New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 38

new church life: march/april 2017 Some disciples have their former professions and hometowns listed. Others are depicted with a range of emotions and challenging dispositions. Thomas has strong thoughts, doubts and regrets. Simon Peter is regularly up and down in the rankings. John is the beloved disciple. Zacchaeus is short and climbs trees. Judas, however, is bland and is of one mind: contradict, bamboozle and betray Jesus. But didn’t Judas have thoughts and feelings and quirks? If even Jesus vacillated between confidence and anxiety, between joy and sadness, between feasting and fasting, could Judas have been so decidedly uncomplicated? On the surface, Judas does not seem like he has much to offer. He is a theory. Judas is a pawn. He is not a person. But was Judas like this in actual history? Or has he perhaps been stripped of his humanity? Was Judas once a vibrant person who worked with Jesus with enthusiasm and vigor? Did he laugh with his companions? Did he enjoy the wine at the wedding at Cana? Did he himself teach and work miracles with his brethren? Did he pray and weep and smile and faint and wonder and fear and dream and tremble and hope? Who shaved him down to a plot point? Who turned him into a symbol of hatred, wickedness, selfishness, greed and betrayal? Did Judas really live? And if he lived, who stripped him of that life in the Gospel accounts? Lord, is it I? When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?” (Matthew 26:20-22) In that moment they all felt convicted – all twelve disciples: Andrew, Bartholomew, James the Elder, James the younger, John, Judas, Jude, Matthew, Peter, Philip, Simon and Thomas. None pointed fingers. None cast aspersions. None defensively called Jesus a liar, delusional, paranoid or mistaken. All took His words at face value. All assumed the worst of themselves. They each worried that they might turn on their Lord and their God. But as Jesus said, only one of His most trusted disciples would turn on Him. Only one would reveal His location to those who sought to take His life. Only one would betray the confidence of the Son of Man. Only one would seal His fate with a kiss. And yet, when Jesus revealed this harsh truth to His twelve closest students and friends, there came twelve desperate pleas asking, “Lord, is it I?” As we know, it was Judas Iscariot. But who was Judas really? 104