While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. – Matt. 26:47-49 NIV
Jesus Christ was no doubt a thorn in the flesh of the rulers of his time who were mainly the Pharisees, Sadducees, the Scribes, the priests in the Synagogues and Jewish adherents who all considered him an irritant under their skin. They had tried all they could to fault him as they attempted to rope him into one form of crime or the other and pitch him against the Roman authority but were unsuccessful. He was also aware of there evil plans and attempts, but was able to successfully wade through them. Though he was aware he had destiny mission to fulfil, he was not going to allow them succeed, at least not before the appointed time, so he kept on frustrating all their efforts. On some occasions they had sought to physically assault and arrest him but being whom he was, he escaped them in a manner that they could not explain, further adding to their frustration – Lk. 4:29-30.
They however became lucky when from the most unexpected source, an offer to get him was received – Lk. 22:1-6. One of his close confidants named Judas Iscariot had offered to help them achieve their evil objective. He was willing to provide them with a reliable information with which they could finally nail him if only they would meet his price which was thirty pieces of silver. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, they quickly accepted his condition and the deal was struck. He was going to betray the one who had brought relevance into his life and had fed, clothed and accommodated not only him but also his family members for at least three years. The tool of betrayal was going to be a simple kiss – kiss of death, which ordinarily would be considered an act of love and admiration – Matt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-50; Jn. 18:3-12.
The Bible did not reveal how Judas was called by Jesus Christ but there is no doubt that he was part of what can be described as his “kitchen cabinet”. Bible historians have attempted to trace the origin of Judas, whose name is the Greek version of the word Judah meaning, Praise Jehovah, to Judea in the southern part of Judah. Should that be true, he would have been the only one of the twelve disciples that came from outside Galilee where the rest are from. However his action, arguably, cannot be said to reflect the meaning of his name which probably explains why he ended up a failure in life.
Though he did not feature much in the records taken by the writers of the Gospels, the few times he was mentioned were not in any way complimentary and they portrayed a character that was fraudulent and dubious , and not one who was exposed to the WORD from the WORD himself – Jn. 1:1-3. His name was mentioned when in his attempt to give the impression that he was prudent and cared for the poor, he cautioned Mary who had anointed the feet of Jesus Christ with an expensive oil, adding that, the oil could have been sold with the proceeds used to take care of the poor – Jn. 12:1-8. The second occasion was his visit to the Pharisees to broker a deal that will grant them access to arresting Jesus Christ as earlier attempts made to do so had failed. Though he tried to give a picture of himself in the first instance as one who cared for the poor, the writer of the book of John was quick to inform all that his intention was to eventually steal from the proceeds of the sale since he it was that kept the common purse and according to that scripture, he had been dipping his hands into it illegally. Should that be the case, then the action that was linked to his second mention would not come as a surprise as his love for fraudulent income was already known.
In a move that was most shocking to even the beneficiaries of this betrayal but obviously not surprising to Jesus Christ (Jn. 6:64; 13:11-18), he took the step to stab his beneficiary at the back. Though some bible scholars claim he may have thought that Jesus Christ would disappear as he had done on some occasions previously, by which time he would have delivered on his promise to the Pharisees and collected his fees, but even that further exposed the fraudulent nature he had. However like all cases of betrayal and its proceeds, the betrayer is hardly able to enjoy it and Judas was not going to be an exception. He indeed collected his betrayal fees but ended up committing suicide on a land some sections of the scriptures claim was bought by the elders after he had returned the money to them, while other records claim he actually acquired the parcel of land himself – Matt. 27:1-10; Acts 1:18. Whatever the case, the same proceed of betrayal was what consumed him.
Many today, Christians inclusive have refused to learn anything from this act of Judas which had since then been an annual event in the Christian calendar. The event is marked with many claiming to share in the suffering of Jesus Christ like he is still on the cross bleeding. They present a somber look without considering how much their actions are worse than that of Judas. Many Christians today not only betray Jesus Christ but Christianity as a whole in their desperation to achieve their ignoble objectives. Christian leaders are equally culpable as they directly or indirectly encourage such acts especially since most of them have no scruples betraying Jesus Christ, the Church and even their Calling. All need to know that no matter how sweet the reward of betrayal may be initially, it will always end in bitterness and sorrow.
That the Church features prominently today in cases of betrayal should however not be surprising, after all Judas was not just a high ranking follower of Jesus Christ, but also had the opportunity to hear life changing ministrations from the SOURCE yet did not find it necessary to change. He remained simply a hearer of the Word and not a doer just as many in the Church today. This is probably because a child of perdition will always tow that path of destruction (Jn. 17:12), and holding key positions in Christendom like Judas did may not be sufficient to trust anyone not to be involved in acts of betrayal – Jn. 12:6.
What should however be made clear to the betrayer is the definite reward that will be received which includes but not limited to the following;
- Disappointment in self. Judas must have felt very low with himself after seeing what his action brought up.
- Regrets because the value of the reward compared with the damage done are usually minimal. The reward suddenly loses value and not worth the damage done.
- By the act of betrayal, such would have committed suicide. This may be physical or emotional and psychological. This is a natural occurrence that nature takes care of. The one who is betrayed has nothing to do with this but simply the duty of the law of retributive justice.
- Manifestation of signs that accompany one who is dead. The reaction of people to such a person will be similar to their reaction to a dead body even though such may still be breathing. Such will be treated as a living dead.
You experiences may be such that seems you are dead when you are living as it becomes impossible to even implement primary responsibilities. Family and friends react like you do not exist as very important decisions are taken without asking for your views. Rather than wasting time, looking for whom to blame for these humiliating reactions from those who hitherto have honoured you, simply reflecting on possible acts of betrayal that you may have been involved with and seeking forgiveness from Jehovah for them with a resolution to restitute where necessary may be all that you require. There is simply no way your life can progress when you have the baggage that the act of betrayal had dropped into your life.
The day may be called “Good Friday” because of the benefit that his death brought to man but it does not remove the significance of the negative act of betrayal of Judas, which many Christians seem to be unconsciously celebrating by getting involved with without several acts of betrayal without reservation. Do all you can to avoid the spirit of betrayal. It may seem to be beneficial in the short term but definitely will bring sadness, sorrow and death which may be physical or spiritual in the long term. Judas may have died immediately by hanging and saved himself from the physical torture that will usually accompany the act of betrayal but you may not be that lucky. May Jehovah grant us the ability to reject the spirit of betrayal in Jesus name. Amen.