much that I wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore? Is it my desire to be connected to my family that I just couldn’t turn away from, even for Jesus? Is it a sensual pleasure—the release alcohol brings, the pursuit of fun, the joy of the rowdy lifestyle?
This kind of thinking is not just an exercise in pessimism. If we answer honestly, we can find the battle plan Satan will use—probably is using—to trip us up. What is my thirty pieces of silver?