New Life - New Eyes
New Life - New Eyes
By: Danny Wallace
Judas Iscariot has become the most despised person in the archives of human history. Everyone knows his story – no parent would dare to give a child his name. His personality, as interpreted by biblical scholars, is the darkest in the chronicles of the world. The New Testament writers disdain Judas to such a degree that in every list of the disciples given in the Gospels, Judas is listed last, with a note of contempt following his name.
We have all heard sermons about Judas, all declaring him lost. He is often called the son of perdition, linking him by slander as the child of Lucifer. Let me take a moment to tell you who he was.
Judas Iscariot was you, and he was me. Judas was far more than the legacy of his legendary story. He was who Paul claimed to be when he declared himself “Chief of Sinners.” There is no question that Judas wins this title hands down.
He had parents, friends, and siblings. He had teachers, peers, and enemies. Judas Iscariot was once a boy with hopes and dreams, no different than little boys dreaming of flying – believing they are Superman.
Scripture is clear regarding the twelve men Jesus chose. He “knew” them before He picked them. Jesus chose Judas, not the other way around. In fact, He chose him specifically for the purpose and reason that religion despises Judas to this day.
Let’s take a moment to look at the disciples objectively. Other than the betrayal, the only recorded sin of Judas Iscariot was stealing from the money box. However, the other eleven apostles had accounts recorded of their sins of unbelief, lust for position and power, and not being mindful of the things of the spirit, but of man. All of the disciples left Jesus, Peter denied him three times in one night and falsely condemned people to fire when Jesus said all He ever came to do is save.
Religion accuses Judas of being greedy, though the thirty pieces of silver he received to betray Jesus was a small sum, hardly the worth of a slave. Religion also says that Judas was unrepentant, though he was so sorry for what he had done that he could not bear to continue living, taking his life in remorse.
This fact remains. Jesus washed the feet of the eleven disciples, and He washed the feet of Judas, only hours before His betrayal. Jesus called Judas “friend,” even as the kiss of betrayal touched His cheek in the Garden of Gethsemane. Finally, Jesus asked God to forgive “all” who had a hand in His death, saying they had no idea what they were doing. “All,” still means, “all.”
We long for judgment, so long as judgment falls on others, rather than ourselves - God judged the Son for us all. We point our fingers – Jesus opened His arms to receive our nails. We preach fear – Jesus taught love. We seek justice – Jesus covered the earth in Grace.
Judas was a blessing. Without this faltering disciple, there is no redemption. Who else would hand Jesus over to be crucified? Certainly not the other eleven disciples – they were sinners, in their minds and by their admission, but not such a sinner as Judas. Not even Pilate, the most ruthless of Roman leaders would have any part of it, washing his hands of the entire event. Judas was chosen by God to turn over the most significant sacrifice this world would ever behold.
Lastly, there is no significance regarding Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, other than what it reveals in us. The Pharisees knew Jesus well. In fact, everyone far and wide had heard of this supposed “Messiah.” No one needed to point Jesus out for proper identification. He was well known.
One thing is sure – Jesus directly called Peter "Satan," not Judas. Surely Satan had to enter Judas for him to fulfill the Scriptures. Judas was not capable of betraying Jesus by himself! If Pilate didn’t have what it took, and the religious leaders were too cowardly to be a part, neither did Judas possess such personal fortitude. He had to be taken over by the real enemy of God.
Peter, on the other hand, did not need the help of Satan not to be mindful of the things of God. It was perfectly natural for him. When Satan wanted to "sift" Peter, Jesus prayed for "Satan" Peter. Why didn't Jesus just pray for Judas? I’ll tell you why - because Judas had to do what he did to fulfill Scripture that the redemption of the whole world from its bondage to sin might be accomplished! Judas was not a hearer only, as Peter was, but a "doer of the word." Not only was he a doer, but Jesus hastened Judas along to get it done!
"What you are doing, do more quickly." (John 13:27)
Judas fulfilled his purpose for being born, and when we get to that grand banquet, he will have "returned to his place" by the hand of Grace. (Acts 1:25)