First Fidelity Reserve Presents The Perfect Historical Gift
Give a gift over 2000 years old that is
fabled to be the very same type of coin that forever changed
After two thousand years, Jesus’ birth, is still our most
historical and celebrated event. It is a time of the year when
joy, and giving becomes the expression of Christmas. The
Wiseman brought Gifts of gold to Jesus at his birth to honor
him. Strangely enough Jesus’ death was also intertwined with
precious metal. Judas Iscariot, a disciple with Jesus betrayed
him for thirty pieces of silver called the Tyre Shekel. First
Fidelity Reserve offers this coin of antiquity, the Tyre
Shekel as a daily reminder of this momentous event.
In Jesus’ time, the most universally recognized circulated
coin was the Greek silver tetradrachm, which literally means
“four drachms” (pronounced DRAMS). For almost 200 years, the
historic coin was minted in Tyre by the Phoenecians. From 126
B.C. until 70 A.D., the silver tetradrachm became the
universal currency accepted throughout the Roman Empire. In
currency terms, the silver tetradrachm is the equivalent of
the American dollar in today’s global economy. In value terms,
one of these coins roughly equaled a week’s wages for a
skilled laborer in those days.
The Jewish moneychangers of the time called them “shekels.”
The temple in Jerusalem accepted only the Tyre shekels as
currency. Although it has never been definitively proven, it
is a virtual certainty that Judas received Tyre shekels for
his traitorous complicity. At the time, thirty shekels equaled
over half a year’s wages for skilled laborers. Viewed another
way, thirty shekels purchased a slave.
Today, Biblical scholars are suggesting an alternative view
to Judas as avaricious traitor. While Biblical scripture
portrays Judas as being favorably inclined towards money, the
new view of Judas suggests he may have had grander motives
than just doing it for the money. Judas had big ambitions for
himself and for Jesus. He believed that Jesus should lead a
rebellion to overthrow Rome. When victorious, Judas assumed
Jesus would appoint him to an important position in the new
government. Since he was already treasurer among the
disciples, perhaps Judas even imagined Jesus would appoint him
as chief overseer of the new empire’s treasury!
However, in the hours before his betrayal, Judas began to
sense his plans may not come to pass. In the home of Simon the
leper, where the disciples were staying in Bethany, Mary
produced an alabaster vial filled with expensive perfume and
began to lavish it upon Jesus as he reclined at the table.
Some of the disciples, including Judas, became indignant at
what they perceived as a waste of resources.
The monetary value of the perfume was equivalent to about a
years salary for a skilled laborer. So, the disciples
suggested the perfume be sold and the money given to the poor.
But Jesus admonished them for their suggestion, saying that
Mary was anointing him for his burial and that her tender act
would be spoken of in memory of her for all time to come
wherever the gospel is preached."
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