Matthew 27:1
When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people conspired against Jesus to put Him to death.
A Gnawing ConscienceHenry Smith.Matthew 27:1-10
Conscience Needs RevelationA. Maclaren, D. D.Matthew 27:1-10
Dissatisfaction of JudasJohn Trapp.Matthew 27:1-10
Gradual Downfall of JudasE. Thring, M. A.Matthew 27:1-10
Iscariot's ConfessionS. Cox, D. D.Matthew 27:1-10
Iscariot's Motive for SuicideS. Cox, D. D.Matthew 27:1-10
Judas and the Priests -- End of Evil AssociationJ. Ker, D. D.Matthew 27:1-10
Judas, Which Had Betrayed HimE. Thring, M. A.Matthew 27:1-10
Manner of Iscariot's DeathH. B. Hackett, D. D.Matthew 27:1-10
Origin of NameBloomfield.Matthew 27:1-10
Passion is Stronger than the Fear of DeathO. B. Frothingham.Matthew 27:1-10
Refusing a LegacyF. Hastings.Matthew 27:1-10
Revulsion of Feeling After Sin is CommittedA. Maclaren, D. D.Matthew 27:1-10
See Thou to ThatA. Maclaren, D. D.Matthew 27:1-10
The BetrayerA. Weston.Matthew 27:1-10
The Devil Tempts to DespairAyguan.Matthew 27:1-10
The Field of Blood.-- Site of AceldamaDr. Smith.Matthew 27:1-10
The Mixture of Good and Bad in JudasS. Cox, D. D.Matthew 27:1-10
The Price of BloodJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 27:1-10
The Remorse of Judas on the Condemnation of ChristH. Melvill, B. D.Matthew 27:1-10
The Repentance and Suicide of JudasE. T. Carrier.Matthew 27:1-10
The Repentance of JudasC. Bradley.Matthew 27:1-10
The Repentance of JudasW. H. Smith.Matthew 27:1-10
The Repentance of JudasHenry Smith.Matthew 27:1-10
The True Confessor and the FalseDr. Bonar.Matthew 27:1-10
The Unconverted Warned by the Remorse of the LostB. W. Noel, M. A., G. J. Noel.Matthew 27:1-10
What is that to Us?J. Ker, D. D.Matthew 27:1-10
Christ Before Pilate. No. 1Marcus Dods Matthew 27:1, 2, 11-14

Caiaphas had a purpose to serve by giving Jesus up to the Romans. Little did he know that while he thought he was making a tool of every one, he was merely God's tool for accomplishing his purposes. The harmony of the purpose of God, the scheme of Caiaphas, the law of Rome, and the relation of the Jewish court to the Roman procurator, explains fully how, when the Sanhedrin took counsel against Jesus to put him to death, the result was that they resolved to deliver him to Pilate. In their conduct notice:

1. Their scrupulosity about entering the palace. They would not cross a Gentile threshold during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Types in this of all who are able to be religious without being moral; who shrink from violating some ceremonial rule, but without scruple violate their own convictions - whited sepulchres, outwardly spotless, but inwardly full of rottenness and corruption.

2. The satanically prompted cunning of their accusation. They had but an hour ago been obliged to acquit him of such charges, and to condemn him on the ground of his claiming to be the Son of God. But Pilate is too keen sighted to be deceived by their show of loyalty. He cannot believe that since last Passover this great conversion from hatred to love of his government has taken place. One cannot but reflect what a pregnant moment this was for Pilate, when our Lord seemed to wish to open the deepest desires of that severe Roman heart, and prompt him to long, with the Jews, for a spiritual kingdom. Before answering his question, "Art thou the King of the Jews?" he must first know, as John tells us, in what sense Pilate uses the words, "Sayest thou this thing of thyself? Is it not possible that thou too for thine own sake shouldest seek to know this King of the Jews for whom Israel has longed?" There were officers under Pilate whose heathen upbringing had not prevented them from discovering the spiritual grandeur of Jesus, and desiring to belong to his kingdom. But it was too much for Roman pride to be taught by a Jew how to find peace, and even to submit to this bound Jew before him as to a King. A mirror is here held up to those of us who do not "of ourselves" ask Christ what his claims are, who think it quite right that other people should accept and acknowledge him, but cannot bring themselves to do so. Pilate was a man who represents thousands in every age, who persistently and on principle live for the world, and seal up the deeper nature in them that the world does not satisfy; who try, as it were, to live down their own nature, their own immortality. Have your own spiritual necessities taught you the meaning of God's promise of a King to the Jews? - D.

Then Judas, which had betrayed Him, when he saw that He was condemned.
Men join hand in hand for a wicked object, out of which they hope for common profit. For a while the alliance lasts, and evil seems to have power of coherence as well as good. But conflicting interests arise, and then the nature of the union is apparent. Sin began by severing the bond between man and his Maker, and what other bond can henceforth have any permanence? If left to do its will, it would disintegrate God's universe into atoms of selfishness. Observe here —

I. JUDAS, AND THE STATE OF MIND TO WHICH HE IS BROUGHT. He begins in the guilt of selfishness, and ends in its utter solitude.

1. Separation from human companionship.(a) From Christ and the apostles. After his act of treachery was committed, he felt as if a bridge were broken behind him. He had no more part nor lot in the circle of which he had been a member.(b) From his employers and accomplices. Here again, he is alone. He has served their purpose, and is thrown away like a broken tool.

2. Self-desertion. He can no longer keep company with his own thoughts. Backward, forward, upward, his sin meets him wherever he turns, and his feeling is that which the poet has given to the apostate angel, "Me miserable, which way shall I fly!"

3. Deserted by the tempter and the bribe. He has no pleasure in the thing he coveted. "the silver, which was so dear, eats his flesh as it were fire, and he casts it from him like a viper that has. stung the hand. So does the devil ever cheat the sinner of the substance for a shadow, and then robs him of that, or changes it into a frightful spectre from which he would escape if he could.

4. Separation between the soul and God. That which is reviving light to others is to him consuming fire, and he seeks flight from God as a relief and escape, Remorse only hardens. The heart of stone may be crushed and remain stone in its every fragment; it can only be melted when the love of God is suffered to shine on it. But when it refuses to admit that love, what can be done? For a time this awful isolation may not seem so terrible as it is. Other things may be put in the place of God — friendships, occupations, and pleasure. But when these pass, as pass they must, and perish like flowers on the edge of a gulf, the awful depth of the chasm will be seen. When fold after fold which now closes the eye of the soul is torn off, and it is Compelled to look on eternal realities, how will it stand the gaze?


1. Their disregard for their instrument when their purpose is gained. How differently would Judas have been treated, had he gone to Christ! If any friendship is to be formed that will stand us in stead in the hour of trial, it need not be sought among bad men consorting for unprincipled ends. The first stress will lay bare the hollow of such friendships, and show what bitter enemies confront one another when wicked men are separated by selfish purposes.

2. Their attempt to shake off the responsibility of the common act. One of the punishments in concerted sin is mutual recrimination, and the weakest are denied not only pity but ordinary justice.

3. Their taunt. A sneer at his being too late in coming to the knowledge of Christ's innocence. This view of the matter should have suggested itself earlier. Infinitely better to meet the ridicule of sinners for not joining them, and to keep a good conscience, than to end by being subjected to their taunts with the bitter knowledge that they are deserved!

(J. Ker, D. D.)

I am going to put before you the behaviour of Judas in a purely human point of view; no narrow view of the question, but that which most concerns us. I would have you look to his dishonourable betrayal of his Friend. Put out of sight, then, the crucifixion of the Son of God; for this does not strictly belong to Judas: this truth Judas never learnt. Put out of sight, also, the whole transcendent scheme of redemption: Judas knew nothing of this. But Jesus was his Friend. Day by day he had lived with Jesus. Day by day he had heard Him speak, "Who spake as never man spake." Day by day he had seen the ineffable grace of the Son of Man. Truth had dwelt with him, and had not won his allegiance. Love had dwelt with him, and had failed to touch his heart. Purity and holiness had gradually unveiled their glories in his presence, and he had looked aside, and been proof to their loveliness. Jesus had been his Friend. The Incarnate Son of God had dwelt upon earth, not merely to promise heaven, but to be that heaven which He promised; not merely to judge and reward hereafter, but to be in each believer — Life. This was what was presented to the eyes and heart of Judas — the glories of a present immortality of purity and love; glories veiled indeed, but not unseen by watchful loving eyes. Jesus was his Friend. And we must observe that Judas was thoroughly aware of what was true and good, and perfectly conscious, as far as a broad, general choice went, of the surpassing excellence of Him with whom he lived.

(E. Thring, M. A.)

Might not Judas have sung care away, now that he had both the bag and the price of blood, but he must come and betray himself. Whiles he played alone, he won all; but soon after, his own wickedness corrected him, and his backslidings reproved him (Jeremiah 2:19). Sin will surely prove evil and bitter, when the bottom of the bag is once turned upward. A man may have the stone who feels no fit of it. The devil deals with men as the panther does with the beasts: he hides his deformed head, till his sweet scent have drawn them into his danger. Till we have sinned, Satan is a parasite; when we have sinned, he is a tyrant. But it is good to consider that of Bernard: "At the Day of Judgment a pure conscience shall better bestead one than a full purse.

(John Trapp.)

What an awful difference there is in the look of a sin before you do it and afterwards! Before I do it, the thing to be gained seems so attractive, and the transgression that gains it seems so comparatively insignificant. Yes! and when I have done, the two alter places; the thing that I win by it seems so contemptible! Thirty pieces of silver! pitch them over the Temple enclosure and get rid of them I The thing that I win by it seems so insignificant; and the thing that I did to win them dilates into such awful magnitude! For instance, suppose you or I do anything that we know to be wrong, tempted to it by a momentary indulgence of some mere animal impulse. By the very nature of the case that dies in its satisfaction, and the desire dies along with it. We do not want it any more, when once we have got it. It lasts but a moment and is past; then we are left alone with the thought of the thing that we have done. When we get the prize of our wrong-doing we find out that it is not as all-satisfying as we expected it would be. Most of our earthly aims are like that. The chase is a great deal more than the hare. Or, as George Herbert has it, "Nothing between two dishes." A- splendid service of silver plate, and when you take the cover off there is nothing in it. It is that old story over again, of the veiled prophet who wooed and won the hearts of foolish maidens, and when he had them in his power in the inner chamber removed the silver veil that they had looked upon with love, and showed hideous features that struck despair into their hearts. Every wrong thing that you do, big or little, will be like some of those hollow images of the gods that one hears of in barbarous temples: looked at in front, fair; but when you get behind them you find a hollow, full of dust and spiders' webs and unclean things.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

It is clear that he had no intention whatever of committing so terrible a crime as the consequences showed it to be. Alas l what a fearful, gradual downfall there must have been since the moment when the sweetness of the Word of Life first made him give up all to follow Christ! How day by day little dishonourable choices must have been made, with an uneasy conscience, before he arrived at the deep dishonour of the betrayal l How, whilst his companions were gradually putting away their delusions, and seeing more clearly, and clinging more strongly, he was gradually separating from them too; acting the part of the tempter sometimes — as when we find him taking the lead in complaining of the waste of ointment — but nevertheless having less in common with them every day, as they became nearer to Jesus and he became more distant.

(E. Thring, M. A.)

The man who has wronged another proverbially finds it harder to forgive than he who suffered the wrong; and the heavier the wrong the more reluctant is he to admit that it had no justification. He seeks to justify himself by depreciating the character of the neighbour to whom the wrong has been done; he sets himself to think of him as badly as he can, to speak even worse of him than he thinks, that he may thus in some degree shift the burden of guilt on to other shoulders than his own. Judas, therefore, had every motive to think and speak of Jesus the worst he could. He was in the habit, too, of glossing over his sins, of inventing better motives for them than they would bear. If he could have found any fault in the Man Christ Jesus, and, much more, if he had seen in Him anything worthy of death, would he not have clutched at it now, and proclaimed it, that he might thus justify himself to the world? Nay, if he could have fixed on a single point in the character and life of Jesus on which to hang so much as a suspicion, would he not have dwelt on it, and exaggerated it, and woven from it at least some thin disguise for his own perfidy and shame? We may be very sure that the Son of Man was verily innocent when it is Judas who pronounces Him innocent. And we may also be sure that there was much that was genuine in the repentance of the man who, by acknowledging the innocence of his Victim, brought the whole weight of his deed upon himself. "The instruments of darkness," who, "to win us to our harm," often throw a false colour of virtue round the sins to which they tempt us, must indeed have lost their power with Judas when, seeing what he had done, he publicly confessed that it was innocent blood he had betrayed, and so left himself without palliation or excuse.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

The tools of more respectable sinners are flung away as soon as they are done with. These three, Judas, the priests, and Pilate, suggest to us a threefold way in which conscience is perverted.

I. Judas — the AGONY OF CONSCIENCE. I see nothing in Scripture to bear out the hypothesis that his motives were mistaken zeal; he was a man of a low, earthly nature, who became a follower of Christ, thinking that He was to prove a Messiah of the vulgar type. The sudden revulsion of feeling which followed upon the accomplished act; not like the words of a man who had acted on mistaken love. What an awful difference there is between the look of sin before you do it and afterwards; before, attractive and insignificant; after, contemptible. Here is hell, a conscience without hope of pardon. You cannot think too blackly of your sins, but you may think too exclusively of them.

II. Pilate — THE SHUFFLINGS OF A HALF-AWAKENED CONSCIENCE. Here, then, we get once more a vivid picture that may remind us of what, alas! we all know in our own experience, how a man's conscience may be clear-sighted enough to discern, and vocal enough to declare, that a certain thing is wrong, but not strong enough to restrain from doing it. Conscience has a voice and an eye; alas! it has no hands. It shares the weakness of all law, it cannot get itself executed. Men will climb over a fence, although the board that says "Trespassers will be prosecuted," is staring them in the face in capital letters at the very place where they jump. Your conscience is a king without an army, a judge without officers. "If it had authority, as it has the power, it would govern the world," but as things are, it is reduced to issuing vain edicts and to saying, "Thou shalt not!" and if you turn round and say "I will, though," then conscience has no more that it can do. And then, here, too, is an illustration of one of the commonest of the ways by which we try to slip our necks out of the collar, add to get rid of the responsibilities that really belong to us. "See ye to it" does not avail to put Pilate's crime on the priests' shoulders. Men take part in evil, and each thinks himself innocent, because he has companions. Half a dozen men carry a burden together; none of them fancies that he is carrying it. It is like the case of turning out a platoon of soldiers to shoot a mutineer-nobody knows whose bullet killed him, and nobody feels himself guilty; but there the man lies dead, and it was somebody that did it. So corporations, churches, societies, and nations do things that individuals would not do, and each man of them wipes his mouth, and says, "I have done no harm." And even when we sin alone we are clever at finding scapegoats.

III. And so, lastly, we have here another group still — the priests and people. They represent for us the torpor and misdirection of conscience. "Then answered all the people and said, His blood be on us and on our children." They were perfectly ready to take the burden upon themselves. They thought that they were "doing God service" when they slew God's Messenger. They had no perception of the beauty and gentleness of Christ's character. They behoved Him to be a blasphemer, and they believed it to be a solemn religious duty to slay Him then and there. Were they to blame because they slew a blasphemer? According to Jewish law — no! They were to blame because they had brought themselves into such a moral condition that that was all they thought of and saw in Jesus Christ. With their awful words they stand before us, as perhaps the crowning instances in Scripture history of the possible torpor which may paralyze consciences. The habit of sinning will lull a conscience far more than anything else.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

And it is quite possible that a man may have no prick of conscience and yet have done a very wrong thing. So we want, as it seems to me, something outside of ourselves that shall not be affected by our variations. Conscience is like the light on the binnacle of a ship. It tosses up and down along with the vessel. We want a steady light yonder on that headland, on the fixed solid earth, which shall not heave with the heaving wave, nor vary at all. Conscience speaks lowest when it ought to speak loudest. The worst man is least troubled by his conscience. It is like a lamp that goes out in the thickest darkness. Therefore we need, as I believe, a revelation of truth and goodness and beauty outside of ourselves to which we may bring our consciences, that they may be enlightened and set right. We want a standard like the standard weights and measures that are kept in the Tower of London, to which all the people in the little country villages may send up their yard measures, and their pound weights, and find out if they are just and true. We want a Bible, and we want a Christ to tell us what is duty, as well as to make it possible for us to do it.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

You will observe the testimony which Judas bears to Christ and His religion. Had Christ been a deceiver Judas would have been aware of it; how valuable his testimony would have been against our Lord. Yet it is evident Judas had nothing to communicate. It is evident from the narrative of the evangelists that the devil had much to do with the treachery of Judas. In no case has Satan power over the individual except as that individual shall furnish him with advantages. It was the unrestrained covetousness of Judas which opened an access to the tempter. We must not excuse ourselves by accusing the devil; but it is distinctly said that he "put into the heart of Judas Iscariot," etc. How Satan succeeded in working up Judas to this treachery?

I. We may give it as in a high degree probable that the devil suggested to Judas that by placing Christ in the hands of His enemies he should ONLY AFFORD HIM AN OPPORTUNITY OF SHOWING HIS POWER BY DEFEATING THEIR MALICE. HOW easy for the traitor to argue "No harm but good will arise from the betrayal; he would actually be doing Christ a service!" In this way professing Christians comply with the customs of the world, fancying that they will disarm prejudice and recommend piety. Satan dealt with Judas as a man with a conscience that had to be pacified.

II. We may also suppose that, in place of suggesting to Judas the probability that Jesus would escape, SATAN PLIED HIM WITH THE CERTAINTY THAT JESUS WAS TO DIE. The prophecies attested this. Your treachery is needful, and so cannot be criminal. Men imagine that if their sins contribute to God's fixed purpose they cannot be guilty. The purpose would have been accomplished without the sin.

III. There is something very affecting in the fact THAT JUDAS GAVE HIMSELF UP TO DESPAIR ON SEEING THAT JESUS WAS GIVEN OVER TO DEATH. The moment a sinner is brought to see his own work in Christ's death, then is the moment for showing him his life in Christ's work. Only feel that we crucify Christ, and we are ready for being told that Christ was crucified for us.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

I. AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE LACK OF CONSCIENCE ON THE PART OF THE PROFESSEDLY RELIGIOUS IS SEEN IN THE TREATMENT OF A GUILTY SOUL. They consulted about the money, but not the man. They ought to have rejoiced in the confession of Judas, and that he had time to save Jesus and himself. They discard their tool. We have frequently seen men of good position and of high moral principles associate on equal terms with those below them for civil or political purposes. The priests could not make him shoulder all the guilt.

II. THE SCHEMES OF THE CONSCIENCELESS TO GET RID OF AN UNWELCOME LEGACY. Says one, "Pity to waste the money; " says another, "Never mind the past, it will serve a good end now." "Cast it into the Kedron." "Melt it over again, and thus get out the stain." "Buy the potter's parcel of ground." "Good suggestion," was the murmur. This will secure conscience and personal advantage at the same time. How conscientious were these unprincipled men.

III. HOW DIRECT SIN AND CONSCIENCELESS SCHEMING ARE OVERRULED BY CHRIST. His betrayal causes a cemetery to be provided for the stranger and outcast; thus it is turned to good effect.

(F. Hastings.)


1. It was similar to true repentance in that conviction of sin from which it sprung.

2. In the open acknowledgment of guilt to which his convictions led him.

3. In the deep sorrow with which his repentance was accompanied.

4. In the self-condemnation with which the repentance of Judas was attended.

5. His extreme anxiety to counteract the evil consequences of his crime, and his entire renunciation of its fruits.


1. It differed from it in its origin. It had its origin in the natural conscience, not in the grace of God.

2. In the object of his sorrow. Judas repented not of his crime, but of its consequences.

3. In its extent. It was of a partial nature.

4. In its results.This shows —

1. That we may bear very close resemblance to the disciples of Christ, and yet remain still in the number of His enemies, and share their condemnation.

2. That a profession of attachment to Christ aggravates the guilt of sin, and renders an indulgence in it peculiarly dangerous.

3. No man can be a gainer by sin.

(C. Bradley.)

I. THE SINNER IN THE NEXT WORLD WILL KNOW THE CHARACTER OF SIN AS JUDAS KNEW IT. Now men do not judge of sin aright, their imagination is dazzled by its charms. As soon as the sin is committed its promise is found to be delusive.

II. THIS WILL LEAD HIM TO HATE SIN AND EVERYTHING CONNECTED WITH IT. NOW he loves it. He will hate it because of its consequences. He will hate the gains and pleasures that once allured him. As Judas hated the priests, the sinner will hate his evil comrades. Judas disliked the thought of the happiness of his fellow disciples; the sinner will know that he might have had joy. With what feelings will he regard himself?

(B. W. Noel, M. A.)

I. THE CONDUCT AND CHARACTER OF JUDAS. His object not malice but avarice.


1. Judas could not endure his own reflections. Compare the unfeeling spirit with which these men treat this conscience-stricken sinner with the love of the Saviour for the sinner.

2. The delusion which sometimes occupies the minds of the ungodly — "It is not lawful for us to put them into the treasury," etc. They who care not for innocent blood, who care not for the remorse of their victim, are very careful about God's treasury. Thus Satan deludes men.

(1)See what is in man.

(2)See what dreadful havoc one lust can make on a promising character.

3. How good a work to pluck men out of the hands of Satan.

(G. J. Noel.)


1. He occupied a very high position.

2. He enjoyed great privileges.

3. He committed a great crime. Trace this sin — the plot, etc.

4. He deeply repented. His repentance was real, distressing, etc.

5. He made restitution.

6. He despaired of mercy.


1. That we may possess great privileges, make a blazing profession, and fill a high office, and still have no real piety.

2. That whatever amount of repentance a man may possess, in the absence of faith in Christ the soul will perish.

3. That there is tremendous power in a guilty conscience to inflict punishment. Cain, David, Herod, Judas, penitents.

4. The danger of indulging in the sin of covetousness.

5. That the atonement alone presents the only remedy that will meet all the deep-felt necessities of a guilty conscience.

(A. Weston.)

There are many principles underlying this tragedy.

I. That the repentance of Judas was occasioned by the new aspect which his sin assumed.

II. That, the delusion dispelled, two faculties of the mind urged him to confession and restitution — memory and reason.

III. That alliances based on sin are utterly hollow and worthless.

IV. That sin brings in its train the most maddening remorse and despair.

(E. T. Carrier.)

I. Examples of FALSE CONFESSION. Its falsehood consisted in this — It was constrained, selfish, superficial, impulsive, temporary. Beware!

II. Examples of TRUE CONFESSION. In true confession we take our proper place; we come to see sin somewhat as God sees it.

(Dr. Bonar.)

The history of Judas was written for our admonition, and is full of instruction to all.

1. How totally unprepared he seems to have been for the terrible results of his treachery. The condemnation of Jesus was an event on which he had not calculated. He was horror-struck and confounded with the unforeseen consequences of his villainy. No man, when consenting to temptation, can possibly tell how much evil may be involved in the sinful act which he contemplates, or determine the results in which it shall issue.

2. To what excesses of wickedness a man may be hurried, who is yet far from being hardened in iniquity. It was not any malignant or revengeful feeling which he entertained against our Lord, but the promptings of avarice only, that determined Judas to the perpetration of his immoral crime. The ungovernable grief and horror that seized him manifests that he was not hardened in iniquity. The sense of virtue and shame was far from being extinct. But there was the wretched greed of lucre in his soul. Constantly assailed by this temptation, he gradually yielded. Hence the danger of encouraging a disposition to covetousness, and of listening to temptation of whatever kind.

3. The tranciency of sinful pleasures. It was night when he received the reward of iniquity, but when morning came then came repentance too. How many such extreme cases are there l

4. How dearly the pleasures of sin are purchased.

5. The sort of sympathy a man may expect from his accomplices in iniquity.

6. How the sense of guilt may operate. He was brought to repentance, but it was a very different kind of repentance from that which he purposed coming to. The sense of guilt may take either of two very different forms — "godly sorrow" or the "sorrow of the world." Look at Judas, and beware! Precisely the same purposes as many are entertaining beguiled him onwards, until at length it surprised him with the repentance of despair. Conclusion: Make repentance a voluntary act. Repent now!

(W. H. Smith.)

Though they might disown responsibility, they could not destroy it. A man may stop his chronometer in the night, but he cannot arrest the sunrise. As long as men are in the pursuit of an object, they may be able, with the aid of passion, to stifle conscience; but when the object is reached, and the value deliberately counted, conscience can begin to strike the balance. The heat and halo of the chase are over, and the net result can be reckoned, at least on one side; the miserable gain, if not the infinite loss. So it is with the betrayer, and so it must be, by and by, with those who hired him. They may meanwhile outbrave Judas, but they have to meet God. And, let us think of it — the poisoned arrow a man uses may wound himself. The sneer is always on the way to the remorse. They have both the same hard bitterness in them — the same want of God's love.

(J. Ker, D. D.)

The craft of the devil is often displayed in representing a sin to which we are tempted as trifling, but after we have committed it as so great that there is no help for us in God.


Objectors have represented the statement in this text as inconsistent with that in Acts 1:18, where he is said to have " purchased a field with the reward of iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out." But these passages do not necessarily contradict each other. Matthew does not say that Judas, after having hanged himself, did not fall to the ground; nor, on the contrary, does Luke say that Judas did not hang himself before he fell to the ground; and unless the writers affirm the reality of the events which they respectively mention in such a way as to assert or imply that if the one event be true the other must be false, it is obvious that they do not contradict each other. Of the precise relation of the two events in question to each other we have no information, and can affirm nothing with certainty. Some intermediate circumstance connected the one with the other as parts of the same transaction, but that circumstance has not been recorded. It is conjectured that Judas may have hung himself on the edge of a precipice near the valley of Hinnom, and that the rope breaking by which he was suspended, he fell to the earth and was .dashed to pieces. As I stood in this valley, and looked up to the rocky heights which span over it on the south side of Jerusalem, I felt that the proposed explanation was a perfectly natural one; I was more than ever satisfied with it. I measured the precipitous, almost perpendicular walls, in different places, and found the height to be variously forty, thirty-six, thirty-three, thirty, and twenty-five feet. At the bottom of these precipices are rocky ledges, on which a person would fall from above, and in that case not only would life be destroyed, but the body almost inevitably bruised and mangled.

(H. B. Hackett, D. D.)

One of the most learned and compassionate fathers of the early Church, , reports and argues for what seems to have been a not uncommon belief in those early days, viz., that Judas was moved to hang himself by some confused thought that, beyond the veil, in the life to come, he might meet his Master once more, and cast himself at His feet, confessing his guilt, and imploring pardon for his sin. That, however, is only a tradition, though surely many of us would be glad to know that it was something more. But he must be dull and hard indeed who does not feel that in that loathing of himself and of his guilt, which made life intolerable to him, there is some proof that Iscariot was not altogether sold under sin.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

We are too hard in our thoughts of Judas if we hold him to have been an utterly graceless, abandoned, and irredeemable reprobate; and above all, we are too hard and narrow in our thoughts of Christ if we suppose even the sin of Judas to have put him for ever beyond the pale of mercy. Judas was once a babe, such as we all have been, and had a mother who loved him, and built bright hopes upon him. Probably, too, he had a father who led him to school and to synagogue, and trained him carefully in the Hebrew wisdom and piety. He shot up into a steady and thrifty young man — not addicting himself to vicious and spendthrift courses, but rather displaying a mind unusually open to religious impressions. We can trace in him some touch of the character of his ancestor, Jacob; the same by no means infrequent combination of religious susceptibilities and aspirations with a determination to do well in the world, the same preference of crafty and subtle expedients for securing his ends over the frank and downright methods of which Esau is one type, and Peter another. Two souls, two natures, were at strife in the man, as they were also in Jacob; the one subtle, grasping, money-loving, the other keen to discern the value of things unseen and eternal, and to pursue them. And for a time, as we all know, the better nature conquered. When he heard the call of Christ, all that was noble, and unselfish, and aspiring in the man rose up to welcome Him and to respond to His call. He was not a thief and a traitor when he became an apostle; nor when he went out into the cities and villages of Galilee, without staff or scrip, preaching the kingdom of heaven; nor when he returned to his Master rejoicing that even devils were subject unto him. Goodness, honour, devotion, self-sacrifice, were not unknown to him then. Let us remember what there was of good in him once, what there was of good in him even to the end: for no man who is capable of repentance is wholly and irredeemably bad; and let us not be overhard in our thoughts of him, nor unjust even to his tainted memory. The medieval Church had a legend which shows that even in those dark stern days men had glimpses of a light which many among us have not caught even yet. The legend was that, for the sake of one good and kindly deed performed in the days of his innocency, Judas was let out of hell once in every thousand years, and allowed to cool and refresh himself amid the eternal snows of some high mountain for a whole day. But we know that while he was still true to Christ he must have wrought many good and kindly deeds; and if he still suffers the punishment of the evil deeds he did, are we to believe he does not also, in some mysterious way, receive the due reward of his good deeds.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

The dread of death is universal and instinctive; and yet how many rush into its arms! Suicide is a most impressive fact in this connection. The disappointed lover, the discouraged adventurer, the suspected clerk, the child wounded in its self-love or fearful of punishment, faces the great enemy and invites his blow. Every now and then the community is shocked by suicides so unprovoked and so frequent as almost to persuade us that the natural fear of death is passing away. The inconsistency is easily explained. Bacon says there is no passion that will not overmaster the terror of death. For passion is thoughtless; occupied wholly with an immediate suffering it makes no estimate of any other kind of pain; absorbed in an instantaneous sorrow it takes no other sorrow into account. The mind entertains but one passion at a time, whether it be joy or fear. But men are not always or generally under the influence of passion. Ordinary life is calm, calculating, considerate, and it is to ordinary life that death is terrible. It is the thought of death that is terrible, not death. Death is gentle, peaceful, painless; instead of bringing suffering it brings an end of suffering. It is misery's cure. Where death is, agony is not. The processes of death are all friendly. The near aspect of death is gracious. There is a picture somewhere of a frightful face, livid and ghastly, which the beholder gazes on with horror, and would turn away from, but for a hideous fascination that not only rivets his attention, but draws him closer to it. On approaching the picture the hideousness disappears, and the face is that of an angel. It is a picture of death, and the artist's object was to impress the idea that the terror of death is an apprehension. Death is an ordinance of nature, directed by beneficent laws to beneficent ends.

(O. B. Frothingham.)

The "field of blood" is now shown on the steep south face of the valley or ravine of Hinnom, near its east end, on a narrow plateau, more than half way up the hill side. Its modern name is Hak-ed-damne. It is separated by no inclosure; a few venerable olive-trees occupy part of it, and the rest is covered by a ruined square edifice — half built, half excavated — which, perhaps originally a church, was in Maundrell's time in use as a charnel-house. It was believed in the middle ages that the soil of this place had the power of very rapidly consuming bodies buried in it, and in consequence either of this or of the sanctity of the spot, great quantities of the earth were taken away; amongst others by the Pisan Crusaders, in 1218, for their Campo Santo at Pisa, and by the Empress Helena, for that at Rome. Besides the charnel-house, there are several large hollows in the ground, which may have been caused by such excavations. The formation of the hill is cretaceous, and it is well known that chalk is always favourable to the rapid decay of animal matter.

(Dr. Smith.)

The article τοῦ expresses a particular field known by that name; so called from having been used by a potter, no doubt to dig clay for his wares. Thus several villages in England have the prefix Potter, probably from part of the ground having been formerly occupied for potteries — e.g., Pottersbury, Northamptonshire. So the field at Athens, appropriated as a cemetery for those who fell in the service of their country, was called Ceramicus, from having been formerly used for brickmaking. This, of course, would make a field unfit for tillage, though good enough for a burying-ground, hence the smallness of the price.


If you ask how he repented, I think he repented as most usurers repent, upon their death-beds. There is a shame of sin, and guilt of conscience, and fear of judgment, even in the reprobate, which is a foretaste of hell, which the wicked feel; even as the peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost is a foretaste of heaven, which the godly feel before they come thither. So Judas was displeased with the ugliness of his treachery, and had a misshapen sorrow, like a bear's whelp, but without any conversion to God, or hope of mercy, or prayer for pardon, or purpose to amend. Only he felt a guilt, a shame and anguish in his heart, which was rather a punishment of sin than a repentance for his sin, and a preparative for hell which he was going unto. For hardness of heart and despairing of mercy are sins, and punishment for sins too; but true repentance is such a sorrow for one sin as breedeth a dislike of all sins, and moveth to pray, and resolveth to amend; which falleth upon none but the elect.

(Henry Smith.)

There is a warning conscience and a gnawing conscience. The warning conscience cometh before sin; the gnawing conscience followeth after sin. The warning conscience is often lulled asleep; hut the gnawing conscience wakeneth her again. If there be any hell in this world, they which feel the worm of conscience gnawing upon their hearts may truly say that they have felt the torments of hell. Who can express that man's "horror but himself? Nay, what horrors are there which he cannot express himself? Sorrows are met in his soul at a feast; and fear, thought, and anguish divide his soul between them. All the furies of hell leap upon his heart like a stage. Thought calleth to fear, fear whistleth to horror, horror beckoneth to despair and saith, "Come, help me to torment this sinner."

(Henry Smith.)

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