Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Apostle Who Wanted Too Much

When we hear others say, "so-and-so is 'a Judas'", we know that means 'a traitor', like Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ. But why did he do that? 

If you ask that question, a million to one the answer is he was greedy for money. He loved money. And after all, he carried 'the purse'' for Christ and the apostles, and that's proof he was greedy for money, and that's that; end of discussion. But is there more to it?

Even though he is thought to be greedy for money, Judas must have been good at managing it; and he must have been trustworthy, at least at first, or he wouldn't have been chosen out of the twelve for that position. 

Some might say what he did was all in God's Plan, since without it there would have been no death on the Cross and thus, no Resurrection. And yet, even if he hadn't been in the picture, the Jewish authorities were out to get rid of Christ, just the same. So Judas was not God's robot; he used his free will. 

Most of what we know about Judas is in the New Testament. Other than that, background information on him is scant. But what we have might be somewhat telling. He was born in Kerioth, a city of Judah, unlike the other eleven apostles who were all Galileans. He was the odd one in. 

Perhaps he felt uncomfortable; felt out of place; and because of that, maybe he decided to make a name for himself among the apostles. Or maybe he was a vicious opportunist with no sympathy for others; or maybe both; or maybe all of that and more. That would seem to be the case since the Evangelists, especially the Apostle St. John, paint him blacker than black. 

According to the Gospels, Judas had an indignant attitude and lacked appreciation for displays of gratitude, as depicted in the account of the oil anointing of Christ by Mary of Bethany. St. John quotes Judas as saying 'Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?'  

Some might opine that it was after the anointing that Judas suddenly decided to come up with a plan; so maybe he only acted indignant. Others might suppose that by then, he already had long negotiations with the chief priests.  

Either way or both, what he said about the oil was not because he cared for the poor; not by a long shot. But rather, in my opinion, it was because events weren't heading in the direction he wanted. So which direction was that?
He wanted money and, of course, knew he'd be coming into 30 pieces of silver, at least. But he really wanted large amounts. He wanted a fortune; and we know, he knew Christ restored sight, healed incurable diseases, and raised the dead. 

So maybe he thought the masses could be made to pay for services. He wanted fame and prestige, as well; and he wanted to rule a new type of empire. 

In my opinion, Judas saw Christ as 'the winning lottery ticket'. He was greedy for money, yes; and he was greedy for power and control. So in the garden, when Christ didn't use His power to strike down the arresting mob, Judas finally got the idea, all too late. Just some thoughts.

May our readers have a blessed and glorious Resurrection celebration. 
Happy Easter!  He is Risen. 

Tina Irene Williams

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