Thirty Pieces of Silver – Zechariah 11

After his prophecy about Jesus entering Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey, the prophet Zechariah was given another piece of information about the coming Messiah. 

Zechariah writes:

12 Then I said to them, “If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” So they weighed my wages, 30 pieces of silver.

13 “Throw it to the potter,” the Lord said to me—this magnificent price I was valued by them. So I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw it into the house of the Lord, to the potter.  Zechariah 11:12-13 (HCSB)

Jesus would be betrayed by one of His twelve apostles, Judas Iscariot, who agreed to sell Him for 30 pieces of silver to the religious leaders who were trying to kill Him.

14 Then one of the Twelve—the man called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?” So they weighed out 30 pieces of silver for him. 16 And from that time he started looking for a good opportunity to betray Him.  Matthew 26:14-16 (HCSB)

Judas told Jesus’ opponents when and where they could find Him to arrest Him in the night.  When they arrived, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss of friendship on the cheek.  As God, Jesus could easily have resisted any kind of attack, but He permitted Himself to be taken into custody without resistance, knowing that He would be brutally beaten and crucified unto death as a result.  He did this voluntarily, knowing that He alone could be the only acceptable sacrifice worthy of providing complete atonement for the sins of the world.

The rest of Zechariah’s prophecy was then fulfilled:

Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was full of remorse and returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood,” he said.

“What’s that to us?” they said. “See to it yourself!”

So he threw the silver into the sanctuary and departed. Then he went and hanged himself. 

The chief priests took the silver and said, “It’s not lawful to put it into the temple treasury, since it is blood money.” So they conferred together and bought the potter’s field with it as a burial place for foreigners. Therefore that field has been called “Blood Field” to this day.  Matthew 27:3-8 (HCSB)

Jesus was fully aware of everything that was happening around Him.  This was the reason He had come to earth to begin with – to establish a new covenant between God and People, with complete forgiveness to be provided by faith through His death on the cross and the shedding of His blood.  At His final Passover meal, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper and presented Himself as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

As the apostle Paul later wrote:

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 gave thanks, broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

25 In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.  1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (HCSB)

Forty days after rising from the dead, Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.  He will return one day to rule and reign over the world from Jerusalem as both Lord and King.  In the meantime, He has directed us to remember Him and His loving sacrifice on the cross through the bread and the cup of the new covenant.


As believers in Christ, we are encouraged to participate in the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion, to celebrate Jesus’ wonderful sacrifice and the grace that flows to us as a result.  None of us is worthy to stand before God on our own merit or goodness – we require the complete washing and purification that only the death and resurrection of Christ can provide through faith in Him.

If you do not yet have this cleansing, won’t you invite Him into your life to drink of His living water today?  He has been with you every moment of your life, through all the joys and the sorrows, and He deeply loves you.

Lord, thank You for being with me in every moment, through the tears and the laughter, the successes, and the failures.  Help me to walk closely with You and to live a holy and blameless life, one day at a time.  Though I do fail often, I seek to get up and do a better job of reflecting Your love to others at the next opportunity.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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