June 20, 2008

exchange rate

As I was reading in the scriptures today, I ran into a very curious passage. It is found in the gospel of Matthew in the 26th chapter. Verses 14-16 talk about Judas betraying Jesus for the cost of 30 silver coins. I have read this passage plenty of times, but I never researched it much. 

As if exchanging the son of God for some monetary sum was not enough, Judas also exchanged Jesus for a deploringly little sum. I cross referenced this passage with others. The same sum of money is found in an Old Testament passage. (Ex 21:32) In this passage it says that if a bull you own gores someone's male or female slave then you must pay thirty silver coins in exchange for the offense. 

I don't know the currency and exchange rates of the time, but that doesn't seem like enough to get to downtown Jerusalem get a meal and back home. As I thought about it more it really started to break my heart. I was feeling pretty pious and thinking about how lame Judas was. But then I got a sinking feeling in my stomach, because as I pointed the finger to Judas I noticed he looked alot like me. 

Then I was really heartbroken, not because Judas exchanged God for so little, but because sometimes I exchange following Christ for even more insignificant amounts. A little comfort... A few more seconds of indulgence... An opportunity to avoid embarrassment... A chance to look better than others... A few steps in the other direction... 

Dear God, help us to check out our own exchange rate when it comes to spiritual matters. Please help me to remember the value of our relationship to you and how much you gave for us. Thanks for this simple yet poignant reminder... Amen