I am definitely feeling encouraged about this new series of blogs called Difficult Sayings of the Bible Explained. People are getting inspired, and I am too. Things which were at one time confusing are now clear. In keeping with the Easter season, I am again going to attempt to clarify another mysterious Biblical passage, which is found in Acts 1: 15-19.
"And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood."
Above is given an account of the demise of Judas, after he betrayed Christ. What is so controversial about the above statement however, is that it appears to be in conflict with the account given by Matthew. In Matthew 27: 3-8 we read that Judas tried to return thirty pieces of silver to the priests, and when they refused to take the money back, he threw the money down in the temple, and then went out and hanged himself.
"Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself."
Most certainly, these passages are definitely some of the more difficult sayings of the Bible, and are therefore worthy of an explanation!
In trying to decipher the above passages, I must confess that this was one the most difficult undertakings for me. It required me to think outside of the box in order to solve this dilemna, and reconcile the two passages. You see, when we try to understand scripture, it is important for us to realize that God's way of thinking is not the same as ours. He sees things, in many instances, in a different perspective from ours, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 55:8). When we interpret scripture, we must therefore put aside our preconceived ideas and biases, and allow God to fill our minds with His thoughts, and His way of thinking.
Here now is the long and short of Acts 1: 15-19. It is a description of how Judas hanged himself! While Matthew recorded that Judas hanged himself, no description is given of how he did that. Acts 1:18 tells us specifically how he did it. He did it by falling HEADLONG. In the process, his body burst apart, and his bowels gushed out. How gruesome!
Now, the question is also asked, "Did Judas throw down the thirty pieces of silver in the temple as recorded in Matthew 27: 5, or did he use it to purchase a field as in Acts 1: 18? The answer to that question is "Yes." Judas did throw down the thirty pieces of silver in the temple, BUT the money was used by the priests to purchase a field to bury strangers.
"And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury because itis the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them[the silver pieces] the potter's field, to bury strangers in" (Matthew 27: 6-7, words in brackets supplied).
Judas had nothing to do with the purchase of the potter's field except it was purchased with the thirty pieces of silver he earned from betraying Jesus, the so-called "reward of iniquity" (Acts 1: 18). The word translated "purchased" in Acts 1: 18 is the Greek word "ktaomai" which means "to get, i.e acquire (by any means; own)" (Strong #2932). The thirty pieces of silver which Judas threw down in the temple got him the potter's field, although it was purchased by the priests. From here on I conjecture that Judas went out in this field, and commited suicide.
Here is what Zechariah prophesied concerning this event hundreds of years before.
"And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD" (Zechariah 11: 12-13).
David also wrote in the Psalms concerning Judas and his demise, of which a part was also quoted in Acts 1: 19, by Peter.
"Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. For they persecute him who thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. Add iniquity to their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous" (Psalm 69: 25-28).
For a few lousy bucks, Judas was willing to risk his soul salvation. He sold out himself cheap, and lost his soul. His death was by no means an accident. He took matters into his own hands and killed himself, instead of running to God for mercy. He died in his sin, and God therefore blotted him out of the Book of life. Many times we too are guilty of "selling out" on Jesus. We risk our soul salvation for a few minutes of pleasure in sin. God is calling us back to repentance and into true fellowship with him. Don't take matters into your own hands, and remain in your sin, but give your life to Him, for His name honor and glory.