Jesus in the life of Judas

Judas was most probably the most practical and at the same time the brightest among the disciples of Jesus. Why? Judas was assigned to be the treasurer of the group. He held the money bag. Jesus had confidence in him because of the qualities he saw in the person of Judas. Judas must have shown dedication in his work.

Yet, in the Gospel of John[1], it was mentioned how the heart of Judas also was corrupted by jealousy and insecurity. When Mary the sister of Lazarus poured an expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus, Judas complained about it. For him, it was better to sell the perfume and given to the poor. However, it was not really his intention. Judas intended to use the money for himself and not for the poor. He was jealous of the action of Mary to Jesus because Judas did not experience such kindness from that lady. He also did not benefit anything from that expensive perfume.

Judas turned bitter and corrupt even though he was with Jesus for at least the past 3 years of public life of Jesus. He was there with the other disciples to witness the many miracles of Jesus, in healing the sick, forgiving sinners and raising the dead. He was there in the preaching sessions of Jesus. He heard about the coming of the Kingdom of God and that it belongs to the humble like the children. He too was there in the Last Supper of Jesus, he shared the meal with Jesus and with his co-disciples.

However, deep within, Judas failed to see that there was more in the person of Jesus. Perhaps, Judas found Jesus to be just an interesting charismatic leader. it was fun to be with him and to be with the other co-disciples. Yet, Judas also was able to benefit from those times of being with Jesus. He held the money bag. He kept the resources given to Jesus and for the group for the ministry. Nevertheless, it was also an opportunity for him to become dishonest.

This was the reason why, it was so easy for him to sell Jesus to the chief priests of the Temple. For him, betraying Jesus and selling his whereabouts to the chief priests was an opportunity to gain something, materially. Judas believed that the thirty pieces of silver will give him satisfaction and contentment. But he was wrong.

We can also ask why. Why would Judas do that to the person who has only shown kindness and generosity to him and to the people around?

Judas though was chosen to be one of the close friends of Jesus and disciples had these two attitudes that motivated him to betray the Lord and to sell him for thirty pieces of silver.

First, Judas never believed that Jesus is the Lord and the Messiah, the Son of God who is sent into the world to redeem the world and save the people from their sins and evil ways. Judas never believed in Jesus but only thought that Jesus was a mere teacher. Thus, Judas never called Jesus as Lord but only Rabbi, which means teacher.

Second, Judas did not have a close, personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. Because Judas never believed in Jesus as Lord, it also followed that Judas had never developed that close relationship with the Lord. Thus, Judas actually failed to build true friendship with Jesus and so failed to recognize God in Jesus.

These attitudes of Judas may also be present in us. When we do not believe or refuse to believe in Jesus as our Savior and Lord, who has come to love and forgive us, then, we too shall have the difficulty of not being able to build a personal relationship with God. Failure to recognize God in our life leads us to an estrange relationship with God.

This is also true with our human relationships. Failure to believe in the person, to a friend, to your husband, or wife, or child will lead us to a distanced relationship. This failure of knowing the person and building personal and intimate relationship with others will lead us to easily discard those people around us, to easily hurt them, to easily leave and abandon them, abuse them – because we are never committed in that relationship.

Thus, we are called rather now to know better the person that we are in relationship with, our friends and those people around us because it is in knowing them that we also come to recognize their importance and believe in them. And again, this shall also move us to commit ourselves in that relationship by developing a close and intimate relationship with others and with God.

Judas and the Influence of Satan

The Gospel of Luke recounted how Satan entered into Judas (Luke 22:3). In the Gospel of John, it was said, that the devil had already induced Judas (John 13:2). In the same Gospel, it was also described that as soon as Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him (John 13:27). The intentions of the heart and actions of Judas were already leaning towards the evil spirit, hence, it was easy for Satan to get hold of Judas and brought him deeper into darkness and sin. This was how the devil influenced the mind, decisions and actions of Judas.

This was symbolically recounted also in John’s Gospel, “So he took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.” (John 13:30) This was an action, a decision being made to go into darkness. A very dangerous thing. Judas must have thought that his desires and longings will be fulfilled through these decisions and actions of him. Yet, he was wrong. He was controlled and manipulated. He was not himself anymore. His mind and heart were clouded by the darkness of human greed and insecurity.

However, the moment he realized what he had done, he deeply regretted it. Though he realized that Jesus was entirely innocent and he had sinned, yet, Satan who got hold of his heart and mind led him deeper into despair and hopelessness. Judas could not see himself anymore. He could not see God and even believe that God can still forgive him. The Gospel of Matthew told us that Judas, after returning the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders of the people, he left and hanged himself (Matthew 27:5).

Judas was in total darkness. Satan was controlling him, perhaps, even without realizing that the evil spirit was already manipulating and dictating him further away from the grace and light of Jesus and closer to darkness and death. This led him to that pitiful death.

The Eucharist and Betrayer

Even though this was what happened to Judas, it cannot be denied that at the Last Supper of Jesus, his Body and Blood were given also to a disciple, a friend and a companion who betrayed him on that night. In fact, the Eucharistic Prayer II says, “At the time he was betrayed…” and similarly, Eucharistic Prayer III also says, “For on the night he was betrayed…” – both prayers recognize that important point in our salvation history in which Jesus offered his whole life for Judas and for all the potential Judases (in the words of Bishop Ambo David in his Facebook Post – In Defense of Judas) that we might be. As Bishop David wrote in his post, “the Eucharist is Jesus’ option to transform that night of betrayal into a night of forgiveness.”

This is how we realize that unconditional love of the Lord and his fundamental mission to continuously offer and grant mercy, forgiveness, freedom and new life. Kabay pa.

[1] John 12:1-11 (Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.  Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.  Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”)


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