Last night I went to the grocery store for milk and bread and things, left the milk behind at the cash register, and did not even miss it till about eleven this morning. I worked on revising my novel for nearly four hours, then walked up to campus this afternoon to see friends and thought about how glad I will be not only for the snow to melt but for the spring rains to come along and wash all the salt and grime away and give the earth’s face a good washing.
A couple weeks ago I was reading Matthew for my New Testament class and I came across Judas.
Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
‘And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
The chief priests buy a field with the money and name it after blood, then Matthew moves the narrative back to Christ facing Pilate. Pilate washes his hands, because he cannot handle the crisis in front of him. So Jesus carries the cross and “sees to it.” Jesus and Judas both die.
So when I read that passage above, I wanted Judas to turn around before he ran to the temple with his tainted silver. I wanted him to look once more at the condemned Man, I wanted the betrayer to look at the One he had betrayed, and perhaps see the way innocent blood might save a sinner. Instead he spattered his corrupt blood over his sins to try to pay, because paying was all he knew, and left behind the legacy of a field fit only for strangers’ bones. The chief priests gathered up the price of their own long-awaited Messiah’s life off the floor of a temple that was meant for Him.
Judas tried to “see to” his guilt himself, because he saw only himself. He looked at his Lord’s impending death upon the cross and saw only his own sinful actions. He did not see Christ sweating blood in the garden because He already knew what lay ahead. He did not see Christ cry to his Father, “Why have You forsaken Me?” or announce what He had finished. Judas looked only at himself, and did not understand the way Jesus meant His death, meant the spilling of His blood, meant the saving of His people.
On Sunday, Judas had begun to rot and Jesus had risen and told His friends to rejoice. He told them not to be afraid, that He was with them always. Judas thought that his traitorous kiss meant a grim and dismal end, but my God, the God whose “unoffending feet” I have determined to look to instead of my own, carried the mark of that betrayal through crushing death into new life and victory. He shall see to it that Fields of Blood and stony hearts are made new.