2003-09-01 - Aceldama
Matthew 27:7,8 And they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter's Field as a burial place for strangers. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
In 1839, at the College of Physicians in Dublin, a paper was read by Dr. Wilder concerning The Field of Blood, or Potter's Field, or Aceldama as it is commonly known. The field had recently been found and in this field they found a tomb. The door of the tomb had a mixed architecture and the pillars and pediment were of a Grecian origin. The floral elements of the tomb were Hebrew. Inside was a solid chamber hewn out of rock. There were crypts on each of the three sides. In all of the crypts human remains were found. It was determined that the bodies were all from people whose nations had never inhabited the land. They were found to be from Mongolia, Ethiopia, two from Turkey, one from Africa, and one from Mozambique. Dr. Wilder concluded that this was the field bought with the thirty pieces of silver, which were paid to Judas to betray Christ (Matthew 27:7,8).
The purchase of this field was prophesied in Zachariah 11:12. Bishop Hall sums up this passage, "This I required of them, but they, in stead of returning their holy obedience, and due thankfulnesse unto mee, weighed out thirty peeces of silver, which they gave unto a traitor, as the price of my life, which should by his persidiousnesse bee betrayed into their hands." (Jos. Hall, Bishop of Exon, "A Plaine And Familiar Explication OF ALL THE HARD Texts of the whole Divine Scripture of the OLD and NEVV TESTAMENT," London, 1633, P. 609) This field is also said to be the same field as the fuller's field mentioned in Isaiah 7:3. (John Brown, "A Dictionary of the Holy Bible," Two Volumes, Edinburgh, 1797, 1:18)
When Judas returned the money he used to betray the Lord it was thought that the money could not be put back into the treasury because it was blood money. Thus the field was purchased as a burial ground for strangers who did not have an inheritance in Jerusalem. It seems to me that even here we see the sacrifice of our Lord reaching out to the nations and this could possibly be seen as a precursor to the Great Commission where we are told that the atonement of Christ is to effect all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). I don't want to push this topic too hard because I don't know of anyone else who has taken that view, but the compassion of Christ is far reaching. It is more than we can ever know. Who is to say that His compassion does not extend to the purchase of this field for the burial of strangers, as prophesied in the Old Testament?
Compassion is for someone who needs to be relieved from affliction. "But He, being compassionate forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them; and often He restrained His anger, and did not arouse all His wrath," Psalm 78:38. We also see in 1 Kings 8:50 that compassion is designed to show kindness to those who are in trouble. God is full of compassion and, as I mentioned above, I think His compassion extends further than we even dare to consider. His mercy, compassion, and love are infinite (James 5:11).
Sometimes it is hard for us to show compassion to others. In Christ we have the perfect example of compassion that should guide us in how to be compassionate. We need to seek to live in a manner that demonstrates care, love, mercy and grace to those who the Lord brings across our path. We all can grow in this area, and may the Lord grant us the fortitude and wisdom to seek to show compassion to others as Christ has been merciful to us.
Soli Deo Gloria,