BY MORNING ALL THE LEADERS OF THE JEWS had assembled at the house of Caiphas, and the Sanhedrin opened a plenary session. Christ was now brought forward again and the Council asked Him the same questions that had been put by Caiphas during the night session. “If Thou art the Christ,” they said, “tell us.” Jesus replied:
“If I tell you, you will not believe Me; and if I question you, you will not answer Me, or let Me go. But henceforth, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”
They asked their key question, saying, “Art Thou, then, the Son of God?” And He answered:
“You yourselves say that I am.”
The councillors were elated and exclaimed, “What further need have we of witness? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.” Like Caiphas, they considered Christ’s admission clinching evidence.
When Judas heard that Christ had been condemned, he repented his betrayal of his Master. Perhaps he had thought that Jesus would miraculously escape, or that the Sanhedrin would not risk trying Him. At any rate, when he learned of the Council’s decision, Judas was stricken with remorse and went back with his blood money to the chief priests and elders.
“I have sinned in betraying innocent blood,” he said. But they had no interest now in his scruples. “What is that to us? See to it thyself.”
Frustrated, he flung the money into the temple treasury and went out and hanged himself from a tree. As it happened, the bough from which he was hanging broke, and, when his body struck the ground, the entrails burst from his belly.
Meanwhile, the priests took Judas’ money and bought with it a potter’s field, Haceldama (the Field of Blood), thus fulfilling the words of Jeremiah: “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him who was priced, upon whom the children of Israel set a price; and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”
Meditation: Judas repented for his sin. He openly confessed his crime and admitted his guilt. Even the money, the desire for which had occasioned his treachery, he gave up. Why, then, was he not forgiven? He looked back and saw the enormity of his sin; but he did not look to God and realize that pardon is always possible. Self-centered and proud, though he could see his own sin, he could not look beyond himself to the mercy of God. We are sinners. We must hate our sins; but then we must look beyond them to God’s forgiving kindness.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 257-258. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.