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.”
I guess the true irony of that never fully hit me until today. It isn’t lawful, huh? So it was fine for them to pay out privately to have Jesus killed, but mercy me, let’s not sully the temple of God by putting dirty money in His treasury.
Isn’t it just amazing that they were so concerned about the purity of their establishment that they were willing to make dirty deals on the side to keep things as they had always been? And even more incredible, they deceived themselves enough to believe that their temple was still pure as long as they didn’t allow anything unholy to enter.
Reminds me of:
it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
The priests were so focused on keeping impurities from infiltrating their tidy little religious society that they were blind to the fact that vile things had been coming out of it. It was already way too late to “maintain purity.” The purity was gone. Jesus had seen that earlier when he said:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
How many times do I do similar things? We try to keep evil influences to a minimum in our home–stay away from TV, carefully screen library books, music, etc. But how many times are we ignoring the inside? Are wicked things like greed and gossip issuing from my mouth? Is my temple already hideously defiled, while I self-righteously “turn away from evil?”
Sometimes the easiest person to deceive is yourself. God, give me eyes to see the truth!