Bound and Delivered
Hosanna! Save us please!
That’s what the people shouted only a week earlier as Jesus rode into Jerusalem like a king coming to take his throne. But only a week later, Jesus has been betrayed, arrested, abandoned, and abused. And it will get worse before it gets better.
As Jesus headed for the cross, it took a variety of depraved men to come together to murder Him.
The Jewish chief priests and elders conspired against Him. Judas, one of His own disciples, joined in their conspiracy against Him. And in this passage, the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate joins in.
There will be more on Pilate as we study along but for today we want to focus on the religious leaders and their continued plot to murder Jesus and on Judas who came to regret his part in the conspiracy to the point of returning the money he had received to betray Jesus before taking his own life.
This passage is about wicked men wanting to do away with Jesus by any means necessary.
It’s about suicidal regret versus life-giving repentance.
It’s about turning away from Jesus and inviting destruction.
This passage calls us to answer some very poignant questions:
Am I trying to do away with Jesus?
Am I truly repentant?
Am I soliciting destruction by turning away from Jesus?
Let’s consider those questions in more detail.
Question #1: Am I trying to do away with Jesus?
Look at Matthew 27:1-2...
Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor.
The chief priests and the elders had already decided to put Jesus to death, then during His trial by night they declared Him worthy of death. So, when they “conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death,” as it says in v. 1...
They are likely trying to get their story straight for Pilate, the Roman governor of the region, who would not sentence Jesus to death unless the religious leaders could convince him that Jesus was a threat to Rome.
Here’s what we should learn: Once wicked men decide to do away with Jesus, they will do away with Him by any means necessary.
These men in Matthew 27 decided long ago to kill Jesus. They tried Him at night, which was against their law, so they might be done with Him. They sought false witnesses against Him, which was against their law, so they might be done with Him. They would lie about Him to Pilate, which was against their law, so they might be done with Him. They were careful to make everything appear legitimate so they might be done with Him. They put their heads together in order to craft a charge that would essentially require Pilate to do murder Jesus as they desired. As I said, they were going to stop at nothing to be done with Jesus.
But that’s just how these men did it.
Men and women in our day also do away with Jesus, they just use different approaches to do so.
Some do away with Jesus with their minds.
These supposedly intellectual folks believe they are way too smart to believe in Jesus. They believe that no one with any intellectual sense would actually believe what the Bible says about a man that lived 2,000 years ago.
Some do away with Jesus with their hearts.
They believe they are too loving to believe in Jesus as the only way of salvation. They believe that all roads lead to a better place in the end so there is no need to be dogmatic about Jesus. That just wouldn’t be loving.
Some do away with Jesus with their bodies.
These people believe that if it feels good, it must be good. They would never do away with a pleasure just because Jesus said it was wrong. In fact, if they must decide between Jesus and their pleasure, they will find a way to do away with Jesus.
A friend of mine was once meeting with a guy who was interested in following Jesus. Over the course of conversation the guy revealed that he took pleasure in pornography. My friend stopped the conversation. He said...
“Well, if you’re going to follow Jesus then you’re going to have to give that up.”
The guy looked my friend in the face and said...
“Oh, I can’t do that. I just enjoy it too much.”
Is there a sin that you enjoy too much ? Is there a sin that would cause you to do away with Jesus? For the religious leaders who conferred to put Jesus to death that sin was power and greed. Because Jesus threatened these their precious sins, they would stop at nothing to do away with Him.
But Jesus is life. And sin is death. Let us not make the eternal mistake of trading life for death but trading Jesus for sin. Let us do away with sin. But let us never do away with Him.
Question #2: Am I truly repent?
Look at Matthew 27:3-5...
Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.
Judas never believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed One of God sent to redeem the people of God.
He used to steal from the money that was to be used for Jesus’ ministry. He was the one foretold of in Psalms 69 and 109; the one whose homestead would be made desolate; the one who would be replaced. He was the one who agreed to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He was actually the disciple of Satan; the one that led the religious authorities to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane so they could arrest Him.
After arresting Him, they lied about Him, accused Him, spit on Him, beat Him, mocked Him, and finally decided that He was worthy of death, which was a mere formality as that was what they had planned to do from the beginning.
When He was arrested, all the disciples fled, but Peter and most likely John returned to see Jesus abused.
The sight of Jesus abused and the realization that He was headed for death caused Peter to emphatically deny any association with Jesus.
But Judas also saw Jesus bound, condemned, and headed to Pilate who would give the official crucifixion order.
As I said, Judas never believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, but when he betrayed Jesus it seems that he didn’t foresee that Jesus would actually die.
Perhaps Judas betrayed Jesus just to make a little money after he became convinced that Jesus wasn’t really the Messiah.
Perhaps he saw the betrayal of Jesus as a relatively harmless way of getting something in return for all the time he had wasted following Jesus.
But once he saw that Jesus was bound and headed for Pilate, a course that almost certainly would end in Jesus’ death, Judas felt remorse.
Some translations say that Judas was full of remorse, filled with remorse, and seized with remorse. The King James Version, however, says that Judas repented, and...
This surely looks like repentance from Judas, doesn’t it?
He changed his mind concerning his sin in v. 3.
He confessed in v. 4, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And he returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders in v. 5.
This makes us ask, did Judas really repent of his betrayal of Jesus? Is it possible that Judas finally recognized Jesus as the Christ and believed on Him for salvation? Could it be that Judas, the betrayer, is in Heaven right now? The answer to all of those questions is no.
First, Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas was going to betray Him.
John 6:70-71 says...
Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.
Second, in Matthew 26:24 when Jesus revealed Judas as the betrayer, Jesus said...
“The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
This is not something The Lord would have said about someone who was going to eventually repent and be saved.
And finally, remorse, regret, and change of mind are all components of true repentance but unless those things are joined with a change of heart there is no true repentance.
Judas was remorseful. He regretted what he had done. He even changed his mind as his actions proved, but what he lacked was a change of heart.
Because his grief and sorrow was overwhelming, Judas departed.
He went out and hung himself.
All sorrow over sin is not godly sorrow.
All sorrow over sin does not lead to true repentance.
We might change our mind or feel bad about a sin for a number of different reasons.
We might feel bad because we’ve been caught. We might feel bad because the consequences are greater than we anticipated. We might feel bad simply because we think we should feel bad.
But feeling bad or just thinking differently about sin doesn’t necessarily equate to true repentance.
Listen to 2 Corinthians 7:10...
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Mere remorse or regret, even if there is a lot of it, can drive us to suicide, but it won’t drive us to true repentance.
For true repentance we not only need remorse and a change of mind but also a change of heart, and that only comes from God as we beg Him for it.
Let us beg God to change our hearts concerning sin before its too late.
Question #3: Am I soliciting destruction by turning away from Jesus?
Look at Matthew 27:6-10…
The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one whose price had been set by the sons of Israel; and they gave them for the Potter’s Field, as the Lord directed me.”
The chief priests picked up the money thrown down by Judas; money they had once handed to Judas as payment for handing Jesus over to them. By their own admission it was blood money; money that had been used to secure the death of an innocent man.
They didn’t, therefore, feel right about putting it back into the temple treasury. Ironically, they didn’t mind taking part in the murder of Jesus, but they didn’t want to put tainted money back into temple coffers. Instead, they decided to do something benevolent with the money. Just as they conferred together against Jesus, now they conferred together in order to buy a potter’s field as a burial place for strangers.
The potter’s field was likely a field that had been depleted of its clay, which potters would have used to make their wares. Because it was depleted, the field was available on the cheap.
It’s the kind of place where strangers, foreigners, Gentiles, or anyone considered unclean according to the Jews would be buried.
Because the potter’s field was purchased with Judas’ blood money and would be filled with the blood of corpses, it was known as the Field of Blood.
Amazingly, all of this was in fulfillment of Scripture.
The words in Matthew 27:9-10 are from the prophets Jeremiah and Zechariah. (Jeremiah is the only prophet named because he was the more prominent of the two.) Specifically...
Those words are a combination of prophecies from Jeremiah 19:1-13 and Zechariah 11:11-13.
In both Matthew 27 and Zechariah 11 God’s shepherd is rejected by the people of Israel and valued at the price of a slave. And in both instances the money is thrown into the temple and ends up going toward something that represents God’s rejection of His rebellious people.
In Zechariah 11 the money went to a potter who worked in the temple, which was an act that represented God’s rejection of the religious activities of His people.
In Matthew 27 the money also went to a potter or potters to purchase the potter’s field, which was to be used as a graveyard, a place for the burial of the unclean, which would ultimately be all those who rejected Jesus as Messiah.
In both Matthew 27 and Jeremiah 19 the rulers of God’s people rejected YAHWEH (or in Matthew’s case, YAHWEH in the flesh in Jesus of Nazareth), and the rulers or religious leaders made Jerusalem a place for the worship of idols.
In Jeremiah 19 the valley where the prophecy was given would be called the Valley of Slaughter. In addition, a potter’s jar was smashed as visual demonstration of the prophecy’s meaning.
Both the name and the smashed jar, symbolically represent the destruction of Jerusalem that God would bring upon His city.
In Matthew 27 the rejection of Jesus leads to a field called the Field of Blood, which symbolically represented the destruction of the Israelite nation, which was about to be buried as strangers alienated from their God.
As D. A. Carson writes, “(Jeremiah 19 and Zechariah 11 represent) a pattern of apostasy and rejection that must find its ultimate fulfillment in the rejection of Jesus, who was cheaply valued, rejected by the Jews, and whose betrayal money was put to a purpose that pointed to the destruction of the nation...”
Here’s the lesson for us: If we reject Jesus, we solicit destruction.
The chief priests and elders rejected Jesus. Judas rejected Jesus. Israel rejected Jesus. And because they did, they faced destruction. It was not, however, just physical destruction but spiritual destruction in Hell forever as they suffer the consequence of refusing to believe on Jesus for salvation.
We might try to make our sin seem more palatable. We might try to make our wickedness more benevolent like these religious leaders. But no matter what, our sin will still be sin; our wickedness will still be wickedness; and our end will still be Hell unless we trust in Jesus.
Don’t do away with Jesus. Lay down your prideful intellect. Reject the way of your wicked heart. Subdue the sinful passions of your flesh by calling on Jesus!
Don’t pretend to repent. Don’t just feel bad. Genuinely beg God to change your heart concerning sin.
He will do it as you repent of your unbelieving sin and place your faith in Jesus who lived, died, and rose to save you from destruction.
Cry out to Him in prayer.
Seek Him in His Word.
Do those things with other brothers and sisters who are striving to do the same.
Don’t reject Jesus. He is your only hope of salvation.