Wednesday of Holy Week

I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it, but every day millions of people are involved in industries trying to put a value on objects and on people. Part of my training as an accountant was to learn how to value stock. For a widget that’s just been bought, it’s a relatively simple exercise. You see how much it cost, and usually that’s the value on the balance sheet. But suppose the widget has had some work done to it by skilled craftsmen, how do you value their labour? Or even more problematically, if someone wants to buy out the widget-making company and wants to pay a price for the unique craftsmanship of the labour force, how do you arrive at a value of their know-how?

If that sounds a bit theoretical, think about the prices paid in the football transfer market. Who decides that a top forward is £50 million pounds? Why are they always worth far more than the goalkeepers at the other end? What is a sensible and realistic price to pay for the next big talent?

My photo today is a simple detail I spotted in the church at Cana in Galilee. It’s a reminder that the price that the chief priests paid Judas to beetray Jesus was thirty silver coins (Matt 26:15). How did they arrive at this valuation? We simply don’t know. But Matthew includes this detail to remind us that actually the valuation of Jesus was set long before, in a rather obscure prophecy of Zechariah (11:13). It was the amount of money used to pay off the shepherd whose rule the people of God rejected. It’s another reminder that even though the chief priests thought they were in control and setting the agenda, every detail of the Easter story had already been planned and prepared by God, even from the beginning of the world.

So as we reflect on Judas’ betrayal we might want to consider just what it must have been like for Jesus to know in advance that He would experience betrayal, arrest, suffering and ultimately crucifixion. And as we reflect on the depths of love that led Him nonetheless to embark on this course of salvation, let’s ask: What about the value we place on the Easter story? How precious is it to us that Jesus died in our place for our sins?

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