Judas2
Meditation and Reflection

Holy Wednesday: hate, conspiracy, betrayal

 

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him (Mt 26:14-16).

Even as Jesus was enlightening the masses with a little sermon on the Mount of Olives, preaching the irruption of God into the world and healing the odd leper in Bethany, Judas was conspiring with the Sanhedrin. He sold the Son of God for 30 pieces of silver. The things people will do for money! That’s what we remember on Holy Wednesday. Funny, isn’t it, that the one who betrayed the Lord should get his own day of commemoration.

Perhaps Jesus disappointed somehow; perhaps He failed to meet Judas’s messianic expectations; perhaps Judas just couldn’t resist dreaming of his own anointing with a dainty unguent. Perhaps, even, he had absolutely no choice: he was just the sort of malignant spirit with whom Satan is invited to sup on a daily basis, and God uses that very type to fulfil His purposes. Jesus had to be betrayed for prophecy to be fulfilled, and Judas was the vessel who was given over to the Devil (‘Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot‘ [Lk 22:3]). His heart was the first to hate the Son of God, and when that hate corrodes the soul, you scheme and conspire in downfall and rejoice in the consummation of malevolence.

It’s easy for us to wonder and judge with incredulity. Just how can you spend so much time in a man’s company and not get the measure of his character? How could Judas not know? How could he not trust? Had he not seen with his own eyes? How could he not believe?

The reason is that he did not love, or that he loved himself, his ambition and money far more. Judas is one of those friends who aren’t really friends at all. You know the sort – the superficial hangers-on; those who like to be seen with you or use you for their own ends; those who boast and name-drop, whose every conversation becomes a tedious narcissistic discourse about the self. The world of politics is full of such people. So, too, is the Church. They profess eternal friendship and avow their undying loyalty while they plot to stab you in the back. ‘Treachery with a smile’, as The Lady astutely observed.

As long as Judas could line his pockets, he never paused to consider the inevitable consequences for Jesus. That would have been an act of compassion, of consideration, of love. Yet his conceited heart was consumed with hate, selfishness, self-righteousness and greed. He knew what was certainly best. He knew what definitely had to be done. He knew the way, and he perceived infallibly. And he would brook no correction. That’s when Satan enters in.

Friends are God’s gift of love: they are there to nurture and support, and also to correct and rebuke. On this Holy Wednesday, let us thank God for them, and reflect on forgiving those who have persecuted or betrayed us – even as they have caused us to weep a bitter river of heartache, misery and sorrow.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Number one. ‘Treachery with a smile’, or a ‘smiling assassin’.

    Number two. The love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil…’ and betrayal of God, of self, and of children (and their future) is ever stronger in the self-styled ‘civilised’ west. Morally we are no more civilised than Rome was when it ruled the world, possibly less, look what happened to them – and still we will not see the danger ahead.

  • The Explorer

    Difficult issues about foreknowledge here. Did Jesus know that Judas would betray him when he selected him in the first place? In which case, could Judas have acted otherwise, anyway? Or could it have been any of the Twelve?

    • sarky

      This is exactly the problem I have. Christians are always talking about free will, but for jesus to die judas had to betray him. If god is all knowing, then off course he knew the outcome, judas never had a hope, he was predestined to act the way he did. Because of
      this he has been unfairly maligned for two thousand years.
      Ive said it before but if you believe in god and the bible then free will is just an illusion.
      (p.s. great picture of Ian mcshane at the top of the blog)

      • Dreadnaught

        I agree. It can’t be free will because we are not given the option of being so empowered.

      • Politically__Incorrect

        You make it sound as if God made Judas betray Jesus. That’s not necessarily true, in fact I personally don’t believe it to be true. Judas had as much free will to believe or not believe as you or I have. God knew however, that Judas’s heart was set on betrayal. Judas was not a pre-programmed automaton, he was a free-thinking human the same as the rest of us.

        • sarky

          So what if he had used his free willand not betrayed?? (Like he even had a choice)

          • Politically__Incorrect

            The God would not have used him as the betrayer, and the story would have taken a different route. He had as much choice as you and I have.

          • preacher

            But you can’t live your life in the realms of ‘What if’s’ brother.

          • sarky

            Thats rather convenient isn’t it? Should we just blindly believe these stories, or look a bit deeper? I think christians sometimes believe blindly because if they do question they might have a bit of re thinking to do.

          • preacher

            Now you’re going of on another tack. You make assumptions based on nothing more than your own bias.
            What if this? what if that?, you will never make a decision or come to a conclusion with that mindset.
            you couldn’t even ride a bike if that’s what your attitude is.

            Look, I was once one of the most cynical, hardbitten, tough unbelievers that ever lived. But when I checked the facts I had to admit I was wrong, ‘no what ifs’.

            You have to make up your own mind. No one can do it for you. But you must have reasons that you can base your beliefs on.
            Check out the facts behind the Bible, be bold, be strong, – search!.
            I leave you with the only important ‘What If’ that there ever was. What if all the believers are right & I am wrong?, Where does that leave me on the day of judgement?.

            If the atheists are right – I win, because I’ll die happy & will never know that I was wrong.
            If I’m right – I win, but those that don’t believe Will know they were wrong.
            That saddens me, but that’s what choice & free will is all about.
            Good Luck Sarky. Let us know how you get on!.

          • sarky

            There is whiff of pascal’s wager about that!! As for the rest, I was raised by christisns (baptists), read my bible and went to church every sunday and did every church activity under the sun until I was about 18. The thing is I never believed it and cant remember ever believing it. I just think some people are more predisposed to it than others, the so called ‘religious brain’ theory. But, like most atheists, I have retained an interest in religion and enjoy debating on it.

          • preacher

            Sorry Bro’ if I have misjudged you.
            God Bless, (& I mean that sincerely.) P.

          • sarky

            No probs 🙂

          • [Yawn]
            I think atheists always believe blindly because if they do question they might have a bit of re-thinking to do.
            .
            I know I did.

          • sarky

            We do question. That’s how we came to our position.

          • I was brought up in the 1960s to believe in evolution as a fact and, to my shame, I never questioned it until I was in my 30s. It was actually reading a children’s book on dinosaurs to my kids that actually opened my eyes as to how ridiculous ‘goo to you’ evolution actually is. Then I began to read up on the subject and learned about Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, the coelacanth, Haekel’s forged drawings, the supposed redundant organs and so forth. In the end, the evidence was just overwhelming; evolutionary thought was built on sand and the universe had to have a Designer.
            .However, that really got me nowhere very much. Even the devils in hell know that there’s a God. It took further searching to find out the most important thing of all; just who that Designer is (John 1:1-3).
            .
            Yet the searching and the questioning are all of God. It was He who stirred me up to search and He who lead me to the truth. ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him’ (James 1:5. Read the next 3 verses also).

          • sarky

            Thanks Martin, but I have literally read dozens of books on both sides of the argument. You have come to your conclusion and I have come to mine. You may find evolution ridiculous, but I find ‘god did it’ equally so.
            Even with my church upbringing I have never seen/experienced anything to make me think that god exists or that the bible is true, on the contrary I have found the opposite.
            Think we will have to agree to disagree.

          • preacher

            What lost?

          • sarky

            No, we found ourselves and realised we didn’t need a god to explain that or our place in the universe.

          • Phil R

            I think you are party correct and party wrong

            Did Jesus know Judas would betray. Yes he did. Was it God’s plan? No it is never God’s plan for us to sin. Can God use the fact that we sin for good? Yes and this is a fantastic example.

            Did Judas have free will and could have chosen not to betray? Yes he could have done. Would the outcome have been the same, i.e Christ’s death on the cross? As Christians we can only hope so with all our heart.

            Is Judas in heaven or in hell? Not our call.

          • sarky

            You contradict yourself. You say jesus knew judas would betray, but then say he had free will and could choose not to betray. Which one is it?

          • Phil R

            Both

            He knew Judas’ heart

          • sarky

            Try again!!

          • Phil R

            It is God we are talking about.

          • sarky

            Cop out!!

    • preacher

      Hi Explorer, my own belief is that there’s a lot of difference between foreknowledge & predestination.
      I’ve heard the example simply put like this; If a wife is making breakfast for the family & she knows her husband hates porridge which the kids love, but loves bacon & eggs which they hate, she makes both because of prior knowledge, not because they have no choice, but she knows what each of them will choose.

      • Politically__Incorrect

        The version of that I heard goes:
        “If a married man is alone by himself in the forest, without his wife, is he still always wrong?” 🙂

        My own view is that Jesus knew Judas would betray him. Jesus had many opportunities to flee to safety, and her would have got plenty of help from his disciples no doubt. The final course of events in His life were the result of his obedience and devotion to the Father’s purpose, as much as they were the result of “fate”. Indeed, it was for people like Judas that He made the sacrifice. I think Jesus knew Judas’s mind inside out, but reacted to him not as we react to traitors, but as God reacts to a sinner.

        Then there is the issues of Judas’s suicide. Does that mean that Judas never repented? Was he ever forgiven? Was this an example of the unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit? I admit I am confused about this.

        • preacher

          Good points, firstly re: the guy in the forest, yes, she’ll be convinced he was up to no good, no matter what he says.

          I couldn’t go with the ‘fate’ position because as Jesus says “For this purpose I came” (to die & redeem all who would believe). This shows that He knew what had to happen.
          I believe that Judas could have been forgiven had he repented, but he didn’t, instead he chose suicide.
          Jesus states clearly that “It would be better if his betrayer had never been born”.
          The sin against the Holy Spirit is totally another issue & must be taken in the context of the situation that it occurs in.

          A good example of the power & desire to forgive sin is Peter, who despite promising to die with Jesus if necessary denied Him three times when confronted. But he repented & Jesus not only forgave him, but placed him in a position of power & leadership in the early Church.

          Hope this helps!.

      • As you suggest, foreknowledge and predestination are not necessarily contradictory provided we are all offered sufficient grace to turn to Christ.

    • Dominic Stockford

      “Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.”

      John 6.

      Jesus knew.

    • God’s foreknowledge of freewill and responding to the offer of faith. Jesus knew, He says as much in the Gospels.

  • Shadrach Fire

    HG wrote; he loved himself, his ambition and money far more…… The world of politics is full of such people. So, too, is the Church. They profess eternal friendship and avow their undying loyalty while they plot to stab you in the back.

    His Grace tweeted on The PM’s Easter Message for Premier.
    http://www.premierchristianity.com/Topics/Society/Politics/David-Cameron-s-Easter-Message-to-Christians

    DC; I’m hardly a model church-going, God-fearing Christian. Like so many others, I’m a bit hazy on the finer points of our faith……….
    I would urge those individuals not to dismiss the people who proposed those policies as devoid of morality

    His whole understanding of Christianity is based on others doing things. Kings and Princess’ have controlled their people by convincing them that they need to be doing good. (Keeps them out of mischief). As His Grace has said, no mention of Jesus, no mention of worship and no mention of the cross or salvation.
    The man is an apostate.

    I would have loved to see the five hundred or so MP’s who voted for SSM and other evil policies voted out. With just eight days to the nominations deadline and a lack of finances my faith is dwindling. Maybe their will be a hung Parliament with such infighting that there has to be another election soon DV.

  • The Explorer

    One assumes Judas could have repented after the betrayal, and been forgiven. Instead of repentance, he chose despair.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Technically yes. But so could Jesus ‘technically’ not have let himself die on the cross.

  • len

    One can assume that although Judas walked with Jesus, ate with Jesus, preached with Jesus, Judas never knew Jesus….Many of those who listened to Jesus never ‘got him’ this included(probably more than most ) those who considered themselves ‘religious’.

    How many people that we think we know do something and we then realise that we never knew them?
    Jesus can only be known really known if God reveals the true identity of Jesus to them…

    • The Explorer

      We are told that Judas called Christ, “Rabbi”, but not that he called him “Lord”. There is no suggestion in the Gospels that Judas ever thought that Christ was God. Born today, he would have made a good liberal theologian.

      • Uncle Brian

        … he would have made a good liberal theologian.
        Yes … depending on what you mean by “good”.

        • The Explorer

          as in illuminating illustrative example of one directly dealing with Christ without ever realising who Christ really was/is.
          It’s an itreting poin about language, though, that you’ve raised. We can say, without contradiction, that Hitler is a good example of a bad person.

  • preacher

    Without a doubt, Judas was one of the Apostles that Jesus sent out. He saw miracles & demons cast out in the name of Jesus but at his command. —— Power!!! Perhaps it was this that corrupted him, maybe he thought that he could run things better than Jesus. But Jesus was in the way & had to be removed.
    It’s possible that he thought the Sanhedrin would be merciful & just banish Jesus or that Jesus could talk His way out as he’d done in the past, or maybe Jesus would just run either for self preservation or in a temper at their rejection.
    Jesus did none of these things. He knew the road that was His to walk, the pain He was to endure & the reason for it. Not an easy painless, quick death, but essential for man’s salvation.

    The prayer in Gethsemane was answered, & the Fathers Love for us was shown in Jesus’ obedience.
    Whatever the reason, the whole thing unravelled for Judas. Money, Power, Fame?
    His reward was infamy his name remembered as a traitor, his death one of ignominy.
    A bad end. But an essential part of God’s plan. Jesus knew this man’s heart before he even chose him. The decision was Judas’s & his alone, he was no victim!.
    We should all learn a lesson from him, don’t get proud & covet the praise of men, be humble before God. Be obedient to Him alone, be bold & strong in the task you are given.
    If you hold the reigns of power, remember that you were put their by God’s will, not because your manifesto duped the electorate into voting for you. Keep your word, If you break it, it will come back to haunt you, it may take time but it will happen, Judas spent three years before his true colours were seen. It might take five years before the payback comes. It will come sooner or later.
    As someone said, ” Power corrupts, total power corrupts totally “.

  • Linus

    I have great sympathy for Judas. If you were confronted by a religious crank who was convinced he was the son of God, what would you do? One has to assume that Judas would have had some kind of religious faith, so perhaps he was offended by what would have sounded to him like Jesus’s blasphemies and wanted to silence him.

    Of course accepting money for doing so is not the act of an honest man. But was the money paid as a recompense for his betrayal? Perhaps it was for something else – the sale of goods or land – or perhaps no money changed hands and the bible story is just heavily embroidered or even completely false.

    That the Judas story is unreliable is shown by the failure of the gospels to agree on the manner of his death. Was he hanged or did he keel over and split open in a field? Christians try to whitewash away the disagreement by claiming he was hanged and then cut down and split open, but he can’t have died both ways. Either he died by hanging and it was just his corpse that split open, in which case one of the gospels is wrong. Or he was cut down before he died, in which case the other gospel is incorrect. We can prove that at least one element of his story is inaccurately reported, so how reliable can the rest of it be?

    This will of course make no difference to Christians, who will continue to believe that he betrayed their messiah even though their own holy book can’t get the facts straight and directly contradicts itself. What price dogmatic belief, eh?

    • The Explorer

      Christ (if lying) was blasphemous in claiming to be God. There is no suggestion that Judas realised Christ made such a claim; HIs gripe was more likely to have been about Christ as a non-political Messiah. The desire for money and power seem to have been involved: Judas was the most materialistic of the disciples, and the one who looked after the money bag. The anointing of Christ, and its symbolism, passes him by; he’s concerned about the waste of money.

      In Hebrew culture, thirty pieces of silver was the compensation paid for the accidental death of a slave. A reassurance, perhaps, to Judas: don’t worry, the man you’re betraying is insignificant.

      If we say Ophelia drowns because a branch breaks or because Shakespeare makes her drown, what do we have: a contradiction, or two different perspectives? (‘Matthew’ and ‘Acts’, by the way, not two gospels.) Thus Judas ‘bought’ the field in that his money paid for it. If you compare the two accounts (dealing with slightly different timespans) they mesh reasonably well. Judas hanged himself in the field, the rope broke in due course, and his decomposing body split open. What’s the problem?

      • Linus

        One of the accounts has Judas “throwing himself headlong to the ground”.

        Tell me, how does a corpse throw itself headlong to the ground? It may fall. It cannot throw itself.

        The two accounts do not mesh at all. They contradict each other. Your bible is not a reliable document.

        • Dominic Stockford

          “falling headlong”

          not your throwing himself…

        • The Explorer

          A lot depends on which translation you use. The Authorised Version says “falling headlong”, the NEB says “fell forward on the ground”. Both are consistent with a rotting corpse falling, which would burst with the impact. A live man wouldn’t burst like that.
          This is an example of the criterion of dissimilarity that I mentioned in an earlier thread. Ask two people for info about the same event and you’ll get a core of common material, and then the variation of two different perspectives.

        • Pubcrawler

          ‘One of the accounts has Judas “throwing himself headlong to the ground”.’

          Not in the Greek text it doesn’t.

        • The Explorer

          Consider the sinking of the Titanic. Some eyewitnesses in the lifeboats said it split in two; others that it went down intact. Contradiction.
          After the wreck was identified, it was found that Titanic had a very strong band of metal underneath. When the ship split, the band remained intact. It pulled the hull back together again. Those looking at one point in time saw the hull split in two. Those looking later saw it in one piece. Both accounts are correct.

          • Linus

            Either Judas died by hanging or he died from blunt force trauma when be fell over. He cannot have died twice.

            The excuses you’re trying to find for the differing biblical accounts merely highlight the essential problem with the bible that no attempt to “rob Peter to pay Paul” can fix. Either it’s God’s word or it’s not. The fact that it contains two dissimilar witness accounts of the same event indicates that it’s giving human perspectives. So it’s Man talking, not God. In which case every single bible passage is called into question.

            Not much of a holy book, eh?

          • Pubcrawler

            Nowhere in the passage from Acts does it claim explicitely that this is how Judas died; it is an account of how the field got its name. He died by hanging; the lying headlong (or becoming swollen, depending on MS reading) and bursting open is post mortem. There is no contradiction. Simples.

          • The Explorer

            Judas died once. He died by hanging, and his body fell and split open when the rope broke.
            The Bible is God speaking through Man: what Peter calls “God breathed.” There’s no need for the either/or that you suggest; you’re trying to set up a completely false dichotomy.

          • Pubcrawler

            Seems our latter-day poor man’s Celsus has quit the field. Just as it was getting fun, too.

    • Instead of nit-picking the Gospel, you should reflect on the message of Judas’s betrayal. It testifies that our leading passions may become so ingrained and habitual that grace will be actively and culpably resisted.

  • preacher

    Hey, why is an atheist like a roll of film? – because they’re full of negatives!.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I thought you were going to say “because they are not developed yet”

      • preacher

        That’s the second part of the joke brother! Well done!.

    • sarky

      At least it wasn’t a ‘rapture’ joke, christians are making them like there’s no tomorrow!

      • carl jacobs

        Don’t give up your day job.

        • preacher

          Hey Carl, be kind, if you’ve got no belief & think life end’s in a box you haven’t got much to laugh about.

          • DanJ0

            I’ve got plenty to laugh about. I thoroughly enjoy life and the world’s a beautiful place. By observation, it’s Christians who are miserable feckers. For instance, look at all the moaning about contemporary society under these articles.

          • preacher

            Good for you DanJO & may it always be so.

          • Inspector General

            Bake us a cake, Danj0…

        • CliveM

          Oh it was worth a wintry smile!

    • William Lewis

      because they prefer to do their processing in the dark?

    • Dreadnaught

      Why is are Christians called a sheep? – because they need a shepherd to do their thinking for them before ending up as someone’s dinner.

      • William Lewis

        That’s a bit woolly.

        • Dreadnaught

          He-He-He!

      • preacher

        Be careful D, you might get the chop!.

  • simonjneale

    Judas’ intentions were clearly corrupt, but did he do any more than those who merely wished Jesus harm? His betrayal consisted in identifying someone who seems to have been readily identifiable anyway. Thirty pieces of silver for stating the obvious, and the crucifixion not made any more likely by his actions.

    Apologies – I don’t understand this bit, and perhaps someone can help answer a genuine question.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I’m no theologian but here is my attempt to answer your question. Jesus’s enemies seemed to be building a case against him. Getting one of his closest followers to betray him would of course add weight to that case. “Betrayal” in this, in my opinion, does not mean revealing identity, but means a denial of Jesus as Son of God. It was more a kind of “smear” that would help turn people against him

      • CliveM

        However in the subsequent interrogation and trial there was no input from Judas. He seems to play no part in the case.

        I find judas and his role very hard to explain. In one sense he was clearly doing what was required by God. But it was also a betrayal?

        • Dominic Stockford

          Yes. They didn’t have photos and newspapers and immediate recognition of people. They needed someone to confirm which one Jesus really was. Judas did it, Judas betrayed him.

          • CliveM

            We all betrayed him.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Not then we didn’t – contrary to the popular ‘hymn’ (ditty) the question of whether I was there or not is not a question. I wasn’t. You weren’t. My sin may well have contributed to his death, but I did not betray him by planting a kiss on his face in the garden.

          • CliveM

            But it was for all our sin he died. Or do you think it was just Judases?

          • Dominic Stockford

            That is not something I am debating in my answer above. I wasn’t there, I didn’t kiss Him.

          • You will recall that in the Catholic reading of the Passion, by exception, different parts are read by different readers.

            The congregation contribute by saying the words of the crowd:

            “Crucify Him!”
            “Crucify Him!”

            It’s a reminder …..

          • preacher

            Morning Jack, sounds a bit theatrical though doesn’t it?.

          • Does it?

        • Clive, Judas did what God permitted. He exercised free will; his decision was foretold in scripture, it was foreknown, it was not “required” by God.

      • simonjneale

        Many thanks for your answer – which sparked quite a debate below! I appreciate you taking the time.

    • The Explorer

      A very good question. I’m none too clear myself.
      Tentatively, I’d say the religious authorities feared that Christ would lead an insurrection in which they themselves would be toppled. They wanted to move fast, and arrest Christ at night when the mob was not around to defend him. Judas agreed to a) show them where Christ was, and b) identify him in the semi-dark. (So they didn’t arrest Peter, say, instead in identity confusion.)

    • preacher

      Judas’ betrayal was worse than the hostile members of the Sanhedrin for the reason that, not only was he a ‘friend’ but a member of Jesus’ ‘inner circle’.
      Jesus’ enemies were openly hostile & sought a way to arrest Him, but were frightened to do so because of His popularity with the common people which could have caused a revolt that would bring down the whole religious hierarchy.
      Judas had listened & witnessed the acts & wisdom of Jesus for three years, but still chose to plot against Him & lead His enemies to Him at an appropriate time, when He could be taken secretly & without fuss.
      His treachery is therefore far worse than a mere act of betrayal by a stranger.

      Hope this is helpful.

      • Dominic Stockford

        “While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”

        Thank you preacher.

  • The Explorer

    Politically_Incorrect down below somewhere raises the important question of Judas’ suicide.
    Certainly, he regretted his part in getting Jesus arrested. The NEB translates it as, “I have sinned.” The irony is that, having helped to set up the mechanism of atonement whereby his sin could be forgiven through Christ’s death, he kills himself rathr than throwing himself on the mercy of God.
    What, in fact, is Judas’ greatest fault? HIs act of betrayal (for which he could have asked forgiveness), or his despair?

    • Remember, his suicide was before the resurrection and Pentecost. He would have known no way to atone. The Apostles, apart from John, avoided the crucifixion and all were thrown into disarray and fear.

      • The Explorer

        Yes, an excellent point. That was at the back of my mind when I said the situation was ironic. If he had only known.

        • Bishop Fulton Sheen, a wonderfully clear theologian, in his ‘Life of Christ’ concluded the tragedy of Judas’s was that after the betrayal instead of repentance he despaired.

          The sin against the Holy Spirit, the only one that cannot be forgiven, is surely the sin of final impenitence. God will forgive any repented sin but a man must repent before he can be forgiven.

          We cannot know whether Judas was impenitent to his very death. What a truly frightful thought. There is a mystery of Jesus’s the choice of Judas. Jesus pronounces a very severe judgement on him: “Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!”.

          As Pope Benedict wrote:

          “What is more, it darkens the mystery around his eternal fate, knowing that Judas “repented and brought back the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood'” (Mt 27: 3-4). Even though he went to hang himself (cf. Mt 27: 5), it is not up to us to judge his gesture, substituting ourselves for the infinitely merciful and just God.”

          What was Judas’s motive? There are a number of theories – greed for money; disappointment that Jesus did not fit into his programme for the political-militaristic liberation of Israel.
          The Gospel texts point to another aspect: John expressly says “the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him” . Luke writes: “Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve”.

          Pope Benedict continued:

          “The betrayal of Judas remains, in any case, a mystery. Jesus treated him as a friend (cf. Mt 26: 50); however, in his invitations to follow him along the way of the beatitudes, he does not force his will or protect it from the temptations of Satan, respecting human freedom.

          In effect, the possibilities to pervert the human heart are truly many. The only way to prevent it consists in not cultivating an individualistic, autonomous vision of things, but on the contrary, by putting oneself always on the side of Jesus, assuming his point of view. We must daily seek to build full communion with him.

          Let us remember that Peter also wanted to oppose him and what awaited him at Jerusalem, but he received a very strong reproval: “You are not on the side of God, but of men” (Mk 8: 33)!

          After his fall Peter repented and found pardon and grace. Judas also repented, but his repentance degenerated into desperation and thus became self-destructive.

          For us it is an invitation to always remember what St Benedict says at the end of the fundamental Chapter Five of his “Rule”: “Never despair of God’s mercy”. In fact, God “is greater than our hearts”, as St John says (I Jn 3: 20).

          Let us remember two things. The first: Jesus respects our freedom. The second: Jesus awaits our openness to repentance and conversion; he is rich in mercy and forgiveness.

          Besides, when we think of the negative role Judas played we must consider it according to the lofty ways in which God leads events. His betrayal led to the death of Jesus, who transformed this tremendous torment into a space of salvific love by consigning himself to the Father (cf. Gal 2: 20; Eph 5: 2, 25).”

          Much to ponder ….

          • CliveM

            Indeed.

          • dannybhoy

            Excellent post Jack.

          • CliveM

            Creep

          • dannybhoy

            Touche Alphonse…

          • CliveM

            I did try to resist!

            I am a sinful man………;0(

          • dannybhoy

            The day we can’t have our legs pulled is a sad day indeed..

          • CliveM

            Indeed :0)

      • CliveM

        In a sense, except for John in one way or another all the desciples betrayed him.

  • Inspector General

    Well, that’s Judas condemned then. But was the silver destined for his own pocket? Was he not the group treasurer? And if the silver was to be purloined for his own use, wouldn’t it be rather awkward enriching himself with say, a new robe, when he travelled in the company of men who would have spotted the slightest ‘improvement’ in his status?

    Christ could change water into wine, but he apparently stopped short of similar with base metal to gold. The men had to eat. Funds were probably short, and it was only a matter of time before the police picked Jesus up, and well, if there’s a reward going… Can you see the heavy responsibility on Judas, which played on his mind. To wit, do we have a case of diminished responsibility here.

    Was Judas expecting anything like what happened to Jesus ultimately. Jesus had broken no law, and that from the mouth of the Roman Prefect of Judea, the highest authority in the land. Was Judas expecting to see Jesus that night, albeit in a bad mood…

    “They questioned me all day before letting me go. Where’s Judas. I want a word with him”
    “Yes Lord, I’m here.”
    “Why? Just tell me why?”
    “Look, they were after you. It was only a matter of time before someone in the crowds pointed you out. The police wanted you quickly, so I pretended to be of the crowd”
    “And the silver…”
    “Here it is Lord. This will keep us going for weeks. They’ve all eaten well tonight”

    Judas must have been aghast on what was to become Good Friday. And in the end, he was unable to live with himself for the part he played, and hanged himself. Low thieves do not do that. Had he been one, he would have disappeared PDQ with that money, never to be seen again. But no, he chose an honourable way out after the fact. He was apparently, a man of honour after all then.

    Is it not time to see Judas in a more understanding light?

    • Jack agrees with you, Inspector, it is wise not to judge Judas as only God knows his motives for betraying Jesus and, what’s more important, the condition of his soul as he drew his final breath.

      • CliveM

        Happy Jack

        Good point.

        We should also remember that Christ went to the Cross not because of Judas, but because of all of our sins. If Judas is guilty, then so are all of us.

    • Dominic Stockford

      “Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas …”

      Jesus does not seem to have suffered from your collywobbles. Methinks you are veering into liberalism.

      • CliveM

        Remember Dominic you are as responsible for Christ’s death as Judas. You are as guilty as him. As are we all. The Christ didn’t suffer and die because of Judases sin, but for all our sin.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I have been given the gift of faith in Jesus Christ, and whatever I might have done He has saved me. I am forgiven.

          • CliveM

            But you had to be forgiven. How are we different from Judas?

          • Dominic Stockford

            I wasn’t there. See below answer.

          • CliveM

            Jesus’s death and sacrifices covers the whole of history. He died for all and in that sense we were all ‘there’.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I cannot agree with that metaphor. You can either be somewhere or not. You cannot be somewhere, like say Afghanistan, simply because your taxes were used for the defence of the realm in fighting there. Because you weren’t there.

          • preacher

            Hi Clive, sorry to butt in but I feel that we should remember that Jesus also had freewill & choice, He loved us & chose to die for us. He achieved so much on that cross. He had to die to set us free.
            By His death He redeemed us from the guilt of even that sin, so He could present us spotless & blameless before God on the day of judgement.
            Such is the perfect love of God entwined with His perfect justice.

          • CliveM

            Preacher

            You are welcome to butt in anytime.

            Good points. Jesus’s final week, death and resurrection are challenging to us all. Instead of simply pointing an accusing finger in Judus’s direction, we should remember the finger also points at us.

          • preacher

            Thank you Brother.
            We must be careful though that we don’t retrieve our guilt from the bin that it’s been placed in. I’ve seen many brethren suffering from that deception, walking around with long faces, it has stopped many people from being set free & saved for all time. We can play into the enemy’s tricks by listening to his lies.
            Remember ” If Christ has set you free, You will be free indeed” Blessings.

          • CliveM

            Yes we have much to thank God for.

          • Would you have behaved differently?

            “Truly, we are Jews, and if we say in shorthand that the Jews crucified, we can only mean that we crucified, so great is our identity with that Hebrew tradition, and the road we together trod through the pilgrim heart of history, upon this mysterious Earth.

            For all of us, including the saints, are at our best good thieves, and we can turn only to Christ for our salvation.”
            (David Warren)

          • We are no different to Judas in our responsibility for His death and suffering. Every sin we commit added to it – from the moment of His Incarnation to His death. What makes the difference is freely given faith and the possibility it brings of forgiveness through repentance and striving to put Him first in our lives.

          • CliveM

            Agreed Happy Jack. It’s what I was trying to say, but you put it better.

          • dannybhoy

            Creep.

          • CliveM

            Grrrr!

          • dannybhoy

            Lol!
            You’re behaving like a ‘past it’s sellby date’ groupie..
            Stop it!
            Jack’s head is big enough already..

          • CliveM

            You’re just jealous that I never say the same to you.

            There maybe a reason for that :0)

          • dannybhoy

            The only time I get jealous is if my wife pays more attention to another chap than I think is seemly.
            Otherwise I find adopting the ‘Ura Creep’ school of diplomacy saves any embarrassment.

          • CliveM

            Hmmmm :0(

          • Now, now ….

          • Catholic upbringing, Clive.

          • dannybhoy

            Of course you are forgiven, but remember that Judas was so overcome with remorse that he went out and hung himself.
            Not advocating universalism, only that God alone truly knoweth the heart of man.

      • Inspector General

        That was conveniently before the act. Is it not in the realms of possibility that a bit of hindsight was inserted by those responsible for producing the gospels.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I believe the Bible is true and inerrant. So, to answer your question, no.

          • Inspector General

            I believe that man does many things ‘for the good of it’ so to answer your reply, think about it….

            If Jesus was suspicious, then was he following the Jewish texts regarding the Messiah. This has to be asked of a man who did not know how the story would unfurl, and needed to cry out to God and question if he had been abandoned…

          • dannybhoy

            You do serious too?
            That’ll be the English blood…

          • Inspector General

            Welcome to the ordered world of the Inspectorate, Danny.

          • Remember that the Gospels are theological history written by men selected by God and given Canonical status by His Church. They are not meant to be detailed biographical accounts. The texts were not dictated, they are “inspired” and were written by men in a particular time and place, in a specific style, that was selected by God. Whether ‘hindsight’ was at play or not is not terribly relevant. We can be sure the authors wrote what God intended them to write and in a manner He intended them to write.

            Our ‘job’ is deepening our understanding of the message they convey. And, whatever Judas’s eternal fate, and it has to be said the Gospels do point strongly to what this may have been, there is a message contained within them about Judas, and also about the nature of man and attachment to sin.

          • Inspector General

            Thank you for the unquestioning dogmatic approach, Jack.

          • If Jack can help someone along the way – then his living has not been in vain, Inspector.

            You are very welcome.

          • Inspector General

            Thank you Jack. And if you ever need guidance yourself, then this man will supply it. Don’t you worry yourself about that…

          • …. and Jack will give any such “guidance” all due respect and consideration, Inspector.

          • The Explorer

            G K Chesterton made the point that Christ, by taking the weight of human sin upon himself, experienced estrangement. The cry from the cross reflects the moment when God became an atheist.

          • Inspector General

            What!

          • The Explorer

            Near the end of ‘Orthodoxy’ as I remember, but I don’t have my copy to hand at the moment.

          • Inspector General

            What makes you think GK Chesterton is more inclined to the rationale than GK Inspector….

          • The Explorer

            He might not be. I was simply pointing out an alternative explanation. Since it was GKC, rather than me, who thought of it, I gave the source.

      • dannybhoy

        Me too!
        Don’t forget O Sharp eyed one, that Peter denied knowing Him three times..

        • Dominic Stockford

          “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born…” (Matthew 26:24)

          • dannybhoy

            Haven’t got an answer to that Dominic.

          • Dominic Stockford

            The inspector might say that this is post-event addition by a human author. Others might say that it isn’t really about Judas. And some might even say that he went to heaven but is having a jolly bad time whilst there. I’m with you though – I can only end up thinking one thing as a result.

          • dannybhoy

            Dominic one school of thought (which I subscribe to) would say that the nature of God is always to have mercy, that He rejoices not in the death of a sinner, so perhaps God who knows our hearts did not condemn Judas to eternal damnation..
            Another school of thought (which I also subscribe to) might say that Judas had spent enough time with Jesus to know what kind of man he was betraying..

            “3 Mary therefore took a pound[a]of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the
            fragrance of the perfume.
            4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii[b] and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the money bag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”
            John 12>

            So actually Clive and the Inspector are proved to be totally wrong and dangerously wobbling towards liberalism.
            Thank Goodness that together you and me were able to show them the error of their thinking…..

          • Inspector General

            An early example of libel, Danny. As one has stated earlier, how does an itinerant like Judas amass or display his wealth. There would come a time when the fellow could hardly walk for the bullion he was carrying…

          • Inspector General

            Ah, forgot. Where’s that donkey got to…

            “Judas, the rest of us have noticed you’ve rented a donkey to transport your eating plate and drinking vessel. You really are a lazy turd…

          • dannybhoy

            You really are a naughty boy Inspector.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I would blame the Bible for that outcome…

    • CliveM

      Inspector

      There is a lot in this I agree with. It is very easy to condemn and the role he played. But it was a role someone had to play and it is clear, as you say, that he bitterly regretted his part.i believe God will have been merciful.

      • Dominic Stockford

        “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24)

        • Inspector General

          …and where was Matthew during all this. Not born yet, we find…

          • The Explorer

            Don’t forget that there might have been an Aramaic version of Matthew, later translated into Greek, that preceded Mark. In which case the author might well have been Matthew: tax collector, and disciple.

          • Dominic Stockford

            No good reason why it wasn’t.

          • The Explorer

            Indeed. After many turns round the scholarly mulberry bush, the consensus is that Homer wrote the Homeric Opus, and Shakespeare wrote the Shakespearian opus.
            Getting back to agreement that Matthew wrote Matthew will take longer: the spiritual stakes are higher.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Quite.
            Thank you.

    • dannybhoy

      Our vicar like us has a certain sympathy for Judas EishKerioth (Man of Kerioth in Judah..)
      Yes he was guilty of betraying our Lord, but why did he? Perhaps he thought that Jesus was going to usher in His millenial reign, banish the Romans and make His disciples rulers in the new triumphant Israel?
      Once he realised that the intention of Israel was to deliberately die, he decided Jesus must be deluded..
      Who knows?
      On balance though I imagine the Lord has dealt kindly with him..

      • Inspector General

        Let us not give a simple Jew who follows Jesus the highest of intellectual ability. Not sure how long he was with Jesus, but if the message was not to his liking, he could have left at any time, and no hostility resulting, one might suggest…

    • Ivan M

      Yes it seems exceedingly harsh. Having the Potter’s Field named after him. The guy did express remorse, but like the sicari he probably was, he chose hara-kiri. I mean it is not as though he did not regret his actions at all. The man probably thought Jesus should get out of the way in favour of someone with militant tendencies.

      St Peter on the other hand, took fright at a mere serving girl, but that is okay.

  • Inspector General

    On a slightly different level, if today be the ‘Feast of Judas’ then is it not the most appropriate time in the year that living Judas’ in the church reflect on their own behaviour? The Inspector recommends such cognition be under taken, in the immediate, by those Lords Spiritual who kept their damned mouths shut and made their abstention clear over the same sex marriage fiasco. And the rest of the religious could then follow suit, and examine closely their own betrayal of Jesus, The Word, and us the masses who rely on them to do their service unto God, and not unto the corruptions that man can and doeth issue…

    {SNORT!}

  • “Spy Wednesday” – what a sober day. Judas made a bargain with the high priest to betray Jesus for 30 silver pieces.

    Here’s a ‘hard-line’ Catholic opinion on Judas’s fate.

    “I should like to take this opportunity to mention that Judas is in Hell. This is very clear from Scripture, Tradition, and general Catholic instruction through twenty centuries down to “the spirit of Vatican II,” when this hard teaching was itself betrayed.

    I should also like to mention that he isn’t in Hell for betraying Christ. It is instead for refusing divine forgiveness. Here we are staring directly into the Mystery of Iniquity, for having as all men been offered an escape, Judas chose Hell. And there he is: dangling from the tree, by his own hand. It was his final betrayal.

    We have no right to judge for ourselves whether any human soul is damned. But in this case we aren’t doing that. We are told as much. Christ will forgive us anything, even murdering Him, if we beg forgiveness humbly and sincerely, promising, without guile, to amend.”
    (David Warren)

    Here’s a more moderate Catholic view:

    “We cannot know with exact certitude whether any particular person is actually in hell. God only knows that. But we can know the type of actions that lead to hell, actions like Judas’ betrayal, despair of being forgiven, and suicide.

    We know for a certainty that if a person does not repent of their sins before death, he will lose his soul. That is what we have to know because we are responsible for our own souls. We do not have to know who actually is in hell to know the types of acts that lead to hell.

    From all the indications in the Gospel story the probable conclusion is that Judas is in hell. Perhaps God in his infinite mercy gave Judas one last chance before he died. But we should not presume God’s intervention in our own cases because that would be presumption, not the virtue of hope.

    The point of the Gospel story is that even one who had the high calling of being an Apostle fell away from that high calling. In brief, all of us are closer to hell than we think if we are not alert to how frail we are.”
    (Richard Geraghty)

  • Phil R

    The 30 pieces of silver was no random amount.

    In Exodus 21:32, 30 pieces of silver was the price of a slave.