In the 1990s brutal civil wars exploded and spilled blood in countries like Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leon. In the rebel-controlled areas of these countries rough diamonds were mined, smuggled out of the country, and then sold on the open market. The huge profits were used to buy arms and fund the rebel armies. Once the rough diamonds were cut, it was impossible to trace their origin.
When human rights groups traced the diamond-money-arms connection, they used the media to call attention to the reality that those who trafficked in these diamonds had blood on their hands. Fear of a boycott against all precious gems led to careful tracking of the African diamonds from the ground to the market.
When we see how money can be connected with the loss of precious human life, we react. Therefore, we need to be the most horrified when Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ trusted Twelve, values a few silver coins more than friendship and loyalty to Jesus.
“Now Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. When they heard this, they rejoiced and promised to give him silver. So he was seeking just the right opportunity to betray him. Mark 14:10-11
Mark introduced us to Judas when Jesus personally chose the Twelve at the beginning of his Jesus Story. He told us then that Judas would be the betrayer ( Mk. 3:19). Near his conclusion, Mark takes us into the lair of the chief priests and religious legal experts (Mk. 14:1-2). They want to seize and kill Jesus, but they ‘re blocked by his popularity with the crowds. Now an insider in the Jesus camp solves their dilemma. For some money, Judas will seize just the right opportunity to hand Jesus over to them safe from the threat of the masses.
Of course, I know that a few silver coins aren’t worth the price of betraying a friend who trusts me, especially when this friend is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but the minute I begin to ignore the power of materialism to seize my heart and distort my values, I begin to fall into the trap of Judas’ blood money.
LORD, help those using illegal drugs today to realize that they’re involved in blood money. Their money funds the pipeline through the cartels across the border and then fuels the murderous violence that results. Far more cunning is the temptation to make decisions based on personal profit and not personal devotion to those who trust and love me. Destroy the seeds of materialism and greed in my heart.
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