Immoral… but legal



Matthew 27:3 When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.” 7 After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. 

This morning I’m drawn to the conversation among the chief priests and elders about what to do with the money Judas gave back to them – the money they’ve given Judas to betray Jesus. They don’t want to put the money into the treasury because it would be “unlawful” to do so. In other words, it would violate the letter of the law, so they did something else with the money instead.

Their chief concern was not what was ethical or moral, but what was legal.

Sometimes we can observe the letter of the law and still act in an immoral fashion. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We do wrong but tell ourselves “Hey, it’s perfectly legal!” And maybe it is, but the Lord expects more from us. This morning I’m reflecting on this. Where might I be doing what the chief priests and elders did centuries ago?

Lord reveal to us your ways and teach to honor the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law. Amen.

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