Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What's Jesus Worth?

It always a fun adventure to read through Leviticus which I am currently doing and as expected I have learned something.

Leviticus 27:1-7 contains instructions to Moses from God concerning the monetary value of human beings. The purpose of the information is to give values so that people dedicated to God may be redeemed by their families. The text reveals the following values of human beings based on age and sex:

A man between the age of 20-60 is valued at 50 pieces of silver.
A woman of the same age is value at 30 pieces of silver.
A boy between age 5-20 is valued at 20 pieces of silver.
A girl between age 5-20 is valued at 10 pieces of silver.
A man over 60 is valued at 15 pieces of silver.
A woman over 60 is valued at 10 pieces of silver.

Of course you are aware that Jesus was betrayed by his friend Judas for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15, 27:3). Certainly the religious leaders who paid this bounty were aware of the law's declared human values. Is this one more attempt by the religious elite to embarrass Jesus and to put him in his place? It could very well could be. A common Jewish prayer in those days included the phrase, "Thank you Lord that I am neither a Gentile nor a woman".

Let me add one more twist to the tale. The religious leaders are not actually the ones who set the price on Jesus' head--God did! In fact Jesus as God set the value of his own betrayal at 30 pieces of silver--the value of a woman. The prophetic text of Zechariah 11:12-13 declares, "'If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!' So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the LORD said to me, 'Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.' So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD".

My take on this today is the fact that God values all humanity including women and Gentiles. God's word says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

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