Spy Wednesday – The 13th of Nisan
After spending the night with his disciples east of the temple, Jesus returns to the city this morning from the Mt. of Olives. “And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.” Luke 21:38
As Jesus continues to make himself “visible” as the true Passover Lamb, something else is happening behind the scenes.
14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
Zechariah was one of the last prophets to speak to Israel on behalf of God before the Christ. He described the problems Israel faced due to lack of faith, but also offered the hope of a Messiah who would come to Israel, establish a kingdom, and defeat all her enemies.
About this Messiah, Zechariah said:
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. (9:9-10)
There is another Messianic prophecy in the book of Zechariah about today’s events.
In Chapter 11, God the Father is speaking to the Messiah and says, “Become shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter.” (11:4)
The Messiah says, “So I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep traders. And I took two staffs, one I named Favor, the other I named Union. And I tended the sheep.” (11:7)
Jesus made himself nothing and took the very nature of a servant in order to come down from heaven and shepherd Israel. (Matthew 15:24) (John 10:11)
However Israel would not have him, and Friday they will hand him over to be crucified. Therefore they are the flock doomed to slaughter. And the two staffs Jesus used to shepherd them will be broken, the “Favor” of God and “Union” with God and one another.
In the prophecy the Messiah says, “I will not be your shepherd. What is to die, let it die. What is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. And let those who are left devour the flesh of one another.” And I took my staff Favor, and I broke it, annulling the covenant that I had made with all the peoples.” (11:9-10) And, “Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.” (11:14)
The prophecy also foretells today’s betrayal by Judas, but Zechariah delivers the prophecy in a fascinating way. He describes the deal made with the chief priests as if the Messiah negotiated it himself.
12 Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter.
Zechariah shows the sovereignty of Christ in his betrayal by portraying him as the one who is making the deal with the priests.
Jesus says in John 10:
14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:14-18)
No one betrays Christ outside of his knowledge and will. No one takes the life of the Son of God outside of his authority. Everything happened according to the predetermined will of God.
In Acts 2:22-24, Peter says:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
Zechariah even predicts Judas’s regret after Jesus is condemned to die. Again speaking to the Messiah, God says, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them.” (11:13)
And the Messiah responds, “So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter.” (11:13)
30 pieces of silver was the price set in the Old Testament to redeem a foreign slave. (Exodus 21:32) The offer of 30 pieces of silver shows how the chief priests viewed Jesus on the same level as a Philistine slave. Though Christ came to the earth in the form of a servant, he was still the King.
After Christ is condemned on Friday, Judas will go back to the temple and throw the money into the sanctuary. The priests will not keep it since it is blood money. It is then used to buy the potter’s field, a place for foreigners to be buried. Even the “blood money” given for the life of Christ ends up as blessings for the Gentiles.
There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains
Ever since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die
Check back tomorrow evening as Jesus celebrates his final Passover with the disciples.
If you missed the articles from earlier this week, follow the links below: