The “PARADOX” DISCIPLE (Matthew 26-27; Luke 22; John 6:70; 13:21-26; 17:12)
The world will never be able to make up its mind regarding my betrayal of Jesus, my Teacher. Bear with me, for a moment, and ask yourself whether I was in charge of what I was doing? Then, ask what would have happened if I had not done what I did? While you are asking, would I have been better off if I had not been born? Is it possible that someone, other than I, bore the greater guilt? Are you not puzzled why Jesus, who could look into my heart and into the future, chose me in spite of it? Perhaps, I was just as much a part of a plan to redeem man, as Jesus was? Did not my betrayal serve to defeat Satan? When Satan entered my heart, he defeated himself (John 13:27). Neither of us could change destiny.
I am Judas Iscariot, the paradox disciple. My name did mean “praise,” but my mission was a disgrace. I, too, was chosen by Jesus to be one of the twelve. Like the eleven, I did not have their sense of loyalty. I was somewhat of a maverick, a loner. I never fitted into the group. Even the Teacher thought I had a devil in me. Particularly, His darling disciple, John Zebedee thought badly of me. He blamed me for criticizing the woman who wasted her costly ointment by pouring it on Jesus’ feet. He called me a thief and a money grabber. The others did not share his opinion. If I was that bad, why did the Master trust me with the money and not one of the others? The hard fact of life was and always will be that we were in the world, but were not supposed to be of it. The world is governed by money. The other disciples were too clean to deal with the world. That is where I came in. I was good enough to deal with the world, but not good enough to be accepted as one of them. I was the go-between Jesus’ Kingdom and the world. Jesus, Himself, once told us to make friends with the world and that was exactly what I was doing.
It is true, that I was bothered by the devil, but so where the others. Peter was troubled by the devil more than I was. He tried to stop Jesus from dying, while I just assisted Him. I was merely doing what Jesus wanted me to do. He wanted to die. That was what He talked about. The sooner He died, the sooner His Kingdom would become a reality. At His last dinner with us, He urged me to go and make arrangements for His betrayal and arrest. To me, it seemed that the time had come for Jesus to confront the authorities and have a show down. I knew, He had supernatural powers, and could command heaven to assist Him. So, I did make a deal with the authorities to hand Jesus, the Teacher, over to them for thirty pieces of silver. I then led them to Gethsemane, a perfect place for a confrontation. I, also knew, that Jesus had asked for a sword and He got two, one for each hand. In order to single Him out, in the dark, I kissed Him. To my dismay, He surrendered peacefully. In fact, He stopped Peter from striking with the sword and healed a soldier’s ear. He announced, this to be the hour of darkness, and not victory. This was not at all what I had understood and worked for. Why was Jesus not defending Himself with all that power on His side? Where was that Kingdom and where were all the angels that could fight for it?
Then, while I was betraying Him with a kiss, He even called me “a friend.” How could I have been a friend, when I was doing a horrible thing? I was betraying Jesus, an innocent Man. It was there and then, that I realized my gravest error. Jesus had no intention to be a political or a national hero, but a moral and a spiritual martyr. He was willing to die, so that morality could be reformed. I, too, began to grasp that reform begins in the heart and not with the sword. I knew, in my heart, that I had committed a heinous crime. I had betrayed innocent blood. And I could not live with it on my hands. I ran back to the chief priests and elders in the Temple. I threw their money, at their feet, and demanded to be absolved from my treachery. I told them that I had sinned and betrayed innocent blood. My being sorry and remorse meant nothing to these evil men. They were more evil than I was and I could no longer live with my guilt. The only thing I could think of was a rope around my neck. I should have gone to the cross, begged Jesus to forgive me and I should have demanded to be crucified with Him. But, I was too ashamed and too confused to show my face again. I could no longer look into anybody’s face. How could I live with the mark of a traitor on me? If you cannot believe anybody else; perhaps, you can believe a traitor.