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Does Judas Iscariot deserve the scorn?

By Admin

Added 28th March 2018 10:04 AM

Yes, Judas betrayed his friend and all but it must be remembered that Jesus’ life would ultimately end at the cross anyway

Does Judas Iscariot deserve the scorn?

Yes, Judas betrayed his friend and all but it must be remembered that Jesus’ life would ultimately end at the cross anyway


By Joseph Kimbugwe

I think Judas Iscariot does not deserve the scorn. Unfortunately, the world thinks otherwise.

Apparently, he ranks high among the most hated men in history. Throughout the western Europe, you wouldn't even name your dog by the name of Judas. In Germany, it is downright illegal to name your child Judas.

His name is virtually synonymous with betrayal. You wouldn't talk about betrayal and fail to effectively make allusion to Judas.

Dr William Klassen, a professor in the University of Waterloo, Canada writes, "…the name Judas is equivalent to the demonic. At times Judas is presented as the epitome of evil. He personifies hypocrisy, greed, unfaithfulness, ingratitude, and above all, betrayal. In some writings, authors spare themselves the effort of using the name and simply use ‘the traitor'.''

How about we cut the man some slack? Is all this hatred called for especially for a man who- I am not embarrassed to think- fostered our salvation?

Although the role he plays as Jesus' betrayer immensely stains his reputation, Judas was inwardly a good man.  His friends trusted him enough to put him in charge of the common purse. Logically speaking, you wouldn't trust your money with someone you wouldn't consider good enough to be trusted, would you?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Yes, Judas betrayed his friend and all but it must be remembered that Jesus' life would ultimately end at the cross anyway. It was written all over scriptures. It was His Destiny. Many prophets had prophesied it. The deed Judas committed had been foretold by Jesus himself. The betrayal was an indispensable precursor of Jesus' eventful death. Every human being has a purpose to fulfill. Judas' sole purpose was to fulfill this divine plan. If you got Judas out of the picture, Jesus' Destiny would lack a betrayer. The simple question is: wasn't it God's Will that Judas did the unspeakable? Would you judge God's Will? Wouldn't it be foolhardy to question God's choice?

If Judas is the evil man history stains him to be, why didn't Jesus - who was fully human and fully God - consider him with as much contempt? He was Jesus' most trusted ally who kept the purse for his friends. An influential church father named St. Iranaeus presented Judas as Jesus' favourite.

Judas' conscientiousness and sense of guilt is easy to notice when he, guilty-laden, repents and takes back the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. That cannot be taken for granted.  

Scripture, our chief source of knowledge about the life of the apostles, doesn't really give us much depth in light of Judas' true personality. What we actually know about the man comes down to us through the Gospels. His name is mentioned only four times in Matthew, four in Luke and eight in John. All that is known about him is based on just 24 lines in the gospels. To me, it is downright prejudicial to bear so much abhorrence on a man whom so little is known about.

It must also be learnt that it is not without reason that Judas' bad picture is portrayed more in the Gospel of John than in the other Gospels.

John's gospel is not one of the synoptic gospels. Unlike Jesus and the others who came from Galilee, Judas came from Judea, the harsh mountainous region south of Jerusalem. This makes him the odd man out. John firmly condemns the Jews as the chief killers of Christ. John's harsh portrayal of Judas cannot be missed in John 12:4-5.  Judas' comment on the oil which is poured on Jesus' head is unhesitatingly scorned. John writes, "He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it."  At the Passover feast, John rebukes Judas again, "The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him." In John 19: 7-11, John presents Jesus as referring to Judas when he says to Pilate, "…therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."  Surely John's biased judgment of Judas cannot be missed.

 History has hated him; labeled him one of the most villainous humans ever walked the earth. But I won't agree with history.  I think him a hero who deserves a bit more than he gets.                                                                              

The writer is a teacher of literature in English

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