Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Matthew 27:1-10 (ESV) When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.  And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor.  Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders,  saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." They said, "What is that to us? See to it yourself."  And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.  But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, "It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money."  So they took counsel and bought with them the potter's field as a burial place for strangers.  Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.  Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel,  and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord directed me." Historically speaking, Matthew was always considered the earliest of the gospels. Historical testimony of Papias and others bear this out. This was always thought to be the case, until higher critics wanted to destroy the historical integrity of the Gospels, and decided Mark had to be the earliest, and the others built upon it. Mark even having gathered his material from an earlier source called Q. I think one of the things that kept coming to the fore for me reading Wolfhart Pannenberg was how much the Q Hypothesis and Higher Criticism of the Gospel Texts lives or dies on the idea of Markan priority. IF Mark wasn’t first, the whole house of cards upon which they have built their “scholarship” comes crashing down upon them. But Markan priority doesn’t have a whole lot going for it but the Q hypothesis. That is it fits a theory that is dependent on it. On the other hand, the priority of Matthew does have a few things going for it, like the testimony of the early church, and also it’s proclivity for speaking of Pilate as if he is still the governor. Pilate was not governor very long. This has huge implications across the board, for the veracity of the gospels. I’m still trying to think them all out. But this proclivity should not be overlooked. It’s a detail that is staggering. This is something a later writer would not have done. It is the kind of naturalness an eyewitness speaks with. All that aside, one wonders what Judas thought they were going to do to Jesus. Did he really think he was going to be given a fair trial? Did he really think Jesus would walk out of it alive? My guess is Judas thought this was going to provoke uprising, and the ushering in of the millennial kingdom. I don’t mean to be second guessing Matthew here either. I think this is all behind Judas being sorrowful that Jesus is now being put to death. Judas had his own mind on how things would turn out. He was bent on this millennial kingdom. He was bent on throwing off the Roman yoke. He was bent on political solutions to earthly problems, he thought that was what the Messiah was about. Jesus wasn’t doing things fast enough, he’d force his hand. This is what the zealots were about. But when things don’t go as planned, when there is no uprising, when there is no resistance on Jesus part, then Judas begins to recognize his mistake. Now he watches a friend go to death, because of his betrayal. He’s been played.