Bowie Apostolic Church
Day 18: Just 30 Pieces of Silver
by From the Pastor's Desk on March 18th, 2013

Zechariah 11:12 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. 

Matthew 26:14 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. 

Matthew 27:3 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, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. 

Matthew 27:9 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, 
Prophecy foretold the way Messiah would be betrayed and for how much. It is important for us to remember that many of the things that the prophets said they did not understand what they were saying at the time. Many things did not come to light until they were being replayed before everyone’s eyes in real-time in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

This is another one of those prophets. The prophet Zechariah is tasked with being the shepherd to the flock of Israel. He is given two staffs, both of which have prophetic meanings. The first is called Favor and the second is called Union. The important thing to know about these two staffs is that they both refer to Israel in some way and they both are broken by Zechariah. Israel’s faith toward God has always wavered, but in this prophecy the shepherd is the True Shepherd who would come.

The narrative of this prophetic scene includes the rejection of the flock, the braking of Favor and Union and the complete disregard of Israel for the value of the Shepherd. This again shows the complete discontent that both God and Israel had with one another. Then Zechariah (in the prophetic role of the Messiah) asks them for his wages as the shepherd. In other words, what am I worth to you? The price was given as 30 pieces of silver. If this doesn’t seem impressive to you as a salary, you are correct. The price of 30 pieces of silver was the price given to an owner of a slave who was gored by an ox (Exodus 21:32). In other words, the Shepherd is worth the same amount as a slave. A wounded slave. God’s response is that it was a “lordly” price (this is sarcasm) and that it should be thrown on the ground in the temple.

Fast forwarding several centuries to Jesus’ time, it is He as the True Shepherd who has come to Israel as their Savior, their King, their Messiah. However, the antagonistic relationship still exists between God and Israel. The rulers of Israel (acting on the nation’s behalf) decided that the price of the Shepherd would be 30 pieces of silver. Judas, who betrayed Him, was just an unwitting pawn in the preordained events of biblical prophecy. He could not see past his own greed in regard to the great sin he is about to commit. That is, until it was too late.

When Jesus was apprehended, Judas Iscariot had buyer’s remorse. In the same way the 30 pieces of silver were thrown in the temple for the prophet’s wages in Zechariah 11, Judas threw the same price in the temple during Jesus’ day.

One note on Matthew referring to Jeremiah as the one who prophesied this and not Zechariah: In the Hebrew canon, Jeremiah is actually placed first in the prophets. Matthew’s gospel was written to a Jewish audience and they would know that the section of the prophets was referred to as Jeremiah. In addition, throughout the gospels there is a common occurrence of valuing the Old Testament prophecy over the Old Testament prophet. The prophecy is quoted, but the actual prophet’s name is left out. The only reference given at times is simply the words: “It is written…”

Posted in Bible 2013, Messianic Prophecies    Tagged with 30 pieces of silver, slave, shepherd


RegalAlien720 - March 19th, 2013 at 4:42 PM
This was a really good post. In fact this whole series on Messianic prophesy is definitely a good place to start for personal evangelism or study. But I do have a question about quotes and references of the prophets throughout the New Testament. Joel and Jonas are mentioned throughout the NT along with Jeremiah, but I noticed there are quite a few prophetic quotes in the Gospels, Acts, and Romans which mention Esaias as the speaker. When it comes to Messianic prophecy especially, if you had to choose one Old Testament Book from which to show that Jesus is the Messiah, which one would you personally choose, Jeremiah, Isaiah/Esaias, Jonah or another and why?
From the Pastor's Desk - March 19th, 2013 at 8:14 PM
Thank you for your feedback!

It is pretty much accepted that the largest concentration of Messianic prophecy is in the book of Isaiah. I believe there are over 30 from what I remember. That would be my choice.

Off the top of my head are Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; all of chapters 53 and 61.

One other source of Messianic prophecy is actually in the Psalms. For instance, if you read Psalm 22 along with Psalm 53, you get a perfect view of Jesus on the way to Calvary and what was going through His mind while he was on the cross. We will get to that next week.

Again Thanks
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