And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. — Matthew 27:6-7
I have often found myself fascinated by the verses above. I understand the importance of including the fate of Judas Iscariot after he betrayed Christ, but I never fully understood the reasoning for recording what the chief priests did with the silver that he threw down at them. It was not until some time ago that this really jumped out at me as a lesson for the Christian and the church.
You see, the chief priests of that day were the religious leaders, or in other words the “prominent Christians.” They were those that you would always find talking about God, how good of a Christian they were, and how great of a church they had. In that area, people would come from all around to worship. These guests would see the chief priests and no doubt had a lot of respect for them. Yet, we find those “leaders” did not really care for the people. They took the silver, which they had used to secure the betrayal of Christ, using it to purchase a piece of property where they would bury these visiting strangers as outcasts. They would treat them as separate, or as different. Not worthy to be treated as one of their own, even though they were Jews just like them.
The chief priests put on a good show. They claimed to be Christians but then treated anyone outside their chosen group as second class. How we treat people matters, no matter what our place is as part of the Christian family. It does not matter if we are in church leadership or are a new Christian, we should not treat people as outcasts, second-rate, or different. We are all made in the image of God, part of the same creation and created for the same purpose. Rich or poor, tall or short, male or female, and no matter what color you are, God says that we are all the same.
It can be challenging sometimes to treat people the same when it seems we are all so different. God says it does not matter how different we are. So the next time you are tempted to not speak to that stranger, do it! The next time you are tempted to not be friendly to someone with that out-of-state tag, be friendly anyway! Do not be a fake Christian like the chief priests. Be real!