Advent Reading: Rom. 15:8-9 (underlined below)
Promise Made | After the exiles returned to Jerusalem, God sent two prophets – Haggai (to encourage them to rebuild the temple) and Zechariah (to encourage them to prepare for entering the temple through repentance and renewal). Yet, the exiles were discouraged because squatters who had settled in their land were opposing them. Thus, God called Zechariah to rekindle their hope in the Messiah  – prophesying that he would be betrayed by a friend for thirty pieces of silver that would be cast on the temple floor and given to a potter: “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” .
Promise Kept | Judas handed Jesus over to the chief priests for the negotiated sum of thirty pieces of silver . Yet, when he saw Jesus being prepared for death, “he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ They said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself.’ And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed … But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.’ So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers” .
Promise Meant | Jesus was priced at thirty pieces of silver because, under Jewish law, that was the price of a slave . Jesus was a slave . To whom? Israel. As Paul wrote, “Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy” . Jesus was a servant of Israel to satisfy the law for them and, thereby, show mercy to the Gentiles as well – for no one could satisfy the law except Christ alone .
Prayer | Lord, You are Lord and King over all. Yet, Jesus became a slave to serve us by living a sinless life and then offering himself as a sacrifice . Help us, therefore, to offer ourselves as living sacrifices as we serve one another in the light of your life and love. Amen.
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