“I told them, ‘ If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.’ So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, ‘throw it to the potter’ – the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.” Zechariah 11:12-13
This entire chapter is rich with analogies depicting ungodly leadership as bad shepherding. Leaders who put themselves first, do whatever it takes just to make more money. People who have no commitment or actual affection for those God has given them to lead, but instead grow bored and give up at the first sign of difficulty.
And in the midst of this theme, in slips a tiny passage that would go unnoticed if it weren’t for the striking precision of the prophecy: “the handsome price at which they valued me… thirty pieces of silver”. For the standard price with which you could buy a slave, Judas, a man personally chosen by Jesus to be a leader, put himself in shackles. And, like a lamb being led to the slaughter, Jesus allowed this man who was supposed to care for His people to destroy their One True Hope.
Today, as I ponder Jesus’ life, I meditate on the two examples of a shepherd and just how much can be at stake when a leader refuses to lead as God would.