Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Honor, value, and price: Mat 27:9

In reading the story of Jesus’ betrayal, Matthew writes that, after Judas had a change of heart, he tried to return the money given to him for betraying Jesus. However, because the money was blood money, the priests would not return it to the temple treasury. Instead, they purchased a field in which they might bury strangers. This was to fulfill the prophecy which said, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one whose price had been set by the sons of Israel; and they gave them for the Potter’s Field, as the Lord directed me.” (Mat 27:9) What is interesting in this passage is that the Greek word translated as “price” is the same Greek word for “honor.” In fact, one might be tempted to translate this verse as, “the honor of the one who had been honored as set by the sons of Israel.”

It is obvious, in this case, that “price” is a better translation than “honor.” However, what is interesting is, in Greek, honor is related to both value and price. Our honor towards people and things is directly related to both the value we assign to them and the price we are willing to pay for them. For example, if we value our wives and are willing to lay down our lives for them, then we will honor them. However, if we see little value in the people around us, and are not willing to be inconvenienced by their needs, then we will dishonor them in both our attitudes and actions. We will never honor anyone or anything we do not value, and if we do not value them, we will never pay the required price demanded by their value.

Understanding the scripture in this way, causes me to ask myself, “How much do I value the people around me? And what price am I willing to pay for their relationship?” Similarly, “How much do I value God, and how much am I willing to sacrifice for him?” Honor is not some subconscious emotion; it flows from an active determination of the value of other things and it moves us to pay whatever price is necessary for having those things in our lives.

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