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Finding Judas… 23 April 2011

Posted by Dr Moose in Easter, Faith, Ponderings.

These are only brief thoughts, but nevertheless…

Something must have resonated within Judas Iscariot for him to choose to follow Jesus.

There must have been something, some skill, gift, potential or faith that brought him to Jesus’ side.

But more than that, there must have been something within Judas that Jesus saw to elevate him from simply one of the group of followers, to one of the Twelve. One of the special ones, the called-out Inner Circle, trusted and commissioned.

And yet. And yet, this same Judas Iscariot, is recorded as betraying him.

Did he really grow to hate Jesus, surely the one who was his friend, that much? You cannot spend years together without knowing and being known. Was he perhaps trying to force Jesus’ hand, to give him the excuse to act, and so display his power and glory? Did Jesus actually instruct Judas to act in the way he did, as some have alleged?

Whatever the motivation it would appear that Jesus still, in the role of servant, stooped to wash Judas’ feet, along with all the other disciples in an act of unconditional love.

Whatever the motivation it would appear that Jesus’ betrayal and handing over to the authorities needed a source, an informant, who could tell them where and when to make an arrest with the minimum of disturbance.

Some have said that Judas could still have repented and sought forgiveness, and still be counted among the disciples, the apostles. Maybe from a divine perspective, but I doubt that that would wash with the rest of them, the thoroughly human disciples. Forgiveness, maybe, but acceptance, not a chance of it, not in the short term at least.

If we trust scripture, then according to Matthew (27:3-5) Judas, whether having been controlled by Satan or not (a bold claim by Luke, as surely control removes full responsibility), realised his wrong. Whether remorse equates to repentance is open to debate, but he knew he’d got it wrong.

All this brings me back to a story retold by the former Bishop of Sheffield, told when he was Bishop of Lancaster, who had asked a schoolchild just where Jesus was on that Dark Saturday, the silent day the Christian scriptures make no reference to. The answer? “He went to Hell, to find his friend Judas.”
“He went to Hell, to find his friend Judas.”

It is not in scripture, although the descent of Christ to Hell most certainly is. But it is consistent.

It cannot be proved, this side of eternity. But it is consistent with the Christ of faith.

There is very little that has the power to move me to tears, but this does… every time.

This is the Jesus I can believe in. The God who knows both our deepest fears and or deepest longings. Who hears our most intimate, and shameful prayers and cries.

Should I make it to heaven, should I be granted entrance through God’s grace (for sure as hell I have no right) I’m sure there will be many I find that I do not expect. But rightly or wrongly, yes, I expect to find Judas there. If Jesus is truly “friend of sinners” then I expect no less. This is not universalism, a wishy-washy all-are-welcome-irrespective-liberality. This is the power of friendship; the power of love; the power of salvation.

And may God have mercy on me, and on us all.  I await the Rising of the Son.



1. Chris - 24 April 2011

Happy Easter to you and your family.

2. BenDQ - 28 April 2011

I always find the relationship between Jesus and Judas to be a most challenging one; that Jesus should know that Judas is to betray him and yet still offers him bread and wine at the Last Supper.

3. Judas Iscariot « Earthpages.ca - 16 July 2011

[…] Finding Judas… (drmoose.wordpress.com) […]

4. Finding Judas, again… | Life, Faith and Role-Playing Games - 25 April 2014

[…] just an anachronism, but it also leaves open, for a simple heretic like me, a hope I expressed in Finding Judas, and a slightly different conclusion to conventional […]

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