December 15, 2017

The Real Judas

Judas Iscariot

At the center of the much talked about┬áBible story of the betrayal of Jesus is a character named Judas Iscariot. What many forget is that Jesus chose Judas as one of the 12 disciples. Chosen as part of God’s bigger plan. In that way, Judas is more than just a greedy man who could easily be bought.

And, although Judas did betray Jesus, he was only one of the disciples that did not stay by his side. All the talk about dying after the Last Supper made them nervous and a bit afraid. Why had they spent all this time with Jesus if he was leaving them? Wouldn’t the mission be deemed a failure at that point?

What caused Judas to betray Jesus? We don’t know for sure but we do know that Judas let his human desires override his love of something bigger than himself. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he not only pointed Jesus out to the Roman soldiers — he betrayed him with a kiss.

After the fact, Judas tried to undo what he had done, including returning the money he was paid. But it was too late. His sin was part of God’s plan for Jesus and the fate of Jesus had already been determined. And, of course, Judas’ fate was that he was unable to ask for forgiveness and committed suicide.

Feelings toward Judas in contemparary society are varied. Some outright hate him for giving Jesus up to the guards. Others feel sorry for him, as his role in life was to betray the Savior. We don’t really know how his actions fit in God’s greater plan. What we do know is that┬áJudas was a greedy man who was subject to sin (like all men and women) and could have asked for God’s forgiveness.

‘Twas the body of Judas Iscariot
Strangled and dead lay there;
‘Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot
Look’d on it in despair.

- from The Ballad of Judas Iscariot by Robert Williams Buchanan

Photo credit: unknown artist