In a day and age where names listed in relation to an individual were in the order of their intimacy to them, I was dead last with regard to Jesus.
To be honest, I have to agree. I remember when I first met this man, Jesus.
There was something about Him that I couldn’t put a finger on. It was this certain allure that beckons saying, “Come.” I came. I couldn’t help myself. So I began to follow.
I followed Him from town to town. I was always watching and I admit, what I saw at times amazed me.
I can’t even count the number of sick that He healed. To Him it seems like child’s play.
Not one who comes to Him in need of healing goes away without receiving it. Then there was that whole anomy with the bread and the fish that He worked not once but twice.
The demons clearly knew and obeyed Him but why? Yet the most amazing thing I can recall was that time He walked out to us on the water.
I’ve never seen such a thing. I’ve never even heard of it. Yet there He was walking on the water directly in front of us. Even Peter got out of the boat and took a few steps on the water!
There was a real problem for me though. This Jesus did some amazing things and in every respect He seemed perfect.
Yet He was not the King I was waiting for. I kept waiting for Him to declare His plan to overthrow Rome and restore Israel to greatness.
Never did He make mention of either. It seemed, for that matter, that He had interest in some other Kingdom that He declared was His Father’s.
That may have been all well and good for Him but it did nothing for me and the millions of other Jews who were weary of bondage and sub servitude to heathen occupiers.
Did He not recognize His popularity? Did He not see His potential?
A man with this kind of charisma could have inspired every man woman and child to stand up and fight for freedom. Yet He did nothing.
This was such a waste. Frankly, it disgusted me that this man who had such potential was throwing it away on a kingdom that none of us have ever seen.
He spoke of it often but it seemed foreign to me. It didn’t seem at all like the paradise I had imagined.
I found this quite disheartening. The man was clearly a lawbreaker as well.
It seemed that His favorite day to perform miracles was the Sabbath. What an insult to the Jewish faith.
Even after my epiphany, the one that eliminates Him as the one I have been waiting for, there were good reasons to continue following this to where it leads.
Being the keeper of the treasury for such a prosperous ministry definitely has its perks.
I had full-time access to the money and believe me, I used it.
This simple life that He has demanded of us is a huge disappointment. It seems nothing like the court of a coming king.
Where is all the merriment? So, when I get a chance I sneak off to enjoy a little of my own. It helps me get by.
Yet over the years I have discovered an alarming trend. With all the trouble Jesus has caused we’ve been unable to go into the bigger cities anymore.
Smaller crowds means smaller donations. Smaller donations means that there’s hardly anything there for me.
After all, if I were to say we couldn’t afford something I would surely be discovered for the thief that I am.
Still, they don’t get it. They’re a bunch of mindless drones following this man wherever He goes and trying to do everything He does.
Not me. I did not drink that Kool-Aid! He is a fraud and a phony. Now with our income taking such a sharp downturn I’ve been considering parting ways with this whole mess before someone gets hurt.
It happened to be about this period of time that I attended a dinner and witnessed the most outrageous thing.
We were all lounged around the table when this woman just barged in. She didn’t acknowledge any of us.
She just made a bee-line for Jesus. When she reached Him she pulled out this jar and fell to her hands and knees.
Then she pops open the bottle and begins pouring over His feet. This was not the cheap stuff!
I can’t believe how full of Himself Jesus is! If He was who He claims to be He certainly wouldn’t have allowed a woman of such low caliber to touch Him.
If He was so into being frugal and humble why was He letting perfume worth over 100 days wages be wasted right in front of us all? I decided that was the last straw.
So the following day I went to see the Chief Priest. I told him I could give him Jesus no problem but it was going to cost him.
He offered me 30 pieces of silver. It was hardly what I had witnessed in sheer waste the night before but it was still a tidy little severance package as I make my exit from this train wreck of a “ministry.”
Jesus had been talking about His death but still I wonder if He was surprised when I came upon Him with all those men from the temple’s guard.
There was really nothing He was going to be able to do to get away from them. They’ll probably charge Him with heresy and cast Him out of the synagogue.
Once that happens I figure this whole thing is bound to fall apart. I won’t be a casualty of that fallout. I’ve got myself covered.
That’s where this whole thing went sideways. I heard that the Sanhedrin was beating Him pretty brutally.
That was pretty unexpected but I figured they would certainly let Him go after that.
I mean, while I don’t agree with Him or His ways, He is a good man. So naturally I was shocked when I heard that not only hadn’t they released Him they were taking Him to the Romans.
Didn’t they know this was completely uncalled for? Yet they were out for blood.
I felt shivers go up and down my spine as I heard the crowd cry out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
This was never supposed to happen. What was wrong with these people?
They received their wish as Pilate remanded Him for execution. I saw His face in that moment.
Worse, He saw mine! What a traitor I was! How could I have caused such a terrible thing?
How could I live with myself after this?
What if I were even to see any of His other disciples?
What if they were to find out that I was paid?
What a horrendous chain of events. Surely my life is over. Surely I am damned for all eternity.
There is nothing I can do now. I mean, what if His outlandish claim to be the Son of God was true?
There is no redemption for such a thing. The best case scenario was the executioner to a good man. I don’t want this blood money on my hands! I don’t want any further part in this.
So I went to the Sanhedrinm but they gave me the cold shoulder. They pretended not to even know what I was talking about! Those people are such hypocrites!
I tried to reason with them but they would have no part of me. I showed them what I thought of their righteous indignation as I tossed that money all over the floor and walked out of that place.
What now? I feel so sick inside. I can’t go on.
I want to cry out to Jehovah but I just assassinated His Son! Why would He listen to anything I have to say?
A sturdy tree branch and a length of rope are the closest I will ever come to redemption.
Tears filled my eyes as a stood on the edge of that ledge. It was then that all that was within me cried out, “Don’t do it!”
But I had to do it. What else could possibly remain for me? So in that moment I grasped every ounce of my courage and… stepped.
Sharp pain coursed through me not once, but twice. First it was my neck.
In that moment there was this sound that I literally felt throughout my entire body. Just when I began to blackout C-R-A-C-K! I felt myself falling.
I wasn’t sure of what happened of what went wrong but I didn’t wonder for long before what I can only assume was a sharp rock tore through my belly.
The pain that coursed through my body now made what I had experienced with the rope seem like nothing. Graciously I laid there for only a few moments gasping before the blackness overtook me.
Oh, but what awaited me?
Would I sleep with the dead until the great day of judgment?
Perhaps I could just experience peace. For a moment I stood there looking down on the gruesome mess that I once was. Now there was no pain. In fact, I felt as right as rain.
It took only a moment before that was disrupted. The shrill screeches I heard were like nothing on this earth and darkness literally encompassed them.
As they drew closer the sun was literally blotted out. I stood jaw agape in sheer terror as, without even a moment’s hesitation they grabbed me by either arm and dragged me where they wished like I was some kind of rag doll.
Since that day there has been nothing but darkness and torment for me in proportions that I lack adequate words to explain.
Multiply the worst and most painful experience you can recall by 1 million and that might cover it… well probably not. The worst thing is that it lasts night and day. I cannot tell one from another here in this utter blackness.
So you may want to ask me, “Do you regret it?” Do I regret it? Well, that is worse than the worst.
I know full well what I did now. I know that I am a convicted murder, but not just any murderer of any man.
I was the culprit behind the murder of the one and only Son of God.
The fire is hot here… so hot here… so horrible here… so sorrowful here… so hopeless here… oh God!
Oh God what have I done? Will you not hear me? Will you not at least say something in response?
You know what, never mind I hate you! I hate you and I curse your name for all eternity! How do you like that?
Wait, did I just tell you all that? I guess there’s no point in hiding it from you now. This is how it has been, how it is and surely it is how it will forever be.
Don’t feel sorry for me. I can’t even feel sorry for myself. If this is the last thing I ever get to tell you then I want you to hear it clearly.
Don’t follow in my footsteps. Repent today.
This short story is a combination of fact and imagination.
No one really has any way of truly understanding the way that Judas thought or what he felt.
However, at a time where the Jews were anxiously awaiting a Messiah. Only their expectation was for more of a governmental ruler who would throw out the Roman occupiers and set them free and then restore the nation to its former greatness.
It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that Judas may have been disheartened by his experience with Jesus. Surely he would have concluded that whatever Jesus was He was not the Messiah he was expecting.
We know that Judas was the keeper of the money. He had no oversight, no one to stop him from helping himself.
We know that he did. Perhaps it was the only thing that kept him from walking away. Again we do not know. I assert that this depiction of events is plausible.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things is that in the book of Matthew and in Mark the series of events is identical. (See Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Matthew 26:14, Mark 14:10)
Both share their interpretation of the event. Both record the rebuke.
Both record Jesus’ response exonerating and even honoring her.
Then the very next verse in both accounts tell of Judas going to the High Priest to seek a price for Jesus.
Could it be that Judas was disheartened?
Could it be that he was offended?
Could it be that these were the sins that ultimately brought about his demise?
I leave that to you.
The Anointing at Bethany
“6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. 8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”
you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”Matthew 26:6-13.
The Anointing at Bethany
“3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her,” Mark 14:3-9.
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
“14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests,” Matthew 26:14.
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
“14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests,” Mark 14:10.
~ Mitch Salmon