HOW HIGH THE PRICE?
by David Sisler
John was busy working in his back yard one day when he paused to admire his next door neighbor’s new boat. “Andy, she sure is a beauty,” he remarked.
Then, remembering that Andy’s wife was a very frugal woman, John asked, “Was it expensive?”
“The boat itself wasn’t so bad,” Andy replied. “But all of the extras really hurt.”
“You mean things like water skis, life jackets and the trailer?” John asked.
“No,” Andy sighed. “I mean the new carpet, the new kitchen cabinets and the new living-room furniture.”
To get the boat he wanted, Andy had to sweeten the deal, promising a few new things for his wife. He got what he wanted, but the cost was higher than he had dreamed.
When the writers of the New Testament listed the twelve disciples of Jesus they gave some interesting personal notes. It is like reading the history of a family, lovingly recorded.
Two nicknames are noted: there was Simon, also called Peter, and James and John who were known as the “Sons of Thunder.”
Family relationships are observed: Andrew was the brother of Peter, James was the son of Zebedee and John was the brother of James. There was another James who was the son of Alphaeus.
Matthew’s occupation and Simon’s political affiliation are also mentioned. Matthew was a tax collector and Simon was a Zealot.
There is one more personal note. It is never written with love, only remorse. You can almost feel the personal pain of the men who wrote it: “Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.”
Judas, the betrayer. Like Andy and his boat, he got what he wanted, but the price was higher than he had ever dreamed.
Judas was the only non-Galilean chosen by Jesus to be one of His disciples. He was from Kerioth, a small town on Israel’s easternmost border. Kerioth was almost 100 miles from Galilee.
Judas was an unlikely disciple, but whatever had to be given up to follow Jesus, he gave up. And Judas enjoyed a terrific reputation with the other eleven. They selected him for the highest position in their group, the office of treasurer.
Judas was never suspected of anything. As late as the Last Supper, when Jesus announced that one of the Twelve would betray him, not one of the others asked, “Lord, is it Judas?”
There has been much speculation as to why Judas betrayed Jesus.
Some have suggested greed as the reason, and we know Judas was a greedy man, but 30 pieces of silver was the price of a slave. As badly as the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus, a smart man like Judas could certainly have gotten a better price.
Maybe it was hatred. Certainly by the last week disillusionment would have set in. Resentment caused by being omitted from the inner circle would have suffocated his heart.
Whatever the reason, Judas negotiated a price and betrayed Jesus. Suddenly, Judas was filled with remorse. Conscience-stricken, he went back to the high priests and offered them a money-back guarantee. “I have betrayed innocent blood,” he said.
“That’s your problem, not ours,” they said. “We had a deal. You do as you like.”
Judas threw the money onto the floor, ran from the temple, found a secluded spot, and hanged himself.
From the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” If Judas had only turned his remorse into repentance, that prayer would have included him.
Judas named his price. He got what he wanted, but the cost was higher than he had dreamed. Judas second-guessed Jesus, underestimated Jesus, never really trusted Jesus. If you are not trusting Jesus, the price you are paying is too high, eternally too high.
Copyright 2003 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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