New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 44

new church life: march/april 2017 What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you? (Matthew 26:15) Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.” (Matthew 26:25) “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. (Matthew 26:48) “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. (Mark 14:44-45) “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” . . . Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:4-5) Between the Lines: The Real Judas? There is very little that we can say about the “real” Judas Iscariot, the Judas who had a life and profession before he became immortalized in the Jesus story. There are a few clues embedded in his name that have been the source of much speculation – where he is from, who his family was, what his political and religious beliefs were – but when all is said and done, we know next-to- nothing about the real Judas. From a few interactions, we detect some strong indications of how Judas’ time before his involvement in ministry might have been spent. This brief survey will revolve around one key feature of Judas which is touched on time and time again across the Gospels: Judas’ relationship with money. Jesus’ disciples made real sacrifices to follow Him: they left their jobs, their families, their homes, and their possessions behind. Even so, they all still had physical needs. Their ministry was not powered solely by miracles, but was supported by the kindness of friends (like Mary and Martha of Bethany) and good old-fashioned coin. Jesus’ ministry functioned, not as 13 independent contractors each managing his own affairs, but rather as one corporation. As such, all of their money was managed by a single treasurer who counted, carried and dispensed all of their money as each occasion demanded. That treasurer was none other than Judas Iscariot. “[…Judas] had the money box. [editorializing omitted]” (John 12:6; 13;29) A few hints are available regarding Judas’ service as treasurer, but first consider how one might get to become a treasurer of a corporation. A person who serves as treasurer ought to be trustworthy and competent with money – that is, able to tally, budget, even project how much will be needed in the future. It is hard to believe that anyone would leave their money in the hands of one whom they did not trust or believe to be competent. So it is a safe 110